Aug 14, 201207:41 AMPlain Jane
Because Moms Can't Be Afraid to Tell it Like it is
Playground demystified—and desired
Anyone who’s gone to Hershey this summer has probably driven past it. In the evening, its neon sign beckons us. During the day, we marvel at its wonder as we motor down Route 322.
Our kids think it's kid heaven. They beg and plead with us to pull over, but we don’t because it’s not another Hersheypark attraction. It's the new U-GRO learning center in Hershey.
Our children think we are just mean for not taking them there. In an effort to save myself from another onslaught of gripes and whines, I scored us an exclusive tour of this new daycare center. My boys were pumped! OK, I'm lying. They thought I was dragging them along with me to do work. When we pulled up at their imaginary Utopia, they were all like, "So, Mom, are we going in and have to be quiet or can we play?" I barely had the front door open before they scrambled past me.
Greg Holsinger, CEO of U-GRO, showed us around, and by showing us around I mean spoiled us rotten—he’s a dad, so he totally got it. With a big smile on his face, he opened the entry to the indoor play area and told the boys to explore!
As shouts of, "Mom, this is better than Hersheypark" and "I'm never leaving this place" filled the atmosphere, Greg explained to me the U-GRO philosophy and the importance of a clean, wholesome learning environment.
Now, before I get to the crazy-awesome playground equipment, I feel like I have to tell you about the educational aspects of U-GRO. This blew me away! They have Smart Boards in every classroom and the teachers have iPads to electronically send you your children's artwork and achievements throughout the day. Imagine yourself at work and *pop* there's Katie's newly created finger-painting. You can save it, archive it or send it off to grandma. Can you imagine?
Oh, and before I forget, when you walk into the nursery you have to take your shoes off, because the little ones crawl and they want the floors to be sanitary.
And then, Greg took us outside.
We always hear companies talking about “state of the art” this and that. Up till now, that has always turned me off. So I will call U-GRO's playground equipment “space-age modern art.” It was designed especially for them by a Dutch company and this equipment RAWKS! There is no one way to use it. For instance, there is this single helix-looking thing that you can sit on, climb on, swing around on it, hang from or push around. I want one!
By the end of the visit, I'll admit, I too wanted to live there, too. I actually felt bad that I denied my boys this rapture and stayed at home with them.
As we left U-GRO my kiddoes were upset. How terrible of me to un-velcro them from this fun-town of ecstasy. I'm fairly certain that the next time we drive down Route 322 and eye that neon sign of joy beckoning us to come hither, I will be forced to be the mean mommy once again and say "No, we can't go there,” even though, just like my kids, I secretly wish I could live there!
Jane Suter, a Hershey mother of two, is a freelance writer and an award-winning columnist. Read her column, Plain Jane each month in Central Penn Parent.