Child in the City World Conference Dublin: Meet…Ilse van der Put

Image: courtesy of Ilse van der Put

With our Child in the City World Conference in Dublin finishing today, we bring you another of our special Q&A features with one of the speakers. Today it’s the turn of Ilse van der Put from The Netherlands, a specialist in ‘inclusive play’. She was part of the parallel session, ‘Connecting health and play’, on day one. 

Child in the City: Can you please outline your role, and also that of the specific department and/or organisation that you work for?

Ilse van der Put: I’m an independent consultant and passionate advocate for inclusive play. I have my own business, Empowerment by Playing. I give national and international support and advice to anyone, such as municipalities, businesses, organisations, parents and children who have questions or want to get started with inclusive play.

CitC: The theme of our conference in Dublin is ‘Making Connections’, and focuses on how we make connections between both children and cities, and the various disciplines and professionals. Can you summarise how this relates to the presentation you will be giving in Dublin?

Ilse: I’ll talk about the ‘samenspeelakkoord’, the inclusive pay agreement and inclusive play network we established in The Netherlands. Organisations, funds and businesses can join by making an Inclusive play pledge. There are conditions attached to the pledge. A very important one is that children with and without disabilities should be involved as much as possible in the creation and implementation of the pledge.

CiTC: How would you define ‘inclusivity’ as it relates to children and giving them opportunities and access to play?

Ilse: At the Inclusive Play Network we define an inclusive playground as a place where: everybody is 100 per cent welcome, 70 per cent of the playable aspects (not only the play structures) are reachable for everyone and 50 per cent of all the playable aspects enable meeting between children and encourages inclusive play.

CiTC: How important is it that local authorities work with each other and also learn from ‘best practice’ of what others are successfully doing?

Ilse: That’s very important. And not only working together with other authorities but also parents, children, youth organisations and businesses.

CiTC: In your view, do we, as a society, talk to and take seriously enough the views of children and young people as regards their ideas for creating a better future? 

Ilse: Not enough. And often if we do, we do not know well how to support children in a proper way in the process.

CiTC: If you could have the audience in Dublin take away just one key message from your presentation, what would it be?

Ilse: If we talk about play, we need to understand we are talking about inclusion. Play is the basic form of the inclusive society. Inclusion starts in the sandbox.

Click here for more on Ilse’s work at Empowerment by Playing.

Author: Simon Weedy

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