Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) Head Start/Early Head Start has an exemplary record of no playground related injuries to children. Head Start/Early Head Start takes pride in the fact that by placing the safety and developmental needs of the children first, 100% of all of the Head Start Centers are National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accredited. NAEYC’s accreditation system has set professional standards for early childhood education programs and helped families identify high-quality programs for their young children. The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) has provided the resources for Head Start/Early Head Start for training and assisting in the decision making for building an outdoor learning environment that is exciting, safe, and developmentally appropriate. The staff, delegates, and child care partners from Head Start/Early Head Start have been trained to be Certified Early Childhood Play Inspectors through the NPPS. This training has provided them the knowledge of what to look for and assess on the playground, the equipment, and the surrounding area and surfaces to promote a safe play environment. Inspections of the playground are performed daily by the staff, delegates, and child care partners and monitored monthly to ensure that the equipment and environment are safe. The inspections utilize the Playground Safety Checklist from the NPPS to maintain a consistent and thorough monitoring standard of the playground and environment. This monitoring of playground safety is performed not only by the grantee but incorporated by all of the delegates and contracted sites that Hillsborough County BOCC Head Start/Early Head Start oversees. During in-service and pre-service trainings throughout the year, additional and refresher training of the safety and inspections of the playground and environment with a review of the Playground Safety Checklist from the NPPS are made available to staff, delegates, and child care partners. The vigilance of monitoring with the attention to the safety of the children by the staff, delegates, and child care partners has created a safe, outdoor play environment for the children in Head Start/Early Head Start. To continue this commitment of safety, new and updated playground equipment have been added to the Centers. This equipment includes ADA accessible play areas with fun hoops, crawl tubes, climbers, balance beams, and developmentally appropriate outdoor activities. Head Start/Early Head Start makes outdoor playing a priority and incorporates outdoor time daily in the lesson plans for the children. This provides not only life lessons for the children but for their families as well.
2012 - Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Head Start/Early Head Start
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Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners Head Start/Early Head Start
John Preston Playground Safety Award