Safe Spaces: Children's Aid Provides New York Youth's Places to Play And Develop Important Skills

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Play is an important part of every child’s development – and it’s no secret that many of New York’s neighborhoods lack safe places for children to play. The problem is so acute in some neighborhoods, like the Foxhurst section of the Bronx, that families are banding together to close streets for use as impromptu playgrounds.

To give children what many take for granted – a place to play – The Children’s Aid Society provides New York’s youths with a wide and varied array of recreational opportunities. These recreational opportunities provide a venue for this critical aspect of children’s psychological and social growth.

Scientific American reports that a lack of opportunity for free play may prevent children from growing into happy, well-adjusted adults. Studies show that playtime provides children with a way to learn and practice important life skills, like teamwork and leadership. Without this practice, children cannot become socially adept, cope with stress or build problem-solving skills. Through a wide array of opportunities like swimming, basketball or the arts, Children’s Aid helps children in building these critical skills. 

NPR reports that playtime also helps children to develop a cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function helps children to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. This research shows that poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. The Children’s Aid Society’s structured and unstructured activities provide youths a place to develop this important self-control and discipline, along with “letting off some steam,” and just having a great time!  Just another way that The Children’s Aid Society leads by innovation in youth growth and development.