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73 The Other Blawenburg Village

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Do you know that there is another Blawenburg Village? Some might call it the other Blawenburg Village, while others may call it Blawenburg Village Jr. This village is right in the heart of the historic Blawenburg Village, but there is nothing historic about it or those who use it. This village is part of the playground at Blawenburg Village Preschool (BVS), and the kids who populate it just call it fun!

Like so many ideas, the preschool village emerged out of necessity. It seems that a storm came along last year. Like the big bad wolf of three little pigs story fame, it huffed and puffed and blew their favorite playhouse down. In addition, the sandbox had to be closed because of Covid. BVS Director Angela Wright found herself looking for a new activity to fuel the children's imaginations on the playground. She and the teachers began asking the parents if they had playhouses to donate, and before long, they had several donations. One of the teachers, Maureen Boyer, suggested that they could have a village if they got enough houses. At a BVS board meeting, Pastor Jeff Knol of the Blawenburg Church, which sponsors the school, suggested that their burgeoning village could be named Blawenburg Village. Before long, the one playhouse had become many, bearing names like Post Office, Bakery, Townhall, Diner, and Fire Department.

Like the pre-Covid sandbox, the village doesn’t need a map or any directions. The two-to-five-year-olds know just what to do. At the Post Office, they can pretend that pieces of mulch are letters to put through imaginary mail slots. At the Bakery, they can buy a pretend-cookie and pick it up at the Covid-inspired take-out window. At the Firehouse, they can wait for a fire call and then rush to put it out. There is no end to the creative ways the preschoolers use the village. “The idea is that the children can let their imaginations go and be creative with it,” Director Wright said. There is no fixed curriculum for the small village, but the way the kids interact with it is no accident. The design is subtle. What looks like free play, is really the "work" of preschoolers. It’s how they learn. By interacting with others in creative ways, they are building communication and social skills that will pay dividends as they mature.

Children have fun using their imaginations

in their Blawenburg Village.

There is a special stop in the village that serves a practical purpose. The BVS Car Wash is near the boardwalk that encircles one side of the property. Many years ago, a local scout built the first part of the boardwalk as part of his Eagle project. It was expanded as part of another Eagle project. Today, it is used for the BVS vehicle fleet, which includes tricycles, large toy cars, scooters, small trucks and other preschool-size vehicles. Like the rest of the village, the boardwalk and vehicles are meant to fuel the imagination. But, Covid brought on a new challenge. The teachers needed a place to clean the vehicles after they were used. What better place to go than the car wash!

The BVS teachers and their director work hard to keep BVS safe while keeping t