Bold move to kickstart an outdoor play renaissance in Canada

13 Jan

An interesting development in Canada, reported by Tim Gill, who will be involved.

Rethinking Childhood

Last week the Lawson Foundation, a Canadian family foundation, launched an ambitious outdoor play strategy with the announcement of $2.7 million (£1.3 million; $US 1.9 million) in funding for 14 projects.

Lawson Foundation outdoor play strategy graphic

The strategy has an explicit and exclusive focus on unstructured outdoor play. Tackling risk aversion is a prominent theme, building on the Foundation’s recent support for a groundbreaking consensus position statement [pdf link] whose key message is that the biggest risk is keeping kids indoors.

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10 challenges for the play movement in England in 2016

5 Jan

 

As the New Year gets under way, the seemingly never-ending squeeze on public services, coupled with the perennial under-valuing of children’s play by policy-makers in particular and adult society in general, conspire to paint a gloomy picture for the English play scene in 2016.

It is sometimes hard to see past on-going cuts to front line services, the creeping privatisation of provision and the dearth of serious new initiatives to promote and support children’s right to play in the face of the many barriers they continue to face.

IMG_1925

Will 2016 see growing support for children to play in the streets?

Yet, throughout 2015, there were unexpected but welcome signs of growing support for the kind of government play policy that could really make a difference. Fractured as our movement and diminished as our capacity may be as a result of five years of austerity, the challenge of the New Year is to identify these opportunities, formulate a cohesive response to them and coalesce around a plan to turn them into substantive commitments. Here’s how.

  1. Develop play policy proposals … on the right basis
  2. Solicit wider support within Parliament
  3. Cultivate influential allies
  4. Pump up the volume through sympathetic media
  5. Grow support within the opposition
  6. Support local initiatives and engage local play champions
  7. Build our presence on social media
  8. Engage with national bodies to make them more effective
  9. Lobby ministers and opposition with persuasive proposals
  10. … and plans for how they can be delivered

None of these challenges would be easy in normal times. In the current prolonged period of hugely reduced public spending and the acute scarcity of resources for policy, development and campaigning work, they will be extremely hard to achieve – certainly with anything like the success of the previous decade. It may be that individuals and small groups, each addressing the agenda in their own way and within their own sphere of influence, will be more effective than any kind of national campaign. Over the coming weeks I will discuss each off them in turn and offer my thoughts on how to again secure political commitments to children’s play in England.

Follow this site to receive notification of each new blog.

On a personal note, 2015 saw more than 11,000 visits to the site: a modest figure by mainstream internet standards, I’m sure, but my most widely read blogging year to date.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

Adrian

 

Ten (plus one) steps towards a genuinely child-friendly city (hint: make some space for play)

2 Dec

Can the ‘top-ten’ features of a child-friendly city really not include play? Adrian Voce thinks not, and proposes an alternative list.

 ‘Children in cities need a variety of places in which to play and to learn … an unspecified, outdoor home base from which to play, to hang around in and to help form their notions of the world’ 

– Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)

 ‘(Children) being able to have fun in public spaces and participate in cultural life is one of the hallmarks of a vital and vibrant city’.

– First Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, Guide to Preparing Play Strategies (2005)

A recent blog by the Canadian urbanist, Jillian Glover identified the ten features she believes are the key to building child-friendly cities. Suggesting that with the right kind of planning ‘cities can provide children with a more active lifestyle, access to great amenities, reduced energy and goods consumption, exposure to diversity and better family connections’ she then lists her ‘ten ways to build a city for children’. Fellow blogger on play and other children’s issues, Tim Gill has broadly endorsed the list – and with things like better access to public transport, amenities, schools and childcare, as well as more bike-ability and opportunities to enjoy nature featured, many people will indeed have seen this as a sensible agenda for a more child-friendly urban environment.

Yet there is a glaring omission from Glover’s list. Nowhere, even in the explicatory sub-text after each item, does the word ‘play’ appear. Playfulness is certainly implied in the (tellingly) last item on the list: ‘fun and whimsy’ but even here it is concerned more with ‘things to inspire the inner child in all of us’, than with specifically addressing children’s need for space to play.

Glover is an advisor to the Canadian government, and it is perhaps then no surprise that her list seems to reflect a fairly modest ambition: aspirations that would not seem too radical to a serving administration. One pragmatic approach to policy influencing is to only suggest changes that are likely to be accepted. Proposals for more and better play space for children do not obviously accord with the perennial, future-focused concerns about education, economic growth and sustainability that preoccupy most policymakers.

Nevertheless, if this list is representative of current urbanist thinking about children, many will be alarmed that play does not warrant an explicit mention; and wonder even whether the proposals are really for the adult management of children, more than for children themselves.

To redress the balance, and because a genuinely child-friendly city should first and foremost be a city where they can play, I suggest a different list for a playable, and therefore genuinely child-friendly city.

One – End the domination of traffic
Playing in the immediate vicinity of their homes is the area of children’s play lives that has been most curtailed by the modern world. Research perennially reveals that cars, vans and lorries – moving and stationary – are the greatest enemy of street play. Traffic calming schemes alone do little to reverse this trend. What is needed is a major and long-term rethink of how we conceive streets where people live. The pervading model of roads with dwellings down each side has resulted in whole neighbourhoods, districts and cities becoming devoid of children playing on the pavements or in the ‘shallow sidewalk niches out of the line of moving pedestrian feet’ (Jacobs, 1961), as they had done in previous generations. Street play schemes are a grass roots attempt to reclaim this space from ‘king-car’ but must lead in the longer term to more home-zones, pedestrian areas, and shared space designs – as the norm, not the exception – so that the streets where people live are once again for people of all ages to enjoy, not just for vehicles to drive down.

Two – Adopt playable designs of public space
It is not just residential streets that could benefit from a design revolution to end the tyranny of the car. Shared public spaces in ‘down-town’ cultural and shopping centres are also blighted by the dominance of traffic. Shared space, pedestrian schemes, and the redirection of heavy traffic away from social hubs can transform the life of inner city areas and, along with child-friendly design principles, enable children to enjoy public spaces as much as older generations do . Certainly, public space should afford children of all ages opportunities to play – or have ‘fun and whimsy’, as Glover puts it. But these affordances do not need to be sign-posted as ‘PLAYFUL’. Access, space and permission to use it are more important than explicit play installations. Children need space that simply welcomes them into it and gives their parents confidence to let them play. They will do the rest. As the great American urbanist, Jane Jacobs (1961) said, ‘the requisite for any of these varieties of incidental play is not pretentious equipment of any sort, but rather space at an immediately convenient and interesting place’.

Three – Break the mould – and the hold – of the public playground
By far the greatest investment explicitly in children’s play by any municipal authority is its fixed equipment playground budget. Yet many, if not most, children’s playgrounds offer limited play value, selling children short with their reductionist approach and over-cautious designs. Furthermore, they tend to perpetuate the assumption that children’s play is separate and discrete from wider public life, needing special equipment, fences and flooring. While there have been attempts to reconceive the public playground, the stereotype prevails. A real ludic city, recognising that all its public spaces are part of the child’s domain, will eventually not need them at all; its parks, public squares and ultimately its streets and sidewalks providing children with all the play opportunities they need.


Four – Build and staff more adventure playgrounds
Many dense urban areas, even with a long-term commitment to curbing traffic, are a long way from having the confidence of either children or their parents as safe places to play. In contrast, then, to the general shift away from municipal playgrounds, these neighbourhoods need bespoke play areas, staffed by skilled playworkers and responsive to the culture of local children. The best such provision is the traditional adventure playground, developed and co-created with its young users, always evolving and changing  but ever dedicated to nothing but their time and space to play. One of these, wherever there is the most pressing need, would cost a fraction of a city’s education budget

Five – Make parks for everyone, including teens
While the children’s playground (often ill-conceived – see 3 above) is a standard fixture of most municipal parks, they are, conversely, too often lacking facilities for older children and young people. Indeed many parks and leisure departments, though unlikely to admit it, knowingly discourage teenagers in public parks and green spaces, fearing harm to the horticulture or anti-social behaviour towards other users. This attitude should be unacceptable: urban public parks should feature a range of skate parks, games areas and hang-out shelters for young people, who should also be engaged in their conception and design.

Children need space to play within the fabric of the city, not apart from it

Children need space to play within the fabric of the city, not apart from it

Six – Make playwork the required approach for childcare
The cost of city living, changes to urban family life and the growing number of two income households has seen a rapid expansion in school-aged childcare in many modern cities. Yet the quality of such provision is rarely scrutinised, especially in the deregulated, under-resourced world of public service austerity that has prevailed in most countries since the crash. Much after-school care is provided by schools themselves and where cities have authority for education, therefore, they are in position to set the standards for childcare too. These should be based, not on the school regime – as is too often the case – (meaning that many children are effectively ‘in school’ for 8- or even 10-hours a day) but on the quality standards and principles of playwork. School-aged childcare should be run by playworkers, who alone of the children’s workforce are dedicated to and skilled in supporting children to enjoy their own time and space.

Seven – Open up schools for play
For most urban communities, the local school is the greatest resource solely for children. Yet in many, if not most cities, schools are narrowly focused on the curriculum and the school day. Schools, or at the very least, school grounds are potential play spaces for local children throughout the day, and all year round, but are generally out-of-bounds when lessons have finished, other than for registered childcare and after school clubs. With a more outward-looking, community-focused approach, these under-utilised public assets, which absorb the majority of a city’s investment in its children, could become local ludic hubs. As long as the roads are still such a threat to street play, this would go a long way towards ensuring all children have somewhere to play near where they live.

Eight – Review the policing of children
A society that proscribes hopscotch (BBC News, 2013), ball games and young people simply hanging out together in public, while accepting a daily toll of death and injury to children simply trying to get from one side of a street to another, really should examine its priorities. Anti-social behaviour laws are generally the province of national governments, but their interpretation and application is the job of the police, usually under local control. City authorities should adopt more sensitive, enabling approaches to the policing of children and young people and train their police forces accordingly.

Nine – Develop safe routes to school
One oft quoted measure in the UK of the declining ‘licence to roam’ – to have the independent mobility which is a good proxy indicator of the freedom to play out – has been the proportion of children walking unsupervised to school. A study of road safety for the Policy Studies Institute (Hillman et al, 1990) found that this figure fell from 80% in 1971 to a mere 9% by 1990. One way to return children to the outside world and again give them the confidence to play there, would be to make sure that the one journey they have to make, five days a week, is safe for them to make alone.

Ten – Embed thinking about play within planning policy
To the extent that cities have authority for planning policy and planning decisions they are directly responsible for the future shape and nature of the built environment and how it responds to people. Spatial development plans should specifically identify space for children’s play as a planning priority, while planning guidance for housing in particular should specify minimum standards – quality and quantity – of play space in new developments.

Plus one…
The need to play is so universal, its manifestations so diverse and the barriers to it so complex that, as our list implies, a co-ordinated, long-term approach is needed. Crosscutting play strategies should be adopted by city authorities – with the political leadership and interdepartmental cooperation necessary to make them effective.

As the great British play pioneer, Lady Allen of Hurtwood (1968) urged almost 50 years ago, local authorities need to employ play specialists to work across ‘housing, education, parks and health …’ and for planners ‘to bring more sensitive awareness into the places where people live and where they bring up families, so that children and their parents can feel they belong to a community that is intimate’.

Lady Allen knew that only with this specific, strategic commitment to enabling children to play within the public spaces of their communities, will we be moving closer to the genuinely child-friendly city.

Adrian Voce

References

BBC News, 2013, Ramsgate girl’s hopschotch grid ‘sparked Kent Police warning’, 9 May, available online: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-kent-22475517

Hillman, M, Adams, J and Whitelegg, J, 1990, One false move, London: Policy Studies Institute

Hurtwood, Lady Allen of, 1968, Planning for play, London: Thames and Hudson

Jacobs, J, 1961, The death and life of great American cities, New York: Vintage Books

Mayor of London, 2005, Guide to preparing local play strategies: Planning inclusive play space and opportunities for all London’s children and young people, London: Greater London Authority

PoliPinkW01cy for Play – responding to children’s forgotten right
by Adrian Voce (with a foreword by Roger Hart) is published by Policy Press

 

 

The state of playwork

24 Nov
In this article from the International Journal of Play, Adrian Voce surveys the challenges facing playwork in the UK and suggests that the field needs to consolidate around a new representative vehicle to reverse its current decline.
Can a new vehicle for playwork help to reverse its current decline?

Can a new vehicle for playwork help to reverse its current decline?

Abstract:

Playwork in the UK is an approach to working with children in free play settings – and a body of theory and practice informing that approach – that emerged and has traditionally flourished in public play provision, funded to a greater or lesser extent by the state. After the ambitious 12-year play strategy (2008) of the last Labour government seemed to promise a bright future for such services, and for the professional development of the playwork community, the austerity measures of the coalition and Conservative governments since 2010 have greatly reduced the extent of staffed play provision in the public and voluntary sectors; and pushed this emergent profession into seeming decline.

Conversely, there is evidence of playwork’s growing influence and popularity in other parts of the world; but for the playwork community to withstand the dramatic downturn in its fortunes in the UK, it needs to unify, consolidate its resources, learn from its history and grow and retain control of its own support and representational structures. A new independent vehicle, emerging from a 2013 summit in Sheffield – called to find a response to the existential crisis facing playwork – may be the start of this fight-back.

This is an abstract of a paper published in the International Journal of Play. Access details here.

Responding to children’s forgotten right – Policy for Play book published today

28 Oct

Today’s blog is from Policy Press.

Adrian Voce’s book ‘Policy for Play: Responding to children’s forgotten right‘ publishes today. We caught up with Adrian to find out a little more about the background to the book, what inspired him to write it and why he thinks children’s right to play is ripe for reconsideration by policymakers.

Children’s play is an unlikely subject for a book about policy; what made you want to write it?

Well, that’s one of its main points. Because play is very important to children, but much less so to the adults who control their environments, it is widely overlooked within child policy. But from a wide range of perspectives playing is crucial, both to children’s wellbeing in the present, and to their on-going development.

When considered next to the growing evidence of constraints on children’s play, it is not difficult to conclude that a broad, strategic and sophisticated response is required at different levels of society. And, because all children need to play, this must be a public realm response, which means a key role for government.

The book looks back at the Play Strategy for England, which was abandoned in 2010. How is this relevant now?

Notwithstanding the Welsh Government policy, which makes play provision a statutory duty on local authorities, the Play Strategy of 2008 was the closest a national government has yet come to a full response to Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).

Governments have an obligation to 'respect, protect and fulfil' children's right to play

Governments have an obligation to ‘respect, protect and fulfil’ children’s right to play

The UN’s own General Comment of 2013 elaborates states’ obligations under the convention to make the plans, provide the funding and legislate as appropriate to ‘respect, protect and fulfil’ all children’s right to play. The UK government set out to do that with a 12-year plan in 2008, but because it was then scrapped after only 2 years, there is a tendency to dismiss it as failed policy, or to overlook it altogether.

My book aims to stimulate a fresh look at what was achieved in terms of policy development; not to resurrect the strategy itself, which was of course particular to its wider context of New Labour’s reforms (universal outcomes and so on), but at its principles and its broad approach: as a detailed case study of what is possible in policy terms.

Wasn’t the Play Strategy mainly about new playgrounds? Can play advocates really claim that this is a priority when public expenditure is still under so much downward pressure?

The most significant – and longer term – elements of the play strategy were not the new play areas but the measures to effect change in the way public space responded to children’s needs. Traffic, highways, parks, planning, housing, and policing: these are each important areas of public policy that impact on children’s access to the outdoor world for their play. The approach I am advocating in the book, and which was begun through the Play Strategy, tackled each of these areas – nationally and locally – aiming to cultivate shared understandings, through professional development and joint planning, of what children need from the public realm.

Traffic, highways, parks, planning, housing, and policing…are each important areas of public policy that impact on children’s access to the outdoor world for their play.

One of the ironies of the premature termination of the Play Strategy was that this part of the policy was not expensive in Treasury terms. The plan after 2011 was to embed the concept of strategic partnerships for children’s play within the joint planning and commissioning process of local government – with the incentive of a new national indicator for play – and to provide high level training and facilitation to the cross-cutting professional groupings that would be necessary to make this happen. The decision to scrap this had less to do with finance and more to do with a different concept of the role of central government.

In his foreword to the book, Professor Roger Hart talks about playwork. Where does this fit with your approach to play policy?

Playwork is synonymous, for many people, with childcare for older children but, when practiced properly, it is a new approach to working with children, less wedded to the dominant discourse that informs more established practices and underpins so much child policy. Playwork resists the assumption made throughout the world of education and children’s services – and much of society – that adult responsibilities for children’s future ‘life chances’ override their own designs on their time and space: that ‘we know best’.

If our residential areas became, once again, daily places for children to play… a rapid reversal of childhood obesity would be just one of the benefits.

Playwork serves only children’s play and their opportunity and capacity to enjoy it to the full. In so doing, its theory and practice has assimilated a wide, trans-disciplinary perspective on children’s play, which makes playworkers some of the best – and best informed – advocates for an enlightened approach to play policy that you will find anywhere. If policymakers want to engender a healthy, active child population they really should engage with vocational playworkers, as they know what constitutes playable space. If our residential areas became, once again, daily places for children to play – outside in the common spaces of their streets and neighbourhoods – we would see a rapid reversal of childhood obesity, to mention just one of the benefits.

Isn’t there a contradiction in your recommendations to improve the playability of public space at the same time as expanding the number of staffed adventure playgrounds?

Yes, playwork has always been aware of the paradox of its approach. It’s a profession that aims ultimately to be unnecessary, at least in its direct provider role; but then you could probably say the same about social work and even medicine! Ideally we wouldn’t need playworkers or adventure playgrounds, but that utopia isn’t coming any time soon.

Playwork emerged on adventure playgrounds and one of the most exciting elements of the Play Strategy was the Pathfinder programme to expand their number and to develop playwork as a profession. Instead, we are seeing probably the steepest reduction in real (staffed) adventure playgrounds that we have ever had, and a corresponding decline in playwork.

What are the current prospects for play policy?

Well, the book relates how play provision – let alone strategic planning for more playable public space – has been a big casualty of austerity; but it also touches on the green shoots of new policy emerging, with an All Party Parliamentary Group, the new Children’s Commissioner, the Children’s Rights Alliance for England and even the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, all calling for the Government to reinstate children’s play as a ministerial responsibility and to rethink its decision to abandon policy for play.

In more general terms, I think play will become a bigger issue as long as public space is perceived as unsafe and unwelcoming to children. Whether it is out of concern about the consequences of sedentary lifestyles, or out of a realisation that the futures we anxiously anticipate for them are maybe less important than the quality of their lives now – no society (to paraphrase Lloyd George) can neglect the need of its children to play.

Policy for play finalPolicy for Play – responding to children’s forgotten right
by Adrian Voce
with a foreword by Roger Hart

published today by Policy Press

Come on, it’s not so bad – the APPG report on play

22 Oct

While critical of its main recommendation, Bernard Spiegal finds many positive things to say about the recent APPG report on play.

Bernard Spiegal

It’s true, the recent report on play by the All-Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood would have benefited from some judicious editing and organising in terms of structure and length. True, too, that there are points where it veers off in directions that some might feel are not entirely consistent with other points it seeks to make.

But if you’re of a mind that repetition of one’s cardinal beliefs is evidence of their veracity, this may be the report for you. For not a page goes by where one is not reminded that, truly, play is a wondrous thing – as activity; as state of mind; as scourge of obesity epidemics; as generator of formal educational achievement – capable of generating every kind of benefit. No slouch, either, this report, for it takes care to reference the basis of its analysis and conclusions.

Nevertheless, disappointment has been expressed…

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‘To follow their own playful nature’

21 Oct
Although containing some suggestions that policymakers should take a serious look at, last week’s ‘Play’ report of the All Party Parliamentary Group on a Fit and Healthy Childhood, struggled to find a cohesive narrative or a clear set of policy aims within the myriad demands of its various stakeholders. With its calls to improve diets, extend school sports and make greater use of technology in early learning, the report was an example of what can happen when children’s play is seconded to other agendas.
In Policy for Play – responding to children’s forgotten right, published next week by Policy Press, author Adrian Voce argues that children’s need to play is so important, and yet so constrained by the modern world, that a bold strategic policy for play in its own right is the only logical response.
In this edited extract from the book, he sets out some focused recommendations for a coherent national play policy.

A public realm – space, services and culture – that supports the basic needs of all its people must treat the innate and expressed desire of all children to play with at least as much seriousness as it does their anticipated future needs as employable adults.

Indeed, the evidence strongly indicates that these needs are complementary. How, indeed, could they not be? If playing stimulates brain growth, adaptability and emotional intelligence; engenders resilience and creative initiative, develops the child’s sense of self and relationship and enables him or her to practice assessing and navigating risk, how could it not be a fundamentally important aspect of the growth and development that will equip him or her to do well in life and be a valuable member of society?

To ask whether children play because of the deferred benefits they seem to derive from it, or simply because it’s the best fun they can have, is the wrong question. The ‘play for its own sake’ versus ‘play for positive outcomes’ argument is a false dichotomy. No child has ever played to improve their future life chances, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that, in playing, they do just that. From a policy perspective, however, the distinction is crucial.

Policy must aim to create a playable public realm

Policy must aim to create a playable public realm

We know that the optimum conditions for playing are those which support and respond to children’s own initiative, provide them with resources and space to manipulate and explore, and give them permission to be spontaneous and expressive. The real question to ask is to what extent our expenditure on services and spaces for children – and on housing, streets, parks and public spaces for their communities – affords them such opportunities.

A policy for children’s play must aim to address the barriers and cultivate the opportunities for them to be free to follow their own playful nature within the bounds of our need for them to be also safe from serious harm (and there, often, is the rub [1]). Creating and allowing children’s space must be a fundamental component of any meaningful policy and strategy for their health, development and wellbeing, and part of any long-term vision for the public realm.

So what are the specific policy measures needed to bring about this change?

A cabinet minister for children
A prerequisite for the kind of changes that are needed, implicit in the UN’s General Comment (2013), is a recognition at the top level of government that children’s right to play is of equal significance to their wellbeing and future life chances as their other rights under the CRC. This needs a secretary of state not just for education, but for children.

A cross-departmental plan for play
Planning; architecture and landscape architecture; traffic; police; housing; parks; leisure and cultural services; schools and children’s services, early years’ and childcare provision, as well as play services themselves, each have a significant role in either inhibiting or enabling children’s play. Logically, then, the national government should produce and implement a long-term, cross-departmental national strategy to identify and effect the necessary changes to policy and practice within each of these areas, according to a common set of understandings about the nature of play and playable space.

Planning policy
National policy and guidance should place a duty on planning authorities to ensure minimum qualitative and quantitative standards for children’s play space in new developments, supported by good practice guidance for the creation of child-friendly public space within spatial development strategies, local development frameworks and relevant master plans (such as the Mayor of London, 2006).

Traffic management
Departments for transport and highways should collaborate with planning policy to calm traffic flow in residential areas and around children’s transit routes, introducing ‘shared space’ streetscapes, ‘Home Zones’, pedestrian areas and play streets wherever possible, with lower (15 or 20mph) speed limits as the norm for residential streets in general.

Playwork and playwork services
A national play strategy should review and evaluate the adventure playground network and introduce a long-term sustainable development plan for this valuable and unique form of provision. Professional playwork should be fully supported by government policies for workforce development, and playwork services should be fully recognised by the relevant registration and inspection regimes, whose criteria should be based on good playwork practice.

Childcare and extended services
Children should be able to play freely after school in whatever environment they find themselves. School-aged childcare, afterschool clubs and ‘extended services’ should contain: a basic offer of playwork provision, appropriately staffed by qualified practitioners; enriched play environments, including a requirement for outdoor space, as identified by good playwork practice; greater parity between the status, terms and conditions of teachers, playworkers and childcare staff; and inspection against criteria that is consistent with playwork theory and practice.

Cross-professional training
A key to an effective local play strategy will be the proactive cultivation of a better, evidence-based understanding of children’s play within the professional sectors that conceive, design, develop and manage public space, particularly in residential areas and the transit routes between homes and schools, sports and leisure centre, parks and other open spaces.

Statutory play duty on local authorities
The impact of the play sufficiency duty in Wales has yet to be authoritatively evaluated but, as an interviewee in Lester and Russell’s (2013) early analysis found, there is ‘a sense of excitement’ around the process and a ‘collective wisdom’ emerging through ‘supportive and collaborative networks … within a community of practice of adults looking to support children’s play’. The UK government should monitor this work and explore its potential for replication in England.

[1] Excessive risk aversion on the part local authorities and other public play providers (and, more controversially, many parents too) has been long cited as an inhibiting factor on children’s freedom to play. A more enlightened approach to risk management, championed by Play England and its partners on the Play Safety Forum, was an important element of the Play Strategy for England (DCSF, 2008).

References

Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 2013, Article 31: General comment no. 17 on the right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts, adopted 17 April 2013, available from: http://www2.ohchr.org

Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) /Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), 2008, The play strategy, London: Crown Copyright

Lester, S and Russell, W, 2013, Leopard skin wellies, a top hat and a vacuum cleaner hose: An analysis of Wales’s play sufficiency assessment duty, Cardiff: Play Wales / University of Gloucestershire

Mayor of London, 2008, Supplementary planning guidance: Providing for children and young people’s play and informal recreation, London: Greater London Authority.

Policy for play finalThis blog is an edited extract from Policy for Play – responding to children’s forgotten right, by Adrian Voce (with a foreword by Roger Hart).
published by Policy Press on 28 October 2015.
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