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Parliament unanimously agreed to the general principles of the UNCRC Incorporation (Scotland) Bill

We are pleased to inform you that the Parliament unanimously agreed to the general principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill, after the Stage 1 debate.

As set out in the stage 1 response, the Scottish Government intends to bring forward amendments that deliver on a large number of the Committee’s recommendations to strengthen the Bill. This includes an amendment to make clear that those undertaking functions pursuant to contracts or other arrangements with public authorities should also be subject to the requirement not to act incompatibly with the UNCRC requirements. The Scottish Government’s view is that children and young people deserve to have their rights prioritised and upheld by all those undertaking functions, including those who are paid to undertake functions on behalf of public authorities.

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A reminder of the significance of play in lockdown by Tom Gill

It seems timely to share a post that child psychology academic Prof Helen Dodd and I wrote for The Conversation in March last year. With many schoolchildren at home once more, millions of parents across the UK are grappling with the added pressure of trying to home-school at the same time as holding everything else together.

“Free play can also help children make sense of things they find hard to understand.” Helen Dodd and Tim Gill

In one sense lockdown may be a little less daunting this time around, in part because of the hope offered by the vaccination programme. That said, many parents will be all too aware of the impact of school closures on their children’s education. They will be desperate to do whatever they can to keep their children from falling further behind.

But the truth is that no-one benefits if children or their parents are under constant stress. This is why finding some space and time for unstructured, open-ended play is so important. Play can act as a release valve that allows children to feel a sense of their own agency, and to make some kind of sense of their experiences on their own terms, with adult concerns fading into the background.

We still need much greater recognition of children’s need and right to play during lockdown, as the English Children’s Commissioner Anne Longfield has called for.

One small mercy is that unlike the first lockdown, public playgrounds are mostly open, providing a welcome outdoor space, especially for families who have no access to a private garden.

This modest nod to the value of play resonates with a striking photography project put together by Will Britten, a postgraduate student at Central Saint Martins who contacted me late last year. He has put together a portfolio of images of public play areas in London that were fenced off during the first lockdown.

Some of Britten’s images signify a symbolic imprisonment of the human spirit.

But at one park, Britten came across patterns of brightly coloured yarn that had been woven into the barrier fencing around a picnic table. For me, it is a compelling reminder of the irrepressibility of the urge to play.

For the images and full article see

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Playful Schools Practice Insights article

Delighted that the Playful Schools project has been featured in Issue 17 of Practice Insights, which is focussed on Community Development Approaches to the COVID-19 crisis.  Article on pages 28-30, attached here.  Full magazine available at

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The Association for the Study of Play Online Conference: Call for Presentation Proposals

Conference Theme: Necessity of Play

Date: March 20, 2021

Platforms: Zoom and CANVAS

This year’s TASP conference focuses on providing for play during times of crisis and stress including homelessness, abject poverty, natural disasters, border crossing/trafficking, imprisonment, refugee/mass migration, pandemic, terrorism, and war. Drawing on Sutton-Smith’s (2017) conceptual framework on play as emotional survival, conference themes are broadly organized around play as a coping mechanism in the face of external adversities and as a way to foster resilience and hope. Thus, play is the experience of creative purpose and inner necessity for emotional survival.

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The Play Council Meeting and Play Scotland AGM

Please save the date!

The Play Council Meeting and Play Scotland AGM will be held online on Saturday 23rd January from 9.45am – 12.30pm.  It is FREE to attend and you can book a place through Eventbrite here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/play-council-meeting-and-play-scotland-agm-tickets-133082034949

Play and Wellbeing during COVID-19 – Focussing on mental health and wellbeing

  • Professor Helen Dodd joins us to speak about the importance of play to allow children to make sense of the world around them
  • Dr Susan Elsley will take us through the review of Scotland’s Play Strategy
  • A chance to take a “sneak peek” at the new Playful Schools Awards
  • A review of the innovative work being done by Play Scotland

We hope you can join us!

 

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Nature England Survey

Social justice issues highlighted in this report from Nature England

  • Children’s access to nature during coronavirus varied across the population. For example, 71% of children from ethnic minority backgrounds reported spending less time outside since coronavirus, compared with 57% of white children. Three-quarters (73%) of children from households with annual income below £17,000 spent less time outdoors, compared with 57% from households with an annual income above £17,000.

Natural England commissioned research to understand the perspective of children and young people relating to nature during Covid-19. Asking children about their experiences directly is important to provide young people with a greater stake in and voice about the natural environment.

A total of 1,501 children, aged between 8-15 in England, participated in an online survey between 6th-18th August 2020 (inclusive). The main findings include:

  • Coronavirus has had an impact on children’s mental health and wellbeing, with half (48%) of children interviewed reporting that being worried about catching / spreading coronavirus had stopped them from spending more time outside. More generally, one in five (19%) reported being worried the previous day and a quarter (27%) said they were lonely often/always or some of the time. One in five children (19%) reported that they were part of a household that was shielding.
  • The survey demonstrates the positive role of nature in supporting children’s well-being, with eight in ten (83%) of children interviewed agreeing that being in nature made them very happy. Overall, four in five (81%) children reported being happy and just three per cent reported being unhappy.
  • Children who reported spending more time outside (and more time noticing nature / wildlife) were more likely to report that ‘being in nature makes me very happy’ (91% and 94% respectively, compared to 79% of those who had spent less time).
  • Six in ten children (60%) reported to have spent less time outdoors since the start of coronavirus, more than double the proportion that had spent more time outside (25%). These findings suggest that, when read alongside the results for adults in the same period , far fewer children are spending more time outside since coronavirus started than adults (45% adults report spending more time outside compared to 25% of children).
  • Natural spaces are important places for connection – with the natural world and each other. However, since the lockdown, 81% of children stated that they had spent less time outside with friends. Seventy per cent of children said that, in the future when things start to get back to normal, they want to spend more time outdoors with friends, and 44% reported wanting more time outdoors at school.
  • Local parks and private gardens were important ways of accessing green and natural spaces during lockdown. When asked where they had visited in the past week, three in five children (62%) had played in gardens (theirs or someone else’s) and the same proportion (62%) had visited a park, playing field or playground. Far fewer children had spent time in other natural places such as the seaside (27%), the woods (26%) or the wider countryside (24%). Park closures were felt more acutely by younger children, with over half (56%) of 8-11 year olds saying that this stopped them from spending more time outside.

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New Playful Pedagogy Resource from Play Scotland to support everyday learning adventures across the school

Playful Pedagogy is a way of integrating children’s play experiences with curricular learning, giving pupils the flexibility to find their own solutions to both new and existing problems. It engages children in personally meaningful activities, learning about themselves and others, and encourages autonomy and their independent motivation-to-learn.

This resource is for Headteachers, teachers and schools who wish to carry forward this vision of best practice and to teach better, develop their professional skills, and enjoy themselves more along the way.

https://www.playscotland.org/resources/20592/

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S&SR Environment and Spaces Group Publication

 

The MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit of the S&SR Environment and Spaces Group “Change in use of green and open space following COVID-19 lockdown ‘stay at home’ phase and initial easing of lockdown” publication is now live on the MRC website.

 

 

http://bit.ly/greenspacesreport

https://www.gla.ac.uk/researchinstitutes/healthwellbeing/research/mrccsosocialandpublichealthsciencesunit/aboutus/covid19/

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Playful Schools: The power of Loose Parts Play

Playful Schools, a partnership project delivered with Scrap Antics has demonstrated that outdoor, free play is crucial to children’s mental health and wellbeing and provision of free play opportunities within the context of Covid-19 is entirely feasible.

Find the report here – https://www.playscotland.org/resources/playful-schools-the-power-of-loose-parts-play/

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Covid-19 and Children’s Play – update 2 September 2020

Play Scotland is a member of the UK Children’s Play Policy Forum which has commissioned this COVID 19 and Play analysis and update. Information on the COVID 19 virus and its direct impact on children’s health and indirect impact (physical, mental, social) via curtailment of play outdoors is accumulating as research continues. The findings include concerns about the risks to children from outdoor play deprivation.

“Experts in child development and child psychiatry agree that children are experiencing multiple harms as a consequence of play deprivation. There has been a failure to properly assess the risks of collateral damage to children and adolescents.” 

https://www.playscotland.org/resources/covid-19-and-childrens-play-update-2-september-2020/

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