4 Easy Steps to Open Schoolyards after Class

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Many schoolyards are locked up after classes end.

That means many kids, especially in Latino neighborhoods, miss out on a great chance for the physical, emotional, and social benefits of physical activity and play.

Want your district to consider an Open Use Policy so local residents can play and be physically active on school fields, playgrounds, and similar facilities after class?

Download a free toolkit from Salud America! to start the conversation!

Toolkit - Open SchoolsOur 2-page toolkit, 4 Easy Steps to Push for Open Use at Your School, outlines how to ask your local school leaders to consider creating an Open Use Policy.

This type of policy allows a school to formally grant public access to its recreational facilities, such as fields, outdoor courts, gyms, and pools, and set up roles and rights for all. This, in turn, can increase local children’s opportunities for physical activity and play, which helps reduce disease risk and contribute to physical, mental, and social well-being.

Latino kids and those in underserved communities have limited spaces to be physically active, research shows, part of the reason for their higher obesity rates.

In fact, one study found that 81% of Latino neighborhoods did not have a recreational facility. Children living in poverty and disadvantaged neighborhoods also face social and economic barriers to healthy lifestyles, creating adversity from the start. These kids are prone to chronic stress and at increased risk for depression, anxiety, and diabetes.

The future of Latino and all children and their physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being depends on accessible opportunities for physical activity.

Download our toolkit now, and urge your school leaders to consider an Open Use Policy!

Salud America!, led by health researcher Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program to prevent Latino childhood obesity based at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (@SaludToday on social media).

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