Phase 2 begins on JCC’s outdoor play space and classroom project

Community volunteers help start Phase 2 of a new outdoor education and play area at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center on Balltown Road. Here, Kathy, Nathan and Jim Levy work in the balance play area. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)Community volunteers help start Phase 2 of a new outdoor education and play area at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center on Balltown Road. Here, Kathy, Nathan and Jim Levy work in the balance play area. (Marc Schultz/Gazette Photographer)

BY JENNIFER CURRIER
For The Daily Gazette

Teachers, staff, parents, Boy Scouts and students gathered at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center on Sunday to work on an integrated outdoor education and play area for the center’s early childhood education program.

The project is one of many improvement initiatives the JCC is taking on to continue serving the community as the largest childcare provider in the Capital Region.

Phase 1 of the Teva Play Natural Outdoor Play Space and Classroom was built in September 2014 and used throughout the previous school year. The space includes a circle time area, a music wall, gardens organized by each season, outdoor easels for art projects, a maze, a water wall and a butterfly garden.

Work on Phase 2 began Sunday, and involved re-mulching and cleaning the existing play space and building a brand new “tyke track” located just outside it. Though the program serves children from birth through kindergarten-age, the track appeals most to the preschool-aged students.

“We’re always seeing what our kids’ needs are and making decisions from there,” said Early Childhood Assistant Director Sarah Mandel. “The idea came from the kids having to ride their tricycles around the cul-de-sac in the back of the center. Now they’ll have a dedicated space to safely do so.”

Read the full story and see the photos at dailygazette.com.