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Shockingly, the summer is half over. But for Windsor Terrace youngsters ages 4-6, it’s not too late to take advantage of two free programs designed to foster appreciation of their neighborhood and natural environment.
The programs are run by the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment, a non-profit that runs an array of programs in city schools.
They were selected by the Windsor Terrace Alliance, a nascent civic group looking to bring fun, edifying activities to area children.
“We’re trying to bring some activities for kids to Windsor Terrace so they don’t have to travel to Park Slope or downtown, where they have been doing activities for awhile,” said Patti McDannell, program coordinator for the Windsor Terrace Alliance.
The first of the programs, “Once Upon a Street,” centers around city life and the idea of “neighborhood.”
The program began July 10 with a puppet show spelling out the basic concepts of the neighborhood and community.
The children – around 10 of them showed up to the first session – then went on a walking tour around the neighborhood, where they were taught to identify the different elements of the urban fabric:
What types of stores were on the block? Which parts of the neighborhood were concrete and which were grass? How were some of the windows different?
The program will culminate when the children use basic art materials to create models of their own neighborhoods.
“It can reflect the neighborhood as it actually is, or it could be something totally imagined – that’s the great thing,” McDannell said.
“It teaches kids to value the diversity of the city and the neighborhood. Especially because neighborhoods are changing so quickly, it’s really important they see the stable elements. It gives them a sense of community and solidity, which is really important to children that age,” she continued.
The second half of the summer programming is “Park Pals,” which covers the neighborhood’s animal and plant life, particularly in nearby Prospect Park.
As with “Once Upon a Street,” the students are taught with art-activities and hands-on experiments.
The programs were made possible by grants from State Senator Eric Adams; Brown, Harris Stevens Real Estate, and Windsor Terrace resident Lee Solomon.
“Once Upon a Street” began on July 10; it will run until July 31. “Park Pals” will run from August 7 through August 28.
Both programs meet at Uncle Louie G, an ice cream shop located on the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Prospect Park South. They run from 10 to 11:30 every Thursday.
Enrollment in currently 10; there is room for an additional 15 students.
Those interested should contact Patti McDannell at 718-249-3424.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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