Play is important to the physical, social and emotional health of each child. National research demonstrates that daily unstructured play & physical activity can lead to the prevention of chronic diseases, the development of healthy bones & muscles, the promotion of a healthy weight, community, and social emotional health. Through Healthi Kids work and research in Rochester’s schools and neighborhoods, we have been championing for daily recess and unstructured play in the classroom, and to improve play access in our city’s neighborhoods. Play ROCs advocating to bring back play to our schools and communities by promoting the idea of Rochester as a playable city and ensuring all kids throughout the city receive daily recess.
Recess in School:
Recess is good for children - it helps them focus in school by releasing built up energy and allows them to get much needed physical activity into their day. By working with parents, teachers, community members, and students, Healthi Kids successfully advocated for twenty minutes of supervised, unstructured recess for all elementary school students in the Rochester City School District, and for recess to not be taken away as a form of punishment. Now, Healthi Kids is working to ensure that recess is taking place as the policy intended, and assisting schools with creative ways to include recess within a busy school day. To learn more about our work around recess and our Recess Report card visit our Be Active Resource Page.
Active Transportation & Walkability:
It is important that children have safe routes to their schools and play spaces. Healthi Kids is working with the Rochester City School District, the City of Rochester, and many community partners to establish these routes and to encourage children to walk, bike, skip, or skate to their destinations. Our report "Improving Walkability around Rochester's Schools" highlights the perceived barriers and recommendations to improve walkability around our schools.
Safe Play Spaces:
Where are Rochester's children playing? Where should they be playing? If we had a magic wand, where would we want them to be playing and how do we make those play spaces a reality? These are the questions Healthi Kids set out to answer through our Playability Plan work. We assessed five area neighborhoods and worked with residents in those neighborhoods to improve play. Healthi Kids continues to advocate for play in City neighborhoods through community use of schools making streets safer for walking and biking, and play day projects. For more information on our Playability Plans, please click here.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED):
A major barrier to play and physical activity is the fear of crime or the perception of crime in Rochester's neighborhoods. In addition to the work of law enforcement professionals, citizens in our community have been taking a proactive approach to limiting crime by looking at the built environment. In 2011, Healthi Kids held a CPTED and SafeGrowth training led by Greg Saville, co-owner of AlterNation. The training helped participants learn ways to reduce crime through simple and cost effective fixes, right in their backyards. By cutting unkept bushes to get a better view of the street or advocating for appropriate lighting, we can make a street or neighborhood feel safer.
Community-Use of Schools:
School buildings are great places to be active - even when classes are over for the day. Healthi Kids is working with schools and surrounding neighbors to find ways to share these buildings at night, on the weekends, and during summer and school breaks. Community use can give neighbors and local residents a chance to use athletic facilities, regardless of fitness level or ability.