Green Shoots Blog
Cali Bamboo recently worked with Alexa’s PLAYC, an education program part of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, for a unique opportunity to help young kids! Alexa’s PLAYC is a preschool serving both typically developing children as well as children with, or at risk for, an autism spectrum disorder, providing its students with a warm and loving environment that stimulates physical, social, intellectual and emotional growth through play-based learning. The latest project by the highly trained staff at Alexa’s PLAYC was to create an engaging “sensory wall”, an outdoor environment where children can explore their senses through a mix of shapes, colors, sounds, and textures.
Alexa’s PLAYC needed a safe and durable backdrop for the sensory wall, so they reached out to Cali Bamboo to see if we could help. We were immediately intrigued with the project, and after visiting the facility where we saw the children that would benefit from our help, we simply could not pass up this exciting chance! Not only were we happy to donate several rolls of Natural bamboo fencing to Alexa’s PLAYC, but we also sent two representatives from our Marketing team to spend a day installing the fence! Our crew applied a couple coats of non-toxic TWP® 300, which helps to prolong the life of the fence, before installing the panels over the facility’s existing chain link fence. The staff at Alexa’s PLAYC was then able to easily add all the elements of the sensory wall on top of the bamboo with zip ties. Not only is the result functional as a sensory wall, it is incredibly beautiful and creates additional privacy from the adjacent busy street.
Benefits of Sensory Play & a New Tool for Alexa’s PLAYC
There’s something important going on when a child touches a plush stuffed animal, or hears the twinkling sound of a tiny bell. These sensory experiences—touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing—aren’t just fun, they play a crucial role in a child’s brain development. The newly-installed sensory wall at Alexa’s PLAYC stimulates the senses of students at the school, which helps to strengthen neural pathways. Opportunities for sensory exploration touch on all areas of development including cognitive, physical, social-emotional and communication. Sensory activities also provide opportunities for practicing social skills such as turn taking, sharing, and appropriate communication with peers.
The unique and colorful wall was designed to give the children a variety of activities to engage with their peers or play independently. The vertical positioning of the wall allows children to develop upper body strength while having fun. The visual and auditory input can have a therapeutic effect by helping to calm or stimulate children utilizing the wall. Hand-eye coordination and understanding cause and effect are also important areas that are developed while engaging in sensory play.
Supporting the sensory wall project with Alexa’s PLAYC at the Rady Children’s Hospital was an exciting evolution in Cali Bamboo’s philanthropic initiatives. While we have always been known to support local environmental nonprofits due to the nature of our business, it is uncommon for us to receive the opportunity to be involved with humanitarian organizations. However, with several of us starting new families, helping children has become increasingly important to us. Spending a day at Alexa’s PLAYC and witnessing how our work truly makes a difference was an unparalleled experience, and bringing happiness to young children was a welcome opportunity we will never forget. Measuring the impact of our support to an environmental nonprofit can be difficult, but seeing a child light up and smile was a new form of fulfilling gratification that we will continue to pursue in addition to our environmental endeavors. Besides Rady Children’s Hospital, we have recently worked with other humanitarian organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Include Autism. We look forward to helping Rady Children’s Hospital with more projects in the future!
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