The Playful City designation celebrates and promotes local policies that increase play opportunities for children. Tamarac was recognized for its innovative programs to encourage residents to live an all-around healthier lifestyle.
One of those programs, CATCH Kids Club, has been proven so successful that it was expanded to a second elementary school in the City. Designed to increase access and opportunities for play, the program partners the City’s Parks & Recreation department with Tamarac Elementary to enhance existing physical education classes with wellness and nutrition components. Projected program outcomes include reduced childhood obesity, providing children with the tools for a healthier and active lifestyle and an understanding of the importance of play.
The “Let’s Move Play Together Program” consists of children ages 5-11 from the Parks Department’s Fast Track program and Tamarac Elementary’s hearing impaired group. The two groups learn about the most important mechanisms for building muscle: staying fit and proper nutrition, as well as how to maintain a healthy heart through good eating habits and physical activity.
Tamarac also conducts annual “Play Days”, with organized games and challenges, entertainment and giveaways. It’s a free event, scheduled on an early school release day, and has seen attendance double each year since it began in 2010. Based on that success, City staff now organizes activities in Tamarac’s parks on all early release days in order to help keep children active.
The award is especially meaningful because among the City’s highest priorities is providing young people with life skills to maintain their health and giving them the childhood they deserve in order to reach their full potential.