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From Sunset Park News by Rachel Carmean: Now that school is back in session, children’s days are often consumed by test prep and their afternoons with structured time as well. Kids are feeling the stress. But parents know that in the city, it’s not as easy as sending kids outside to play until the sun goes down.

Enter Brooklyn Wild, a mission-driven Sunset Park business dedicated to free play. Their after school and school vacation classes get kids outside with natural and found materials that spark creativity and grow social skills. Kids can get messy with friends, make mistakes—and learn how to fix them.

Each class is facilitated using playwork, a professional approach out of the UK that supports children’s play without judgment. “It is the playworkers who can turn a corner of the park into a magical space. They step in for safety or social support, but otherwise truly allow kids to figure things out for themselves,” says Stacy Boyd, founder of Brooklyn Wild and a Sunset Park mom of two.



From Patch. com: "Owners of a new afterschool program hope it will help children get outside in Sunset Park, which was named a playground desert by the city."

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Contact: Stacy Boyd


Images available upon request

Brooklyn Wild announces adventure play classes in one of Brooklyn’s playground deserts

New after school classes for the 2019-2020 school year in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, provide child-led nature and adventure play with sliding scale tuition and trained playworkers

SUNSET PARK, BROOKLYN, May 30, 2019 – Just one month after the NYC Comptroller’s report on playgrounds named Sunset Park one of the city’s most underserved communities for public play space, Brooklyn Wild announces their 2019-20 schedule for after school classes that prioritize outdoor free play with peers in Sunset Park.

The classes are similar to a forest school, held in local green spaces rain-or-shine, allowing students to experience their neighborhood in a new way every season. Each class is facilitated by staff trained in playwork, a professional approach that supports children’s play through minimal intervention, originally developed for adventure playgrounds in the UK.

“The benefits of playing outside—with the right amount of risk and support, and the loose parts that can spark creativity—have all been well documented. Gross motor skills, social skills, creativity, resilience, confidence, executive function, improved mental health, even engineering and math skills—all of this is developed through unstructured play. Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended that doctors prescribe play because these skills are essential. Play is that important,” says Stacy Boyd, founder of Brooklyn Wild and a Sunset Park mom of two boys, ages 13 and 4. Boyd adds, “Kids in Sunset Park don’t play in vacant lots or on the street very much anymore. The few playgrounds we have are crowded or in need of renovation, and even there, play is often interrupted or led by adults. Children are members of our community. They deserve the time and the public space to play freely. Gathering for play is how they will experiment and grow into curious, motivated, empathetic adults.”

While the benefits of outdoor free play are well-known, it can be challenging for parents or teachers to get kids outside every day. Rain or cold, lack of space to run freely, not wearing the right clothes for the weather and tight schedules—all pose challenges to play. During the school year, NYC’s public school children receive less than 30 minutes of outdoor recess daily—if they receive outdoor recess at all—and those who take part in after school programs can be inside, in structured environments, for ten hours or more. Participating in academics or rigid activities in the after school hours “can be torture,” says Amy Miles, musician and Sunset Park mother of two boys, ages 6 and 3, who both attend Brooklyn Wild. “Especially at the end of the day, the kids need time to blow off steam and move around.”

Early bird enrollment is open now for after school classes next fall, which begin September 10th and include pick up from area schools. Families who sign up before June 15th receive a reduced tuition rate. Registration is also open for Brooklyn Wild’s adults-only workshop at Hootenanny Art House on June 11th that will prepare parents for summer, when families usually have more time to play together. “When you can trust your child to know their limits and handle risk, you can build a stronger parent-child bond, and you hold more space—in your home, your stoop, your street—for children to play together freely. That’s how they fully explore their own interests and become the people they were meant to be,” Boyd says.

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