The Free Play Matters Task Force is working to inspire and educate the community about the critical importance of free play in the lives of children, and to facilitate the creation of more free play opportunities for children of all ages in Wilton.
The Free Play Matters Task Force is a true community collaboration, bringing together parents, school staff, and local organizations like the Riverbrook Regional YMCA and Woodcock Nature Center, to develop new programs and nurture existing spaces for child-directed play.
Task Force accomplishments include:
new before- or after-school play clubs at both Miller Driscoll and Cider Mill elementary schools;
introducing the much-loved Let Grow Project at both elementary schools;
over 1,200 Wilton residents have participated in a block party, building bonds with neighbors and making new friends;
organizing inspiring presentations for parents, faculty and the community with Lenore Skenazy of Let Grow, public school superintendent Dr. Michael Hynes, and Morgan Leichter-Saxby of Pop-Up Adventure Play;
Wilton's first Bicycle Rodeo and police-escorted road ride;
highlighting and/or inspiring expansion of more child-directed play opportunities in community organizations including Woodcock Nature Center, Wilton Parks and Recreation, Riverbrook Regional YMCA, Wilton Soccer Association, Create Learning Center, and Wilton Continuing Education.
For information on the benefits of play, visit our Resources page.
Chasing Childhood, filmed in Wilton!
Chasing Childhood is a feature documentary that explores the rapidly changing landscape of contemporary childhood and parenting. In today’s childhood, confined by structure, stranger danger, and helicopter parenting, free-play has virtually disappeared. Experts are ringing the alarm bell about the dramatic rise in anxiety and depression in young children and teens. What if all this well-intended hovering, fear and over-scheduling has backfired? The film takes us to three communities that are trying to shift culture to create room for play and independence with the hope of raising kids to become competent, healthy, and happy adults.
Chasing Childhood was filmed before the pandemic, but the issues explored are even more profoundly relevant today: what is the changing landscape of contemporary childhood and parenting? What is best for my kid? These questions transcend zip code and demographics.
After a free virtual screening, we held a virtual Q& A with the director and some of the experts and subjects of the film on Thursday, April 22.
Eden Wurmfeld, Director and Producer of Chasing Childhood
Lenore Skenazy, President and Founder of Let Grow
Dr. Michael Hynes, Superintendent of Schools, Port Washington, NY
Genevieve Eason, Executive Director of Wilton Youth Council
Savannah Eason, Wilton High School ‘13
The Q&A was moderated by Vicki Abeles, the director and producer of Race to Nowhere and Beyond Measure.
For more information about the documentary, see the official Chasing Childhood website:
Why Do Our Children Need Time for Self-Initiated Free Play?
WYC's Executive Director was a guest on the podcast "Getting Unstuck: Educators Leading Change," along with Dr. Michael Hynes, superintendent for the Port Washington School District, and educator and author Hannah Beach. Listen to their conversation about the importance of free play wherever you stream podcasts.