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Scotland has launched its first national Play Strategy - showing it recognises the important role play has in children’s wellbeing and development.
Scotland claims its play strategy is the most progressive of its kind in the UK with Minister for Children and Young People Aileen Campbell saying: “We learn so much from play, it allows us to explore and be inquisitive. It helps us build confidence and interact with others and the wealth of all of this experience stays with us.
“International research has shown time and again that our early experiences have a much greater lasting effect than most of us would assume and that play, as a first step in learning, delivers economic benefits by helping children develop the skills they need for learning. The potential for savings of up to £9 per £1 invested shows our commitment to play is right for children and right for our economy.”
The Scottish Government will publish its action plan in the Autumn on how to implement the Play Strategy.
The strategy will be backed by proposals set out in the Children and Young people Bill, currently going through the Scottish Parliament.
Marguerite Hunter Blair, chief executive of Play Scotland, said: “Every child needs to play freely in order to grow into a healthy, happy, creative and confident adult and children and young people tell us that they want more time and space to play at home, at school and in the community.
“Scotland’s new National Play Strategy aims to sort this out by increasing awareness and understanding of children’s play needs, and the health, wellbeing and child-development benefits of play. By promoting a wide range of actions that encourage quality play environments and play experiences for all abilities of babes and toddlers through to teens, you can be sure that everyday adventures will follow!”
The right to play is stated in article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which says that every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
The Labour Government produced a national strategy play for England in 2008.
But Wales led the way back in 2002 producing a play policy for children in Wales. In 2006 it launched its play strategy to turn the vision of Wales's national play policy into reality.