Imagine you're a child living through the COVID-19 pandemic in a home without a backyard in a neighborhood without a park? Where could you go outside to play and enjoy the fresh air that's safe? The lack of a neighborhood park is a reality for far too many Atlantans; approximately 28% according to the most recent Parkscore Ranking.
Theresa Casey, an internationally recognized expert on play, has spent years studying the experience of children in crisis situations (like that which we face today) and the vital role of outdoor play for healthy coping, learning, and childhood development.
Coming to us live from Edinburgh, Scotland, Theresa will share her findings about the basic need to play, the mental and physiological benefits of play, and why outdoor play is essential for children.
Then, we'll consider actions we can take individually and as a community to increase access to outdoor play opportunities for Atlanta's youth-especially those in the most underserved and under-parked neighborhoods-that will build resilience in the face of worsening crises (racial, economic, climate change, etc.) and those yet to come.
Theresa is the author of a brief, easy to read publication directed to "parents and careers" with practical advice on play in the time of COVID. The publication, entitled Play in Crisis, has been translated into multiple languages and is available for download from the International Play Association.