Coming Summer 2015
The Question is…Why Play?
leadership joy self-esteem teamwork connection strength wonder empowerment love imagination laughter pride passion compassion
Play is the single most important activity in the life of children. The most meaningful education in a person’s life is learning to play as a child. Without play, no child can grow-up healthy. Play, in its most pure and simple form, occurs when energy, wonder, freedom, and connection blossom into joyful action. Play is the work of children. It is the best way, and perhaps the only way, for children to effectively cope with stressful experiences; express their thoughts and feelings; discover the world around them, build caring relationships, and develop a strong felt sense of self-worth and competency. Where else but in play can a preschool child experience being powerful and in complete control? Where else but in play can a child experience the type of pure joy that allows their spirit to soar and instill in them hope that life is filled with wonderful possibilities?
The type of play described above comes naturally to most children, but at times, all children need some adult structure and support to help them play happily and safely. Children who have suffered abuse, been witness to violence, or who have lived in environments of poverty and uncertainty, often require a lot of additional help to play successfully. This is what Project Joy is all about – helping children access powerful healing play.
Safety, power, self-worth, community and hope are not concepts that can be explained to a child in words. They must be experienced in the body. They must be felt. Once a child feels safe, they become safe. Once a child feels capable, they become capable. The goals of the play may be as simple as catching a ball or jumping over a rope. Yet, the confidence gained by successfully completing these tasks impact children for a lifetime. Our hope and belief is that these experienced successes, especially when shared by others in a safe and joyful environment, will be taken with the child and applied to other, more difficult areas of their lives.
Following traumatic events, children are left feeling out of control, frightened, helpless, ashamed, insecure and alone. Some child survivors of trauma present as anger and exhibit impulsive, reckless and destructive behaviors. Others may present as deeply sad, withdrawn, and depressed. This is the core nature of trauma: fight or flight. While some surviving children want to fight the world and everyone in it, others choose to run from life and hide.
Changing children’s belief about themselves and the world must must begin with a felt experience. The goal of Picnics in the Park is to engage children in activities that provide them with opportunities to feel — even if only for a moment — safe, connected, powerful, worthy and capable.
Come join us for Picnics in the Park
All activities are family focused and allow parents to play with their children in a non-competitive, open setting. Our goal is for children to engage in activities that will provide them opportunities to feel safe, connected, powerful, worthy and capable.