Urgent Call for ‘More Play, Better Play’ from Play Scotland

Urgent Call for ‘More Play, Better Play’ from Play Scotland
Over the last year, Scotland has had to respond rapidly to the major impact of COVID-19.  Children and young people have seen their freedom to play and opportunities to socialise with their friends severely curtailed. Research continues to show that there has been a negative impact on their physical and mental health as a consequence of play deprivation.

At SCMA we recognise and understand how vital play is for the wellbeing, learning and development of children – now more than ever. Childminders are true play champions, who are always supporting play opportunities and looking for fun and innovative ways to enrich the lives of their minded children.

The Play Strategy Progress Report (2021), that was published earlier this month, highlights how play organisations have responded to the pandemic and evidences the impact emergency measures have had on children and young people. 

It also takes account of mitigating measures that the Scottish Government have put in place to support children’s play at a time of national crisis and provides eight recommendations on how Scotland’s Play Strategy should be taken forward in the light of COVID-19. 

  • Refresh the Play Strategy and ensure national and local leadership
  • Renew and develop the national and local commitment to outdoor play
  • Listen to children and young people and act on what they say
  • Ensure the inclusion of all children and young people
  • Ensure cross sectoral and inter professional approaches to play
  • Sustain and support play provision through adequate funding
  • Maintain a focus on playful learning and play in schools
  • Strengthen the play sector nationally and locally
These measures highlight the importance of leadership, partnership and collaboration across sectors and interests. 

Maree Todd, Minister for Children and Young People said: “We have worked closely with the play sector to protect children’s right to play during the pandemic, as outlined in Play Scotland’s report. We understand the value of outdoor play for children's wellbeing and resilience, as well as their physical and mental health. I welcome the consultation with children and young people and the insight into how their play opportunities have been affected by COVID-19 restrictions.

Children and families from more deprived areas can often find it more difficult to access organised outdoor activities, so I’m pleased that the additional funding I’ve announced will help even more children play outside in a safe and fun way.”

The overwhelming response from children and young people to the consultation was that they needed a return to the play they enjoyed, with improvements and better access to the spaces and resources in their communities, particularly for children with Additional Support Needs.

Marguerite Hunter Blair, CEO of Play Scotland said: “Children told us they miss their freedom, not seeing their friends and not being able to play with them. It is vital that we plan now to give children a summer of play in 2021, to allow them to heal, re-connect with their friends and regain their confidence. The eight recommendations for play are an essential part of our recovery from the pandemic and to realising children’s right to play now and in the future.

Useful Links

Read the Play Scotland Play Strategy Review 2020 
Read the Play Scotland Play Strategy Review Play in COVID 2021 
Read the CYP Play Strategy Consultation 2021