THE CORE PROGRAM: Play for Fun, Learn for Life

The program and its mission derive from the intrinsic value of soccer/football itself: its low-cost contribution to well-being and physical development; the social engagement and inclusive values it promotes; the educational opportunities it affords to teach health and social life skills; its positive impact on school and community engagement; and its potential to prevent disease, particularly the chronic noncommunicable life-style diseases that impact on productive lives and socio-economic development. PSNI’s holistic development through sport program offers opportunity to prevent and address the many interconnected factors in homes, schools and neighborhoods - physical, social, psychological and environmental - that can affect individual vitality and burden families, educational, medical and social services. It can help individuals of all skill levels and ages reach their potential for healthy productive lives and achieve broad public health benefits for themselves and their communities. Community development and a culture of health come through the program’s activities and educational process and its grassroot participants who live, learn and play as active social entrepreneurs.

Free, Accessible and Inclusive - Girls and Boys - Community Inclusive:

The co-ed program begins with young children in order to maximize lifetime learning, and is intended to create gender equality and to share learning opportunity to all ages/generations through adjunct activities linked to the core program.

Year-round Low Cost Effective Educational Program:

The well defined curriculum is adaptable and can respond creatively to local needs. Consistent quality educational content is required as is a low cost effective use of resources, shared learning and sustainability.

Community Service, Engagement and Employment:

Children and youth transfer what they learn in the program to their daily lives, practicing and sharing new skills with families and friends. Staff is locally recruited and trained, affording opportunity to learn skills, community leadership, vocational training and employment. As volunteer youth instructors train and teach the program, they develop leadership skills and credentials that equip them for employment and encourage them to lead healthy productive lives. Collaborative partnerships are encouraged across sectors, organizations and government. Network organizations add adjunct program activities specific to their communities that encourage civic engagement and broadened horizons for personal and professional development, and further support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

International Leadership:

The program supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and fosters global solidarity, peaceful solutions and understanding through leadership of activities such as the annual Global Peace Games for Children and Youth.

HOW THE CORE PROGRAM WORKS

WHAT is the Play for Fun, Learn for Life core program?

Our year-round, well planned educational program integrates health, social and soccer/football skills. While children learn to play the game, they also build physical fitness and well-being, learn the prevention of non-communicable and communicable diseases and other topics like nutrition, lungs and cardiovascular function as well as social skills like fair play, gender equity and peaceful solutions. Each weekly session is a building block in an activity based curriculum that encourages children to put these new skills and knowledge into practice on the playing field and in their daily lives. A typical weekly session includes activities related to social development (teamwork, respect for others, friendship), soccer skills, and health (nutrition, healthy bodies for soccer players)

WHO teaches?

Recruits from the grassroots communities where we work, primarily youth and young adults, are trained as instructors to teach the program, and to contribute to their community. Through this work they learn and develop leadership and entrepreneurial skills and gain credentials that equip them for employment and encourage them to lead productive lives. These are in-kind benefits for work, but whenever possible, if funding is available, a small stipend is paid for their community service.

HOW do the volunteers teach?

Our volunteer instructors teach through activity-based games that empower children by helping them experience, practice and acquire new healthy habits, attitudes and social skills, while they play the game.

WHERE and WHEN do the sessions take place?

Sessions take place right on the playing field in a fun, safe environment after school and on weekends, at times that parents support and when children can most fully participate.

WHAT happens at a session?

  • Each and every session is holistic; every time children play the game, they also learn health and social skills.
  • Each child is actively involved in these free sessions, regardless of his or her initial skills.
  • Girls are encouraged to play and learn together with boys.
  • Children enjoy a free, healthy snack and clean drinking water, which teaches good nutrition and supplements their diets.

How does the Play for Fun, Learn for Life program lead to community development?

Children and youth enrolled in the program become agents of change, sharing and transferring what they learn from the weekly sessions with friends and family in their daily lives, homes and communities. Organizations tailor the program to focus on community needs and priorities to achieve desired outcomes and impact. They add adjunct projects and activities to further program objectives specific to their community and the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.