San Jose, CA, October 13, 2021 - The Moreland School District and Payne Elementary School unveiled a new sensory gravel space this afternoon, a joint partnership with WestGate Church’s Beautiful Day program and Payne’s Home & School Club. This sensory gravel space fosters early childhood development through the power of play by engaging students’ senses.
Moreland School District, Payne Home and School Club, and Westgate Church’s Beautiful Day program began to design this sensory space in late 2019. With a tentative March 2020 launch, plans to begin this project were delayed when schools were suddenly closed due to the pandemic. With a redesign of plans in June of this year, volunteers restarted the project last month, at the end of September.
“We are incredibly proud to give our youngest students a unique place to explore, discover, and play,” said Payne Principal Katie Berg. “We discovered even pre-Covid that recess time can be hard for some students. This new area provides students with age-appropriate sensory exploration that also helps with fine motor and play-skill development. Our students have been eagerly waiting to get in and play, and we’re thrilled to be able to finally have this available to them.”
Several of Moreland’s elementary schools, including Payne, have sensory walks on their blacktops, tactile sensory walls for music exploration, as well as many other stations and activities to engage students and encourage a love of outdoor play.
Every year, WestGate Church as a community has taken an entire weekend to volunteer at a variety of high-impact projects across the city. This year, Payne was one of more than 20 projects around Santa Clara County, chosen to restore and beautify the WestGate Church community. Moreland is incredibly grateful to have been the recipient of several Beautiful Day projects, including painting and gardening projects, and a large redesign of the Moreland Woods, located adjacent to the Easterbrook Discovery School campus.