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when did the first municipal playground open in the United States?

Did you know that the very first municipal playground in the United States opened almost a century ago, in October 1903.

Located in the Lower East Side’s Seward Park in New York City, it is still open today. This playground was built with fences, gymnastic tools, cinder surfacing and children’s play equipment. A large running track encircled the play area. This park became a notable template for future playground architecture.

You can learn more about the history of Seward Park playground on NYC Parks’ website.

Seward Park Playground in New York City

Imagination Playground at the Mid-Pacific Institute. Episode 1: The Blocks Arrive

Imagination Playground is excited to kick off the school year by welcoming Hawaii’s Mid-Pacific Institute (Mid-Pac) to our guest blog spot. Located in the heart of Oahu, the institute is one of the island’s oldest schools, and offers innovative schooling for preschool and grades K-12. The school has grown to be a model for Reggio-inspired learning so we were so happy to meet them.

Every week, Leslie Gleim, Mid-Pac’s Head Preschool Teacher,  will share her research and observations on how the children learn and work with Imagination Playground in an educational setting. Check out the first post below and stay tuned!

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Wonder. Questions. Laughter.

At Mid-Pac, we encourage children to fulfill their curiosities and initiate their own ideas and questions. So instead of introducing the blocks in a classroom setting, we hosted a summer session for the preschoolers to engage in free play and explore the blocks on their own terms.

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First, we had the children take turns guessing what was inside the large, mysterious packages. Shoes? A bike? I wonder what it is? We found this to be a great (and fun!) exercise for introducing IP to the preschoolers. Teachers could have children draw pictures of their speculations and present the drawings to their classmates.

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With the help of our great parents, we then unpacked the carts. We could already feel the energy brewing in the children’s imaginations and thinking – they couldn’t wait to get their hands on the big blocks.

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Let the play continue!

-Mid-Pac Preschool Team