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Haley Beglau Human Services 302 11/29/12 A brief history of parks and recreation response to the demand for

playgrounds and health advocacy for children in the United States The promotion of playgrounds, parks, recreation, and health has shaped the United States laws, legislations and organizations. The Industrial Revolution started the promotion of childs labor laws and the investment of playgrounds. The people involved in the improvement of such issues were, Grace Abbott and Lewis Hine. Legislation then stemmed from such enhancements, such as A Normal Course in Play and Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938. The promotion of recreation, physical activity and health education created various human service based organizations thats core themes motivated settlement and playground reformers. Both movements drew on ideas about industrialization, psychology, child development, and the effect of the environment on the individual to form a core argument that organized recreation was essential to the physical, mental and moral well being of the individual and critical to a modern, democratic, industrial society, (Anderson, 2007). Human services has been one of the driving forces towards the development of childrens fitness, recreation and playgrounds.

The Industrial Revolution forced many children into the work force from the late 19th to the early 20th century (Hirschman, C., & Mogford, E., 2009). This type of labor included working in the mills and factories, with little to no time for schooling or play. Young children working endured some of the harshest conditions. Workdays would often be 10 to 14 hours with minimal breaks during the shift (Childhood Lost). There were no freedoms or rights given to the working children of the Industrial Revolution, which raised many ethical concerns for Grace Abbott and Lewis Hine. In 1917 Grace Abbott joined the Department of Labor and was assigned

to the Childrens Bureau, a division charged with investigating and reporting issues pertaining to child welfare (Childhood Lost). Abbott began implementing the first federal law restricting child labor. In 1918 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the legislation, (Childhood Lost). Lewis Hine worked for the National Child Labor Committee, founded in 1904 (Childhood Lost). He began "promoting the rights, awareness, dignity, well-being and education of children and youth as they relate to work and working" (Childhood Lost). Hine also documented much of the child laborers through reports, field notes, correspondence, and over 5,000 photographs and negatives (Childhood Lost). All of these issues related to child labor laws, long hours working and the concern for children to have access to a childhood were all reasons why the American government began to change its laws. This implemented a social change within the country because people began to recognize that children needed to play, have access to recreation and the ability go outside, instead of work. Many people attribute the playground movement credit the Sand Gardens in Boston, which were established in 1886, with being the first supervised, public playground in the U.S. (Anderson, 2007). Sand was placed in a lot by a church for children to have supervised play (Bhattacharya, 2003). Playgrounds proliferated in the early 1900s, the idea being to give children a safe and supervised place to play away from their homes and streets (Bhattacharya, 2003). Play and recreation were advocated as effective remedies to the dangers and ills of city life (Bhattacharya, 2003). This caused many people to view playgrounds as a necessary part of their community, with more neighborhoods and states requesting government funding for this. The government formed the PAA, which became the National Recreation Association in 1930, lobbied for municipal funding of supervised public playgrounds, developed training programs for play leaders, provided professional consultation and coordination services to

fledgling local recreation departments, and facilitated community surveys and playground campaigns, (Anderson, 2007). These organizations advocated for the rights of children and the abolishment of children in the workforce, instead promoting parks and a variety of forms of recreation. In the legislation A Normal Course in Play covered: child development, psychology, evolution, education, play theory, social and industrial conditions (including race history, tendencies and prejudices), hygiene, eugenics, heredity, the playground movement in Europe and the U.S., playground facilities, playground management, games and activities, handicraft, nature study, playground planning, landscaping, record keeping, and fund raising, (Anderson, 2007). The avocation for the overall mental and physical health for a child was stressed within many communities and government caused the Federal regulation of child labor achieved in Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938 (Child Labor in U.S. History). This meant for the first time, minimum ages of employment and hours of work for children are regulated by federal law (Child Labor in U.S. History). These improvements for children stemmed from one of the founders of parks and recreation, Luther Gulick of the Playground Association of America. In Play and Democracy, written in 1907, PAA president, Luther Gulick, refers to the playground as our great ethical laboratory. PAA promotional literature touted the benefits of organized recreation and hinted at the dangers negligence. Playgrounds develop: health, initiative, purity of mind, cooperation, ambition, honesty, imagination, self-confidence, obedience, and justice. Playgrounds diminish: idleness, delinquency, exclusiveness, unfairness, gang-spirit, selfishness, rowdyism, temptation, social barriers, reformatories, (Anderson, 2007). Gulick believed that urban living in the machine age not only created problems for physical, moral and mental well being. Reformers argued that there was an increased need for leisure to counteract city and industrial life,

(Anderson, 2007). The belief that every child needed to be able to play, interact with other children and overall feel enjoyment was crucial to the playground movement.

These principles and laws surrounding the recreation movement are still a part of American society, entitled the Rational Recreation Movement. This involves recreation advocated as a means of promoting public health and safety (Riess, S. A., 2005). The current services offered to promote public health and safety are national parks, botanical gardens, beaches, parks, non-profit programs, etc., with each activity being relatively safe and promoting physical activity. Especially in American public schools, there is a heavy emphasis on public health. Not surprisingly, an important argument for recreation was the health and fitness of individuals. Physical exercise improved overall health, and benefited both mind and body. Recreation advocates cited toned muscles, improved circulation, increased vitality, better appetite, and improved coordination, (Anderson, 2007). Play and recreation are key components towards encouraging children to be fit, participate well with other children and form social interactions. For example, in Washington the superintendent of public instruction states that, recess provides unstructured play opportunities that allow children to engage in physical activity. According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), recess is not viewed as a reward but as a necessary educational support component for all children. Therefore, students should not be denied recess so they can complete class work or as a means of punishment, (Bergeson, T., 2008). Recreation is an important part of American society and jurisdiction because it incorporates the early promotion for children to learn and have the time to develop

and practice skills, they have the increasing opportunity to find enjoyment in sport and physical education which can carry into an active adult lifestyle, (Bergeson, T., 2008). Many human services professionals and organizations provide a variety of different physical activities, health advancement and forms of recreation to clients. One such organization is the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which created Triple Play, BCGAs first comprehensive health and wellness program, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, strives to improve the overall health of Club members ages 6-18 by increasing their daily physical activity, teaching them good nutrition and helping them develop healthy relationships, (Triple Play: A Game Plan for Mind, Body and Soul). Many of these recreation based organizations encourage children to continue the use of the skills they have learned in these programs, such as, the benefits of thirty or more minutes of daily activity, a balanced diet, and understanding ones healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). The skills learned in such human service based organizations are taught because they support physical and mental health, health services and the overall education of ones welfare.

Recreation was a natural component of the settlement program, not only because it promoted the health of urban poor, but also because of its socializing effects: neighborliness and neighborhood action and cohesiveness being crucial to the settlement idea, (Anderson, 2007). The creation of playgrounds and parks created a monumental shift in American culture, society and government through activists, legislation and programs. Child labor laws and advocacy for childrens privileges helped Americans understand that children deserved to be children, thus generating many new laws and organizations. The United States promotes the physical and mental health for all children because of many human service professionals and organizations.