Play Wales: ‘Adults should pay better attention to children’s play needs’
Adults should pay ‘better attention’ to children’s play needs in order to serve their interests better, says the head of Wales’ national body for play.
Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales, also says that while the play restrictions caused by the pandemic led to a need for professional support, there is a need to ‘trust children to know what they need’.
Writing in its latest magazine, he highlights how including disabled children in play provision is another key topic, along with how access to space and how it is organised can support more children to play in their neighbourhoods more often, giving them a sense of belonging and attachment.
The issue of ensuring all children, irrespective of any disabilities, have access to play facilities is a major issue for Play Wales, and uses the starting point of this right being enshrined in Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
‘Public spaces..provide little that meets children’s needs’
Play Wales highlights concerns by the UN Committee ‘that children and teenagers are not always being considered in policies and practices that affect the organisation of the built environment’.
“The way that public spaces are designed and organised tend to provide little that meets the needs and rights of children and teenagers to play and meet with friends,” it adds.
Mike Greenaway writes: “It is vital we remember that (children) can support their own mental and physical health if they have plenty of opportunities to self-organise their play. For children to feel that they belong, they need everyday opportunities to be able to play and gather with friends in and around their neighbourhoods, and a bit further afield, when they are old enough.
“Children most certainly haven’t forgotten how to play – it would serve all children well if adults were better at paying attention to their play and how to support it better.”
‘Children need everyday opportunities
Other issues covered include a new app, RPlace too, designed to help improve community play spaces for children and teenagers, and details of new play-focused courses and qualifications for child professionals.
There is also an article written by social, place and play researcher and practitioner, Claire Edwards, about teenagers’ play needs and ‘why we should care’.
Click here for Play Wales.
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