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Move N Learn Center helps Elena learn through play

  • Since 2013, Elena has come to “play” at the Courage Kenny Kids’ Early Childhood Family Center in Stillwater. A rare genetic disorder affects her development in most areas. Her mom Deb drops Elena off at Courage Kenny Kids where the therapists make sure she gets to her pre-school classroom. For a busy mom who also has a toddler at home, a simple connection like this makes a world of difference.

    “I totally love it,” Deb says. “I’ve gotten to know both the school and the clinic staff. I’ve also made connections with other parents who are walking the same path.

    “Elena’s confidence has improved so much since using the Move N Learn Center. It’s stressful for me to watch her at other, non-accessible parks and play areas because I’m afraid she’ll hurt herself. The Center is safe, really fun and not nearly as stressful for me as a mom.”

    “It’s hard to motivate kids on stairs that go nowhere,” said Barb Diederichs, physical therapy coordinator. “Through play they don’t even know they are doing therapy.

    "We're also there to support the teachers and paraprofessionals in the classroom,” she said. “We can teach the teachers how kids can be integrated into the classroom.”

    About the Move N Learn Center

    The Move N Learn Center at the Early Childhood Family Center (ECFC) in Stillwater is a unique indoor playground designed to include young learners of all abilities. Part of Courage Kenny Kids, it is located in gym space shared by all ECFC programs and incorporates real life challenges – a variety of stairs, ramps and curbs that kids may encounter in their home and in the community. The Center provides a space for children to work and learn together under the guidance of therapists, teachers and families. Small play nooks, see-through floor areas, wall activity stations, murals and slides promote creative play, physical exploration and task repetition.

    The Move N Learn Center was made possible by funds raised by Courage Kenny Foundation, Stillwater Area Public Schools, and a grant from CVS Caremark Charitable Trust and community members.

  • Elena at play