Nonprofit report: Rideout Community Center in Tahoe City | SierraSun.com

Nonprofit report: Rideout Community Center in Tahoe City

Layne Van Noy, superintendent
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Play is rapidly disappearing from our schools, homes and neighborhoods. Decades of research has shown play is crucial to the physical, intellectual and social-emotional development of all ages. More than 300,000 schools across the country have eliminated recess from their schedule to make room for more academics. For too long we have treated play as a luxury that kids as well as adults can do without. The time has come for each of us to recognize the power of play and that it is essential to leading a happy and healthy life.

The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2007 reported that play not only promotes behavioral development but brain growth as well. A University of North Carolina study found children who received enriched, play oriented parenting had significantly higher IQand#8217;s at age five than did a comparable group of children who were not in the group.

Many parents have bought into the fact that education is a race and that the earlier you start your child in academics the better. In recent years, especially with the passage of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act, weand#8217;ve seen educators embrace the idea that early academics lead to greater success in life. Yet several studies by Kathy-Hirsch-Pasek have compared the performance of children attending academic preschools with those attending play-oriented preschools. The results have shown no advantage in math, reading and writing, but that there was a tendency for higher anxiety, less creativity and more negative attitudes toward school than did the children attending the play-oriented preschools.

Playgrounds are the perfect location where children can enhance these developmental attributes. Even though we have playgrounds at most of our park and school sites, the Rideout Community Center and Kilner Park will be upgrading and improving their playground facilities. Recently, the TCPUD was approved for grant funds to install new and exciting playground equipment. This will allow you and all our visitors an opportunity to experience the power of play. Look for this new equipment to be installed by summerand#8217;s end.

In other news, it appears spring is finally here and the Rideout Community Garden is now open for business. Gardening in Lake Tahoe can be a real challenge even for the seasoned veteran. The community garden is in its second season and we hope that it will be even more productive. The Community Garden committee recently met and there are approximately one dozen plots still available for annual rent. The plots are rented on a per square foot basis for the year. The renter is responsible for maintaining, amending and nurturing their site throughout the growing season.

Lastly, by now you have seen our new summer program catalog and have scoured it thoroughly to plan your summer activities. One thing that missed the deadline and may be of interest is our new summer basketball camp. This camp will be conducted by our local middle school coaches and is a great opportunity for your fourth through sixth grader to get a head start on the basketball season this fall. The camp will be held Monday through Friday July 12-16, 10 a.m.-noon. Register with us before July 9 to secure your spot in the camp.

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For more information on the programs and services we offer contact the Parks and Recreation Office at 583-3440, ext. 10, 740 Timberland Lane, Tahoe City or visit http://www.tahoecitypud.com and check out what weand#8217;re doing to enhance your community.