Environmentally Friendly With Campus Kids


Leana Tagliagambe, Contributing writer

SCCC’s Campus Kids Learning Center is reintroducing the natural environment to their kids after this past summer.

Director of Campus Kids, Linda Crispi, and the staff of teachers that work at the center spent all summer working on getting the playground ready for the new school year. “Right after school ended, the teachers and I went out, and we started digging and moving and doing a lot. I got a couple of parents that helped us out; we turned it into an even nicer playground,” Crispi said.

“There’s been a change in playgrounds over the years. And we started to change over about seven years ago. We took out all the foam rubber and big metal stuff, and we went more natural. So, it’s just nicer for the kids; It’s more realistic for them.” The director said it teaches the kids how to walk with mobility, balance, and stability to connect their bodies with the natural world.

The playground includes touchy-feely objects like plants, a sandpit, homemade musical instruments, and much more. The plants the staff provided the playground with consist of mint, lavender, eucalyptus, etc. The teachers put some strawberry plants back there as well.

While students and faculty battled the pandemic, the center focused on a natural self-meditation with their kids to help relieve stress. “When we went through this whole COVID thing, we did yoga with them, we did meditation, and so they kind of were able to really take care of themselves, like mental health-wise. They were able to talk things through.” Crispi said that those practices helped the kids find a perfect, balanced environment for them.

Crispi said that last year they reported no meltdowns within the children at the center. She and her staff realized that what they were doing was working for the kids. “Most of our parents are either students or faculty. So either way, you go, you’ve got stress. You’ve got the administration on one end, you’ve got students trying to get their work done, go to school, and go to work….and so having that ability to drop your children off and know that they’re not going to, like have a meltdown. It means the world to any parent…”

The center has used other facilities’ ideas as inspirations to help with building their natural environment. Some facilities that they used were Middle Country Library and Nature Explore. Nature Explore is one of the “big companies that really pushes for a more natural environment for children.”

Crispi said that the center learns about math, science, numbers, colors. However, the kids are

doing it at their pace and in a natural environment.

“The kids will be out there all year. Even when it wasn’t so classroomy, kids were outside all year.”

The center will be open from Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. throughout the semester.