Purposeful PLAY + Partners in PLAY
Educators, parents, and recreation professionals have long understood the value of play as it relates to the foundations for early learning. When children use concrete objects in dramatic ways, such as playing in a pretend grocery store or a kid's size construction zone, they learn social skills and competency. Written cues through signs help children get ready to read and write. They understand that written symbols on paper carry meaning- even if they can't read yet. Play apparatus will help in motor development, including gross and fine motor skills. As adults, we may think children are "just playing", but consider how much language development is happening as children respond to each other and work out the details of play.
Bellaboo's plays an important role in the education of the children of Northwest Indiana. Several hundred preschools and elementary schools take part in educational Discovery Trips at Bellaboo's throughout the school year. Children can visit with their caregivers for special classes that provide hands-on learning and play opportunities and resources. Every summer dozens of children take part in fun and educational camps that stretch the minds of the young campers.
Above all, Bellaboo's is a resource. Parents can take part in free workshops on commonly faced parenting struggles. They come to Bellaboo's for free events to gather resources on preschool readiness and back to school. Early childhood educators (and future early childhood educators) utilize Bellaboo's as a research resource. They are regularly welcomed to the facility to better understand how children play, and what a high quality learning space looks like for a young person. And, in providing employment to hundreds of people each year Bellaboo's is a also an important economic resource for the Northwest Indiana community.
Partners in PLAY
Bellaboo's collaborates with many institutions including:
- Purdue Northwest
- Mom to Mom, NWI
- Fit for Mom, NWI
- Association of Children's Museums
- Bridges of Possibility
- Whole Foods Market
- Lake Heritage Parks Foundation
- Lake County 4-H
- Jacob's Ladder
- Plum Grove Music
- Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana
- Chicago Herpetological Society
- Lakeshore Kids' Club
- Moraine Ridge Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center
- South Shore Convention Center and Visitors Authority
- Local authors, dance studios, builders, musicians, atirst, and more