With less than 200 parks in the large city of San Antonio, there are some areas where outdoor play spaces are scarce and unsafe for children. In underserved areas, school outdoor spaces lack safe equipment or outdoor learning areas resulting in less physical activities for students. To combat the issue, San Antonio Sports implemented Spark Parks, a nationwide initiative to convert school playgrounds to dual use by neighborhood families. This program allows San Antonio Sports and the City of San Antonio to renovate park spaces throughout the city to be used by both the schools and surrounding community.
However, the Spark Park program eligibility requirements for a space to become a Spark Park does not include all parks in the city. To help alleviate this gap in service, The Mission Continues San Antonio 2nd Platoon is collaborating with San Antonio Sports to provide safe playgrounds and outdoor learning opportunities to under qualified schools and neighborhoods.
Studies show that outdoor classrooms and efficient playgrounds provide the following benefits for students:
-Shifts educational focus from secondary to primary sources
-Uses experiential teaching methodologies to engage students
-Makes learning a multi-sensory experience
-Fosters the use of systems thinking
-Lends itself to interdisciplinary studies
-Recognizes and celebrates differing learning styles
-Connects the school to the neighborhood and the world-at-large
-Design and installation is a modest capital expense
-Projects a positive message about public education
-Blurs the boundaries between academic learning and creative play
The Mission Continues and San Antonio Sports will ensure that every child has access to safe playgrounds and outdoor learning spaces by creating or rehabilitating designated play areas throughout the city.
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