The Chicago Fire Foundation P.L.A.Y.S. (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth Soccer) Program is committed to enhancing the academic performance and development of key social and emotional (SEL) skills of elementary school students through a sports based curriculum.
The P.L.A.Y.S. Program created in partnership with World Sport Chicago, not only teaches soccer skills, but also explicitly teaches SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) traits and values such as emotional control, goal setting and attainment, cooperation and respect and communication and teamwork. These SEL traits are tied to academic success and are used with sport training to improve the physical well-being and academic capabilities of the students. It is our belief that by teaching these values within the structure of an athletic activity, that students will learn and adopt these values, transfer them from the athletic field to the classroom and thereby improve both their behavior as well as their academic outcomes.
P.L.A.Y.S. has drawn high marks from community leaders, including Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanuel.
"By teaching our children the skills of teamwork, focus, discipline, and overcoming adversity – you are teaching them the skills they need for success in life," Mayor Emanuel said.
P.L.A.Y.S, which began in 2013, has seen more than 140,000 hours of soccer played by both boys and girls in grades 3-5 in 22 Chicago Public Schools throughout Chicagoland.
Click here to view photos from a recent P.L.A.Y.S. game day.