Family Relief Nursery staff members pose with the new, grant-funded outdoor play structure that now delights Creswell FRN youngsters at Creslane Elementary School. Pictured are FRN staff members. PHOTO PROVIDED
Brightening children’s lives in a safe and developmentally appropriate environment is what the Family Relief Nursery of Cottage Grove is all about. Thanks to a Creswell First! Community Services Fund grant in the amount of $2,500, those goals are now being met for Creswell FRN youngsters in a colorful, fun and kid-tangible way.
Purchased with Creswell First! grant funds, a new outdoor play structure designed to meet the needs of children ages one to four was installed outside the modular at Creslane Elementary School, which houses the Creswell FRN classroom just in time for the 2018-19 school year.
”Outside play is vital to children’s ability to learn gross motor skills and manage emotional regulation, and studies have shown that increased activity, especially in early childhood, increases brain functioning and long-term cognitive skills,” said Diane Hazen, executive director of Family Relief Nursery of Cottage Grove.
When FRN’s Creswell Therapeutic Early Childhood satellite classroom – which serves 17 local children at risk for child abuse/neglect – opened in September 2016, it lacked an outdoor play structure appropriate for preschool youngsters and toddlers.
”Our children are too small to play on the Creslane playground, which is designed for older children – and many of these children do not have the opportunity to play outside while at home,” Hazen said.
FRN submitted their grant application to Creswell First! in December 2017. The grant was one of five awarded by Creswell First! in January 2018.
Creswell First! has been tasked by the Creswell City Council with evaluating applications for City funding by nonprofit organizations serving Creswell citizens. For 2018, the City has provided $15,000 for distribution through Creswell First!
The play structure was installed over the summer with the help of the Creswell School District, and when school started it was ready to meet its new ”playmates” – Creswell FRN’s latest group of exuberant youngsters.
For more than 24 years, the Family Relief Nursery has been providing intervention services to the families of South Lane County, successfully keeping 98.5 percent of children served out of the foster care system and safe with their families.
”These children receive much-needed services because of this program,” Hazen said. ”It’s all about keeping children safe, setting them up for success in school and the opportunity to achieve their full potential in life.”