Frequently Asked Questions:
PLAY! MENTAL HEALTH! PHYSICAL HEALTH!
What is the importance of play?
When it comes to our children and youth, play is essential for the health, growth, and development of their bodies. Physical activity helps kids to:
1. Maintain healthy lungs and increase their flexibility
2. Develop strong bones and improve body weight
3. Enhance their overall self-esteem
Whether we realize it or not, the act of play also has several health benefits. Play is essential for a child's cognitive, social, and emotional development! It's through the wonder of play and outdoor recreational activity that children are able to engage and interact with the real-world environment around them. As children begin strategically yet naturally use play to discover their world and become masters of their own environments, children are able to sculpt their decision making skills, become enlightened towards their own areas of interest, and truly engage in the practices and passions of which they wish to pursue.
Play is an amazing thing and when we couple it together with physical activity, the potential unleashed within our children and youth is immeasurable.
What the relationship between play and mental health?
Maintaining a healthy mentality is crucial to happiness and a well-balanced lifestyle. Without it, things like anxiety or depression can have a big impact on our day-to-day lives. But the reality is, we all face anxieties in life. The way we cope with these anxieties stems from our childhood experiences: the challenges we faced and how we handled them. This is why free, accessible play for children is so incredibly important - it has a direct impact on cognitive development and mental health. By running around and playing, we learned problem-solving skills, self-control, and self-regulation. We learned how to balance life’s challenges and control the anxieties life brought. It may seem obvious that free play can improve a child’s physical health, but very few people are aware of how play also impacts mental health.
How does play have an impact on children's social skills?
As kids interact with one another, they're learning essential skills and lessons about engaging with other people, independence and social norms. One of these major skills is learning how to collaborate. Let's face it, whether we liked it not we've all had the experience of collaborating with others when it comes to things like school projects or work assignments. The thing is, since many of us were able to socialize at younger ages in the playground or at our friends houses, collaborating came easy and was often enjoyable! Another important skill developed through play is learning how to interact and get along with others. By role-playing and exercising their minds, children learn the fundamentals of self-control and negotiation - skills that we adults use at work on a regular basis! All in all, playgrounds and outdoor recreational spaces are where kids take their first steps in developing relationships and learning how to make them work.
What services we are offering?
As a self-run grassroots organization that has existed for over 20 years, we offer several services for the
members we serve. Some of the services we offer are:
● Affordable housing through rent-geared-income provisions
● Accommodations and special arrangements for survivors of domestic violence, mental health survivors, and individuals battling addictions
● Assistance with post-secondary education funding via eligibility to the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto Diversity Scholarship for post-secondary school
● Educational workshops and conference training on areas including but not limited to: governing, managing conflict, creating an inclusive community, fair and affordable housing Some of the programs we currently offer are:
● Youth Club: A safe and secure environment where youth can socialize, enjoy food, and engage in healthy competition of leisurely activities such as video-gaming
● Homework Club: An after-school program where children and youth can study in a peer-supported environment and support one another in homework help
● Gardening Committee: Members of all ages are invited to learn new gardening skills and plant in the Co-op’s garden
● Cleaning Committee: Members of all ages are encouraged to help the Co-op remain clean on weekends through volunteering one hour to clean and maintain the grounds
● On-Call Committee: Members of all ages are invited to build skills and take on the responsibility of managing building fires, floods, and other emergencies during office-closed hours
● Member Selection Committee: Members of all ages can participate in interviewing and welcoming new members to the building while encouraging new members to volunteer in their new community
● Social Committee: Members of all ages plan, host, and manage community events to foster and encourage a safe and welcoming community
● Playground Committee: Members work together to create and maintain a shared community space that extends beyond the parameters of a playground