Play Matters : The Strategy

Play matters

Play is an important and main source of exercise for young children. Sport is also essential, although good sporting skills only develop from the fine motor skills acquired naturally through play. If Scotland wants to address its childhood obesity problem and win the world cup one day, then all kids must be given the best play opportunities. Children start to explore the world by playing, it’s how they learn to discover things. Even the greatest philosophers remember something playful about their intelligent lives. Moreover, for schools to thrive, play has to be an essential part of a child’s personal and academic development.

Play groups full of peers continues to be the most natural social environment for the young ones; it has been the case for the 80,000 generations of human-beings. Parents provide their little ones with security, nourishment, and care, however, it’s when they’re surrounded by other children that they establish who they are and who they will become in the future. If you want the absolute best for your kids then you must allow them to play. Play matters, a strategy that matters - the emotional, physical and mental health of all the future generations rely on it.

The Play Strategy

Play Highland , a partnership between ‘Go Play Ventures’ and the Highland Childrens Forum, joined ventures to assess the Highland council’s 2006 to 2010 policy - ‘All to Play For’ and to outline the following Highland Play Strategy via stakeholder consultations. 1000 people responded to the consultation: 242 adults and 993 young people and children. The adult respondents included parents, grandparents and child service representatives as well as other related services like Housing, TEC Services and Planning. The younger respondents ranged from pre-school children to secondary school ages, and also included a few young children with extra support needs and some from residential care. The consultation aimed to:

  • » Examine whether the aspirational and attitudinal goals of the initial policy were met.
  • » To establish a base line of existing attitudes of adults towards children’s play experiences.
  • » Determine stakeholder opinions regarding their objectives and main priorities towards the new play policy.

The Review of Highland Council Play Strategy 2006 – 2010 All to Play For’, established four separate themes for the latest play policy, ‘Play Matters 2012-2016’:

1. Involvement

That young children and all stakeholders are involved in the decision making and planning process about play in a meaningful manner.

2. Communication

Highland is properly promoted as a friendly play area, where every adult gives value to and comprehends the real benefits of free and stimulating play as highlighted in this scientifically reviewed paper.

3. Access

Residential areas in the Highlands are completely play-friendly, and provide access to a range of different play experiences, including informal and natural spaces that include the diversity of young people and children in the local community.

4. Child Centred Play

Every child is supported to gain access to play freely that reflects his/her personal aspirations and views, this could be creative and or challenging.

Why Play Matters?

Safety: Play is essential to the healthy development of young people and affects all aspects of their emotional and physical wellbeing. Safe play helps children develop risk assessments skills as well as their street sense, which enables them to keep their own safety in mind and learn how to react towards dangerous situations.

Healthy: playing outdoors reduces the risk of childhood obesity and other risks associated with it like diabetes, and assists in developing an active physical lifestyle that continues into adulthood. Being active, going outdoors and remaining sociable creates a positive attitude and are great for positive mental health and wellbeing.

Achieving: When children play, they learn from a young age to problem solve, practise, experiment, investigate, analyse and make sense of their environment.

Nurtured: Kids and younger people feel genuinely cared for and nurtured through playful interactions with their friends and family. It’s how they develop their relationship and attachment skills.

Active: Play allows kids and youngsters to become socially and physically active, develop their physical strength and dexterity, and it inspires interaction with other people.

Responsible and Respected: Play provides a solid learning foundation such as reacting to and interacting with others, sharing, negotiating as well as taking various roles.

Included: Appreciating play shows younger ones that they are welcome and included into society. Making sure that all youngsters have the chance to join in, which in turn builds their acceptance of variety and understanding. Play allows children to become confident individuals, encourages them to try different things, practice what they’ve already learned and overcome any challenges.

Successful Learners: Youngsters utilise play to set their personal agendas, explore things they’re interested in and start learning from trial and error.

Valuable Contributors: Playing inspires children to share ideas and encourages them to try different approaches. Children learn from each other and feel extremely valued when they belong to a team.

Responsible and Mature Citizens: Playing out doors encourages children to respect and take interest in their natural environment. Children learn to foster responsibility when they play with others and also learn how to look after one another. Nevertheless, play is a lot more serious – it has an influence on the overall wellbeing of youngsters, which influences the kind of adults they become in the future. Hence, play is essential for the development of healthy societies. When it comes to difficult financial conditions, an effort to change peoples’ outlook to retrieve communities as playful places is possibly the biggest influence that can be made to all children’s health. Thus, play is important to everybody.