Serendipity Child Care Gets Playground Makeover

Girl Scouts and National Honor Society team up

The three volunteer artists working on the playground.

Last weekend, student volunteers Laura Kearns and Emilie Procario, Girl Scouts and National Honor Society members at Haldane High School, and Mary Callaghan, an expected incoming National Honor Society member at Haldane High School, painted several outdoor games onto the playground surface at Serendipity Child Care and Learning Center on Lady Blue Devil Lane in Cold Spring.

Both the Girl Scouts and the National Honor Society encourage community service, and through their efforts, Laura, Emilie and Mary transformed the play area with brightly colored caterpillar and robot-shaped hopscotch games, an activity circle and fun shapes and animal tracks donated by locally-owned playground stencil company, Fit & Fun Playscapes.

On the Monday following the painting project, the children at Serendipity were excited to see the new games and activities the volunteers had painted for them and spent lots of time jumping, running, laughing and playing in the enhanced space.

The new playground games are not only fun for the kids, but are also an excellent fit with Serendipity owner Jenny Gilleo’s mission to encourage the overall health and fitness of the children who attend her center. Gilleo supports a New York State-based initiative called the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (NAP SACC), a program designed for childcare centers to improve their nutrition and physical-activity environments, policies and practices through self-assessment, action planning, staff training and targeted technical assistance.

“Serendipity wants to provide a fun and creative environment for the children who attend our center,” said Gilleo. “These new playground games have made our play space even more inviting and will encourage the kids to be more active without realizing it. We are so thankful to all of the volunteers, including Laura, Emilie and Mary and their leaders, including scout leader Barbara Procario and Haldane Honor Society advisor Lou Sassano, for their commitment to the community and to Pamela Gunther, owner of Fit and Fun Playscapes, for these wonderful games.”

Some years ago Gunther was the PTA co-chair for the Haldane playground committee, where she was asked to coordinate efforts to renovate the playground area there with climbing equipment and playground games. After “painstakingly painting those games for days, along with numerous volunteers,” Gunther, an architect, decided to see if there was an “easier way.”

She found that although playground stenciling companies existed, they weren’t easy to use and were expensive. She was inspired to create a company, which she now runs from her Nelsonville home. She works with “local professionals to assist wherever possible — website designer, public relations/marketing, sales, ​administrative, attorney, designers, etc., because of the wealth of sources in Philipstown.” The project at Serendipity was especially near and dear to her as her youngest son attends, and Gunther thought he “deserved a colorful playground like his older brothers!”

For more information about Serendipity Child Care and Learning Center, contact Gilleo at 845-265-3539. For more information about Fit & Fun Playscapes and to view the games and activities available, visit fitandfunplayscapes.com or call 800-681-0684.


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