All party group calls for play to be at the heart of ‘whole child’ health strategy

13 Oct
A Parliamentary report on children’s play, published today, calls for play to be at the centre of a ‘whole child’ approach to health and wellbeing.

The All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, co-chaired by Baroness Floella Benjamin and Jim Fitzpatrick MP, today launches its long-awaited report on children’s play.

Announcing the report, the group says that ‘whilst there is broad consensus about the importance of physical activity in the battle against obesity, play (policy) has lost political momentum in recent years and the report calls for a fresh approach’.

In a statement released alongside the report today, Baroness Benjamin says that the group’s proposals on play ‘are integral to a “whole child” strategy for health and wellbeing and should not be regarded as an “add on”. Of course encouraging children to participate in sport is important, but in practice, not all children are “sporty”. Play benefits children of all ages in many different settings and should be at the heart of government initiatives to promote their health and wellbeing, overseen by a Cabinet Minister for Children with the power of cross-departmental audit’.

The group added that the report emphasises ‘play as an essential part of the learning process both inside and outside the classroom and home’ and that it also looks at ‘the role of the planning process in making streets and outdoor space playable for children’.

The report calls on ‘the play industry, advertising, the media and national and local government to recognise the contribution that play can make to children’s lives’.

“(promoting) play as part of a whole child strategy should be a key priority for policy-makers at all levels”.

– Helen Clark, lead author of ‘Play’, a report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood

The report’s lead author, former MP, Helen Clark said that it was time for a re-evaluation of play (policy) including new guidance for parents and training for health and education professionals. She also stressed the need for play not to be regarded as an expendable part of childhood:

‘The All Party Group sees play as central to a child’s learning and healthy development. Research has shown that integrating time for play into the school day is essential to develop creativity, promote emotional intelligence and improve academic achievement … There is a worrying trend towards cutting down on break times at school and parents being reluctant to let their children stray away from the garden. It’s time to see play in all its infinite variety as an essential component of child health of mind and body – and also key to combating the scourge of obesity. (Promoting) play as part of a whole child strategy should be a key priority for policy-makers at all levels.’

The full report ‘Play’ by the All Party Parliamentary Group for a Fit and Healthy Childhood can be downloaded here



14 Responses to “All party group calls for play to be at the heart of ‘whole child’ health strategy”

  1. plexity 13 October 2015 at 10:34 am #

    Excellent news! Great quote!

    Did you have a hand in this Voce? Come on, bit, admit it, there’s a good chap. Lights under bushels and all that.

    Do I have to read the bloody thing or have got one of your offspring to summarise it for me? I’m bloody busy and important you know.


    • plexity 13 October 2015 at 10:35 am #

      Drat, typo. Bit should be boy.

      Come on, boy…


    • adrianvoce 13 October 2015 at 10:46 am #

      Thanks Arthur. Well, I can’t deny it, as I’m listed as a contributor; although there were many others too. My considered response to the report will be posted here tomorrow.

      Liked by 1 person

      • plexity 13 October 2015 at 3:01 pm #

        BTW, minor point: could you ask Floella to be photographed next time, in an outfit that doesn’t hurt my eyes? I haz visual disability.


    • Donne Buck 13 October 2015 at 3:08 pm #

      Wonderful result. I hope to see action on this at policy and ground level before I die, but I shan’t hold my breath. OK, that would kill me anyway, let’s say action before the next election or we’ll kick them out.


  2. Tim Gill 13 October 2015 at 1:01 pm #

    Reblogged this on Rethinking Childhood and commented:
    Positive news from parliament for the first time in a long time, with the launch of a new report on play from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood. Central to the report is its call for the promotion of play as part of a ‘whole child’ strategy. Read more on the website of Adrian Voce, former director of Play England.


  3. Anna Lubelska 13 October 2015 at 3:18 pm #

    Good news for children’s play at long last. Well one to all concerned!


    • adrianvoce 15 October 2015 at 7:11 pm #

      Thanks Anna! Great to hear from you! (and Tim in the same thread…reminds me of hopeful times!)


  4. play and other things 14 October 2015 at 4:21 pm #

    Reblogged this on Play and Other Things….


  5. Jules 19 October 2015 at 9:23 am #

    Reblogged this on Outdoor Learning.



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