learn / 2019
Renovate and Expand Outdoor Playground
We seek funding to redesign and upgrade the outdoor play area at our main campus that is used six days per week for two to four hours per day by children age five and under. The existing play structure was installed in the mid-1990s and does not meet current standards for safety and accessibility. The new outdoor area will enable us to enhance our learning space, recruit more participants, and provide even better early childhood education opportunities.
What does your organization do?
GCPEA’s mission is to raise money for program operation costs to support tuition-free parent education courses for families with children age birth-five. GCPEA’s work is done by parent volunteers.
Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.
- Glendale Community College (includes departments of Risk Management, Facilities, and Purchasing)
Briefly tell us a story that demonstrates how your organization turns inspiration into impact.
One of our program’s mottos is “parenting today for a brighter tomorrow.” By this, we mean that strong parents and strong families make for a more stable society. With classes for parents of infants through age five, we are able to reach families early, across the spectrum of income and educational levels. We are open to all. We are more than a Parent Education program and even more than an early childhood preschool environment. What we teach has immediate impact on a child, a family, a classroom, school, and community. The impact continues into that child’s future - their family, school and community. Further, it goes on to impact the next generation, not only because behaviors are learned and imitated, but because solid parenting skills nurture and grow successful people. Parenting skills run through the whole fabric of life.
We would also like to briefly explain about the funding of our organization. Parent Education is a “tuition-free” program, although it’s not free to run. Glendale College pays for the facility, teachers, and assistants. GCPEA operates under the fundraising arm of the college, the Glendale College Foundation. However, GCPEA must raise all our own funds for program operations with the support of volunteer parents. GCPEA greatly depends on the contributions of others to maintain its success. The money raised by the GCPEA executive committee provides much-needed teaching tools and classroom enhancements including art supplies, children books, toys, tricycles, musical equipment, tables, chairs, storage sheds and much more. Larger improvement projects have no way of currently being funded. Without site upgrades, the program will suffer and will not be able to continue to reach the same number of families, expand, and continue providing a relevant program to the current and future community.
Which of the learn metrics will your submission impact?
- Enrollment in early care and education programs
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- San Fernando Valley
How will your project make LA the best place to learn?
A group of elected volunteer parents serve as the GCPEA’s executive committee. This committee will oversee execution of the project. We will survey our student members and teachers regarding their desires for an improved outdoor space and incorporate as much of their feedback in possible in the project.
June 2019 - Grant awarded
July-September 2019 - Research best practices in playground design to establish criteria for desired new outdoor space. Survey students and teachers to solicit suggestions. Commission a playground architect for a design and feasibility study. Meet with Glendale College Facilities and Risk Management departments for collaboration.
October 2019 - Seek bids from vendors for playground removal, resurfacing, and installation. Work with Glendale College Purchasing department as needed.
November 2019 - Select vendor that can provide the best quality product within our budget.
December 2019-January 2020 - Remove current play structure and install new equipment during Winter break.
January-March 2020 - Purchase and install the smaller items needed to complete project, such as outdoor toys and learning stations.
March 2020-end of grant cycle (and beyond) - Create and distribute marketing pieces featuring upgraded outdoor space. Partner with LA2050 to expand our marketing reach.
POPULATION BEING SERVED
Approximately 250 families participate in our tuition-free programs. Adult participants include mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers. The children are ages birth - five years. Parents of varying education levels share concerns side by side, support each other, and learn that parenting concerns and the desire for strong family bonds are universal. Families who attend come from diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic levels and without this program, being free and self-funded, many of these families wouldn’t have access to early childhood and parent education. Classes are offered throughout the week, including evenings and weekends, to meet scheduling needs of working parents.
Participants live in Glendale and the surrounding cities. The ethnicity of adult students enrolled in 2016-2018 was as follows: Asian/Pacific Islander - 13.8%; Latino/Hispanic - 11.1%; Caucasian/Anglo - 21.5%; Caucasian/Armenian - 43%; Other/not stated - 10%.
PROGRESS TOWARD MAKING LA THE BEST PLACE TO LEARN
We will measure the number of families enrolled in the program before and after the grant to quantify our progress in expanding our program to provide early childhood education for more children and their caregivers.
We will survey teachers and parents before and after the new playground construction to measure the impact of the new outdoor space on parent and child learning and engagement
In what stage of innovation is this project?
Expand existing program (expanding and continuing ongoing successful projects)
Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.
Our “Renovate and Expand Outdoor Playground” project will be successful when the play area fully transforms into an age-appropriate outdoor classroom. Specifically, we aim to achieve the following results:
-The playground meets current trends in early childhood learning. It provides a place for children to explore, imagine, exercise and learn to work together in a safe and age-appropriate environment. It is accessible to children with diverse abilities, including physical or mobility differences, neurodiversity, and the full range of ages we serve. It features a new toddler area, allowing a safe space for our younger children to play. Updated preschool equipment promotes socialization and cooperative play, including a science area, a music wall, and open ended equipment. New landscaping, privacy screening added to the fencing, a shade awning, and replaced safety surfacing complete the overhaul and improve the learning environment.
-These new features greatly enhance the facility and draw families to the program. The playground meets the program’s needs today and into the future.
-Parents use their time in the space to create a network of connections with other parents, learn, and build confidence in their ability to parent. Not only are the parents observing and guiding their own children; they are observing others’ children as well. Part of the Parent Education curriculum involves learning to work with other people’s children in a developmentally appropriate way. While in the play area, parents practice skills learned during the child development instruction portion of the class. They learn to anticipate potential problems, help children resolve conflicts, practice age-appropriate discipline techniques, and identify and prevent potential safety hazards. Parents learn to work together in this space and develop connections with other families which creates a stronger community and understanding of different cultures.
In addition to completing the construction project, we will also measure success by doing the following:
-Conduct pre- and post-student and teacher satisfaction surveys to determine the extent to which the outdoor space redesign meets our stated goals
-Collect data about the number of families enrolled in the program before and after construction to measure the change in access to our early childhood program