Recreation and Education
Poverty can limit a child’s ability to learn and a parents’ ability to provide guidance. At school, poverty can lead to poor concentration, lower motivation, higher stress, lower achievement, difficult behavior and poor attendance. 
Recreation activities for children are a vital method of learning. Through play and participation in recreational activities, children are able to gain a sense of mastery, develop positive self esteem, further develop their creativity, enhance their social skills and explore and manipulate their environment. 
In 2000, it was estimated that over half of children age 5 to 17 years did not meet the recommended levels of physical activity. 
Despite the knowledge that recreation is a vital component of a child’s life, there is a divide in Canada between those who participate in recreational programs and those who do not. 
Competence in sports and arts can act as a protective factor for children against emotional and behavioral problems. 
For every dollar that is invested in physical activity, there is a long-term savings of $11 in health care costs. 
Source: Health Canada website and Media Photo Gallery, Health Canada, http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada, 2006.
Recreation, arts and cultural activities
Barriers to participation 
Benefits of participation 
Increase interactions with adults and peers
High costs of supervised sports/equipment
Decreased stress and anxiety
Enhanced social and life skills
Lack of role models for girls
Enhanced familial relationships
Improved school performance
Lack of parent support
18. Canadian School Boards Association, 1997, pg. 3, 14
19. Offord, D., Lipman, E., Duku, E. (1998). Which children don’t participate in sports, the arts and community programs? Human Resources Development Canada.
20. Couchman, B. (March 2002). From precious resource to societal accessory: Canada’s children six to twelve years of age. National Children’s Agenda. http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.com/nca/2002/symposium/612.pdf
21. Singer, R. (April 2003). The impact of poverty on the health of children and youth. Campaign 2000. http://www.campaign2000.ca/res/Poverty_healthbackgrounder.pdf
22. Donnelly, P., Coakley, J. (December 2002). The Role of Recreation in Promoting Social Inclusion. Toronto: Laidlaw Foundation.
23. Benson, P. (1997). All kids are our kids: What communities must do to raise caring and responsible children and adolescents. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
24. Walker, D. (Spring 2001). Child’s play: a vital ingredient for health. Perception, 24, (4) Ottawa: Canadian Council on Social Development, 3-5.
25. Hanvey, L. (2001). Access to recreation programs in Canada. Perception 24, (4) Canadian Council on Social Development.
26. Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Impact and benefits of physical activity and recreation on Canadian youth-at-risk. http://www.lin.ca/lin/resource/html/impact.htm
27. Barnett, L. (1990). Developmental benefits of play for children. , Journal of Leisure Research, 22 (2), 138-153.
28. Government of Canada (April 2004). A Canada fit for children. Ottawa:Author.
29. Nieman, P. (May/June 2002). Psychological aspects of physical activity. Paediatric Child Health, 7 (5), 309-311.
All references for this section