April 30 is Arbor Day – a nationally recognized day to celebrate the beauty of nature and plant a tree in support of the environment. To commemorate the day, the children of WCCA's Head Start and Early Head Start programs will be busy planting over 250 White Pine seedlings with a little help from their families and the staff.
The 2021 Arbor Day Trees for Tots project is part of an ongoing lesson plan that helps young children learn about taking care of the planet, planting and nurturing trees, measuring and counting, along with other fun science concepts. Trees for Tots is made possible with the help of Henderson County Ranger, Kristen Kelley and NC Forest Service staff. Kelley worked with WCCA's Head Start/NC Pre-K Program Services Manager, Amy Smith to coordinate the donation of the young seedlings. White Pines are fast growers and well suited to the climate and terrain of the WNC mountains. The trees will be planted at several WCCA early childhood learning centers and at locations throughout the community.
WCCA knows the value of going "back to nature" when educating young children under age 5. The Head Start, Early Head Start and NC Pre-K provider is currently working on converting their playgrounds into outdoor learning environments that contain a more natural, eco-friendly design. Smith explained "We have removed traditional metal and concreted play structures that can pose safety concerns and replaced them with natural, sustainable elements such as tree stumps, boulders, bamboo teepees, gardens, and wood structures."
WCCA teachers Kelly Thorsen and Betti Berkley couldn't be happier about the Trees for Tots project and playground changes. "We're so thrilled to share our love of nature with these children! When young children develop a respect for nature, they will be able to access creativity and healthy lifestyles for the rest of their lives."
WCCA is a leading provider of Head Start, Early Head Start and NC Pre-K education programs for children ages 0-5 years and pregnant women. Programs receive Federal and State funding and are free to eligible children and families in Henderson, Transylvania, Rutherford and Polk counties. Registration is open now! For more information, visit WCCA.org or call (828) 693-1711.