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BEARDEN | | A great community newspaper VOL. 6 NO. 19 May 7, 2012 Playground gets back to nature Kids IN THIS ISSUE By Wendy Smith By the time many kids are in preschool, they’ve mastered their parents’ cell phones, computers and iPads. But do they know how to climb a tree? Children today are disconnected from nature, says UT Early Learning Center for Research and Practice (ELC) Director Sean Durham. But a new playground at the center is designed to give kids the experience of playing in the woods, climbing on a fallen tree and splashing in a stream – without leaving campus. ELC’s previous playground was installed in the early 1980s, and when Durham began to investigate new equipment, he came across a movement that emphasizes natural playgrounds. The movement was influenced by the book “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv, who claims that today’s kids suffer from naturedeficit disorder. Society has changed, says Durham, and children are no longer riding bikes around the neighborhood or dashing outside to play as soon as they wake up. Around-theclock media coverage has made us a fearful society, and parents are more comfortable keeping their kids indoors, where most end up watching television or playing video games. One problem with such activity is that it doesn’t allow kids to develop executive function, which is the ability to control and regulate behavior and work toward a goal. Experts say those skills are learned through autonomy, and unstructured outdoor play facilitates that, Durham says. Getting kids plugged into nature can also help the planet. Kids are taught from an early age to reduce, reuse and recycle, but if they don’t have a relationship with the environment, they won’t care enough to protect it, he says. “They need to have some time with their feet in a stream.” The 50 kids who spend their days at the 1206 White Ave. location of the Early Learning Center Ana Risley and Remy Fitzpatrick en- are getting just that. Their new joy an embankment slide at the UT playground includes a waterfall Early Learning Center for Research and with a zero-depth stream, a tree Practice. The center’s new natural play- house, two forests made of dwarf ground was installed this spring. trees and a sturdy log for climbing. The property was graded to pro- Looking for a safe and educational place to take your kids this summer? Want to groom them to become money-suavy entreprenuers. Don’t miss My Kids. ➤ See pages A14-15 NEIGHBORHOOD BUZZ Reception for retiring Martha Hill Sequoyah Elementary School principal Martha Hill will be honored at a reception 3-6 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the school cafeteria and playground. The school’s PTA has extended an open invitation to all of Hill’s current and former students and colleagues and community friends. Hill is retiring from Knox County Schools this spring. She served the past 13 years at Sequoyah. At 4:30 p.m., the PTA will present a framed portrait of Hill to hang in the school library and other gifts. Info: Elsa Nownes, PTA president, elsanownes@; Shannon Thackston, president elect, shannonthackston@comcast. net; or Stacey Wilson, ways and means, Splash pads open Knox County Parks and Recreation has opened splash pads for the season at the Carl Cowan Park, 10050 S. Northshore Drive Knox County’s splash pads are open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. each day through the fall. Rules for use are posted at each park. Info: 215-6600. The town of Farragut has opened the splash pad at McFee Park. Info: 966-7057. Index Anne Hart A2 Wendy Smith A3 Government/Politics A4 Marvin West/Jake Mabe A5 Dr. Bob Collier A6 Rossini Festival photos A7 Faith A8 Schools A9-13 Business A16-17 Health/Lifestyles Sect B 10512 Lexington Dr., Ste. 500 37932 (865) 218-WEST (9378) EDITOR Sandra Clark ADVERTISING SALES Darlene Hacker Debbie Moss Shopper-News is a member of KNS Media Group, published weekly at 10512 Lexington Drive, Suite 500, Knoxville, TN, and distributed to 24,267 homes in Bearden. To page A-2 Nate Henning climbs on tree steps at the natural playground at the UT Early Learning Center. Photos by Wendy Smith Rabbi will leave her mark on Knoxville By Wendy Smith Rabbi Beth Schwartz’s Temple Beth El office is full of boxes that will soon be filled with the books, stuffed animals and trinkets she has collected during her 13 years in Knoxville. At the end of June, she will step down in order to work with another congregation in Columbus, Ga. What can’t fit in the boxes is the wealth of experiences she’s had here. In addition to being the spiritual leader of Temple Beth El, Schwartz is a founding mem- LOWER RATES HOME AND AUTO INSURANCE CALL 689-3006 ber of the Clergy Task Force of the Community Coalition on Family Violence, and she has attended both the FBI Citizen’s Academy and the Knoxville Police Citizen’s Academy. She has worked with school board members and principals to address racial issues in the schools, and is on the board of the YWCA. Throughout her tenure in Knoxville, she has had few encounters where she wasn’t treated with reRabbi Beth Schwartz will soon be cleaning out her Temple Beth El office to To page A-2 prepare for a move to Columbus, Ga. Photo by Wendy Smith WATCH BATTERY COUPON ON 5 Foster' s $ Keep Your Me Memories emo SAFE! Preserve those old Pr reels, slides & vhs tapes today! 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