NCC General Manager, Keith Neblett (left) and Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing and Lands, Patrick Todd (right) assisting students of St. Mary’s Primary with the cutting of the ribbon to officially open the play park. (C. Pitt/BGIS)
The ability of children to play in their natural environment is a critical part of the developmental process.
General Manager of the National Conservation Commission (NCC), Keith Neblett, made this assertion today moments before the Emmerton Play Park was officially opened by Minister of State in the Ministry of Housing and Lands, Patrick Todd.
"Playing in a natural environment, particularly during the critical growth period of a child’s life, has been proven to be an especially important time for developing the capacities for creativity, problem solving, and emotional and intellectual development," he said.
He added that recreational parks also provided children with the opportunity to strengthen their creativity through imagination, problem-solving, focus and self-discipline. "They also benefit socially through learning cooperation, flexibility, and self-awareness," Mr. Neblett said.
He explained that the Emmerton Play Park was established in the latter part of the summer holidays by the NCC in conjunction with the Community Development Department, to allow children from The City district to have an open space to play. "We hear about the air in Emmerton, and we always have these negative elements about it. [But], these are children that grow up in this community, [and] the more that we can open these children to these types of activities, certainly it could only benefit them," Mr. Neblett said.
"The General Manager noted that as a result of these benefits, children would be smarter, healthier, happier and would relate to others "when they have regular opportunities for free and unstructured play in the out-doors".
He added that the NCC was working with Community Development Department, the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Family to establish parks wherever possible. "Even schools’ PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations) have come on board and purchased equipment from the NCC," Mr. Neblett pointed out.
He urged those using the facility to treat it as an extension of their home. "Help us at the NCC to keep the equipment and park furniture well maintained so that you may continue to enjoy using the play park for many years to come…," he stressed.