Positive Youth Development (PYD) reflects an area of study applying positive psychology to helping children and youth develop individual strengths and improve assets that help them to grow and flourish throughout life.1 Seligman (2002)2 proposed that positive youth development is fostered when youth are encouraged to participate in enjoyable activities that align with their strengths within supportive environments. Larson (2000)1 emphasizes the development of initiative as a core quality of positive youth development and makes a case for participation in structured leisure activities (e.g. sports, arts, organized clubs) as an important context for such development. Participation in out-of-school structured leisure activities is associated with positive outcomes including improvements in academic achievement as well as personal (identity and skill development) and interpersonal development (social skills and friendships).1
Concern: Children/youth with disabilities may not have the same opportunities to participate in out-of-school activities. The importance of children's participation in out-of-school leisure activities is central to Every Moment Counts After School Leisure initiative (see side tab on front page of website). Engaging in healthy hobbies and interests help youth with disabilities develop important life skills, make friends and enjoy life! Parents see that their children can be successful and happy engaging in out-of-school activities and become confident in encouraging further participation. Check out the After School Leisure tab. Watch the After School Leisure Video Clips of youth with disabilities and mental health challenges succeed in a healthy leisure pursuit.
For more information on Positive Youth Development, refer to:
1 Larson, R. W. (2000). Toward a psychology of positive youth development. American Psychologist, 55, 170–183.
2 Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Authentic happiness. New York: Free Press.
3 Provenzano, N. (2014). Making meaningful connections with students. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/make-meaningful-connections-with-students-nick-provenzano