Early learning play space coming to Moreno Court


  • August 6, 2020
  • /   Reggie Dogan
  • /   early-learning
Moreno Court play space rendering

An early learning play space is coming soon to the Moreno Court campus, thanks to a combined $15,000 in grants from the Bear and Kugelman family foundations.

Caldwell & Associates architects and Bear Construction general contractors provided preliminary plans for the project that will provide a fun, educational tool that allows children to explore and learn and interact with the environment around them.

Operated by Pensacola Area Housing Commission, Moreno Court is located off Old Corry Field Road. The campus provides affordable housing for families and children.

These residents, most especially the children, lack access to opportunities to enjoy the benefits of activities that the nature-based play space could provide.

Studer Community Institute has partnered with Area Housing on the project, with Area Housing offering the room for the play space and including it in maintenance of the property. Moreno Court residents will be able to use volunteer hours to help maintain the space as well, providing an important piece of community buy-in. SCI was committed to seeking funding to construct the space and in late 2019, both the Kugelman and Bear family foundations grants to support the project.

The play space will benefit children immensely, giving them the scope to develop their senses as well as improve physical fitness, health, mood and learning.

Area Housing has been an SCI partner since 2017 in our Parent Outreach Program, bringing weekly parenting classes to residents of Moreno Court and Attucks Court with children under 5.

That program’s curriculum includes 16 weeks of lessons focused on the importance of parent talk and interaction in healthy brain development in the first three years of a child’s life — and the role that that interaction plays in a child’s kindergarten readiness. After the initial 16 weeks, the program adds lessons in financial literacy, self-sufficiency and building parenting capacity in families. It includes focusing on education as a lifelong journey, with components of stress management, self-sufficiency, longer-term planning and goal setting, and other life skills.

Since we started that partnership in 2017:

146 mothers, fathers, grandparents and caregivers have been served at one of the locations. 

438 children estimated to benefit from the classes (146 families with an average of 3 children per family). 

72 parents earned certificate of completion awards (for attending at least 16 weeks in parent outreach). 

24 parents found employment since joining parent outreach program. 

2 parents have enrolled in Pensacola State College. 

4 have enrolled in GED classes.