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Howard Community College Educational Foundation Awarded $11,000 Grant from the PNC Foundation to Upgrade the Playground at Children’s Learning Center

pnc awarded a grant to the children's learning center

Columbia, MD – The PNC Foundation awarded a grant of $11,000 to Howard Community College’s (HCC) Children’s Learning Center in a ceremony on September 13, 2017. The grant will help fund a playground upgrade at the Children’s Learning Center and enhance HCC’s early childhood education program.

The grant from the PNC Foundation will fund upgrades to the playground along with adding new equipment, including outdoor musical instruments and toddler play equipment. This grant will also benefit HCC students in various programs, who are working in partnership with the CLC to design the playground and create curriculum to be used in the new space. PNC made the grant as part of PNC Grow Up Great®, its early childhood education initiative. 

“I am thrilled to mentor students through a service-oriented engineering project with a real client and end-users (children),” said Mark Edelen, chair of engineering and technology at HCC. “This type of project provides students with a broad perspective of engineering-in-context from project conception to installation, which is rare in undergraduate engineering education.” 

As part of the Healthy Howard Child Care Initiative, the CLC ensures children spend at least 90 minutes outdoors each day. In updating the playground equipment and its surrounding areas, the CLC will provide an interesting and appropriately challenging outdoor space that allows children to explore with all senses. 

“Our support of Howard Community College Children’s Learning Center is a strategic investment in the future of our community,” said Laura Gamble, PNC regional president for Greater Maryland. “By preparing our youngest citizens for educational success, we help build a solid foundation for the future of this region.”

“Studies have shown that children gain knowledge through their experiences in play, experimentation, exploration, and discovery,” said Kimberly Pins, director of the CLC. “In our role as a lab school at the Children’s Learning Center, we have also worked with the college students in education, nursing, and psychology classes to provide those same experiences to them. Extending the classroom outdoors for both sets of students can only enhance their learning.” 

Design for the upgraded structure begins this fall semester, with construction and installation to occur in the spring. Others who have helped fund the playground include the Columbia Association, Horizon Foundation, and Harkins Builders.

The CLC is an accredited educational program for children ages eight weeks to five years (preschool). 

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