2019 PlayCorps Leader Series: Mecca at Wallace (Forys)

Wallace Street Park (Forys) Blog post

“Welcome to Wallace!”

It has been a very hot and exciting start to the summer this year! This will be my fourth summer with Playcorps and is certainly shaping out to be one of my favorites. Having two lunch staff this year has made it a smoother process for kids to receive their lunch and for us to document how many kids in the city are getting a much-needed meal to fuel them for all of their adventurous summer play! Additionally, Wallace park has two recreation staff to help monitor our Splash pad that stays open from noon until 7 pm in the evening. Then there is Playcorps; Myself, Yahira, and Lesley, who keep the park bustling with creativity, action, and crafts. We all work together to ensure that Wallace park, which can sometimes feel like it is tucked away deep within the Silverlake neighborhood of Providence, is a refuge for children, teens, and families for when they want to get out and just have a little fun. 

For those wondering what we have been up to so far this summer, here is how our week has gone:

Masks and Jewelry making in the Shade

Super Heroes and Robots imaginary play

Musical Instrument Making and Decoration

Basketball and “Pass the Ball”

Decorating the Playground

Chalking the Storage Hut

Dirt Designs and Constructing Ant Homes

“Hot Potato” in the Splashpad

So Wallace park is filled with laughter and imagination from 10 am to 7 pm and even longer, as those in the neighborhood feel ownership of their park, and utilize it after “working hours” to exercise along the paths, play soccer games with friends in their fields, shoot hoops, and have picnics at sunset. We hope you will come by and join us!

Welcome back to Summer!

We've been counting down the days and FINALLY it is here! SUMMER!

It's time to have some fun in the sun and let your cares melt away!

With Summer comes PlayCorps! My name is Chelsea and I am the director of Providence PlayCorps for Summer 2019!

I am a music teacher and I am so excited to let my inner child out this summer by leading this awesome team of play workers throughout the city if Providence.

PlayCorps brings children back to the basics of play away from screens and allows them to explore and learn by using their creativity and imagination. It is only week two and I have seen so many smiles, heard a lot of giggles, and seen a couple of great messes! Kids turn anything into magic when given the chance to explore.

Having taught in the city for 2 years now I have seen many of my students. This program is an amazing program that lets kids just be kids.

If you are looking for something for your kids to do this summer please feel free to visit any of our 6 sites! Our teams of play workers are ready to make today the best day of your summer!

If your kids are ready to make art, music, build, and get messy! PlayCorps is the place to be!

About Providence PlayCorps

Providence PlayCorps aims to activate neighborhood parks across the city with free play, art, and creative exploration in conjunction with the free federal summer meals program. 

Teams of trained play facilitators are a consistent presence at neighborhood parks throughout Providence.  They provide activities and materials to engage neighborhood children in physically active play, improving the overall safety of the parks while encouraging more children to take advantage of free, nutritious summer meals.  By working in neighborhood parks, PlayCorps fills the gap when school is out to ensure that Providence youth are safe, active, fed, and healthy over the summer.

Play activities take place from July 2 to August 17, 2018 (Monday to Friday from 11 AM to 2 PM) in these parks:
  • Father Lennon/Camden Street Park
  • General Street Park 
  • Harriet & Sayles Park 
  • Bucklin Park 
  • Wallace Street Park

Join PlayCorps members for an exciting summer of play.  Enjoy a free summer meal (18 and under) and build forts, blow bubbles, make art, make music, explore nature, make friends, and SO much more!

For updates and activity announcements, follow PlayCorps on Facebook - Happy Summer!

Thank you!

We did it! With help from all of the playful adults and children in our PlayCorps community we played through another successful summer!

Through the love and support of our community, we were able to accomplish so much this summer.

We were able to play on a brand new swing….

We were able to give back to our little animal friends….

We were able to have an excuse to get down and dirty….

We were able to let our imaginations run wild….

And most of all, we were able to have a reason to thank you for supporting us!

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for sticking with us this summer. And don’t forget to stay tuned for more PlayCorps related news in the coming months! We promise you’ll be seeing alot more of us!

-The PlayCorps team

PlayCorps extended until August 25th!

We have some exciting news, PlayCorps will be extended an extra week this summer! Due to all the support from our wonderful community we will keep the program up and running at two parks.

Come and join us during our current hours 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday, August 21st to Friday, August 25th at General Street Park and Harriet & Sayles Park. Enjoy the end of summer with lots of fun, we hope to see you there!

-The PlayCorps team

Play Leader Series: The PlayCorps Regulars

Here at Bucklin Park, the children we see all the time define our play space: setting the tone for how other children engage with us and the space. As the other children are more transient they come to the park from camp groups. Some of these camp groups include, Tae kwon do, local rec centers, daycares, and even our neighborhood library academic camp. Most of these kids look to our park regulars for cues on how to engage with us, our materials, and everything the park has to offer.

One of our most adored park regulars is a young girl. She comes to Bucklin with her mom and four younger siblings. She is a natural leader and is always tells us what materials to bring out each day for everyone to play with. When her and her family miss one day at the park, all of Bucklin notices! When the kids from the basketball court stop by for water, they ask, “Where is everyone?”. Lunch staff says, “We were expecting her and co., they would have loved the toy we gave for lunch today!”.

The kids from camps look to her and her family for how to behave. If she says, “be good to the ants!”, then everyone acts super careful. When she screams, “Let’s get messy!”, and digs her hands into the mix of cornstarch and shaving cream, better believe the other kids are animatedly doing the same!   

Because of this, I have to say working at Bucklin this summer has been tremendously rewarding and just a great time! Our park truly comes alive thanks to our returning families. Campers and neighborhood kids alike, want to help clean up at the end of the day, they want to decorate the trees and the playground for tomorrow, and take their creations home to show their families.

Today, after a hot day playing with the mini pools, my staff and I had to dump, dry, and put it into storage. The little girl, our amazing ring leader, said, “Wait! Let me have the rest of that so I can water the grass.”, and all of the other kids around her promptly joined in! The kids joke with us that there is one spot on the field that looks like a “bald man's head” because there is only grass on the Perimeter and not the center. Heart-warming. The last thing we did today was to decorate our favorite tree near the basketball court with her, her family and some of the other park regulars. To show everyone that this is our park and remind them that, when we leave, “Kids play here!”.

-M. Smith

Play Leader Series: Garden Club

Camden Ave/Father Lennon Park is lucky to have a beautifully lush community garden. There are about 14 plots in the garden and anyone in the community can request a plot before the season begins.  Catherine Mardos, the City Gardener, does workshops at many of the community gardens in the city, including the one on Camden Ave.  Our community garden also has two Resident Gardners, Providence College students Kate Corwin and Matt Levvechio.  In collaboration with The Madeline Rogers Rec Center right next to the park, PlayCorps, and the teen program that Matt and Kate run, Youth RAP (Youth Resident Activities Program), we recently started a summer garden club for any and all kids that want to learn more about gardening!
The kids at the Rec & PlayCorps love being in the garden to help water the plants and observe all the wonderful plants growing through the summer. We have sky-high sun flowers, crunchy cucumbers, snappy snow peas, and ripening tomatoes!  A handful of Rec kids and three boys from the neighborhood are garden club regulars.  Besides daily garden upkeep, the garden club’s first major project was creating a three-bin composter.  This composter was made out of seven wood shipping pallets.  Catherine, the City Gardener, as well as Matt and Kate and the kids dug small ditches, about 8-inches deep into the ground, and then vertically inserted the 3 pallets to create the wall of the composter.  Two palettes were then inserted on either sides as bookends, to hold the compost in, and two more pallets were used in the middle of the compost bin, to create three separate bin areas.
The kids then painted and decorated the wood compost bin.  Almost all the kids in the park participated, and even some adults, including this Play Leader ☺.  Besides this being a fun and creative project, the kids also learned about the purpose of compost; to create fertilizer for plants by collecting fruit, vegetable, and egg scraps and letting them sit in the sun, to eventually transform into a nourishing sludge for the garden soil. Parents also asked about it and got to learn too.
Gardening as a life skill teaches patience while with tasks like watering and pulling weeds. Gardening can begin at a young age and be continued throughout the lifespan, transforming into a productive yet calming hobby. Plus it’s an excuse to get down and dirty having some fun outside!
If you think your child might be interested in garden club, come on by to Camden Ave/Father Lennon Park on Monday and Thursday mornings, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. Feel free to stay to play with PlayCorps afterward, until 2 p.m. and get a lunch! Come see all the beautiful butterflies, flowers, and veggies we have growing!
-Svetlana Goretaya