My last official day

Lying in mud

a monthly message from Deb Green

When I looked at my calendar and saw that my last official day at PIC is Friday, June 28, and that day also coincides with our annual celebration of International Mud Day, my reaction was simply, “How fitting!”

Each year we celebrate International Mud Day. It is a fun morning of kids engaged in mud activities such as poking sticks in mud, making rivers in mud, playing in the mud kitchen (with extra water to make it really muddy,) and with some children, a total immersion in mud. It is always one of my favorite days of the year, and how wonderfully fitting that it is my last day at PIC.

When I arrived at PIC 11 years ago, there had been much work in progress in the reimaging of the existing large outdoor space to become a nature playground. Founding Executive Director Marni Sweet has always believed in the importance of connecting children with nature, and she envisioned PIC creating a space that would do exactly that. My predecessor Cindy Roberts, helped the vision come to life in doing the research, engaging teachers in discussions of the vision, hearing the ideas and input from the invested community members, and raising funds to make the project happen.

This vision was one of the primary reasons I came to PIC, as the idea of the nature playground was so clearly aligned with my own beliefs. I had the wonderful opportunity to see the project to fruition. It was an exciting time of hearing proposals from landscape architects, working with a committee to make many decisions of what the playground would look like, and then watching the vision come to life. I clearly remember the day the sod arrived (bad idea, as hundreds of children tromping on sod each day just doesn't work,) followed by the arrival of many new shrubs and trees (good idea, as they all have beautifully grown to maturity.)

In June of 2014, we officially opened our Magic Circle Nature Playground (a nod to Marni and the place she played in Michigan as a child.) Ten years later, our playground  continues to be a highlight of PIC and recognized as one of the few early childhood programs in the country that is located in an urban environment, and centers much of our values in connecting children with nature. Truly a gem!

The Nature Playground is one of so many accomplishments of PIC during its 46 years of growth, and one of my own special moments of pride over my last 11 years at PIC. For this final message, I again thank the PIC community for the incredible support and kindness that I have received during my tenure.  I want to acknowledge our board of directors, the admin team, all of our teachers, and all of our supporters and donors. The vision, creativity, guidance and generosity continues to enable this wonderful organization to provide high quality programs that make a difference in the lives of children and families.

Today, I am delighted to welcome my successor Jamila Carter as the new Executive Director of PIC. I look forward to spending the month with Jamila and helping her get acquainted with all things PIC.  I know I will beam with pride in sharing all of our accomplishments, growth and successes. I will explain how the current challenges that face the larger early childhood world play out at PIC.

I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of this incredible journey.

With heartfelt gratitude and warmest wishes.