Right To Play

Right To Play

October 30, 2012 08:45 ET

Canadian Parents Believe Play is Essential for Their Children-Underestimate Its Impact on Children in Developing Countries

Right To Play launches Level The Field, illustrating importance of play for children everywhere

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 30, 2012) -

Editors Note: A video is associated with this press release.

A new survey commissioned by Right To Play reveals that while Canadian parents understand that children learn essential life skills through play, they lack an understanding of how these skills can help children in disadvantaged communities all over the world.

The survey shows that Canadian parents use play to teach their children the following skills: how to resolve conflicts (83%), education (76%), team-building (72%), equality (61%) and health and hygiene (56%), and understand how these skills contribute to a better future for their children (95%). However, only 5% feel that access to play is of critical importance for children in developing countries, behind healthcare (36%), a conflict-free environment (24%), education (23%) and equality (7%).

"Through play, children facing adversity can learn leadership, self-respect, disease prevention and resiliency. Play helps children recover from the extraordinary trauma caused by war, poverty and disease. Play-based learning gives children in any community the potential to lead and, most importantly, enact change," says Johann Olav Koss, President, CEO and founder of Right To Play. "We want to educate Canadians and demonstrate that through play, children can recover from crises, learn critical life skills and change the face of global communities."

The right of every child to play is a fundamental human right recognized by the United Nations and supported by development agencies around the world. According to the Canadian Council on Learning, "Play nourishes every aspect of children's development - it forms the foundation of intellectual, social, physical, and emotional skills necessary for success in school and in life. Play paves the way for learning"(1). In fact, 93 per cent of children who have participated in Right To Play programs have reported an increase in self-esteem and a belief in their ability to lead change in their communities.(2)

"To raise awareness about the transformative power of play, we're pleased to announce the launch of a new campaign - Level The Field - providing a better understanding of the need for all children, everywhere, to have equal access to opportunities for development through playing games and playing sports," added Koss.

Level The Field is a national campaign featuring influential Canadian parents and Right To Play's Athlete Ambassadors who, along with the support of Canadians everywhere, will mobilize their networks to support Right To Play programs and provide Canadians the chance to accompany them on a visit to see those programs in action.

"Sport and play have the power to build communities. As someone who has dedicated my life to sport, I'm thrilled to partner with Right To Play on the Level The Field campaign," says Rosie MacLennan, Canadian Olympian. "I hope that our teams of athletes and parents can show Canadians how play can create brighter futures for children everywhere."

Globally, over 835,000 children benefit from Right To Play programs every week. Almost 50 per cent of those children, along with Right To Play Coaches and volunteers, are female. By the end of 2012, Right To Play expects to reach one million children on a weekly basis.

The Level The Field program features the following pairings of influential Canadian parents and Athlete Ambassadors:

  • Heather Greenwood-Davis, globetrottingmama.com and Clara Hughes, Canadian Olympian (Cycling/Speed Skating)
  • Ali Martell, alimartell.com and Kyle Shewfelt, Canadian Olympian (Gymnastics)
  • Jill Amery, urbanmommies.com and Kaylyn Kyle, Canadian Olympian (Soccer)
  • Nick Cheeseman, ncheeseman.blogspot.com and Hayley Wickenheiser, Canadian Olympian (Hockey)
  • Susan Carraretto, 5minutesformom.com and Rosie MacLennan, Canadian Olympian (Trampoline)
  • Jaime Damak, jesuisunemaman.com and Caroline Ouellette, Canadian Olympian (Hockey)

To find out more about the Level The Field campaign, check out the launch video and visit the Level The Field page at www.facebook.com/RightToPlayCAN.

This survey is based on a sample of 1015 respondents commissioned by Right To Play and conducted by Ipsos Reid during September 17 - 24, 2012. The results of the survey have a credibility interval of +/- 3.5 percentage points of all Canadians.


Right To Play is a global organization that uses the transformative power of play to educate and empower children facing adversity in more than 20 countries. A pioneer in its field, Right To Play uses sport and play as tools to build essential life skills and create social change, impacting 835,000 children each week. Programming in Canada includes the enhancement of education in priority schools in Toronto and the Promoting Life-skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) program. Founded in 2000 by four-time Olympic gold medalist and social entrepreneur Johann Olav Koss, our programs are facilitated by nearly 12,000 volunteer Coaches.

Visit us at www.righttoplay.ca or www.twitter.com/RightToPlayCAN.

(1) Canadian Council on Learning (Early Childhood Learning Knowledge Centre), "Let the Children Play: Nature's Answer to Early Learning", Lessons in Learning (Ottawa: CCL, 2006), p. 2

(2) Right To Play, Facts and Figures, May 2012

To view a video of Canadian children and Right To Play Athlete Ambassadors discussing the importance of play-based learning to Level The Field for children everywhere, please visit the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_FX_4tIwmw.

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