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The Best Way to Build Young Leaders in Your Community

Posted on December 20, 2021

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One of the often-overlooked aspects of corporate social responsibility efforts is how they help develop future leaders in communities.

Dr. Stuart Brown, MD, a world-renowned expert on the science of play, pioneered a study that showed a strong correlation between play in childhood and success as an adult. His findings illustrate how an investment in a community play and recreation space pays significant dividends in the form of well-balanced, service-minded children who grow up to be community leaders.

Read on to learn more about how your CSR efforts can transform a community now and for generations to come.

Early Intervention is Essential for Healthy Development

There are various developmental milestones children reach throughout their early years. These milestones are markers for how well they adapt to the world around them, how they comprehend and learn new information, and how they socialize with others.

The toddler stage, for example, is an impressionable time for a child. What children learn and experience during this time lays the foundation for a lifetime of learning in and out of the classroom. When companies invest in parks, they are helping children reach critical developmental milestones that impact the rest of their lives.

Experts developed five categories of developmental milestones: cognitive, communicative, social-emotional, adaptive, and physical. Each of these categories describes skills learned by a designated age.

Outdoor recreation spaces provide opportunities to develop these skills. The following list describes the impact parks have on early childhood development:

  • Cognitive: Learning new games and the names of play equipment and wildlife
  • Communicative: Provides a space for making new friends, conversing, and communicating personal needs
  • Social-emotional: Taking turns and helping friends
  • Adaptive: Self-advocacy and knowing when to take a snack or bathroom break
  • Physical: Motor skills, strong bones, hand-eye coordination, and balance

Families cannot always raise children in circumstances that allow for mastery of these skills. For example, both parents might work late hours and not have much time to spend with their children.

Children who do not have these skills will have difficulty learning for the rest of their life. A park provides a space where all children can meet their developmental milestones. Parks are a transformational gateway that helps create the next generation of leaders.

Active Children Perform Better in School

Leadership begins with good academic performance, and playgrounds are vital to improving grades. Playing outside helps children destress and get their energy out before class. When all that energy is out, they can pay attention and keep more information.

Research shows that active children are 20% more likely to earn an A in Math and English. Their standardized test scores also improve by six percent or more over three years.
Active children are also better behaved. Not only does getting sent to the principal's office cut down on a child's learning time, but the distraction also impacts the other students' attention and the teacher's flow of ideas. One PE lesson a week reduces the amount of time teachers spend on behavior issues by 21%.

Contributing to parks and recreation spaces that encourage healthy activity provides children with an academic advantage. In turn, those children will grow into adults who have ambitions to serve, give back, and contribute to their community.

Engaging the Senses

Engaging in sensory play is pivotal to developing strong leaders.

Sensory play helps develop language, coordination, body awareness, cognitive abilities, and problem-solving skills. Working many senses at once helps children learn "crossing the midline" of their brain or using both hemispheres of the brain simultaneously.

Using both brain hemispheres at a young age helps jumpstart critical thinking skills. These children will find it easier to make complex connections and become revolutionary thinkers.
Using corporate social responsibility efforts to build an outdoor recreation space is pivotal to building leaders.

Building a park helps bridge the accessibility gap many children face and allows everyone to have the makings of a leader.

Building a Foundation

Parks and playgrounds create a space where children can learn and grow together. When children have access to a park, they can thrive in school, reach developmental milestones, and develop critical thinking skills. This lays a foundation for strong, future leaders as the children grow older.

Corporate social responsibility departments can use their influence and resources to create environments where future leaders can flourish for years to come. Contact an IMPACT representative today and become an advocate for your community.

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