Human Development and Family Science Students Discover the ‘Healing Power of Optimism’

For the Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, rising juniors Nathalia Kobrosky and Jayde Kahn, participating in a Life is good Last spring’s online course was a crucial step towards their career goals of helping kids meet life’s challenges.

Kobrosky is a major in Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) who also majors in communication, while Kahn is a double major (HDFS and Psychology) with a minor in Creative Leadership. They were among 49 students who enrolled in the Playmaker 101: The Healing Power of Optimism online course as part of the Play, Child Development and Early Education course taught by the Falk College associate professor Rachel Razza.

At a Life is Good Playmakers retreat in 2019, students Danielle Beck, Anuoluwapo “Anu” Omole and Samira Suljic (left to right) discussed the concept of O’Playsis, or how to create an oasis for playing.

According to the Life is Good Playmakers website, the Playmaker 101 course provides “a deeper understanding of the power of optimism and how it can help all people, especially children, to heal, learn and achieve. their full potential”. The course also introduces “Playmakers’ core philosophy and approach to creating responsive environments where children who have been affected by trauma can grow to see the good in themselves, others and the world around them. surrounded”.

Students who have taken the course have been certified playmakers by Life is Good Playmakers.

“Playmakers is a wonderful opportunity for our students to learn play-centered skills and strategies that are inclusive of all children and relevant in multiple settings, including daycares, schools, and therapeutic or healthcare settings. “, says Razza, an HDFS graduate. director. “The benefits of this program go beyond the certification on their resume. These students are now part of the global community of Playmakers, which includes continued access to an extensive library of activity resources and exclusive networking opportunities.

To get an idea of ​​what students learned from the course and how they hope to apply it in their academic and professional careers, we asked Kobrosky and Kahn to share their thoughts with us.

Q: Why did you choose human development and family sciences as your major?

Kobrosky: The reason I chose to specialize in HDFS comes from my interest in working with children on social and emotional strategies that can help them overcome their psychological concerns or developmental issues.

Kahn: I chose HDFS as one of my majors because I love working with children and want to learn more about their development if I plan to include children in my life and career plans.

Q: Tell us about your experience with the Healing Power of Optimism course.

Life is good

Rachel Razza (left), associate professor of human development and family science, here with students from a former Life if Good Playmakers retreat, arranged for 49 current students to enroll in the Playmaker 101 online course in the spring last as part of its Play, Child Development and Early Education Classroom.

Kobrosky: One of the activities that stood out to me was the reflection on self-care. It made me realize that certain activities, like allowing yourself to cry, are a form of self-care and a way to decompress from stress and tension.

I also learned about the different ways people can view optimism and how it reflects on our mindset and attitude towards the challenges we may face in life. I learned that I should try to look at life with a half-full approach because when I find something difficult I tend to think it ruins the whole day instead of looking at the alternative of the situation. and see the benefits.

I was also interested in introducing the Play Oasis and how this environment can provide children with a safe space to decompress from the stresses of everyday life and freely express their emotions through active engagement and play. .

Kahn: Throughout the Playmakers course, I participated in activities about optimism, building a safe space for children, and interacting positively with others. I’ve learned to see the silver lining in situations where you feel you don’t have enough leverage by staying optimistic in the best way that works for you, be it glass half full, glass out. half empty or something in between.

I have also learned to meet children where they are developmentally and emotionally, helping them understand that they are our highest priority as playmakers and that playing with them, caring of them and spending time in silence with them are all ways that help them. grow as they need to grow. I also learned that making sure I’m okay is the first step in taking care of children who need care and attention.

Q: How does this course relate to your HDFS courses so far and your career aspirations?

Kobrosky: Play is crucial for healthy child development as it gives children the opportunity to express themselves freely and use their active imaginations to demonstrate their creativity and social, emotional and cognitive skills. This lesson illustrates the critical life learning goals that can change the way a child learns to deal with life’s challenges and gives them the opportunity to reflect on their actions, as well as actions that teachers or guardians can undertake for their child, and possibly change them in the future.

As a future child psychologist/occupational therapist, this course gives me ideas on some developmental and coping strategies that I can offer children to help them through difficult situations that they may not know how to handle on their own at the moment. departure.

Kahn: The Playmakers course reflects how [HDFS] The lessons describe how adults should always behave with children, especially children in school settings, because you never know if the only caring adult in their life is you. It also shows how to be resilient in situations with children and not let your actions be ruled by impatience or frustration; they are just children and they deserve your time, energy and attention.

I am currently working at a summer camp as a direct supervisor for counselors who will live with campers and schedule activities for them in the sixth to seventh grade age range. I will definitely bring what I learned about optimism, childcare, safe spaces, positivity, and self-care with me into this experience and into the rest of my life!

Q: What are your future professional interests?

Kobrosky: My future career interests are focused on the field of child psychology or occupational therapy. I would like to work in a medical environment where I can have access to work with children in different medical departments.

Kahn: I hope to go to graduate school to get my doctorate in occupational therapy (OT), and my eventual goal is to work in pediatric occupational therapy in a clinical or private practice setting.

About HDFS

Programs in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences focus on lifelong development in cross-cultural contexts; social, physical, emotional and behavioral development; and family dynamics and research training. Visit the HDFS webpage to learn more about life-changing academic programs, internships and careers.