First 5 High Five


On April 15, 2016, La Presa Elementary’s preschool, a QPI site in Spring Valley, celebrated the re-opening of its playground. There were squeals, happy screams, laughter, and serious giggles as about two dozen preschoolers raced out to the new playground after a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Rita Schwartz, Preschool Supervising Director for La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, commented on the great effect San Diego County Office of Education, Quality Preschool Initiative, and First 5 San Diego had on this program. “They made our dreams come true,” she said.

This is La Mesa-Spring Valley’s first year in the Quality Preschool Initiative, and six of La Mesa-Spring Valley’s preschools received playground upgrades. The revamped playgrounds provide a great improvement to the outdoor learning environment for preschoolers.

At La Presa Elementary’s preschool, the revamp included the removal of decades-old equipment, which offered limited skill development, and the creation of a modern play area that provides more activity and addresses more large-motor skills, Schwartz said. The playground has something for everyone. Two new play structures include features such as a climbing wall, stairs, music, sounds, slides, and other sensory elements. Preschooler Noah said his favorite is the stairs.

“These beautiful new playgrounds are inviting,” Schwartz said. “They encourage the children to move and have fun at the same time.”

Playgrounds have physical benefits, such as enabling children to practice jumping, climbing, balancing, and running, and they also have social benefits, like teaching children to take turns and to use self-control while waiting for their turn, and they provide opportunities for modeling skills, having conversations, and increasing language development.

“Inside and outside of the classroom, we want to nurture healthy and happy children who will become healthy and happy adults,” Schwartz said. “Play is important to the social and physical development of children.”


More kudos to:

  • The pre-k graduating class of 2016! On June 11, 18 and 25, 2016, Children’s Paradise Preschool & Infant Centers held their Annual Preschool Graduation event, followed by an early learning educational faire and Hula Demonstration.

  • On May 11, 2016, Child Development Associates (CDA) received an award for the “Habitat gARTen” at Hilltop Child Development Center in Chula Vista, California—one of CDA’s three preschool centers in the South Bay. The local chapter of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) presented the “Grass Roots Healthy Place” award to CDA and the designer of the outdoor classroom, Ilisa Goldman from Rooted in Place Landscape and Architecture and Consulting, for its integrative approach at creating an outdoor garden classroom for the children of Hilltop CDC.