MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
Just accepted into preschool, Tyler Roberthon, 2, took his red tricycle for a spin on a brand new trike path, joining other children at a mini family fun fair in front of building 455, May 29, 2015.
The staff of the Kaneohe Bay Armed Services YMCA was busy as families partook in ruby red shave ice and enjoyed the new shade structure and trike path on the lawn. That same day, the newest class of graduates donned blue cap and gown sets, some heading for their last year of preschool, the rest preparing for kindergarten.
With funding from private donors, and approximately 12 weeks of planning and installation by a contractor, the structure and path were completed on the
“Children and parents alike all enjoyed playing in the new outdoor space at our unveiling party on Friday,” said Dannie Zboyovsky, the Kaneohe Bay branch director. “As the grass continues to grow in we will be able to host more events outdoors and incorporate more outdoor activities into our programs’ curricula.”
The structure and path also had a personal touch from those who would be using them. The ASYMCA staff chose the color blue for the shade to represent the ASYMCA colors, and red for the poles to represent the Marine Corps. In April, MCB Hawaii families were invited to leave their mark during an event called “Handprints in Hawaii.” Parents and children left handprints and initials in the wet cement. Zboyovsky said they made prints to create a “rumble strip” for the children when they ride their tricycles over the path.
Zboyovsky said the children have not had a play area of their own for quite some time. The organization’s previous play structure was removed last June because the equipment was no longer age-appropriate. The ASYMCA was also forced to move temporarily due to flooding last summer, and reopened at its current location Oct. 22, 2014. Zboyovsky said the location is semi-permanent, according to the ASMYCA’s memorandum of understanding.
Sofia Castacio, the office manager at the K-Bay ASYMCA, said before the structure and path were built, the grassy area was filled with rocks and dirt. She added that the teachers either took the children to play at nearby playgrounds, or a smaller, back area of building 455.
“We couldn’t use this area at all,” Castacio said, referring to the area’s previous state. “(The new structure and path are) definitely better.”
Zboyovsky said having the outdoor space allows the ASYMCA teachers the flexibility to expand their lesson plans to include the outdoors. She added that the trike path as a gross motor activity encourages coordination and large muscle development for the children.
“We are constantly growing in numbers,” Zboyovsky said. “Our client interest and enrollment is higher than ever, as is our growing waitlist for our parent participation preschool classes. We look forward to growing exponentially in the coming months, years and hope to open afternoon classes in the near future.”
Zboyovsky said she hopes to sand down and repaint the existing redwood benches and tables in the area as well.
“We are currently only limited by our building capacity limitations,” she said. “(We) would love to have more space to expand programs and services.”
“I like it,” said Aimey Roberthon, Tyler’s mother. “Honestly, anything to encourage outside play is good.”
Tyler will be starting preschool soon at the K-Bay ASYMCA. She said the path fits the children’s needs better than the “typical slides and swings.”
“It gets them moving around,” Roberthon said.