By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Sunflower Early Ed Center receives new playground equipment
The new playground equipment at Sunflower Early Education Center is being put to good use.

Sunflower Early Education Center ribbon cutting

Ribbon cutting for the new playground equipment at Sunflower Early Education Center at 1312 Patton Rd.
By: Andrew Murphy

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video

The children at Sunflower Early Education Center (EEC), 1312 Patton, had been watching the construction of their new playground equipment from the window.

Now, they are climbing, sliding and swinging on the new addition to the facility.

“The kiddos have been very excited about this,” said McKinley Phillips, EEC director. “It is so gratifying to watch them enjoying their brand-new play area.”

The playground is available to any child being served at EEC but is primarily used for Incredible Years Preschool students.

The children in the EEC’s Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services are often integrated into the preschool setting and benefit from the playground too.

ABA is for children up to age 5 on the autism spectrum.

“While classroom work is a priority, so is playtime,” Phillips said. “Having time to play is vital for children because this is when they develop their most important learning skills.

“They learn to solve problems, while maneuvering through their environment,” she explained. “In addition, children learn social and motor skills, while building cognitive skills through imaginative play.”

Up-to-date playground equipment was on the EEC’s wish list for quite some time. But thanks to a $10,000 donation from 100+ People Who Care, the project was kicked into high gear.

“Sunflower EEC is beyond grateful to 100+ People Who Care,” Phillips said. “We are truly honored to serve a community that actively works to better the lives of others.”

Shelby Zuniga, Sunflower Diversified Services executive director, said “we were in desperate need to upgrade our outdated equipment. Sunflower Diversified Services Foundation funds, EEC funds and a few private donations were added to the $10,000 to make this happen. We are grateful to everyone who supported this project.”

Sunflower owns and operates the EEC.

The initial playground budget was about $30,000 but the project cost was $54,197.

“Construction costs increased and extra funding was allowed for the better floor under the equipment,” Zuniga explained. “We carefully considered the pros and cons of rubber-mulch flooring versus poured-in-place rubber flooring.

“Since we serve children with special needs, the poured-in-place version gives them the best opportunity to enjoy the playground with their peers.”

A ribbon cutting for the equipment was set for Thursday, Sept. 28, at EEC, in conjunction with the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Coffee.

In addition to Incredible Years and ABA, the EEC is home to Kansas Early Childhood Development Services for children from birth to age 3.