IPA PlayRights Magazine 50th Anniversary Issue 2011

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PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

PlayRights Magazine Special Edition: Celebrating 50 Years

May 2011



International Play Association: Promoting the Child’s Right to Play


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

Editor’s note: Samuel Johnson, author of the first English dictionary, said “all that is great was at first little and rose to its present bulk by gradual accessions and accumu-­ lated labours.” IPA is not yet ‘great’ in terms of instant worldwide recognition, but it has made numerous significant ‘accessions’ in its first half century and the decades of volunteer labour and serious commitment is astonishing. I am not at all comparing my small contribution to IPA with Dr. Johnson’s nine years of word-­searching, but his description of himself as a “harmless drudge that busies himself in tracing the original….” struck a chord. And although the mak-­ ing of this summary of IPA history did not “fill my house with noise” it undoubtedly did fill it with an amazing amount of clutter. I have chosen to organize the history summary in note form – a sort of diary of key events and current themes. I briefly considered a more literary ‘overview of the decade’ approach but soon came to the conclusion that presumption was assuming a larger role than it should. For similar reasons I have purposely not filled the pages with names of the hundreds of hard workers who have of course been responsible for the building of the Association. This would have been a precarious if not an impossible task. Some names do appear. These are mostly from the early years to ensure that they are not lost and of Presidents and editors of IPA’s publications because these are the people whose words are on record.

of IPA over its five decades. I have avoided too much detail of events in our immediate history as so much of this is available through the website and current publications. Our archives from now on will be in good shape! The organization’s triennial conferences have played a significant role through its history and have acted to some extent as landmarks. IPA was and still is the only international multi-­disciplinary organiza-­ tion with the sole purpose of promoting the impor-­ tance of children’s play. These international events are a rich and unique smorgasbord of opportunity for everyone involved in the world of children. Con-­ ferences are sometimes criticized for their drain on resources (and now their ecological footprint) but from a communications perspective face-­to-­face meetings are extraordinary. The impact can be life-­ changing. And the ripples go on and on… Tracing the history of IPA was an adventure. I thought I knew much of it but found there was so much more that I did not know. I am simultaneously impressed and humbled. Reverting once more to Dr. Johnson, the influence of this little history will not be “sweeping” as his English Dictionary was, but I trust it will serve to provide a root for current members of the organization and to encourage new and younger play advocates to begin to build IPA’s second half century: to be a voice for children and the preservation of childhood which play so perfectly represents.

What I have mostly tried to achieve is the essence of Valerie Fronczek, Editor each era – and a sense of the gradual development

Acknowledgements I would like to express my appreciation for the sup-­ port of the ‘senior advisers’ to this project who have given me practical and/or moral support over the past two years. They include Nic Nilsson, Jan van Gils, Joe Frost, Roger Hart, Robin Moore, Rikuko Okuda, Peter Heseltine, Anne Marden, Brian Ashley, Alan Rees -­ and Tom Jambor, who kindly read the complete text armed with a very sharp proofing-­ pencil! Also dozens of members contributed their stories and memories. Thank you to all of you.

fifty years and who gave me the push (during a conference in Rotterdam) that I must clearly have needed!

The project was managed by the Magazine Editorial Group. Each member made a valuable contribution. David Yearley our magazine producer deserves par-­ ticular recognition for his commitment of time and his technical skills during the ‘pulling-­it-­all-­together’ phase of the project. His cheerful The views expressed in articles presence, and endless patience, within PlayRights are those of turned a potentially stressful task IPA is of course most grateful to the sponsors of this the authors and not necessarily those of IPA. Special Edition. They are: Richter Spielgeräte GmbH, into a pleasure. Thank you. The publishers, authors and Sutcliffe Play, Kompan A/S, The Royal Society for the printers cannot accept liability Valerie Fronczek, Editor (Canada) for errors or omissions. Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), and the City of David Yearley, Producer (England) © 2011 IPA Copenhagen. All enquiries regarding the Gill Evans (Wales) reproduction of any material which appears in PlayRights for Andrew Swan (Brazil) Special thanks go to Nic Nilsson who made me any purpose whatsoever Ric McConaghy (Australia) realize how important it was to tell the story of IPA’s should be directed in writing to the editor.



PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

Introduction Nic Nilsson (Sweden) IPA Board Member 1972 to 1990 IPA President 1981 to 1990

Fifty years ago the IPA Association was formed to promote children´s playgrounds. In the beginning the Danish adventure playground was in the forefront. After some years the perspective was enlarged to deal with all staffed playgrounds, and then with all types of play-­ grounds. After fifteen years we found that the people attracted to IPA were not only interested in playgrounds, but in the child´s right to play. Then society as a whole became responsible. We started to discuss:

First was the IYC – International Year of the Child—where IPA be-­ came responsible for the NGO group for children’s play, which created reasons for visits to UN in New York and Geneva. This was the first time IPA acted on a world level.

IYP International Year of Peace gave IPA the opportunity to work against toys of war and violence, which we did in order to diminish their production and sale by adults perhaps unaware of the potential of spreading war and Play and health -­ play is violence in to the child’s environ-­ ment. The UN Secretary-­General essential for the physical Pérez de Cuéllar designated IPA and mental health of the as a “Peace Messenger”. At the child. Play and education -­ play is same time IPA drew attention to negative consequences of chil-­ part of education. Play and welfare -­ play is an dren living in high-­rise housing. Research convincingly confirmed essential part of family and the negative effect of high-­rise community life. Play and leisure -­ children housing on children and their play. need opportunities to play In the beginning, and for many at leisure. years, there were four persons on Play and planning -­ the the IPA Board. Today the Board needs of the child must have priority in the planning has doubled and is part of a Council of National Representa-­ of human settlements. tives. IPA has developed from a small group of people with a com-­ Rather soon we found that we mon belief in the importance of needed to cooperate with UN-­ children’s play to a world-­wide organizations to help us elevate organization. children’s play to where it truly belonged – a central element in Every third year IPA invites ‘the human development and well-­ world’ to a multi-­disciplinary being. IPA became recognized conference on play. In the early by UNESCO, ECOSOC, and years they were held in Europe -­ UNICEF and gained consultative Zurich, London, Paris, Vienna, status. IPA international activities Milan. Ottawa (Canada) in 1978 were then concentrated around was the first one outside Europe. the specific UN Years.

Rotterdam, Dubrovnik and Stock-­ holm followed and then the first Conference in Asia was held in Tokyo. Having become truly inter-­ national IPA Conferences were then held in Melbourne—the first in the Southern Hemisphere— Helsinki, Lisbon, Sao Paulo (Brazil), Berlin, and Hong Kong. In 2011 IPA celebrates its 50 years at its Conference in Cardiff, Wales. IPA has also arranged a number of Regional Conferences – in Europe, Asia and North America. A significant milestone was its Afro -­Asian conference in New Delhi. During the last three years since the Hong Kong Conference IPA has continued its international work with a series of Global Consultations in eight countries in different parts of the world. IPA’s work with the United Nations has contributed to children’s play being recognized as a human right. The realization of this right must be the main goal for IPA in the next fifty years. The child´s right to play has to be understood, acknowledged and recognised by the population in general, pro-­ fessionals working with and for children, and by those in authority who carry the public duty as guarantors of children’s rights un-­ der the UN Convention.



PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition


IPA’s history appears chronologically on the left-hand pages until page 50.

Part 1: The embryonic years IPA was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 12th May 1961. Long before this happened there was a growing recognition that children’s play opportunities were being restricted by urban development and increasing motor traffic. Stina Wretlind-­Larsson, Sweden, writes: “Playgrounds with trained leaders started in nine parks in Stockholm in 1937. I was one of these leaders. After some years I had the opportunity of visiting other Swedish cities to see what their playgrounds were like. One of these cities was Halsingborg, where I met Arvid Bengtsson, and learnt much to add to our Stockholm program. In 1952 I had the opportunity to study outdoor play in the Netherlands and England.” In 1955 Stina Wretlind-­Larsson met with Maurice Milhaud, Chief of the UN Technical Assistance Administra-­ tion in Geneva, who in an earlier meeting has expressed interest in what we now call “networking” among those interested in developing children’s playgrounds in Europe. The outcome, after some consultation with Lady Allen of Hurtwood (UK) was the organization of a two-­week seminar in Stockholm.

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The story continues: “The Swedish Institute was asked to arrange the seminar together with staff from Geneva, and I was asked to be the director. The title of the seminar was Playground Activities: Objectives and Leadership. There were forty-­two participants and ten European countries represented. It was held in Bergendahl, just outside Stockholm.” A message from Mr. Milhaud, read at the opening of the seminar by a colleague included the following statement: “It is important now to advance from the stage of private initiative and spontaneous action of local communities and municipal authorities to that of a national policy on playgrounds, to be clearly embodied in the general policy of the country.” The program included the following topics: The social functions of playgrounds and their place in social policy Different types of playgrounds in relation to the needs of the child Personnel for playgrounds Planning and administration (the need for playgrounds in cities and urban districts and the difficulties of starting supervised playgrounds). Experts appointed for the seminar were: Lady Allen of Hurtwood (UK) Chair, Lollard Adventure Playground Associa-­ tion and Fellow of the Institute of Landscape Architects, London

1959 UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child: excerpt from Clause 7 The child shall have full opportunity for play and recreation, which should be directed to the same purposes as education; society and the public authorities shall endeavour to promote the enjoyment of this right.

Dr. Alfred Lederman (Switzerland), Secretary-­General, Pro Juventute, Zurich Mr. Max Siegumfeldt (Denmark) architect, Stadsingeniorens Direktorat, Copenhagen Professor H. Zbinden (Switzerland) Scientific Director, IRIS Publications, Bern Max Siegumfeldt recalled that during the twelve days of the seminar the general and underlying problems of establishing playgrounds were thoroughly analyzed. He writes,


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

The Inaugural Meeting of IPA (International Playground Association) Copenhagen, May 12, 1961 Excerpts from minutes and summary of meeting:

“Mr. Sigsgaard, as Chairman of the Conference, introduced the possibility of forming an International Playground Association, the main purpose of which would be to act as a clearinghouse for ideas, and to be a source of information. It should be an informal organization of interested individuals who could be charged an annual membership fee, to include all reports. He announced that Dr. Leder-­ mann proposed to invite the Conference to meet again in Switzerland in the Autumn of 1963. The subject was then thrown open for general discus-­ sion.”

point, a clearing house for enquiries and to disseminate information.” A motion to establish such an organization was proposed by Lady Allen, seconded by Mr. Abernethy and carried. The meeting went on to discuss a draft Constitution clause by clause which was accepted with minor amendments. It was proposed, and accepted unanimously, “that the Secretariat should be in Denmark and that Messrs. Sigsgaard, Siegumfeldt and Bergmann be the Committee with Mr. Bertelsson as Hon. Treasurer until the International Playground Association meets again in Switzerland in 1963.”

“The conference then concluded with a vote of thanks to the Danish Playground Association and its Other organizations already dealing with the same officers for convening the conference and to the topic were mentioned and discussed with a view to Department of Landscape Architecture of the possible duplication. These were Use of Leisure Danish Royal Academy of Fine Arts for allowing the Congress in Strasbourg, a national organization in use of its rooms as Conference Headquarters. France, the International Council on Children’s Play Enrolments in the International Playground Associa-­ and the International Recreation Association. With tion were taken and arrangements made for a regard to the latter, Mr. Abernethy had been in social gathering at the home of Mr. Siegumfeldt at touch with Mr. Rivers who had welcomed the idea Asserbo in North Zeeland that evening, and for a of an International Playground Association and visit to the playgrounds of Halsingborg in South contributed some helpful suggestions with regard to Sweden the next day. the proposed Constitution. Participants: Mr. Sigsgaard thought there could be about fifty Denmark: J. Bergmann, Mrs. E. Bergmann, J. members from fifteen countries but that group or Bertelsen, Mrs. B. Bertelsen, Miss H. Jensen, Miss K. organizational members should not be permitted in Klixbull, Miss F. Kryger, Miss E. Norreholm, the initial stages. M. Siegumfeldt, J. Sigsgaard, Miss R. Speedtsberg, Miss C. Sobye There was discussion on the purpose of the Sweden: T. Atmer, A. Bengtsson, H. Wohlin, Mrs. S. organization and whether it should be broader i.e. Wretlind-­Larsson including “play areas”. The question was also raised Norway: A. Berlia, Miss E. Conradi, K.O. Hillestad, as to whether the timing was right;; that perhaps the Mrs. H. Ordingsund inauguration should be postponed until UN United Kingdom: W.D. Abernethy, Lady Allen of (UNESCO) support was obtained. It was pointed out Hurtwood, J. St. Bodfan Gruffydd, Miss M.E. Otter that the UN Charter included the “child’s right to Belgium: J. Bombeke, Burgomaster M. Dequeecker, play” and that play should be an important part of Mrs. E. Dequeecker, Miss N. Mik the UN Social Affairs section. Yugoslavia: Miss S. Marjandvic, S. Milincovic, Miss U. FfRrOo Vucelic AaRrCc Mm TtHhEe Eventually it was agreed that at this point “only a Finland: Miss K. Pajunen HhIiVv EeSs simple organization is needed to act as a focal Switzerland: Dr. A. Ledermann

MEMORY: Bergendal Conference, Sweden As a member of the UK delegation to the UN Seminar on Playgrounds in 1958 in Bergendal Stockholm, I recall the shock which greeted participants coming from the limited resources for play in their own countries upon visiting the comprehensive system of playwork and playgrounds in Stockholm. The shock, above all, was the number of full-time trained playworkers employed on school playgrounds, in parks, and in housing districts - which was reported also as normal for Denmark and of voluntary 'Robinson playgrounds' in Switzerland. Inspired delegates shared their experience in their own countries and these were the seeds from which IPA emerged. Brian Ashley, Sweden (previously UK)


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

“Participants wanted to be ready – at a given opportunity and with relevant arguments – to point out to the responsible authorities in the various countries their obligation to observe the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child and children’s right to play which by their signature they had undertaken to observe.”

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At the end of the seminar the question of forming an international organization was raised. At that time the group considered an informal network to be a more appropriate solution to information-­sharing, but the seed of the idea was planted in Bergendahl. Some of the participants of the Bergendahl seminar met at an OMEP1 conference in Zagreb and began to discuss a follow-­up to the Swedish seminar. Max Siegumfeldt and a colleague, Jens Sigsgaard, met with Stina Wretlind-­Larsson in Stockholm to discuss this. Jens Sigsgaard had visited Lady Allen the year before and discussed the establishment of an international organization. He recalls, “Lady Allen was of the opinion that it should be an association of international character made up of individual members, more particularly only those who really could be called pioneers. I thought that there was a need for an international organization along the lines of OMEP, that is to say it should be based on an association of playground committees.” Eventually a compromise was reached. The organization would comprise both. It would be open to all who in one way or another were especially interested in playgrounds for children. Lady Allen considered that the initiative to form such an organization should come from Denmark, where in January that year (1959) the Danish Playground Association had been formed which in every way fulfilled the required conditions of the proposed international association.

Conference: Copenhagen, Denmark, Inaugural meeting of IPA - May 1961 The idea that Denmark should take the initiative of calling the conference with the object of setting up an international playgrounds organization was accepted unanimously by the Danish Playground Association’s Board which consisted of C.Th. Sorensen (Chair), Jens Sigsgaard, John Bertelsen, Max Siegumfeldt and Erik Mygind. The conference was organized for the 10th – 12th May, 1961 in Copenhagen. Jens Sigsgaard wrote,

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“In a quiet moment during the conference Lady Allen and I met at Café Bronnum, and in the course of half an hour we drew up a “draft constitution” – but we had discussed the main points on earlier occasions.” After some discussion at the Business Meeting on Friday, 12th May, this Constitution was accepted. This is therefore the date of the birth of IPA. According to records the event was suitably celebrated and the “infant baptized” at a splendid party that same evening at the charming summer home of Max Siegumfeldt in Asserbo. Professor C. Th. Sorenson did not take part in the conference as he was on a study tour in Spain. On his return he was told that he had been elected World President of IPA. He (apparently) took the news very well. (It’s warming to know that IPA traditions are still alive and well. Ed.)

Professor C. Th. Sorensen was a Danish landscape architect and author of many books in the field of ornamental gardening for which he received international acclaim. However, to IPA members he is remembered for his interest in children and their games and for his pioneer work in designing play environments. One of Professor Sorensen’s major achievements was the initia-­ tion of ‘junk’ or ‘adventure’ playgrounds, the first of which was in Emdrup, near Copenhagen, in 1943. This experiment had an effect on the development of playgrounds all over the world. 1

NB. Much later, IPA circulated a pamphlet describing its history which stated that the UNTAA (UN Technical Assistance Administration, Geneva) had invited the Danish Playground Association to host the follow-up conference in Copenhagen in 1961. Upon further research it is clear that the UNTAA did not at any time approach the Danish Playground Association.

Organization Mondiale pour l’Éducation Préscolaire (World Organization for Early Childhood Education)


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA’s History in the UK In 1958 the picture of children's play provision in Britain was a sad one of 'making do' with traditional school playgrounds, streets 'temporarily closed during play hours' or occasional access to sports playing fields. The UK delegation to the UN Seminar on Playgrounds in Stockholm that year was impressed by the Swedish and Danish public provision of trained play workers on school playgrounds, in parks and in housing districts. It inspired the delegation to spread the word about the Scandinavian model of comprehensive provision and grassroots support for play. Lady Allen of Hurtwood extended her adventure playground to a network, each with the essential element of a professional play worker. The work of these pioneers, like Joe Benjamin and Donne Buck, led eventually to the formation of the London Ad-­ venture Playgrounds Association (LAPA). Muriel Otter, Youth Officer in Birmingham, began to produce a Playworker's Newsletter. Drummond Abernethy, Secretary of the National Playing Fields Association (which distributed King George V memorial grants) became an avid supporter of play and playworkers. He established a children's depart-­ ment in NPFA whose policy led eventually to the Play Board (later to become Play England under the National Children's Bureau). Meantime in Scotland Brian Ashley gained support for an adventure play-­ ground, and developed youth work training at Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh.

who joined to gain access to play expertise from IPA conferences and publications. LAPA was one of the most impressive of the local initiatives which grew out of the responses of delegates to the UN Seminar. By 1973 there were 61member playgrounds in the Greater London Area, of which 46 were adventure playgrounds and by the late 1970s had formed a separate Handicapped Adventure Playground Association (HAPA). The four national play organisations (which are independent from IPA) Play England, Play Wales, Playboard N. Ireland, and Play Scotland were formed in the latter quarter of the twentieth century, with IPA members playing a key part. In 1994 IPA Scotland was formally constituted as a separate branch from IPA UK, now known as IPA EWNI (England, Wales & N. Ireland). IPA in Scotland owed much to the enthusiasm and dedication of Nancy Ovens, who ran the National Centre for Play in Edinburgh, and Alan Rees who, like Nancy, had worked with Brian Ashley in the early 1960s.

The two UK IPA branches have often played an active role in supporting the four play organisations' advocacy with national governments, and Wales arguably became the first nation to adopt a national play policy in 2002, a statement of the Welsh Assembly Government's belief in the impor-­ tance of play and its aspirations for creating a country that would value and support it. IPA The continued exchange of views of delegates who members in the UK continue to take an active and attended the UN Seminar led to the formation of IPA participative interest in the international association, and have developed and supported numerous in Denmark in 1961. In the UK, where there was a international projects and events over our 50 year culture of voluntary organisations supporting the History. needs of children, the developing IPA membership came mainly from representatives of voluntary bod-­ ies and local government officers interested in play, Brian Ashley, Alan Rees, Margaret Westwood


Danish ‘junk’ or adventure playground


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

Part II: Initial growth 1964 – 1972 The second international gathering of IPA was held in Zurich, Switzerland, in the Spring of 1964. Dr. A. Ledermann and his organization Pro Juventute offered to arrange this conference during the Copenhagen meeting. The Swiss had already engaged professional leaders in their play programs and introduced animals to their park centres. They also worked with schools (the first community schools) using the school property and buildings outside school hours for leisure pursuits. They involved parents and grandparents and had ‘wendy houses’ (play houses) and workshops in the play park space. Murielle Otter (IPA Treasurer, UK) wrote, “As we saw it, the Swiss experience was a local development representing both the Swedish and Danish playground models: the variety of types of provision from Sweden, and the “building” play-­ ground from Denmark. The land and community buildings were provided by the municipality and the leadership (with training) from Pro Juventute. Community involvement in children’s play was encouraged. So although the Swiss called their building playground a “Robinson Spielplatz” after Robinson Crusoe, each site could well have been called a Robinson playground after the Swiss Family Robinson!” Jens Sigsgaard was elected President at the Zurich General Meeting with Lady Allen as Vice President. Jens Sigsgaard said, “The more I visit different countries, the more I realize that we must co-­operate with each other and as an Association we must maintain close links with other organizations – national and international – to further this rapidly growing development. We must ensure that all new play provision is well planned and that money is spent wisely and to the best advantage. There is a unique opportunity for each of us to work, maybe in isolation geographically, but to work knowing that together we can draw strength and inspiration not only from our friends and colleagues in IPA but also from other organizations who welcome our hand in friendship.” The Association at this time still restricted membership to professionals and had not admitted practising leaders. Soon however, with strong constructive arguments, the importance of leadership was recognized and became an important feature of IPA’s efforts. The Newsletter and the Report of the Zurich conference were printed probably using a revolving plate stencil duplicator which gradually replaced carbon paper in the mid 20th century. Records show that the Report was printed in English and German and that 500 copies were sold. Ed.

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In 1966 IPA was registered as a charity in Copenhagen and was at that time affiliated to the International Recreation Association (later known as the World Leisure and Recreation Association, and currently as the World Leisure Organization).

The third international conference focused on “Recreation and Play” and was held over a period of ten days in both London and Liverpool, UK The conference included local government receptions in London and Liverpool, and visits to Birmingham and Nuneaton en route between the two host cities. One hundred and seventeen people attended the conference including representatives from N. America, South Africa, Latin America and many European countries. Topics addressed included play environments (playparks), the principle of professional leadership and play provision for the under fives. The General Meeting elected Mme Valia Tanon (France) as President and Arvid Bengtsson (Sweden) as Vice President. It was agreed at this meeting that the next conference would be in 1969 (a break from the tradition of three intervening years) to avoid a clash with the OMEP World Conference.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA Sweden When IPA Sweden was estab-­ lished it was clear that member-­ ship fees alone could not support the organization. After deciding against seeking financial support from commercial sources, the Association looked to foundations and institutions instead, presenting good projects that would both meet the goals of our play political programme and provide a stable financial base.

MEMORY: Conference in London 23rd to 31st July, 1967 and Liverpool 31st to 4th August 1967 with visits to Basildon New Town, Nuneaton, Birmingham, and Blackburn. We met Anthony Crossland, Minister of State for Education, Lord Mayor of the City of London, Sir Robert Bellinger, and attended a reception and dinner given by the University of Liverpool. At the conference Lady Allen of Hurtwood, VicePresident of IPA said: “Our deepest concern in this country is with the leisure activities of school age and pre-school-age children whose most impressionable years are spent in over-tidy new towns or highly conformist cities and where the seeds of delinquency and future emotional happiness or unhappiness of adults germinate.” Nic Nilsson, Sweden

Members: Special attention was given to building organizational membership, specifically from departments within the Swedish municipalities. This strategy was intended to have good long-­term results in relation to the goals of the IPA political programme and making cities more child friendly. After some years the municipali-­ ties wanted more information and service than the individual members and gradually modern technology gave us ways to meet this need. One municipal service section within the Association was called “child friendly city” to which all municipalities were invited. The term Child Friendly Cities was eventually used internationally. The following are some examples of IPA Sweden’s activities: The first large project was a schoolyard campaign called “Use the School Yard.” Together with the Parent-­Teachers Association fourteen regional conferences were arranged throughout Sweden. IPA provided material and lecturers and concluded with an international conference. “The form and content of the city” was a seminar which dealt with the place of the child in town planning. Among the speakers were prominent IPA-­figures from Canada, Norway and USA. “Disarm in the Children’s´ Environment” seminar dealt with toys of war and violence. IPA Sweden took a stand against adults making profit from the production and sale of such toys

to children, as well as giving toys of violence to children. This stand inspired motions within the national parliament which, after an interesting debate, unanimously voted in our favour. “Play for all” dealt with creating a special playground near Stock-­ holm that would allow access for children with disabilities. Many of the ideas created here were cop-­ ied by the play equipment trade. “Child´s Right to Play: the UN Sup-­ ports that Right – Do you?” This was our first activity emphasis-­ ing the UN Convention. It included the organization of six regional conferences and the publishing of four books. It resulted in the Swedish Institute giving IPA Sweden the task of representing Sweden in a mutual seminar Swe-­ den-­India in Poona, India. Play together was an activity to give better chances for visually disabled children and their par-­ ents to play together. We cooper-­ ated with the Association for the Visually Handicapped and the children’s organisation Unga Örnar. Culture and Play Tour – KULlekTur – was an activity when Stockholm became the cultural capital of Europe. IPA together with the playparks and Unga Örnar arranged days of games and play in ten parts of the city during a week in May. Play week Since the culture and play tour, every year IPA Sweden has organised a play week at the beginning of September. Each year a games booklet was pro-­ duced and sent free of charge to all those who wanted to use it locally. The City of the Child was a project with five regional conferences where articles 12 and 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child were discussed. IPA also participated in a competition to find the best ecological play-­ ground. Publications resulted. Child Friendly Cities was a project aimed at engaging municipalities in creating more child friendliness. This led to IPA Sweden being


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

The Triennial Conference report was made available in English, French and German and over 500 copies sold through IPA Resources. Other publications added to ‘IPA Resources’ in 1968 were Lady Allen’s book “Planning for Play” and booklets on Playgrounds and Playleadership written by Drummond Abernethy. In her ‘letter from the Editor’ in July 1969, just prior to the Paris Conference, Murielle Otter wrote:

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“I’m more than certain that Mme. Tanon will have earned a jolly good holiday by the time 31 st July arrives. Were I a man and wore a hat, I would take it off to her and bow very low – she has done a magnificent job for us all, and Conference 1969 will be a record one regarding both the number of countries being represented and the total number of delegates. I think we can now safely say that IPA is well and truly founded and should be able to go from strength to strength.”

The fourth international IPA Conference was held in 1969 in Paris: The theme was “Creative Play” The Board was re-­elected en bloc for the next term and Vienna was selected as the location for the following IPA Triennial Conference. Milan was promised the 1975 conference and Malta some form of international gathering. All three places had invited IPA to visit them. A highlight of the Paris Conference was a very successful exhibition about children’s play provision. It went on tour to various European countries and was on public show in central Paris for several weeks. This was also the year when IPA became determined to gain UN recognition, UNESCO being the first target. Membership began to grow rapidly. There were two hundred and forty new members between the Paris and Vienna Conferences and the Newsletter (prepared by Murielle Otter, Treasurer) was now produced in French and English as was the report of the Paris Conference Playgrounds – with or without leadership?/ Terrains de Jeu – avec ou sans animateur? Murielle Otter writes: “IPA’s interest in play environments and leadership was expanded to include children in special circumstances such as children in hospital, and children with disabilities. There was a growing concern in relation to the philosophy of play and the importance of play in the social education of the child. Also receiving much attention was the new playleader/playworker/animateur profession.” NB. The term to describe adults who work directly with children in the field of play has changed over the years. In the 60s and early 70s they were described in Europe (in the English language) as Play Leaders and then gradually as Playworkers. The precise definition – and certainly the training – has also changed over the decades, (see article page 59), but the core role is that of supporting and enhancing children’s play. Ed.

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Part III: Building an international network 1972 -­ 1978 It was at this point in its history that IPA initiated the position of national representatives, in countries with relatively large membership, to help with the administration and promotion of IPA. Their role was to represent the Association in their countries, to collect membership fees and generally to function as a link between the Board and the national membership. This was an important step in the development of the Association. They were actually described as “correspondents” at this time, but as this term was adopted at a later date for countries with fewer than 11 members, I have chosen to describe them as “representatives”. Ed.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

represented in the European Child Friendly Cities Network and participating in the five Child in the City Conferences held so far. Swedish Archive of Games involved a study of traditional games. Two books with 1000 games were published. Co-­operation IPA Sweden has cooperated with other non-­ governmental organisations in order to spread the importance of play. Politics Our play political programme is our guiding star when we inform our members, when we recruit members and when we plan our future activities. The programme can be found at our homepage (www.ipa-­sweden.org) We are now working on our fourth edition.

Publications Because of the limited interest in the field of play, IPA Sweden originally had problems in publishing mate-­ rial. Thanks to the support of various Foundations we had the opportunity of forming our own publishing company: IPA Barns rätt till lek (Swedish name of IPA Sweden) Now we are in control of production. We have so far produced seventeen books, thirteen of them published by IPA Sweden. It has also given IPA the opportunity of delivering books to libraries all over the country. This has been a good way to reach the students at the universities. We review records from the universities in order to ascertain the use of our publications by students. Nic Nilsson

MEMORY: Paris Conference, 1969 “It was a great pleasure to meet so many delegates from Africa… They brought a freshness and spirit of fun to the Conference. “Fun” is, I think, a much maligned word, for so often one interprets it as being frivolous or comic whereas it should be just “joie de vivre”, a sense of refreshment of the spirit as well as purposeful giving of oneself and thereby gaining in mental and psychological stature. I know I am mixing my metaphors but I hope my readers will realise that the “spirit of Bergendal” was recreated at Marly-le-Roi.” Murielle Otter, England (from a letter, September 1969) national network started to pay attention to space to play, space for youth and independent mobility. National organisations and specialists on play and 1970 -­1990 was a very active period for Dutch children’s environments are involved in this network members of IPA. City administrators of Rotterdam and the national institute ‘Stichting Ruimte’ focused which works in an interdisciplinary and inter-­sectoral on the improvement of children’s environments with way to exchange knowledge, and to attract attention at the policy level. A new IPA body was IPA members Coen Dericxk, Bertus Brinkman, José born. Rijnen, Gerrit Lekkerkerker and Joost van Andel At the national level stakeholders and leading the way. The 1980 IPA Triennial Conference in Rotterdam strengthened this theme. organisations/members have several meetings a year to raise awareness at the local and national The Dutch IPA group met several times a year and level on the child’s right to play. An important step projects included a comprehensive observation study of 900 playgrounds in Rotterdam, 1980 – 1984, forward was made during the years 2003 – 2008. based on methodology developed by Dr. Joost van Inspired by the international European Conferences Andel (TU Eindhoven). Outcomes were presented at a Child Friendly Cities Network was launched in the Netherlands in March 2004. Also in the Children’s the 1984 IPA conference in Ljubljana. Rights Coalition in the Netherlands, the topic of In 1987 IPA Netherlands set up IFIC-­IPA “International “space to play” became an issue and noted in several National NGO Reports. Formal Information Centre on Play” resulting in a Policy issues on the national level in the Netherlands: publication. The content of that publication was Specific highlights on the issue of the child’s right to presented at the 1990 IPA Triennial Conference in play, within the overall youth policy of the Nether-­ Tokyo, Japan. The 1993 IPA Triennial Conference in Melbourne provided a setting for Dutch representa-­ lands, included: tives to present an on-­location playground building * Public physical space in youth policy at the project. This theme was carried over to the 1996 IPA national level;; several projects to spread knowledge about the children’s rights and the importance of Triennial Conference in Espoo, Finland where an play, organised through different ministries. on-­site ‘building huts’ project was organized. By * An initiative of a national political party to bring now hut-­building had become a common activity for Dutch children and of interest to the newspaper attention to the child’s right to play in a law. Main points: the necessity of having a minimum of 3 % of media. Networks on play issues in the Netherlands after 1998 space in urban settings, and that every local com-­ munity must develop a special policy on play in their For a number of years IPA/Netherlands was community. In 2006 the Ministery of Housing drew ‘sleeping’ as a national Association. This did not attention to the topic of good play environments at mean there was no attention to the importance of the local level. the child’s right to play. Attention was given in Froukje Hajer different ways at national level. In 1998 a new

IPA Netherlands

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The 5th international IPA Conference—with the title “Play and Creativity” was held in Vienna, Austria, in 1972 In Vienna, Arvid Bengtsson (Sweden) was elected President. He writes: “I am well positioned to write some of the history of IPA because I was there from the beginning! I was at Bergendahl in 1958, the seminar that brought the whole thing about. I was in Copenhagen three years later when IPA was founded. Indeed I have been to all the IPA conferences including the London-­Liverpool one in 1967. In these early years we believed that the play needs of children could be met by providing the right sort of playgrounds and the right leadership. But we learnt that the problem is considerably more than that.” He reports that the Vienna Conference was a very successful one. Wiener Kinderfreunde was the host organization and the conference theme was Play and Creativity. A report of the conference was published in German, French and English. Topics of interest to IPA during this period were: adequate play areas for children should be part of comprehensive city planning and these should include ‘adventure playgrounds’. the unsuitability of high rise flats (apartments) for families with young children raising the status (and salaries) of playleaders meeting the play needs of children in their ‘out of school’ time.

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Arvid Bengtsson noted that an IPA “technical committee” produced a bibliography on play just in time for the Vienna Conference. Five hundred copies were printed in Denmark and were immediately sold out. A new edition would be available in the spring of 1973. Other IPA publications of note during this period were: The Child’s Right to Play: Arvid Bengtsson High Rise or Low Rise Housing: Nic Nilsson Efforts to obtain UNESCO recognition continued and it was with great pleasure that Mme Tanon announced at the Vienna Conference that IPA had achieved Status C as a non-­governmental international organization. IPA recognized that in order to promote children’s play effectively in many different countries it would be essential to work with and through established international bodies.

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In 1974 IPA gained Consultative status with ECOSOC. (Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.) This was the catalyst to IPA’s involvement with the UN Conference on Human Settlements (see 1976). The Name Debate: During this period the name of the Association was raised. Arvid Bengstsson stated that International Play-­ ground Association had begun to be a handicap in IPA’s international work as there was an assumption that the organization cared more about playgrounds than about children. The initials IPA proved to be very dear to members however. A proposal for a new name International Association for the Child’s Right to Play was turned down at the conference in Milan in 1975 and then again in Ottawa in 1978 (It was finally approved by the Association in Rotterdam, 1981). He explained that while planned play environments would always be an important part of IPA’s agenda, “the playground of a city child is the city itself and the planning for children’s play is nothing less than city planning. Consequently the concern of IPA is the total human settlement.” N.B. This early recognition of the importance to children of the whole city environment eventually manifested itself into IPA members’ involvement in the Child Friendly Cities movement of the nineties and into the 2000s. Ed.


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MEMORY: Vienna Conference: 1972 “Five Working Groups were active in the fields of “Planning of Space for Children´s Development,” Training of Leaders for Creative Play,” “Organising for Adventure Play,” “Use and Layout of Schoolgrounds” and “Community Playgrounds and Parks”. The Conference adopted a seven-point Conference Resolution directed to Governments and Local Authorities. Point 3 was “to cease building high-rise flats, for occupation by families with young children.” Point 4 stressed the recognition of the importance of playleaders, relevant training and adequate funding for their salaries in order to raise their status within the community. Werner Bornelind, Sweden


President of IPA-­USA.” Muriel was never known for being shy. Our first “President” started publishing his PlayPlans magazine securing membership through his subscribers and providing a foundation for the organization.

The first association that the USA had with IPA was in 1967, when American playground creator and author Paul Hogan was visiting adventure playgrounds in London with Lady Allen of Hurtwood. In 1969 IPA received its first USA individual and In 1978, at the IPA-­Ottawa Conference, IPA organization memberships. Within four years enough President Polly Hill (Canada) appointed Donna interest had grown in the American playground Seline as the next USA national representative. movement that the USA joined IPA. Donna became instrumental in organizing regional conferences bringing in internationally known In Philadelphia, in 1973, IPA-­USA was born with a keynote speakers like Polly Hill, Brian Sutton-­Smith, goal to protect, preserve, and promote play as a Janet McLean, and Joe Frost. IPA-­USA had now fundamental right for all children. Toward that goal reached a new level of professional and the Association planned to: organization recognition. Produce a quarterly newsletter. Disseminate information about play facilities, programs, and research. Aid children’s projects and support a National Play Day. Hold seminars, symposiums, and workshops. Host a USA conference every three years. Support the IPA triennial world conference.

Then, in 1975, while attending the IPA conference in Milan, Paul met IPA’s secretary Muriel Otter. USA history notes that she “cornered him and made him

In June, 1983, The International Conference on Play and Play Environments, sponsored by IPA/USA and twelve other state, national, and international organizations, was held at the University of Texas. This was reputed to be the largest gathering of play scholars ever convened, with more than 500 partici-­ pants from twelve nations. At this conference, plans were initiated for formal organization of IPA/USA and its first national conference was held in Cincinnati in 1986. At that conference USA elected its Board of Directors with Joe Frost as President. With a formal


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In 1974 IPA was part of the Childhood City informal network of people and ideas within the more general umbrella of the Environmental Design and Research Association (EDRA). EDRA was the major organization of academics and researchers in N. America working in the field of people and their environments. IPA Vice President, Polly Hill, chaired a session at their meeting in Virginia this year which led to a special Newsletter, organized by Roger Hart, in the Environmental Psychology Programme at the City University of New York.

The 6th international conference was held in Milan, Italy, with the title “Adventure Playgrounds and Children’s Creativity”. Preparation for the Milan conference began immediately after the Vienna event. The chosen topic was Adventure Playgrounds and Children’s Creativity. The Conference was held at the Bocconi University in Milan in August/September 1975 and was attended by 229 people from 23 countries. All levels of government were present as were many professions concerned with children – educators, teachers, trainers, psychologists, social workers, administrators, the judiciary, town planners, architects, landscape architects, parks managers, and play and recreation practitioners. At the IPA General Meeting, membership categories were amended and subscription rates were increased to meet the rising postal costs. It was noted that IPA membership had doubled since 1972, 800 copies of the newsletter now being distributed to members. The meeting declared Ottawa, Canada, to be the location for the next triennial conference, thereby making history as this would be the first conference outside Europe. Topics addressed in the mid to late 1970s included: The need for city planners to address the play needs of children throughout the whole urban area. The introduction, or enforcement, of legislation to ensure the provision of space for play in new housing developments. The conservation of natural areas for children’s play. The urgent need for public understanding of the adventure play concept (children constructing their own ‘places/dens/forts’) and the need for planners to consult and work with communities (including children) to determine specific community needs. Adventure play for severely handicapped children. The dilemmas of playworkers who are faced with inadequate space, few facilities, very low pay and little recognition of the importance of their work. This was also a year of preparation for the UN Habitat Conference in Vancouver, Canada, in 1976. Much work was done by IPA to have children’s environmental needs recognized at this human settlements conference. Polly Hill then IPA’s Vice President, played a leading role. IPA was eventually asked to run a workshop on The Child in the Human Settlement at the Habitat NGO Forum. The June 4/5th workshop in Vancouver was a great success with large audiences and enormous interest. In organizing this event IPA worked closely with UNICEF, World Leisure and Recreation Association (WLRA) and the International Council on Children’s Play (ICCP). A statement was issued which was distributed to each of the 146 delegations at the Habitat Conference. Arvid Bengtsson said:

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“The Habitat conference was an important event for IPA. Here for the first time we were able to participate at top level with other international organizations to highlight the importance of play and suitable environments for children. In September of this year the first ‘between conferences’ meeting of national representatives was held in Voorthuizen, Netherlands in response to an invitation to the IPA Board by the Dutch Playground Association (NUSO). Seven national representatives attended in addition to Board members. The role of the national representatives was the main topic of discussion and it was agreed that an international Council should be established. (This was incorporated into the IPA Constitution in 1978.) This was the year that the UN declared 1979 as the International Year of the Child. IPA saw this as a golden opportunity to focus world attention on the child’s right to play. With the co-­operation of the Malta Playing


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Audrey Skrupskelis (also a former IPA-­USA President) in 2005. Recently IPA-­USA partnered with The Association for the Study of Play for successful joint national conferences in 2007 (Olga Jarrett, President) and 2010 (Tom Reed, President). This has brought By 1988 IPA/USA membership had grown to 165. In together a stronger relationship between practice that year Tom Jambor was elected President, the and theory, and a practical combination of play Board expanded, and a national conference was held in Washington, D. C. In January 1989, the Board advocacy forces. IPA/USA programs continue to met in Cincinnati and made plans for expanding expand, including community Play Days, annual play advocacy presentations at national confer-­ revenue, developing a Newsletter, enhancing ences, semi-­annual national IPA/USA conferences, membership, and creating a play related informa-­ promoting the international IPA conference, tion clearinghouse. At the international level, USA preparing and distributing materials for parents and members were becoming IPA Board members. Robin Moore, already an IPA international officer, school administrators promoting advocacy and was the first American to be elected IPA President at reinstatement for school recess, media campaigns the 1990 Tokyo conference. Tom Jambor became for recess and outdoor play, multiple efforts to IPA Regional Vice President for North America and support and gain awareness of the value of play Caribbean in 1993 and elected IPA Vice President in and the child’s right to play, and a well developed web site to keep membership informed. 2005. Marcy Guddemi (former IPA-­USA President) Joe Frost & Tom Jambor was elected IPA Secretary in 2002, followed by structure in place IPA-­USA began a more active role at the international level with participation in the 1986 IPA World Council meeting and the Special International Year of Peace Seminar in the UK.

MEMORY: Murielle Otter, on handing the production of the IPA Newsletter over to Robin Moore in 1975 (Quoting from the December edition of the Newsletter.) Maybe I am permitted to reminisce as this will be my last editorial letter to you. Way back in 1961, I well remember responding to Prof. C. Th. Sorensen’s request for someone to volunteer to let people know that we had founded IPA. Little then did I think that I would almost literally turn my home into a “Playground Office” or that from an initial membership of 16 friends, we would grow to a world family of well over 800!


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Fields Association as host, IPA invited international non-­governmental organizations concerned with children to a week’s consultation in Malta with a view to discussing various aspects of children’s right to play and producing a cooperative Plan of Action for the International Year. In November 1976 Arvid Bengtsson announced that the Executive Board of UNESCO had elevated IPA to category B -­ “Information and Consultative Relations”. He noted that this category “is restricted to non-­governmental organizations which have given proof of their ability to supply UNESCO, at its request, with advice on questions coming within their purview and to contribute effectively by their activities to the implementation of UNESCO’S programme.” He added “our particular competence is the physical and social play-­environment of children, a very neglected field calling for attention;; this is a field where we have a considerable contribution to make.” IPA recognized its limited representation in the Southern Hemisphere and in developing countries generally and resolved to begin to address this issue. Although Robin Moore in a 1976 editorial says: “At the Milan Conference I felt we should be concerned about this issue, but not aggressively so. History is thickly paved with the failed and sometimes disastrous attempts of the West to solve the problems of the rest of the world.” And here is an excerpt from a letter to IPA in 1976, from the Brazil national representative who refers to a settlement of ramshackle shelters in N.E. Brazil where there is an estimated 80,000 abandoned or uncared-­ for children. “How can we possibly apply ‘adventure playground’ concepts to a population that has never known any form of playground whatsoever;; that places minimal value on recreation per se;; that is struggling to just keep alive? In the urban slums of Brazil where children play in the street with old cans, for want of other material, how can we dream of using scarce building material for the children to play with? …the very dwellings of the poor, often in a state of collapse, are held together by collecting old scraps of board and wooden crates. How can we begin to imagine adventure playgrounds for children?” He goes on to describe how children play – as play we know they must – with limited materials, using bottle caps for ‘dishes’ and pieces of plastic and string to make kites. The most important thing, he says, is for children to have safe (hygienic) places to play;; “off the streets, away from the narrow festering alleys, away from sewage and drain spill-­offs.”

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I have included the above excerpt as an example of the expansion (in volume and geography) of correspondence between IPA members. The organization’s growing awareness of the status of children’s play in other parts of the world, initiated a trajectory toward a ‘global mindset’ which resulted in significant regional and international conferences, bilateral projects and cooperation with other international organizations. The recognition of play as a children’s right described in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) would become an important tool for play advocates worldwide. Ed.

As a follow-­up to IPA’s newly acquired consultative status B with UNESCO, the March Board meeting was held in Paris in conjunction with UNESCO’s ‘Department of Lifelong Education’. In New York an NGO International Year of the Child Committee was established with UNICEF as lead agency. Polly Hill, IPA Vice President, was represented at its first meeting in June. IPA was also represented at meetings with the NGO-­IYC Committees in Geneva and agreed in 1978 to assume responsibility for the NGO-­IYC Working Group on “Children and their Surroundings – Play and Recreation”. A historic IPA Consultation in preparation for the International Year of the Child was held in Malta from the 5th to the 12th of November. The seminar involved other international bodies concerned with children with the goal of establishing international co-­operation on key issues. The Malta Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play was drafted, agreed upon and distributed to UN agencies, all National IYC Commissions and other key organizations and individuals throughout the world by the IYC Committee in Geneva and New York. Reference is made to this in the ‘Implementation Handbook for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child” UNICEF, (2007) p. 472. See adjacent page. Ed.)


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Excerpt from the Implementation Handbook for the Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 31 - Child’s Right to Leisure, Play and Culture. p. 472 (UNICEF) IPA Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play The International Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA, given consultative status with UNESCO and UNICEF) adopted a Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play, which states a deep concern about: “…. a number of alarming trends and their negative impact on children’s development: Society’s indifference to the importance of play;; Over-­emphasis on theoretical and academic studies in schools;; Increasing numbers of children living with inadequate provisions for survival and development;; Inadequate environmental planning, which results in a lack of basic amenities, inappropriate hous-­ ing forms, and poor traffic management;; Increasing commercial exploitation of children and the deterioration of cultural traditions;; Lack of access (for women in developing countries) to basic training in child care and development;; Inadequate preparation of children to cope with life in a rapidly changing community;; Increasing segregation of children in the community;; The increasing numbers of working children, and their unacceptable working conditions;; Constant exposure of children to war, violence, exploitation and destruction;; Over-­emphasis on unhealthy competition and ‘winning at all costs’ in children’s sports” The Declaration calls for action by five government departments: health, education, welfare, leisure and planning;; for more play-­oriented professionals;; and for fewer commercial or violent games and toys.

IPA Canada MEMORY: The Malta Consultation, 1977 Many members may not realise that IPA made a major declaration for the Year of the Child. Following an intensive week studying the changes in children’s lives and the problem facing them in the present the IPA’s Malta Declaration on the Rights of the Child was produced in November 1977 at the IPA Malta Consultation held in preparation for the International Year of the Child (1979). It was revised by the IPA International Council in Vienna, September 1982, and Barcelona, September 1989. It should be read in conjunction with article 31 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child which states that the child has a right to leisure, play and participation in cultural and artistic activities. As a member of the meeting in Malta, I was one of IPA members from a number of countries which looked in depth at the lives of children. It was a fascinating and stimulating consultation. We considered the alarming trends which faced children including education, leisure, planning, welfare and made a number of affirmations for the lives of children. Peter Heseltine, England

Canada has had members in IPA for over four decades. Some of them have had quite an impact on the international scene. Given the popula-­ tion/geography ratio and the added challenge of IPA member disbursement, the technology break through in the 90s was most welcome! (Population around 30 million;; size of country 10 million kilometers.) In spite of the ‘face-­to-­face’ meeting challenges, IPA Canada was very active in the late seventies and early eighties. This period incorporated the Habitat Conference in Vancouver in 1976, the Inter-­ national Year of the Child (1979) and the organiza-­ tion of the seventh IPA Triennial Conference in Ottawa in 1978 – the first outside Europe. This is a snapshot of some highlights from Canada. IPA Canada was responsible for: Influencing the launching of a three-­year ‘National Task Force on Children’s Play’ (1976 – 8) based at the University of British Columbia and ad-­ ministered through the Canadian Council on Chil-­ dren and Youth. Seminars and conferences were conducted across Canada on topical children’s play issues. The project resulted in four publications and the establishment of a Children’s Play Resource Centre in Vancouver. Leadership in the organization of the NGO two-­ day Forum “Children in Human Settlements” which was held prior to the UN Habitat Conference in June, 1976. A nineteen-­point statement was made


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In 1977 IPA participated in the establishment of the Lady Allen of Hurtwood Memorial Trust. The other organizations involved were OMEP and HAPA. (Handicapped Adventure Playground Association.)

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Part IV: Becoming global 1978 -­ 1981 IPA’s seventh world conference was held at Carlton University, Ottawa in August. The Conference theme was “Play in Human Settlement—an Integrated Approach”. The host organization was the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. As well as being the first triennial conference outside Europe, IPA also elected its first President outside Europe (Polly Hill, Canada) and so the organization passed a milestone on its way to becoming truly international. The broad scope of the Ottawa conference addressed the whole of childhood and the whole of the environment – as well as a ‘hands on’ building of a playground by conference participants. It was considered outstanding in many ways and described as a “smash hit” by Robin Moore in the February 1979 editorial of the IPA Newsletter. See record of IPA regular publications for members: page 49 Ed.

A new IPA Constitution was adopted at the General Meeting with the National Representatives now forming a new IPA “Council”. Robin Moore, the incoming editor of the Newsletter says: “We have now put ourselves on a firm democratic ground. We now have a strong collective responsibility to make IPA grow, prosper and be far more influential. With the appointment of IPA as a lead non-­governmental organization to the International Year of the Child, we have a chance to be influential. This issue of the Newsletter marks the beginning of a new phase in the life of IPA, one which holds great promise for the future.” Polly Hill, IPA’s newly elected President says: “There is an excitement in the air about IPA – a spirit and a new determination to move forward as an organization. We must expand and deepen our influence within each country as well as becoming an effective international resource and catalyst for developing countries. We must develop publications, guidelines, kits, audio-­visuals, posters, press releases and so on. We must help organize conferences, seminars, consultations that can serve as tools for groups all over the world to further the understanding of play. But we cannot do this effectively with our present financial structure of income from only member-­ ship fees and publication sales. We must convince governments and charitable foundations that IPA has an important role to play. We are going to need the help of every individual IPA member.” From the report of the Treasurer, Murielle Otter: March 1978 “Thanks to the British Post Office increasing its rates twice during the year and to our increased volume of correspondence, expenditure on postage is up by more than 50%. The item entitled “Miscellaneous” covers the servicing of our typewriter, the purchase of some gram weights and a new stapling machine.” During the 1978 – 1981 term IPA grew to membership in over 45 countries with 33 of them having formal representation on the newly formed IPA Council. The Council met three times during this period in Ottawa, Sheffield and Edinburgh, the latter providing an opportunity for IPA participation in a Regional Exhibit and Symposium on Children’s Play in Scotland. The Board membership was doubled, from four to eight – expanding to include a second Vice President, two members-­at-­large and the Newsletter Editor as an Ex-­Officio member. During this period the Board met


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MEMORY: Conference in Ottawa, 20-­26 August, 1978.

For me the introduction of New Games was the most important event. Games with eartball and parachutes. The guiding philosophy of these games were: Play Hard, Play Fair. Nobody Hurt. Some of the philosophies included: Play and physicality were as important to adults as they were to children. Competition and cooperation should co-exist, but while competition can be important, winning and losing is not. No one should be left out, eliminated, or unable to play. Games are living culture, adapted and changed as required. Play should require no or little equipment. The rules should be dirt simple and fun. Ulla Carlson Nilsson by this Forum which was presented to the main Conference. Organization of the seventh triennial conference “Children in Human Settlements: an integrated approach” in Ottawa in August 1978, co-­hosted by the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Involvement in the official International Year of the Child “Working Group on Children and their Sur-­ roundings: Play and Recreation”. Canada was specifically responsible for the organization of a UNESCO-­sponsored symposium on “Managing Urban Space in the Interest of Children” and the composi-­ tion of an “Inventory and Comparative Study of Legislation for Play Space”. The above projects were very much the result of the energies of Polly Hill (Board member 1972 – 1981 and IPA President 1978 – 1981) and Jane Knight (Board member 1978 – 1990).

IPA Japan established 1979

Valerie Fronczek and a core group on the west coast continued to build on these accomplishments, particularly in the area of promoting the newly ratified UNCRC and article 31. Their cutting edge workshops on the topics of play leadership, play environments, children’s participation and Child and Youth Friendly Communities inspired many across the country to put concerted effort toward improving conditions for young people and their play. In recent years under the leadership of Kim Sanderson, Edmonton, IPA Canada led a very successful national Play Day campaign, hosted a National Playspace Design Round-­table and supported the establishment of national accessibility guidelines for play areas. IPA Canada’s most recent project is the drafting of a statement on article 31 for the Canadian Coalition on the Rights of the Child which will form part of Canada’s NGO response to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. Pierre Harrison & Kim Sanderson

to deal with increased traffic, which was depriving children of their neighbourhood play spaces and The notion of a Japan Branch started with Mr. And play-­friendly streets. The effect of the translated Mrs. Omura. In 1970 by request of a publisher books did not end with such domestic trials however. specializing in landscape architecture, the Omuras In a hotel in Italy, during the 1975 IPA Conference in undertook the translation of Lady Allen of Hurtwood’s Milan, two young Japanese, one a landscape ‘Planning for Play’. They found the pages about architect and the other a researcher, got together adventure playgrounds fascinating. With no similar and had exciting productive discussions on how to book available in Japan, the book was well-­received design better play environments. Japan’s future for and newspapers picked up on the content. Soon children’s play was being developed. after, the publisher decided to do Arvid Bengtsson’s was the springboard year for IPA Japan. It was the ‘Adventure Playgrounds’. International Year of the Child, and the year Japan Mr. And Mrs. Omura then visited adventure play-­ established itself as an IPA Branch. It was also the grounds in Europe where they met Lady Allen who, at 77, guided them around London adventure play-­ year Setagaya Ward, Tokyo, was selected for a Memorial Project, an adventure play provision with a grounds in her Morris Mini. dedicated manager. The playground celebrated its After the translated ‘Planning for Play’ was published 30th anniversary in 2009. pilot adventure play projects were started. The 1964 Rikuko Okuda & Hitoshi Shimamura Olympic Games in Tokyo brought about city reform


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first in Ottawa, then Denmark, UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Scotland, Belgium, France;; and finally again in the Netherlands which was to be the site of the 1981 Conference. Efforts were made to meet in different countries, to arrange field visits, to hold press conferences and to meet with regional IPA members. In June 1979 an international symposium “Managing Urban Space in the Interests of Children” was organized, in co-­operation with IPA, by the Child in the City Program at the University of Toronto, Canada, under the aegis of the International Year of the Child and the Biosphere Program of UNESCO. Seventeen countries participated and papers presented were published. At the conclusion of her three year term Polly Hill wrote: “In spite of financial difficulties and competing demands on the time of board members, the track record for both the Board and Council for this period is one to be proud of. It represents both progress and promise for IPA. The Malta Declaration… gained IPA international recognition. In its capacity as a lead agency for the International Year of the Child (1979) IPA Board and Council organized: IPA International Seminar on Children’s Participation in Planning, Amsterdam, Netherlands IPA Seminar for International NGOs on Children and their Surroundings, London, England IPA Workshop on Children’s Play at the International Federation of Housing and Planning World Conference. Gothenburg, Sweden Swedish IPA Workshops on School Yards with international presentations. Gothenburg, Sweden An International Inventory and Comparative Study of Legislation for Play Space. Canadian Publication. IPA International Exhibition and Seminar on Play for the Handicapped Child at UNESCO and French Ministry of Health, Paris, France.”

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In 1980 IPA attained consultative status with UNICEF. IPA’s circle of influence greatly increased during this time period and resulted in positive action in many parts of the world. Polly Hill concludes her report with, “Canadians, whether they know it or not, have gained too from IPA as the publications issuing from our Children’s Environments Advisory Service at CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) circle the nation – all 200,000 pieces of them. Anyone who takes seriously their work with children would be foolish not to be a member of IPA!”

PART V: Links with international organizations 1981 – 1984 To contribute to the International Year of Disabled Persons, IPA developed a travelling exhibition in co-­operation with three UK-­based organizations: the Handicapped Adventure Playground Association, Fair Play for Children, and the National Playing Fields Association. Material from the UK, USA, France, Netherlands, Israel, Scandinavia and Italy was used. The exhibit was mounted at the UNESCO building in Paris for two weeks in June 1981. On June 12th IPA held a Seminar with the theme Play and the Handi-­ capped Child at the French Ministry of Health. The exhibit was also used at the Rotterdam Conference.

The IPA Conference in August 1981 was held in Rotterdam, Netherlands, with the title “Growing up in an Adult World—Beyond Play and Recreation.”

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Nic Nilsson was elected President. Reflecting on the Triennial Conference, he wrote: “The Rotterdam Conference was interesting from many points of view. We were visited by Queen Beatrixe of Holland and were received by both the national government and the City of Rotterdam. The British play magazine wrote, ‘the amount of information available on play, through the official programme, through the informal discussions taking place outside the formal structure, through the displays and written material was quite astonishing.’ A report of the conference was published and circulated.” Rotterdam was the site of the largest Council meeting in the history of IPA;; members representing twenty-­ five countries.


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MEMORY: Conference in Rotterdam, 23-­28 August, 1981 This was held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner made a speech in which he said ”Play is a fundamental activity for the species, but it is important to place in context, so that play is something that occurs in the context of those institutions which make development possible. That means in the context of the family, in the context of relatives, in the context of friends, in the context of neighbourhoods. Research evidence tells us that today playgrounds are often not played in.” Nic Nilsson

Afro – Asian Conference

THE ROLE OF PLAY IN CHILD DEVELOPMENT New Delhi, India, 14 – 18 November, 1983 This event was held under the auspices of UNESCO, IPA, the International Union of Family Organizations, and the Indian National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development. Close to 400 delegates representing a wide variety of cultures and professions participated in this IPA milestone event. Delegates came from many countries in Africa and Asia including Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Nepal and China. UN agencies were also represented as well as key government depart-­ ments and NGOs in India. Mr. Pran Nath Luthra, Chair of the Conference Organizing Committee (and President of the International Union of Family Organizations) wel-­ comed the delegates. The Secretary to the Govern-­ ment of India, Ministry of Social Welfare, gave the inaugural address. (see page 63) The objectives of the Conference were: to provide a forum for the exchange of views among delegates on the latest developments in the field of play and recreation for children to review the prevailing forms of play for chil-­ dren in Afro-­Asian countries ON BEING RECEIVED BY INDIA’S PRIME MINISTER, MRS. INDIRA GANDHI The April 1984 edition of the IPA Newsletter described the visit of IPA delegates to the Prime Minister’s Residence in New Delhi. “In 1975 the Prime Minister had put forward the idea of encouraging the use of waste materials and “junk” in children’s playgrounds. After short but eloquent speeches by Dr. D. Paul Chowdhry and Mr. Pran Nath Luthra, Mrs. Gandhi explained that this idea had come from her own experiences when bringing up her family during the war years when toys were in short supply. Noticing how her children

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to identify such forms of play as would best stimulate the physical, intellectual and creative potential of children to suggest new forms of play which may become a part of concrete programmes to be organized in educational and cultural institutions, within the family and by the community. The Conference discussed the main topic under the following sub-­themes Play as an instrument of child growth Patterns of play Play for the disabled child The Afro-­Asian Conference was considered a great success. Dr. Paul Chowdhry, who headed the Conference Secretariat, attended the Ljubljana Conference and reported on results achieved in India which were ‘most heartening.’ One of these results was a positive move toward the inclusion of play as an integral part of programs for the welfare and development of children (through the 1985-­ 1990 five-­year plan).

used their initiative and imagination in playing with the simplest of materials, inspired her to relate this to the needs of India’s children. Her idea has been taken up by National Institute of Public Co-­operation and Child Development and developed into a philosophy of playwork that has led to an awareness of the possibilities for play without cost. This has been a main topic of conversation and discussion among the Conference delegates. The Prime Minister then received each delegate personally in a most pleasant and informal way. Our thanks are due to her for her wise words and for her obvious and enthusiastic interest in the child’s right to play.”


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IPA’s priorities during this period were: Expanding IPA in the developing world Development of IPA in Eastern Europe Increased co-­operation with both UN bodies and non-­government organizations concerned with children.

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Nic Nilsson began his tenure by referring to the increasingly world-­wide nature of IPA, the need for better north/south and east/west connections, and the need for co-­operation with a much broader range of other international organizations concerned with the well-­being of children. IPA was successful in organizing the first Afro-­Asian Conference on Play in New Delhi, India in cooperation with the International Union of Family Organizations (IUFO), UNESCO, and the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development. The Conference was held from 14th to 18th November. Three hundred participants represented thirty-­one African and Asian countries. The Conference resulted in a set of twenty-­five recommendations for the promotion of play in the developing world, the first being that national policies on play be established.

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Many members of the conference became members of the Association, and IPA India was established.

The triennial conference was held in Ljubljana, Yugoslavia in August 1984. The title: “Innovation – Participation – Action” Nic Nilsson re-­elected President, reports: “IPA had added ten more countries to its membership base since the Rotterdam Conference which brought the total number of countries with IPA membership to forty-­eight. We were able to announce that the European Parliament had decided against war toys and to ‘recommend the Member States to ban the visual and verbal advertising of war toys and that the production or sale of war toys should be progressively reduced.’ From the U.K. it was reported that the first minister for play had been appointed. There was a common feeling in the early eighties that the politicians are being engaged and that now there will be a development of resources for play. We looked at the future positively.” IPA began to decentralize its work programme so that there were bases, for example, for IPA Resources (sale of books and print material) in London;; for the Conference Secretariat in Stockholm (where the next one would be held);; for the Newsletter Editorial work in Raleigh USA;; for the printing and distribution of the Newsletter in Malta, and so on, as well as permanent representatives to UNESCO, UNICEF, UN HABITAT, in Paris, New York and Nairobi respectively, and to the United Nations, Geneva.

Part VI: IPA as ‘Peace Messenger’ 1984 – 1990 During this period there was an emphasis on increasing the IPA membership base. Work began on a Council Kit as a tool to assist National Representatives and emerging Branches in their development. It was realized that the effectiveness of the organization – of IPA – for the purpose of the promotion of the child’s right to play – depended on member groups. Fourteen branches were established and IPA had registered members in 52 countries. At the Conference in Ljubljana it was recommended (emphatically) that IPA take action in having the word “play” – in addition to recreation, leisure, the arts – included in the draft of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. War toys was another issue debated at both the Rotterdam and Ljubljana Conferences with the result that IPA became an advocate for their prohibition. During the International Year of Peace (1986) IPA was represented at conferences in Addis Ababa, New York and Vienna. A special conference “Play – a Tool for War or Peace?” was arranged in Birmingham, UK. Activities against “toys of war or violence” were undertaken in many countries. IPA was invited by the Peace Committee of Poland to participate in a jury for a competition about peace toys in Warsaw, and to Moscow to a seminar about war toys.


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Afro-­Asian Conference

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MEMORY: Ljubljana 1984 It was a fantastic experience visiting IPA representatives in several countries on the way to and from the conference. Travelling with my 12 year old daughter Judith opened many doors . In Delhi we visited Mr S.P.Govil, the IPA representative for India, who arranged visits to sites of interest including the children’s building at Bal Bhavan. He also organized an IPA meeting while we were there. At the conference itself, twenty-seven countries assembled for a most interesting programme which included ‘networks’ to facilitate the exchange of views. Visits were arranged to small villages to enable delegates to experience every-day life in Slovenia. Elizabeth Hanan, New Zealand


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA was also invited to a UNESCO symposium on Peace Education in Paris in December 1986 to deliver papers on “Action Against Toys of War and Violence” and “Action for Co-­operative Games and Creative Problem-­solving Methods,” which were then published in PlayRights in English, French and Spanish. Nic Nilsson comments, “Suddenly IPA was seen in many countries as ‘the organization against war toys’ as it was once seen as ‘a federation of playgrounds’. It is important for IPA to be recognized as having an interest in promoting children’s play in whatever form that takes. A focus on “the child’s right to play” is really the best description. IPA began to develop in South America during this period. Argentina was the main base of action but there was also interest in promoting children’s play in Columbia and Peru. A Round Table on children’s play in large cities was held in Buenos Aires with the co-­operation of the inter-­American Children’s Institute which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS).

1987 was a special year for IPA as it celebrated its 10th World Conference in June of that year – this time in Stockholm, Sweden – the title being Creativity Through Play The conference was attended by close to 500 participants from over 40 countries. The anti-­war toy topic was high on the agenda. Nic Nilsson, elected for a third term of office, says in his opening address: “We must stick to our IPA Declaration even if industry, commerce and governments work against us, although we would prefer to cooperate with them all… From being a nice organization with a deserving cause, we are becoming a formidable organization for the powers of the world society who want to see the commercial exploitation of the child’s right to play”. In 1987 IPA was appointed a “Peace Messenger” by the UN Secretary General. At the conclusion of this designated year IPA received letters of appreciation from the Asia Buddhist Conference for Peace and from the IYP UN Office.

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IPA participated in UNESCO’s ‘Cultural Decade’ with a project in Sao Paulo, Brazil, called The Child, Cultural Bearer and Agent which created a non-­academic space, open to all children. During the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987) IPA took several initiatives including a schoolyard project in Bombay at the Unnat Nagar School, which received much publicity. For a number of years IPA worked closely with members of the NGO group dealing with the Convention on the Rights of the Child. While some of the wording suggested by IPA did not ‘make the cut’ the word “play” was ultimately included. Between 1984 and 1990 the Board met two or three times a year. Council meetings were held in Athens, Birmingham, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Rotterdam, Barcelona and Tokyo. A variety of symposia and other events were organized in conjunction with these meetings which are always welcomed by regional IPA groups. At the Council meeting in Barcelona 1989 a new edition of the IPA Declaration was drafted and approved. Additional content included concern for “the increasing numbers of working children and their unacceptable working conditions” and a pro-­ posal calling for “increased awareness of the high vulnerability of children living in slum settlements, tenements, and derelict neighbourhoods”.

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1989 Article 31: 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.

That member governments shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.


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The Topic of War Toys: 1980s IPA groups around the world joined forces to help limit or eliminate the sale of war toys. Through much of this decade members stressed the importance of supporting positive, pro-­social play and opposing anti-­ social, life-­destroying things such as war toys and media violence. The campaign against toys of violence had its roots in the original IPA Declaration, which urged an end to “commercial exploitation of children’s play, and the production and sale of war toys and games of violence and destruction.”

children’s fears about the destruction of war but also shared their sense of humanity with children in other lands, for the beauty of their planet and hope for their future. In other parts of the world “War against War Toys” events were held where children traded toy guns for peaceful toys. The outcome of IPA’s campaign had global results. These included: The European Parliament and the Council of Europe decided: to ban visual and verbal advertising of war toys to ban the manufacture and sale of replica guns There were discussions of the issue in many national parliaments. The production and sale of war toys were banned in Austria, Finland, Norway, Malta and FfRrOo Sweden. Mm Tt

There were many conferences, seminars and other events on the topic throughout the world. One example was an international exhibi-­ tion of children’s art on the theme “Peace, Nuclear Weapons and the AaRrCc Hh HhIiVv Ee Arms Race” mounted in conjunction EeSs IPA was designated by the UN as a with a seminar in Birmingham, England, entitled “Play – a Tool for War Peace Messenger in 1987. or Peace?” The art expressed In recognition of a significant contribution to the programme and objectives of the International Year of Peace, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, the Secretary-­General designates International Association for the Child’s Right to Play as a Peace Messenger

Signed by

Javier Pérez de Cuéllar

15 September, 1987

MEMORY: Stockholm 1987 All the IPA world conferences hold special memories for participants. Thirty-five Americans attended the 1987 Tenth World IPA Conference in Stockholm. This one was very special, including a wide array of conference presentations, interaction with play partners from around the world and visits to special historic venues. For “play people” opportunities to observe and interact with children on the special outdoor play environments in Stockholm parks and a city farm modified for play, eclipsed other activities and attractions. At that time, Sweden was reputed to provide more playgrounds per capita than any other country in the world. For many conference attendees, these play environments for all ages opened eyes for modifying “back home” playgrounds. They featured extensive natural terrain (hills, trees, running water, rocks), farm animals, gardens, zip lines, games areas, open fire cooking pits, and trained play leaders who were successful without undue interference. The visit to a farm within the city held pleasant surprises such as a canteen for social activity and a barn where children of all ages invited adult visitors to join them in tending to the animals. This was experiential learning rarely seen for urban children and the entire experience opened new vistas for adults accustomed to typical modern playgrounds. Joe Frost, USA


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There were many national and regional conferences during this period, examples being Buenos Aires, Argentina;; Auckland, New Zealand;; Vancouver, Canada;; Stockholm, Sweden (Nordic countries);; Munich, West Germany (first European IPA Conference) and Washington, USA. It was noted that a number of East European countries participated in the European conference.

Triennial Conference was held in Tokyo, Japan, “Play and Education” 1990

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Conference in Tokyo 3 -­ 8 June, 1990 was the first of the world conferences held in Asia. Being the first Conference after the launching of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, one of the Conference resolutions addressed the perceived need for IPA to strengthen its links with UN agencies. It was suggested that over the next three years targets should include a) filling representative posts with key UN agencies, b) IPA being represented in all major national and international conferences held by UN agencies and UN agency representatives being invited to IPA events, and c) providing IPA link persons in key UN agency headquarters.

Part VII: Focus on the Southern Hemisphere 1990 -­ 1996 Robin Moore, elected President in 1990, commented on the increasing ‘decentralization’ of IPA. “The President is based in the USA, the Secretary in Sweden, the Treasurer in the Netherlands, the Vice President in Germany, and Council representatives on the Board in Argentina and Australia”. He also noted that PlayRights is produced in the USA but printed and distributed in Malta. A deliberate policy of IPA in these years was to redress the North-­South balance, manifested during this period by its work in Latin America. IPA Branches had grown in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Paraguay. The next triennial conference was to be held ‘south of latitude 30’ for the very first time. Topics covered by the PlayRights magazine were increasingly worldwide in scope. Participating countries included New Zealand, Japan, India, Australia, Denmark, France, Sweden, UK, Canada, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Venezuela, and the USA. During this period IPA was involved in some important international and regional conferences including: ‘Playful City’ in the USA, ‘The Right to Create’ conference in Latin America (Paraguay), the conference of the Central Architects Association of Buenos Aires, Schoolyard Conference, New York, and the National Playing Fields Association Conference in London, UK.

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Public and professional events were organized by the hosting organization of most Board and Council meetings. Council meetings were held in Tokyo, Japan;; Illinois, USA;; and Melbourne, Australia. These events helped promote the child’s right to play and stimulate local IPA development. Worldwide conflicts, and their effects on children’s play was a frequent topic of concern for IPA. Articles related to the theme of peace and IPA’s long-­standing campaign against war toys were regularly featured in the “Peace Pages” section of PlayRights. A much discussed question was ‘how can IPA implement its mission as a UN Peace Messenger?’ It was well understood by members that play is highly relevant in overcoming the traumatic effects of terrifying experiences. The idea of IPA Peace Messengers was floated. “Playworkers without frontiers?” In 1991 Robin Moore wrote: “At the same time there is another level of concern, one that is perhaps more preventive, where the symbolic meaning of play takes on its full stature as a humanizing force in society, for adults as well as children. We seem to be at a turning point in history where as never before human society is faced with a moral imperative to bring to the fore the meaning of being human, before we destroy ourselves and our planet.” The theme of the relationship between children’s play and the natural environment became increasingly relevant and important in the ‘IPA world.’ At the 1991 meeting of the Board in April, 1991, in the Netherlands, an ‘action plan was developed for


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Story from IPA Japan – Tempaku Park, Nagoya At the 11th IPA conference (1990, Tokyo) forty-­five members who attended the pre-­conference tour visited an unspoiled open area of Tempaku, Nagoya. On this site neighbourhood parents have been campaigning for several years to retain this area for the free play of local children instead of the city plan of making an artificial park for leisure and sport there. Impressed with the quality of free play being developed in this natural area in the midst of a densely populated city, IPA members, experts in children’s play who visited the area this day, submitted a letter of appeal endorsed with each member’s signature to the mayor. All the members were pleased to receive a report afterwards that the campaign had succeeded and that plans were being changed. Since then, the parent group including several IPA members living in Nagoya promoted the playpark activities in Tempaku and helped the other people who wanted to open such playparks in similar districts. The Tempaku Playpark welcomes children from

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the neighborhood who enjoy the natural surroundings of the park with no “Do not….” signs. The history of adventure playpark activity in Japan started in 1975 in Tokyo. In the ensuing 35 years, efforts of IPA Japan have succeeded in setting up as many as 250 playparks na-­ tionwide. Only a few playparks are run by the public sector with full-­time playworkers. Most of the playparks are run by volunteers and non-­paid staff. Many of them receive no official support and cannot pay sufficient wage for playworkers. This results in week-­ end-­only or once-­a-­month Playpark activities. In addition, no academic or public sector offers a training course in playwork al-­ though some young people are deeply interested in it. As one of the pioneers of the Japanese playparks, the Tempaku Playpark supporting group had asked again and again that the city office pay playworkers through public resources but this is not yet realized. Some of the officials understand the importance of playparks and say “we are trying to do so” but they

MEMORY The Tokyo Conference: (June 1990) “Above all it was a playful conference with an impressive number of hands-on workshops devoted to the development of play skills among we adult participants. Especially interesting was to see and experience the innovative work of so many playworkers from the Asian regions of the world, many of them working in the education sector. In a conference where the difficulties of verbal communication were more severe than usual, it was very moving and wonderful to realize how truly universal, and beyond words the language of play is. In the final collective workshop session, there were sixty or so participants of all ages and many nationalities, men and women, playing together, creating together a form of communication through gesture, dance, music, body expression, that was truly universal, beyond time, space and culture.” Robin Moore, USA

have difficulty gaining the understand-­ ing of council members and achieving public consensus. IPA Japan has an ongoing challenge in appealing to the Japanese society to acknowledge children’s right to play. We expect a good result of the IPA Consultations on Children’s Right to Play held in eight places of the world in 2010 (including Tokyo) and hope for evidence to support our promo-­ tion of the importance of play in children’s everyday lives.

MEMORY Tokyo June 1990 I remember the Tokyo conference 1990 because of a small political success for the Japanese members of IPA. We were taken for a picnic to a park in Nagoya where there was an adventure playground sited under a motorway over bridge. We were enjoying our tempuras when the representative for Japan, Mrs Rikuko Okuda told us that the local authorities were going to close down the playground in order to place more housing and sports fields on the site. She asked for our help to save the playground which was obviously well used by the urban children. So we signed a petition to the local body to rescind its plan. In a few months time we received a report from the Director General of Agricultural and Beautification Bureau in the city of Nagoya, Japan saying that our intervention had been successful. Beverley Morris, New Zealand


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implementation by Board and IPA Branches. Emphasis was on the improvement of publicity material, assisting national branches, improving connections with other international organizations, financial development, and the implementation of article 31 of the UNCRC. The compilation of resolutions passed by each of the International Triennial Conferences was initiated. This would be updated every three years to ensure that all participants in IPA’s major events have a voice in influencing the broad direction of the Association regardless of their membership status. IPA Resources, where IPA publications were sold and distributed, was firmly established at the offices of the Play Unit in London, UK, and managed by an Information Officer. This housed one of the finest English language collections of professional books, publications and videos about play. The early nineties was also when IPA began its serious campaign to promote article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. IPA Vice President, Sven Borsche, was appointed to represent the Association on the NGO Committee dealing with the implementation of the Convention, this led to the establishment of a thematic sub-­group on Leisure and Play (one of seven such groups). Planning began for the organization of an ‘Article 31 Symposium’ in conjunction with the 1993 triennial conference in Melbourne, and for the launching of an Article 31 Recognition Program -­ the purpose being to “show the rest of the world what the child’s right to play is about….action!” In preparation for the Melbourne Conference, several events were organized in conjunction with the IPA Board meeting there. These included a one-­day Play Matters conference, a roundtable discussion hosted by the S. Australia Recreation Institute, Adelaide, and a one-­day Playful City Seminar hosted by the Playground and Recreation Association of Victoria (PRAV). These events both promoted IPA and helped raise funds to cover the cost of the Board meeting itself.

Triennial Conference “World Play Summit” held in Melbourne, Australia, in 1993

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This was the first IPA triennial conference to be held in the Southern Hemisphere, and for the first time in collaboration with another international play organization, the International Toy Library Association. Article 31 was a focus of Australia’s World Play Summit and was the topic of a number of special meetings including a Symposium featuring UNICEF Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury. A resolution of the Melbourne Conference was “to prepare a report and to supply information about the importance of article 31 to the Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva.” Proceedings of the Melbourne World Play Summit were produced in a set of five volumes and distributed worldwide. In the mid nineties IPA groups were initiated or developed further in South America largely through the dedication of Latin America Regional Vice President Nilda Cosco and Marilena Floris in Brazil. Activities took place in Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Uruguay. See page 39. A very successful Council meeting was held in Lisbon in May, 1994. England, Scotland, France, Finland, Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, Canada, Uruguay, Argentina and USA were represented. A well-­attended Seminar on the Child’s Right to Play was held there in conjunction with the Institute for Child Support, Lisbon.

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Other IPA key events during this term included the IPA European Conference “Creative Play – Meeting the Needs of Families” held in Edinburgh Scotland (to mark the UN International Year of the Family);; the “International Biennale of Play” in Montevideo, Uruguay;; and the Asia-­Pacific Regional Conference in Hong Kong. IPA also participated in the international children’s rights conference “Stronger Children – Stronger Families” (also celebrating the Year of the Family) in Victoria, BC, Canada and the Brasilian Toy Library Association Conference in Sao Paulo. During 1995 IPA groups were involved in projects celebrating UN/UNESCO’s 50 th anniversary. Based on the principles of Peace, Democracy, Human Rights and Tolerance, the theme selected by UNESCO was International Year of Tolerance. Robin Moore commented: “The International Year of Tolerance represents a major opportunity for IPA to demonstrate to the world that when children play they teach themselves peaceful ways of living together. We can show that play can heal children who have been harmed by war, by human conflict based on


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that there was fun and enjoyment for everyone in-­ cluding the physically challenged (a completely new development). The playground proved to be very popular indeed and was the forerunner of a new The idea of promoting better understanding about interest in playground design. As a result of this first venture, Playright was called the value of play in Hong Kong came in the course upon by the authorities to design playgrounds in the of conversation among three friends. It was just a casual talk but they agreed that play was not given detention centres for the Vietnamese Asylum Seekers during the 1980s. The first of these was designed and the importance that it deserved here in Hong Kong built in a camp holding 7,000 people. It was not partly for cultural reasons and partly from lack of possible to fence it off so it was in use for nearly 24 space and resources. This led to a brainstorming session in October 1987 and, as a result, the Playright hours a day by adults as much as by children. They Children’s Play Association was founded. had never seen a playground before and we had to At that time Playright was really breaking into a new get permission to put in exercise bars for the young men to attract them away from the play equipment. world and it was very encouraging when we heard Those asylum seekers have all left now but I am sure of an organization called the International Play that they still remember the playground. Association. In 1987, at the IPA Triennial Conference in Stockholm, In 1994 Playright held an IPA Regional Conference Playright became a member of IPA. Playright was in Hong Kong which was attended by 250 represented at the following Conference in Tokyo, representatives from a number of South East Asian 1990 and nearly all the conferences since then. Hong countries. The title was Family Matters which echoed Kong began to take a more active role in IPA and in the U.N.Year of the Family and the keynote speaker was James Gabarino who spoke on the healing 2008 hosted the IPA World Conference;; something power of play. Although only a regional conference, we never dreamt of when we started in 1987. it did make Hong Kong better known in IPA and In that year the members of the newly formed vice-­versa. We now have 25 members who support Playright decided that our first project should be to IPA as well as two active NGOs –TREATS and Play-­ design a playground that would demonstrate some right. Both of these organizations use the power of of our innovative ideas. Given an old dilapidated play in integrating and including all children, in playground in Kowloon to redesign and construct, we turned the old park into a ”Voyage to the Moon” providing play in hospitals and in prisons, in running a play resource centre and a toy library. The aim of our design was to replace stereotyped As members of the IPA,we also appreciate and equipment with new and challenging designs thus allowing the children to take an exciting journey from benefit from our contacts with other countries. We the Moon Rocket to the Moon Dragon to the Slide wish that the next fifty years may be as active and and Rocks with many other adventures along the productive for IPA as the last years have been. way. Our plan was to encourage initiative and Anne Marden exploration. Every effort was made to stimulate the imagination and physical energy of the children so

IPA’s link to Hong Kong: PlayRight Children’s Play Association

MEMORY: Melbourne Conference 1993

It was in Melbourne in 1993, my first IPA conference, that Article 31 changed my life. I said to myself, “I’ve been defending the child’s right to play for the past fifteen years, I just didn’t realise it until now: Children’s play is a human right!” After Melbourne I returned to the UK inspired and immediately founded the Article 31 Action Network. Within a year Playtrain in Birmingham hosted the UK’s first Article 31 Conference and shortly afterwards produced the Article 31 Action Pack. Everything that’s happened to me since has been influenced by that moment of insight in Melbourne. Harry Shier, Nicaragua (earlier UK)


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differences in religion, ethnic background, race and gender. Play is a unique process that can break through the artificially constructed barriers of prejudice and hate – barriers constructed by adults not children. Play is the means for children to avoid inheriting a world polluted by inhuman social values. As stated in the IPA Declaration ‘children are the hope of the future.’ It is up to us, children and adults together, to show what we mean by this statement.” Board and Council meetings were held in Buenos Aires in 1995. This marked the first time that the mid-­term Council meeting was held in a developing country. A report on the International Seminar held at that time says: “this surely gave children’s play a public and professional boost in Argentina and other Latin American countries. The event gave a taste of the playful Latin American culture to those from outside the region.”

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In 1996 the World Summit on Cities (Habitat II) provided an important opportunity for the IPA mission to be part of the drafting process for the Habitat II Action Agenda. As the NGO representing the child’s right to play and recreation, IPA was officially invited to the Expert Seminar hosted by UNICEF and the Children’s Environment Research Group (directed by Roger Hart, IPA New York UN Representative). Until then the main conference agenda had contained little reference to children. The result of the Seminar was that conference organizers made the decision to use the Convention on the Rights of the Child the vehicle for developing a full document addressing Children’s Rights and Habitat. During this period IPA Scotland produced an official flag for the Association. It was unfurled at the Edinburgh conference and then again at the Council meetings in Argentina. Also, the first of a series of “smart new Membership Directories” was launched. Knowing who is doing what and where within IPA – and how to locate them -­ has always been a valued part of the organization. After several years of effort to create a professional journal in the field of play (International Play Journal), and the production of eight issues under the leadership of Managing Editor Bob Hughes, it became clear that the volume of sales needed to ensure continuation would not be reached. The publication ceased in September 1996.

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A number of ‘bridging actions’ were noted in various ipa materials. During this term IPA sponsored a member in Russia;; Scotland hosted a visit of professionals from the Czech Republic;; France sponsored a group in Senegal;; USA connected with Lithuania;; Sweden made a visit to India;; Netherlands continued its connection with India;; Sweden and Argentina remained strongly connected.

Triennial Conference “Dimensions of Play” held in Espoo, Finland in 1996 Part VIII: Regional IPA Conferences in the Spotlight 1996 -­ 1999 Robin Moore, elected as President for a third consecutive term, said,

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“regional meetings of IPA have strengthened the organization, providing an important opportunity to link with other NGOs working with children and for members to meet face-­to-­face at a more local level. Regional conferences during this term included: Play as a Tool for Inclusion: Latin American Conference, Brazil, 1997. An impressive number of organizations collaborated with IPA in hosting this event to which Board members contributed presentations along with IPA members from Sweden, USA and neigbouring Latin American countries. Playfulness of Society: A European IPA Conference was held in Antwerp, Belgium in 1998 with the participation of a significant number of city officers and political representatives and chaired by Board member Jan van Gils. This event reflected the growing links between countries in the European region with examples of bilateral and multilateral projects being conducted by IPA groups. Asia-­Pacific Regional Conference: This three-­venue event was held in Fukuoka, Nagoyal and Osaka, Japan in 1998. These diverse locations gave international participants a variety of play experiences. This new model for IPA regional conferences had the advantage of ‘sharing the load’ among many IPA members and collaborating organizations. The decentralized model increased diversity and added depth to the whole event.


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1996 Habitat II, Istanbul.

were woven around the Convention) were used as lobbying tools to successfully influence the Habitat II Action Agenda – which in its earlier version did not IPA was part of the drafting process for the Habitat II even include children, let alone play! Action Agenda. A declaration and report on Children’s Rights and Habitat was produced in IPA was officially represented in Istanbul by IPA which key components of the IPA mission were Ff incorporated: play and education;; play and health;; members Sheridan Bartlett (USA) and Arza Aa RrOoMm Tt RrCcHh HhEe Churchman (Israel). safe, secure space for play;; play around the home;; IiVvEe Ss play and nature;; and the right to participate in the Habitat II was a major opportunity for IPA to design of play spaces and facilities. collaborate with many other NGOs, in its role as consultant to UNICEF, in a major effort to address In the Prep Comm. III meeting in New York and the the quality of children’s lives in the city and Habitat II Summit in Istanbul (June 1996), the especially in the Southern Hemisphere. Children’s Rights and Habitat documents (which

MEMORY: Espoo Conference (Helsinki) 1996 This was my second IPA World conference representing IPA Scotland. I went on the pre-conference tour through Eastern Finland. memorable for its forests, lakes and misty mornings. There was an evening of music, dance, smoked fish and sahti (traditional beer), a bonfire and farmhouse sauna. We had a boat cruise, visited a museum and two 'kindergartens'. The conference theme ‘Dimensions of Play’, produced an inspiring mix of lectures, workshops and activities. For the first time an IPA flag (brought from Scotland) was mounted on the stage. There were Right to Play Awards for Scotland’s National Play Strategy and for the Scotland Yard Adventure Centre. Alan Rees activists Ric McConaghy and Pattie Morgan, both of whom remember most warmly the inspiration, motivation and support they received professionally and personally from all that the Melbourne Australia is a large country, faraway from everywhere Conference delivered. else -­ everyone knows that. Australia over recent Sally Jeavons, Life Member and former President of years has had to cope with droughts, cyclones, PRAV (The Playgrounds & Recreation Association of bushfires, floods, and other monstrous climatic Australia) and IPA Council member at the time, events, including locust plagues currently, with such events often occurring concurrently in different parts recalls that the Melbourne Conference provided the catalyst for two key aims: of the country -­ and most people know that too.

Thanks to IPA for its support for play in Australia

But what many people around the world may not know is that many Australians over many decades have played a significant leadership role in the promotion and development of quality outdoor play for children and young people, particularly those working in the early childhood sector, and the recreation, local government and parks sectors, and that a major source of inspiration and support has come for this work from the IPA through its people, its publications, seminars and conferences, and in particular the 1993 IPA Conference held in Melbourne. This conference was attended by many hundreds of international visitors and some 400 Australians. For some the Melbourne Conference was their first involvement in IPA, including current

1. 2.

To promote activity around the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which the Australian Government had ratified in 1990;; and, To establish a national Play Association in Australia.

Interestingly, both aims were partly met, with the conference being opened by a Minister of the Commonwealth Government of Australia, commit-­ ting the government to supporting the Convention and being held to account for their commitment to the international community, and secondly, the Aus-­ tralian Play Alliance was established which operated for some years. I am advised that commitment and enthusiasm were never in short supply, and some


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Article 31 continued to be a topic of special interest for member countries. Japan suggested that children’s rights be included in the training of all child-­related professionals;; Germany looked at the changing culture of childhood in the context of the Convention;; and the UK highlighted children’s participation in the arts as a key dimension of cultural development. Implications of rapidly increasing technology on children’s play began to be discussed by members worldwide. This was acknowledged to be a highly complex issue. On the one hand there was understand-­ able fear expressed on the basis of the time children spend in front of screens of one type or another – especially at a young age – and its ‘secondary experience’ nature. On the other hand in international debates on the issue, aspects of the new media were seen as positive ingredients of children’s play world. At the same time many members during this IPA term were much involved in a growing movement toward natural play environments which was beginning to be evident in countries throughout the world. The alarming trend of children’s disappearing play space was recognized and raised as a serious issue by a number of IPA groups including Germany, Netherlands and the USA where some schools were being built without playgrounds. A member from the Philippines notes, “With the advent of consumer-­oriented places (such as McDonalds, Jollibees, 7-­11 stores, shopping malls, burger stands and game houses) the open fields where children used to play are no more. The rivers where children used to swim and fish are now dumping sites for industrial waste, and the woodlands and hill areas where adventure awaited children have been subdivided for resorts or golf courses.” The concern of IPA members about the rapid changes in our society and barriers they present to the healthy development of children were manifested in joint play projects with other organizations that work with children. Robin Moore says: “Play must be taken up as a political theme – as many of the larger IPA branches have already done. IPA’s role is clear, to speak out against negative trends, and to involve children in finding alternatives -­ healthier directions based on play. Each of the national branches has examples of effective actions to share. Let us learn from each other and celebrate progress.”

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Part IX: A New Century – the Age of Technology 1999 – 2006 The 14th triennial conference was held in Lisbon, Portugal, with the title “The Community of Play” At the Lisbon Conference Jan van Gils was elected President and served for two terms. One of the defining themes of the ‘turn of the century’ was technology and the rapid changes that were affecting all organiza-­ tions. Much of this change was positive, particularly for international organizations, but to take advantage of the smorgasbord of opportunities IPA needed to adapt and to develop new ways of working. Therefore, much of this period was devoted to internal organization and adjustment to the age of technology. To assist this transition, IPA appointed its first Communications Officer in 1999. At the beginning of the term Jan van Gils writes: “Our support of IPA is really support for the importance of children’s play. At this time I know of only one organization that advocates for children’s play internationally the way that IPA does.. The idea that playing is looking for meaning, that while playing children are looking for coherence, for connections, for norms… should be spread to politicians and decision-­makers at every level, and to all people in the field of education. IPA is a good organization through which to spread these insights. And while we are doing this we can also contribute to the promotion of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, for they are heavily linked. The right of children to play is essential for their well-­being. Being a member of IPA is being a partner in promoting these objectives.”


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great outcomes were achieved. PRAV has operated as the national representative of IPA for many years and in 2011 will develop into a truly national organization to reflect our growing membership in all states and territories of Australia, and will be called Play Australia. This new organization will place priority on its role as the face of IPA in Australia and will campaign to significantly increase the profile and membership of IPA throughout the country.

shared commitment to the aims and values so clearly expressed in the IPA Constitution. We wish to ensure that the dreams and aspirations of those who led and participated in the Melbourne Conference are fully realized.

Australians who have supported IPA, its aims and activities since its early days, include Judy Finlayson of Network in New South Wales, Prue Walsh in Queensland, Sally and Mary Jeavons, and June Factor in Victoria, Juanita Miller and Penny Reed in Governments in Australia have committed very few Western Australia, Pauline Berry and Penny Crocker in South Australia, and the list goes on. Current IPA resources to play compared with those in the UK members would like to honour the work of our and other parts of Europe. However, IPA members predecessors, and acknowledge the importance of have promoted outdoor play with an astonishing their role in the first 50 years of IPA involvement in degree of commitment and perseverance, with both PRAV, and other state and national bodies. The Australia. key purpose of Play Australia will be to advocate for play at both national and state and territory levels in Barbara Champion partnership with all activists and organizations, with a

MEMORY: Lisbon Conference (1999) After a 1,600 mile drive across Europe, the welcome in Lisbon was magnificent, with smiles everywhere. The first night was at the Lord Mayor’s Palace; then we took over a local bar with 60 delegates ‘til the vino verde ran out. We developed a taste for the hourly ‘bica’ with a glass of water as the conference venue had a coffee bar on every corner. On the Wednesday, a large group of us sat in the sun, talking play for hours and a palpable energy emerged as people opened their hearts and minds to share in a true community, with their own thoughts but debating openly and in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance - wonderful. Perry Else, England


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IPA used the tenth anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to circulate its “Pleas for Play” – a call for individuals and organizations to reflect on the situation of children’s play throughout the world. It argued for the accommodation of children’s play in the whole of society;; for play to be recog-­ nized as a rich source of development which children tailor to their individual needs, and that opportunities for play are in the best interests of children. During this period of IPA’s development, significant strides were made in establishing a sustainable communications policy. The website was given a much higher profile, a substantial publication (PlayRights Journal) was produced three times a year and a newsletter “PlayBack”circulated regularly. See publica-­ tions history page 49.

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The Name-­change Debate: (the Sequel…) At the Lisbon conference (1999) members again debated a change of name. The options were: a) maintaining the current “International Association for the Child’s Right to Play” and b) a change to “International Play Association: Promoting the Child’s Right to Play”. The first was defended because of the emphasis on the Child’s Right to Play. It was suggested that the ‘tag-­line’ (of the proposed change of name) would not be used consistently, and the organization would eventually become known only as the International Play Association. The organization fought to have “play” included as a right in the UN Convention. It was strongly suggested that we should preserve the emphasis on play as a right. The second was presented as a practical necessity, a short manageable name – one easier to communicate;; one that matches the organization’s logo “IPA”. The promoter of this proposal saw no change in principles or weakening of resolve to promote children’s right to play. The debate continued until the General Meeting of the Association in Berlin, 2005, when the new name “International Play Association: Promoting the Child’s Right to Play” was finally adopted. In 2002 the first IPA Conference Guidelines were drafted by Alan Rees, Scotland, which were later approved by Council at its meeting in Frankfurt. During the 1999 -­ 2005 period, play environments and play leadership (now more widely described as ‘playwork’) were still key areas of interest for IPA. The fact that ‘children play everywhere’ was always understood by IPA members but with the introduction of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, play was beginning to be viewed as an integral part of the complete care and protection of children. IPA members contributed to the growing literature on the indivisibility of the articles, linking article 31 with many other aspects of the Convention. This greater understanding of play as part of a whole and the growing appreciation of the principle of children’s participation, led to enthusiastic acceptance of the child friendly city movement by many IPA members and involvement of some Branches directly in CFC programs.

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Child Friendly Cities: Approximately half the world’s children lived in urban settings by 2002 and the trend was expected to continue. In the late nineties and the early years of the new millennium, UNICEF gave leadership to the concept of “Child Friendly Cities”. Programmes began to develop in various parts of the world to contribute to the realization of children’s rights at the local level. The European Network of Child Friendly Cities began to develop. The outcome document of the UN Special Session on Children (A World Fit for Children: UN General Assembly, October 2002) stressed that “Local governments and authorities can ensure that children are at the centre of agendas for development. By building on initiatives such as child-­friendly communities, mayors and local leaders can significantly improve the lives of children.” While these programs address a wide range of ‘domains’ of childhood (e.g. basic services such as education and health, and protection from violence, abuse and exploitation) access to pollution free environments in which children can play and interact was an important ingredient. There were a number of examples of IPA’s direct involvement in tailor-­made ‘child friendly’ programs at national and regional levels. Some examples of these were Canada, Netherlands and Sweden. Other IPA member countries, such as Belgium and Ireland, also became involved in the European Network of Child Friendly Cities. Child Friendly Cities: www.childfriendlycitites.org


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IPA in New Zealand In 1961 when Beverley Morris and her family spent a year in London, she spent some time as a volunteer play worker in a South London adventure playground. She met Lady Allen of Hurtwood and Drummond Abernethy at the Chelsea playground for handicapped children. Returning to New Zealand she joined IPA in 1963 and persuaded about six others to sign up. Beverley was an enthusiast who saw the potential of linking with the world wide movement to promote play. Beverley was the first IPA New Zealand National representa-­ tive, a task she undertook for many years attending many world conferences. The task of organizing IPA members scattered in many cities was a difficult task. Through Beverley Morris and the Wellington members a Play Unit was set up within New Zealand Council for Recreation and Sport which helped coordinate information and acted as a resource centre for interested parties. The Council later evolved into the Hillary Commission. The Play Education Unit continued until about 1990. Wellington City Council was persuaded to set up a ‘supervised’ adventure playground in Newtown which lasted five years. Paid supervisors or play leaders were not considered necessary by local bodies and few other playgrounds of this type were developed. In early childhood education, play centres and kindergartens understood the importance of play. The training of daycare and child care workers was based on Te Whakariki, the enlightened curriculum accepted by the Ministry of Education. In Dunedin in the late 60s Professor Phillip Smithells the Director and founder of the School of Physical Education formed the Dunedin Advisory Committee which met regularly to help with safer playground design. Elizabeth Hanan was the secretary and helped produce booklets to assist playground planners. In Christchurch IPA member Ailsa Densem initiated the Christchurch Advisory Playground Committee and kept the focus on play there for many years.

In 1972 Ailsa was convener of the theme committee Play and Creativity and Environment task force for the International Year of the Child and was a member of the New Zealand Committee for Children. IPA members Elizabeth Hanan and George Lucking published Playgrounds and Play in 1981 which emphasized the important principle of involving children and the community in planning and building the playgrounds. Joint use of school and public playgrounds was encouraged. After the Tokyo conference a group was set up in Japan under the guidance of Mrs Rikuko Okuda in Nagoya to translate the book into Japanese. This was a tremendous task and provided a real link between nations. Beverley Morris was the IPA representative until 1983 when Elizabeth Hanan assumed the role until 1995. By the mid eighties IPA-­New Zealand had one of the highest number of members (in ratio to population) of the forty member countries. The first IPA-­New Zealand national conference was held in Dunedin in 1985. In January 1990 the Commonwealth and Interna-­ tional Conference on Physical Education, Sport, Health, Dance, Recreation and Leisure was held in Auckland and Nic Nilsson IPA President and Brian Sutton-­Smith participated. An IPA-­NZ Conference followed involving Nic Nilsson as a keynote speaker. Barriers to play were discussed such as the increase in technological entertainments and so-­called educational toys and diminishing active physical play. Many schools were overly concerned about the safety of playgrounds. In towns there were fewer and fewer undeveloped areas where children could build, dig and dream .The value of such broad-­ ranging discussions can only improve the quality of children’s play. In October 2008 Barbara Champion from Australia IPA visited Auckland. A meeting of IPA members in Auckland was convened at Beverley Morris’s home. The group set up a networking arrangement. Beverley Morris & Elizabeth Hanan

Children’s drawing, Johannesburg


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UN Special Session on Children: “A World Fit for Children” Roger Hart has acted as IPA’s representative to UN agencies in New York for many years. The year prior to the 2002 Special Session he wrote, “In the past, UNICEF was exclusively concerned with issues of child survival and very little with their continued development. But with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the centre of UNICEF’s mission, its agenda has broadened greatly and it is no longer only concerned with children in the first few years of life. There is particular recognition of the importance of play by staff working in early child care, and by those working with children living in difficult circumstances – par-­ ticularly children sheltering from or recovering from the impacts of war and other forms of violence. At the UN Special Session on Children the most important sessions related to play were those on environmental health. Sherry Bartlett, in a panel discussion, argued the need for a holistic, or ecological, vision of children’s development. She spoke movingly of the child at the centre of this model with an urge to explore and play – and parents struggling to do their best to enable their children to find a safe environment in which to do this.

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The implications of this perspective are that the planning of neighbourhoods and the provision of basic services needs to be developed at the local level in collaboration with parents. Her input was very well received by the toxicologists, epidemiologists and other health experts on the panel. It is important that some of us in IPA develop partnerships with such environmental health professionals in our advocacy for children.” At the time of IPA Board and Council meetings in New York in May 2001, the UN draft document “A World Fit for Children” was reviewed by Roger Hart and IPA’s Communications Officer. IPA wrote to the drafting committee: “…in our view there is a great danger that without using the word ‘play’ the many references to ‘learning’ and ‘education’ and to ‘development’ will be interpreted in narrow ways which exclude play. Many fundamentals of children’s development can only be fulfilled by giving children the freedom and the opportunities to determine their own activities. This self-­determining aspect of children’s rights is enshrined in article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We therefore hope that play will also be included in the final draft of the Special Session document.” Specific suggestions were made with regard to where “play” could be included. Unfortunately many of these suggested amendments were not accepted. The final wording was: “….we adopt the Plan of Action… confident that together we will build a world in which all girls and boys can enjoy childhood – a time of play and learning, in which they are loved, respected and cherished, their rights are promoted and protected, without discrimination of any kind, where their safety and well-­being are paramount and where they can develop in health, peace and dignity.” Full text: www.unicef.org

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2002 Sao Paulo, Brazil, Conference: Culture and Play in Urban Spaces A focus of this period of IPA’s history was global networking. Latin America was a key target because of the IPA Triennial Conference being held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Some good connections were made with Colombia and Argentina. Jan van Gils, re-­elected President, noted that it was interesting to see examples of how the promotion of the UNCRC in South America linked play and health, play and education, play and childcare and so on. Play, he said, is an integral part of children’s lives as is article 31 an integral part of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Another centre of networking was in Europe where the 40th anniversary of IPA took place in Denmark. IPA members from Sweden, Germany, Belgium (and USA!) came together to celebrate the organization’s roots. Closer relationship was also forged with the International Council for Children’s Play (ICCP) an international play organization with an emphasis on research. Also, communication was sustained with the Children’s Rights Information Network (CRIN) which was open to considering the establishment of a Play and Recreation ‘theme desk’, and with the Association for Childhood Education International, the International Healthy Cities Foundation, the World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP), International Association of Toy Libraries, and Defense for Children International.


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IPA in Latin America Expansion of IPA into South America in the late 80s and through the 90s had two apparent energy sources;; one in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the other Buenos Aires, Argentina. Following are some of the events which helped fuel the growth of ipa groups in Latin America. issues of children’s play in large cities, was initiated by IPA Argentina and the Roberto Noble Foundation in May, 1988. It began with two round-­ table workshops hosted by Argentina’s major newspaper Clarin. Nilda Cosco says “this collaboration with a major newspaper is a very good way to be in touch with the public, to make them aware that there is a group of professionals concerned about these problems and to help us realize that creative solutions lie within our capacity.” While IPA members were in Buenos Aires for these events, opportunities were taken to link with other key NGOs such as OMEP and with university and government-­based groups in Uruguay. The Child’s Right to Play in Large Cities in Latin America was part of USA/IPA’s trien-­ nial conference in Washington, DC, in November 1988. IPA experts from several Latin American countries discussed the above topic with input from IPA representatives from the USA and Europe.

Latin American representatives were interviewed by the Spanish section of “Voice of America” which was broadcast by satellite to the Spanish-­speaking world. -­day Seminar on Play – the first IPA Latin American Regional Meeting -­was held in Asunción, Paraguay, in August 1990. Two hundred and fifty people attended from Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. meeting in Buenos Aires in May/June 1995. a Tool for Inclusion” held in Brazil in November 1997, chaired by Marilena Flores Martins, IPA Brazil representative. Editions of PlayRights through the 1990s describe a wide variety of play projects which took place in Argentina, Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay and Brazil. These included the launching of toy libraries, a toy library festival, play facilities in shopping centres, national and regional cross-­ disciplinary seminars, play festivals, and the design of play environments. Graciela Bottini

MEMORY: Sao Paulo and Berlin Conferences (2002, 2005) Sophie Ahmed’s workshops buzzed with little groups of delegates passionately involved in the tradition and culture of games, arguing over rules and discussing the differences in the games in their country. When the sessions ended it was impossible to get delegates to put down their dice, cowrie shells and goats! Her fantastic stalls, loaded with vibrant toys and games made by village women in India, were always surrounded by people pleading to buy. Sophie would rope people in as assistants, haggle over prices and then give toys away to the person who seemed to love them the most! Margaret Westwood, Scotland


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The growing use of e-­mail vastly improved communications at Board and Council levels as well as the quality of networking between IPA and supporting international organizations. For the first time IPA had adopted a comprehensive communications plan which ranged in scope from internal Board/Council communications, to the components necessary for building a worldwide network. Council meetings during the 1999 – 2005 period were held in Lisbon, Frankfurt, New York, Sao Paulo, Baltimore and Berlin. At the Baltimore Board/Council meeting in 2004 members of the organization began to recognize that an organization like IPA, with limited resources and ambitious aims, could achieve much more with good planning and better use of its human resources. And so the strategic planning process (2005 – 2008) was born. The first ‘brainstorming’ meeting involving more than seventy IPA members was held in Berlin in 2005.

IPA’s 16th triennial conference 2005: Berlin, Germany “Play: Learning for Life” Part X: Grass Roots Strategic Planning 2005 -­ 2008

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Michael Paris (Germany) was elected President at the Berlin conference in July 2005. He wrote: “IPA is the only international organization which connects thousands of members worldwide who together promote the child’s right to play. During this world conference, more than 450 participants collaborated in 260 workshops, meetings and presentations that focused on the importance of play in learning. In Triennial World Conferences members from all nations meet to exchange experiences and plan campaigns and activities to ensure the right to play for all children”. At the General Meeting in Berlin, the Constitution was amended. One amendment was in relation to the required quorum for General Meetings. With increasing travel costs, many international organizations were experiencing reduced representation at international conferences. For the first time in nine years, IPA reached a quorum (over 90 members) at its General Meeting. The motion was carried to reduce the required number of members from 90 to 50 – but still representing a minimum of 8 countries. Another amendment was the name-­change motion, tabled by the General Meeting in Lisbon and again in Sao Paulo (no quorum). This was finally officially approved. The new name (to match its logo initials) became International Play Association: Promoting the Child’s Right to Play. It was stressed that everyone should use the complete name so that the important words “the child’s right to play” do not get lost. Constitution review: and strategic planning This seemed the right time in IPA’s history for the organization (as playful critics described it) to navel-­gaze for a bit, i.e. self-­analysis! A complete review of the Constitution was launched and simultaneously, between 2005 and 2008, hundreds of members were engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process (chaired by David Yearley, England). After the ‘Futures’ brainstorming meeting in Berlin with more than seventy participants, the strategic planning process continued with gathering momentum. It involved a member-­wide mail survey with 221 responses and a six month enthusiastic follow-­up period with national representatives and correspondents. The final draft of IPA’s first comprehensive strategic plan was approved by the Council in January 2008 in Hong Kong. The main goals and objectives were: A. To improve the organization’s visibility as a credible and authoritative world voice on children’s play. B. To streamline the management and operation of IPA. C. To energize and expand IPA’s membership base. Seven committees and working groups were established to implement the forty-­eight action steps outlined in the Strategic Plan.


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MEMORY: Berlin Conference 2005 This was my first time in Berlin and I was struck by its “family friendliness.” Our then 12 year-old granddaughter was with me, and even today considers herself as a junior IPA member. Conference participants were so friendly to her. Of most value to her was being able to try out all the assistive devices for children with special challenges – she commented that she now knows how difficult it can be for children with challenges to be able to play. This experience impacted her quite strongly and to this day she stands up for the right to play for everyone. Of course, the rest of the conference was beautifully planned and the camaraderie among attendees still remains with me to this day. Audrey Skrupskelis, USA

MEMORY: Berlin Conference 2005 IPA Berlin 2005 changed my life. Passionate about children’s rights, I had become London Play’s chief executive in 2004. To connect with internationally-minded colleagues, I joined IPA-England Wales Northern Ireland branch which soon elected me as chair and kindly sponsored me to attend Berlin. It was an eye-opener: I learned more about play, immersed myself in debates, grappled with country/regional contexts, and met equally committed colleagues from around the world. Many became good friends. We worked and played, sampling the sights of the German capital, the Presidents’ lunch in the Reichstag, and remnants of the Berlin Wall on the way to FEZ, the exciting outdoor playspace. Talking play with new Japanese and Portuguese friends we glided along the Spree on a riverboat. Berlin was a personal milestone: three years later I was elected regional vice president (Europe), which brought new opportunities to help change the world for children’s play. Dr. Ute Navidi, England

MEMORIES: (1978-­2008) All excellent conference venues and programs… but what about the Food, Drink, & Friendship! ’78 Ottawa- BBQ, beer and initiation to IPA; membership & love affair with play begins ’81 Rotterdam- Raw fish, Geneva (old and new) spirits, colleague connection leads to year sabbatical in Norway; 1st pre-conference tour par excellence, vow never to miss another one! ’84 Ljubliana- heritage found (pages of Jambor listed in phone book), beautiful people (of course), touring villages, Sarajevo Olympic archives, Dubrovnik castle town, Adriatic swim, prewar anxiety; oh yes, plenty of sausage and beer. ’87 Stockholm- Fish, expensive beer, an historic old town to night-life with funloving IPAers. ’90 Tokyo- Interesting assortment of food! Saki, Saki, & more Saki, vending machines loaded with Beer of many volumes, sacred Temples & Buddha; packed subways (with “hands to yourself” protocol), hot tub earthquake tremors. ’93 Melbourne- Large cans of Fosters, beaches, street children, gold coast preschools tour, kangaroo farm, didgeridoo and indigenous families. ’96 Espoo- Bear meat, crazy spirits, beautiful gardens, hot sauna cave, more night life with those fun-loving IPAers. ’99 Lisbon- Fish grilled by street vendors, Sandman Port, fine wine, coastal tour and historical artifacts, hills & stone streets, late night-life starts. ’02 Sao Paulo- Brazilian music, dance, and tables of food & drink with continual meat carving; tram up to Corcovado Mountain to Christ the Redeemer statue, tight hotel security, tour stop at crime ridden Favela, Rio beach looking for Girl from Ipanema, ’05 Berlin- Sausage, Kraut & Beer, Beer, and more Beer, with fine white regional wine. City & country tour bore historical reminders everywhere. ’08 Hong Kong- interesting air, crowd masses, every shop imaginable, cable car, ferry transfers, China excursion of mountains, rice fields, train rides, local village food, hot tea, bad beer, good beer, no beer. ’11 Cardiff – visions of continued good times with above menu selections available. Front and center table reservation for all please. Tom Jambor, USA

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After the approval of the strategic plan by Council, Valerie Fronczek, Communications Officer, wrote “…we know that IPA has the potential to be a driving force worldwide in the promotion of the importance of children’s play. To achieve this goal we need to orchestrate our efforts and support each other in many different ways. We believe that together we have prepared the right “road map” for this and we look forward to great results during the next three years, as we move toward IPA’s 50th anniversary.” This term the official publication of IPA reverted back to a Magazine format partly as a cost-­saving measure but also to meet the need for regular reporting of IPA news.

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Some of the ‘navel-­gazing’ referred to above, resulted in: The production of an IPA Sponsorship Ethics Paper, (approved by Council in 2006) An update of the Triennial Conference Guidelines based on recent years’ experience. A three-­year communications plan incorporating IPA’s main communications vehicles – website, magazine, and regular Council news updates, (discussed and approved at the Council meeting in Bournemouth in 2006) The design of a new, colourful IPA brochure. An IPA poster produced for the Hong Kong conference (later translated into many languages and used much more broadly)

During this term IPA was also pleased to cooperate with the International Council on Children’s Play in the production and publication of a book Several Perspectives on Children’s Play: Scientific Reflections for Practitioners.

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Council meetings through this term were held in Berlin (Germany), Bournemouth (UK), where 17 countries were represented, and in Hong Kong at the time of the Triennial Conference in 2008.

IPA’s 17th triennial conference 2008 – “Play in a Changing World” was held in Hong Kong, China. Two bids for the 2011 world conference were presented (in accordance with a formal process) to the January 7th Council meeting in Hong Kong, one from Cardiff, Wales and one from Copenhagen, Denmark. The outcome of the Council vote was in favour of Cardiff and this decision was then ratified by the General Meeting. The proposal to the General Meeting in Hong Kong to approve a transition to a Constitution which encompasses a simplified organizational structure was carried.

Part XI

A World Voice on Children’s Play 2008 – 2011

Building on the acceptance of the 2008 strategic plan, IPA continued to gather momentum. It was also the term leading up to IPA’s 50th anniversary. Theresa Casey, elected as President in Hong Kong, wrote: “I am very conscious that the three years ahead take us steadily towards a significant landmark… 2011 will mark half a century of working for children’s play as an international association. This anniversary reminds us how much people can do when they set their minds and energies to it, for a shared purpose and with a shared vision. IPA’s role in ensuring that the child’s right to play was included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has perhaps been its most significant contribution to date. Article 31 has provided a powerful tool for play advocates but we know we need to do more. IPA is now embarking on a strategy to retrieve article 31 from its position as ‘one of the most neglected provisions in the Convention.’”


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IPA Officers: 1961 – 2011 1961 – 1964 Chair: Professor C ThSorensen, Denmark Sec: Jens Sigsgaard, Denmark Treas: John Bertelsen, Denmark 1964 – 1967 Pres: Jens Sigsgaard, Denmark V. Pres: Lady Allen of Hurtwood, England Sec: WD Abernethy, England Treas: Murielle E Otter, England 1967 – 1969 Pres: Valia Tanon, France V. Pres: Arvid Bengtsson, Sweden Sec: WD Abernethy, England Treas: Murielle E Otter, England 1969 – 1972 Pres: Valia Tanon, France V. Pres: Arvid Bengtsson, Sweden Sec: WD Abernethy, England Treas: Murielle E Otter, England 1972 – 1975 Pres: Arvid Bengtsson, Sweden V. Pres: Polly Hill, Canada Sec: Nic Nilsson, Sweden Treas: Murielle E Otter, England 1975 – 1978 Pres: Arvid Bengtsson, Sweden V. Pres: Polly Hill, Canada Sec Nic Nilsson, Sweden Treas: Murielle E Otter, England 1978 – 1981 Pres: Polly Hill, Canada V. Pres: Nic Nilsson, Sweden Renz M Gerrits, Netherlands Sec: Jane Knight, Canada Treas: Murielle E Otter, England

1981 – 1984 Pres: Nic Nilsson, Sweden V. Pres: Murielle E Otter, England JC Hanekamp, Netherlands Jane Knight, Canada Sec: Nancy Ovens, Scotland Treas: Sven Borsche, West Germany

1999 – 2002 Pres: Jan van Gils, Belgium V. Pres: Peter Heseltine, England Sec: Marcy Guddemi, USA Treas: Monty Christiansen, USA CO: Valerie Fronczek (Communications Officer)

1984 – 1987 Pres: Nic Nilsson, Sweden V. Pres: Nancy Ovens, Scotland Jane Knight, Canada Robin Moore, USA Sec: Knut Hongro, Norway Treas: Sven Borsche, West Germany

2002 – 2005 Pres: Jan van Gils, Belgium V. Pres: Michael Paris, Germany Sec: Audrey Skrupskelis, USA Treas: Monty Christiansen, USA (until mid term) David Yearley, England CO: Valerie Fronczek

1987 – 1990 Pres: Nic Nilsson, Sweden V. Pres: Jane Knight, Canada Robin Moore, USA Nick Balmforth, England Sec: Ted Birch, Sweden Treas: Sven Borsche, West Germany 1990 – 1993 Pres: Robin Moore, USA V. Pres: Sven Borsche, West Germany Sec: Ted Birch, Sweden Treas: Gerrit Lekkerkerker, Netherlands 1993 -­ 1996 Pres: Robin Moore, USA V. Pres: Sven Borsche, West Germany Sec: Ted Birch, Sweden Treas: Gerrit Lekkerkerker, Netherlands 1996-­1999 Pres: Robin Moore, USA V. Pres: Peter Heseltine, England Sec: Marcy Guddemi, USA Treas: Gerrit Lekkerkerker, Netherlands

IPA World Conferences 1961 Copenhagen – inaugural meeting 1964 Zurich – Play and Recreation Centres 1967 London/Liverpool: Recreation and Play 1969 Paris: Creative Play 1972 Vienna: Play and Creativity 1975 Milan: Adventure Playgrounds and Children’s Creativity 1978 Ottawa: Play in Human Settlements 1981 Rotterdam: Growing up in an Adult World -­ Beyond Play & Recreation 1984 Ljubljana: Innovation – Participation – Action 1987 Stockholm: Creativity through Play 1990 Tokyo: Play and Education 1993 Melbourne: World Play Summit 1996 Espoo: Dimensions of Play 1999 Lisbon: The Community of Play 2002 Sao Paulo: Culture and Play in Urban Spaces 2005 Berlin: Play: Learning for Life 2008 Hong Kong: Play in a Changing World 2011 Cardiff: Playing into the Future: surviving and thriving

2005 – 2008 Pres: Michael Paris, Germany V. Pres: Tom Jambor, USA Sec: Margaret Westwood, Scotland Treas: David Yearley, England CO: Valerie Fronczek 2008 – 2011 Pres: Theresa Casey, Scotland V. Pres: Tom Jambor, USA Sec: Margaret Westwood, Scotland Treas: David Yearley, England CO: Valerie Fronczek Honorary Members for Life: 1984 Arvid Bengtsson, Jens Sigsgaard, Max Siegumfeldt, Stina Wretlind-­Larsson 1984 Murielle Otter (Hon. Vice President for Life) 1990 Valia Tanon and Polly Hill 1996 Nic Nilsson 2005 Robin Moore 2008 Jan van Gils and Brian Ashley


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

A key decision made at the Council meeting in Hong Kong was for IPA to request the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to develop a General Comment on article 31. The circulation of official statements (General Comments) to all signatories of the convention is a way of elaborating on the meaning of an aspect of the Convention, usually where ‘states parties’ are seen to be falling short in compliance.

20 08

The support of seven other international organizations was sought and received. These organizations were: Right to Play International World Leisure Organization International Pediatrics Association International Council on Children’s Play World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP) International Toy Library Association European Child Friendly Cities Network The letter to the committee was sent in May 2008. In the meantime, to maintain a high profile on the need for a General Comment, IPA adopted a number of strategies to heighten awareness of the importance of play worldwide. These included:

20 09

the organization of a planning meeting (hosted by Jantje Beton, Netherlands) in Rotterdam in November 2008, to introduce and discuss the possibility of holding a series of global consultations on the child’s right to play. the commissioning of a ‘Working Paper’ on play in June 2009 which was entitled Children’s Right to Play: an examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. (Authors: Stewart Lester and Wendy Russell, Gloucester University, UK;; ISSN 1383-­7907, ISBN 978-­90-­6195-­121-­6) the launching of a series of Global Consultations on Children’s Right to Play in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Sofia, Beirut, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo and Mexico City. These took place between January and June 2010.



The Children’s Right to Play Working Paper provided a useful resource for all those involved in the Global Consultations and indeed for all IPA members. See www.ipaworld.org. The Global Consultations Project was structured around eight regional partner organizations and their designated ‘facilitator/reporter’ -­ one in each of the selected consultation sites. An important ingredient of this successful project was bringing the eight facilitators together for an intense four days of planning and action in South Africa which included the pilot Consultation in Johannesburg. Child Watch International was added to IPA’s list of international organizations supporting its General Comment proposal and contributed significantly to the Global Consultations Project. Information and final project report can be found at: www.ipaworld.org “Global Consultations” Over 230 adult experts in children’s play from eight countries, and over 400 children, participated in the Global Consultations on Children’s Right to Play. Between them they identified 115 “significant” infringements of the right to play, across four continents. Theresa Casey said, “Are we really able to tolerate descriptions of already disadvantaged children playing on dump sites, amongst hazardous waste and in contaminated environments?... I believe this (project) is a piece of work of which IPA should be proud. What will really matter is what we do now, knowing what we know.” It was concluded that compliance with article 31 of the UNCRC is a major global challenge and that a UN General Comment on the topic to facilitate better compliance by States Parties would be timely.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA Germany

throughout Germany have developed well: new laws for play space, national organizations for We in Germany have had a strong play movement playbuses, adventure playgrounds and so on are since the beginning of the seventies. A first special established. There are regular meetings and further highlight was in Munich during the Olympic Games education as well as new master plans for play in 1972 with the first play bus touring throughout the city. And in Berlin the first adventure playground was communities all contributing to the implementation founded influenced by ideas coming from Denmark. of the “right to play”. In 2005 we finally could organize the 16th IPA world conference “Play: A national movement was created, organized by Learning for Life”. It was a wonderful event thanks to committed individuals and groups who were work-­ the professional organization and initiative of the ing for new playgrounds, play spaces, mobile play main organizer Deutsches Kinderhilfs-­werk projects, play activities ranging from museum to (Heide-­Rose Brückner, Holger Hofmann etc.). school. The movement included community, The play movement in Germany continues, also regional and national groups and were generally non governmental (NGO) and non profit orientated supported by the German IPA members. Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk, a very committed and powerful (NPO). Sven Borsche was the first IPA National Representative from Germany and he first attended organization for the rights of the children, has become the new National Representative. Since the Ottawa Conference in 1978. In 1981 in Rotterdam there were already more members from 2008 there is a new nationwide platform called Germany. We had an information booth which was “Recht auf Spiel” visited at that time by the new Dutch Queen Beatrix (right to play: www.recht-­auf-­spiel.de) which promotes very successfully the “right to play” with as well. The conference was amazing: people from meetings, events, press work etc. Main topics in the all around the world being inspired -­ like us -­ by the discussion and promotion are: idea, the diversity and practice of play. With this play between natural play areas with all experience we became part of a personal network the senses and the new digital play areas of play people throughout the world. And it was play as an intercultural phenomenon and great to meet every three years in another part of the chance for integration the world, meeting good old friends as well as play and children’s culture also in a close making new ones – all with a common interest -­ the combination with school, on the way to play of the children. an all-­day school (new for Germany) With the reunification of Germany the times for the Now it will be our task to inspire German people to German IPA section became very exciting and become part of the international IPA network. productive. 1989/ 1990 there was a totally unex-­ Looking back: IPA has been for us since the end of pected peaceful revolution and already since 1987 the seventies a very important platform, both we from IPA Germany (West) had good unofficial internationally and nationwide (especially by con-­ contacts with colleagues in the GDR especially in necting both levels). It was and is a unique opportu-­ East Berlin. There were many wonderful and very nity to exchange ideas as well as to get acquainted committed play people with whom we had much in with a lot of interesting people, to find new friends. common straight away, beyond all ideologies and We are happy and proud to be still part of the IPA political systems. Play connects! After the reunifica-­ family … see you 2011, 2014, 2017 … tion IPA Germany was very committed to the new Karla Leonhardt-­Zacharias, Wolfgang Zacharias German East/West exchange with national N.B. For many years there was an active branch meetings, publications etc. in Berlin and beyond. based in Frankfurt where a Council meeting was Meanwhile play promotion and play animation held.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

The President and Communications Officer presented ‘the case for a General Comment’ at a meeting of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in Geneva on September 17th. IPA’s eight partners in the work toward a General Comment on article 31 have helped spread the results of this project in conferences in many countries including Portugal, Scotland, Korea, Russia and two different locations in both Canada and Sweden.



Constitution: During this three year term, revisions of the Constitution were drafted three times as members contemplated the best possible organizational structure to fulfill IPA’s purpose and to meet the organization’s goals. A Special General Meeting held in Karlstad Sweden in September 2010 did not achieve a quorum. Discussions, with good imput from Sweden, resulted in a third draft of the Constitution which was prepared for presentation at the Cardiff General Meeting in July, 2011. www.ipaworld.org One of the changes being proposed is the introduction of an 'Agreement of Association' (instead of the currently required national Constitution) for groups of ten or more wishing to form a ‘branch’. This will facilitate compatibility and consistency across IPA groups around the world. Board meetings during this term were held in Faringdon (England), Edinburgh (Scotland) and Karlstad (Sweden). Council meetings were held in Hong Kong (2008) and Karlstad (2010). 2010 – 2011 Involvement in UN-­related projects: In addition to its work in relation to the General Comment proposal, IPA Board members contributed to a UNICEF Project which produced an annotated Resource Directory on Strengthening the Participation of Children and Adolescents with Disabilities.’ IPA was also invited, in an affiliate capacity, to participate in a European article 31 promotion project spearheaded by the City of Parma and funded by the European Commission. The Re-­Play Project involves seven partner countries and four pilot cities. The Board of Directors established a small working group to facilitate IPA’s participation in this project. In its January 2011 meeting the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child considered IPA’s proposal for a General Comment on article 31.



In early February IPA received the news from the Committee on the Rights of the Child that the IPA’s request a General Comment on article 31 was successful. The first years of IPA’s second half century will therefore focus on assisting the development of this important statement which will then be sent to the 193 signatories of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In the meantime IPA will continue to work strategically with groups around the world to ensure the most effective implementation of the General Comment on article 31.

~ IPA members look forward with great anticipation to its 50th anniversary conference in Cardiff, Wales, 4th to 7th July 2011

The history edition of PlayRights was prepared with the help of many IPA members throughout the world and steered by the PlayRights Editorial Group: Valerie Fronczek, Editor (Canada) David Yearley, Producer (England), Gill Evans (Wales), Ric McConaghy (Austalia) and Andrew Swan (Brazil). Please see ‘acknowledgements’ for a complete list of advisors and funders.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA Funding and Sponsorship History During its first half century IPA has been dependent largely on membership income. As a voluntary organization its operating expenses are not high. These are mainly the cost of Board meetings (currently once a year for seven people) and the production and circulation of the PlayRights Magazine. Our triennial conferences are funded independ-­ ently. External funding is sought for international projects which are agreed upon by the Board and Council and clearly within the goals of the current strategic plan. Funded Projects IPA has a good, though thus far limited, track record of sponsored projects. UNESCO contributed to IPA’s Afro-­Asian Conference held in New Delhi in 1983. (This event was co-­sponsored by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development, India.) NB Most IPA international events are co-­sponsored by organizations in the region where the event is held. IPA’s recent series of Consultations (2010) in eight different regions worldwide is a good example of this. HAGS Play: IPA organized a successful interna-­ tional playground design competition with a sponsorship from this play equipment manufacturer in conjunction with the Lisbon World Conference in 1999. Unilever: Brazil, Canada, England, and USA have completed “Go Ahead Get Dirty/Dirt is Good” campaigns with Unilever (soap products). (2005 – 2007) In Canada, for example, a major project was launched in partnership with the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association and resulted in a number of spectacular Play Days in various cities

across Canada as well as the development of a “Play Day Workbook” which is accessible by communities throughout the country. This has now been translated into French by an IPA/Canada member. Kompan: provided sponsorship for the 16th IPA World Conference in Berlin, and helped fund a special Council meeting in the UK in 2006 which created the opportunity for strategic meetings with UNICEF representatives. Bernard van Leer Foundation: As a result of IPA’s 2008 -­ 11 strategic plan and its launch of the ‘Article 31 General Comment Campaign’, IPA gained the support of the Bernard van Leer Foundation. Two projects were funded: Working Paper: Children’s Right to Play: An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. IPA/Bernard van Leer, 2010. Global Consultations on Children’s Play Project: 2009 – 2010. Eight Consultations were held in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Sofia, Beirut, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo and Mexico City. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA): have provided ongoing support and assistance, both administrative and financial, for a number of years across different projects. Special Edition of PlayRights Magazine, May 2011 received sponsorship from: Richter Spielgeräte GmbH, Germany The City of Copenhagen, Denmark Sutcliffe Play Ltd, UK Kompan, Denmark RoSPA, UK The thousands of hours of volunteer time contributed to IPA by professionals in a variety of disciplines should be noted. It is a key strength of the organization. Project Planning Meeting. South Africa From top left: Cynthia Morrison (South Africa), Valerie Fronczek (Canada), Harry Shier (Nicaragua), Maria Assi (Lebanon), Kanaporn Sornsomrit (Thailand), Yolanda Carona (Mexico), Theresa Casey (Scotland), Aruna Thakkar (India), Selim Iltus (Netherlands) Bottom left: David Yearley (England), Hitoshi Shimamura (Japan), Ivaylo Sirkarov (Bulgaria), Pamela Kola (Kenya), Rami Allow (Lebanon)


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA and the United Nations At the very first IPA conference in Denmark recogni-­ tion of the child’s right to play by UN agencies was seen as essential. Following is a summary of IPA/UN relations during its first fifty years.

1972 Achieved UNESCO Status C recognition as an international NGO. IPA had members from twenty countries at that time. UNESCO was seen as an important ally in expanding internationally.

1974 Consultative status with ECOSOC (UN Economic and Social Council) was achieved. This was another step to international recognition and paved the way for involvement in the Habitat Conference in Canada in 1976.

1976 IPA organized “The Child in Human Settlement” seminar at the Habitat Conference NGO Forum along with a number of other international organizations such as OMEP, UNICEF, ICCP and WLRA. At UNESCO’s 99th session in Paris, IPA was admitted to Category B: Information and Consultative Relations.

1977 Meeting of IPA Board and UNESCO represen-­ tatives at UNESCO headquarters,presided over by chief officer of the Department of Lifelong Education.

1977 IPA was the first NGO to act on the announce-­ ment by the UN that 1979 would be designated as the International Year of the Child. A consultation was held in Malta in November, 1977, which worked on the development of an IPA statement eventually entitled Declaration on the Child’s Right to Play.

1978 IPA agreed to assume responsibility for the NGO-­IYC Working Group on “Children and their Surroundings – Play and Recreation”.

1979 UN International Year of the Child Declaration of the Child’s Right to Play and this was distributed worldwide and by the NGO International Year of the Child Committee in Geneva and New York. (IPA’s ‘Declaration’ is still used in the UNICEF Imple-­ mentation Handbook for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Ref. 2007 edition.) Canada: International Inventory and Comparative Study of Existing Legislation and Guidelines for Children’s Play Spaces in Residential Environments. Made available through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Sweden: “Better School Yard Campaign” incorporating seminars and the distribution of a resource kit. The project was supported by

the Swedish Government and resulted in the publication of a book by the Swedish Building Research Centre. USA: An international study on Young People’s Participation in Planning, Design and Management funded by the USA Endowment for the Arts. Denmark: Development of an ‘Information Centre for Play’ in Copenhagen. United Kingdom: Collection of “Information on Training of Play Leaders in Different Countries”

1981 UN Year of Disabled Persons IPA arranged an exhibition in the entrance hall of the UNESCO building in Paris. Also a Special Session on “Play and Handicapped Children” was held at the IPA Triennial Conference in Rotterdam.

1983 With support from UNESCO IPA organized an Afro-­Asian conference on play in New Delhi, India. (See page 24)

1984 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child Early in the 1980s IPA felt strongly that the child’s right to play should be included in the Convention. IPA set up a working group to prepare a proposal for a clause in the Convention. The work to ensure children’s play was included in the draft Convention continued for three years. IPA was disappointed that their recommended wording (which among other things, linked housing and city planning to children’s opportunities for play) was not included. But “play” was. Fast Forward to 2009: In a book published by Radda Barnen, Simone Ek, refers to IPA’s involvement in the right to play and recreation in the introduction. She writes, “The International Association, IPA, played a great role in formulating text dealing with town planning and construction which should consider the play and recreation needs of children”. IPA said that it was not a question about safe playgrounds, it was the possibility for children to explore the world around them.”

1985 UN International Year of Youth IPA participated under the theme “Youth and Children: at Work and Play.” A poster was prepared in cooperation with the World Assembly of Youth. At an international conference in Barcelona, IPA recommended the banning of the production and sale of war toys.

1986 UN International Year of Peace IPA’s participation theme was “Peace Education through Play”. IPA published a report under the same name.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA Regular Publications: (Newsletters, Magazines, Journals…) and Editors through the years: 1









1961 to 1975 Murielle Otter, UK In the very early years, newsletters were printed on legal size paper using a Gestetner machine and stapled at the corner (1). They were approximately 20 pages long. In September 1969 the Newsletter changed to 10 x 7 1/2 inch paper with a stiff cover, using a different colour for each edition (2, 3). 1976 to 1999 Robin Moore, USA During Robin’s long tenure, the newsletter changed its look three times. In the eighties and nineties, Robin had the support of students in the Landscape Architecture and Design program, North Carolina State University. At first the earlier format was continued but with the addition of cover photographs (4). In 1988 PlayRights Magazine was born (5). It grew in size to 8 1/2 X 11 and varied in length, up to 36 pages. The paper used was a good quality newsprint. The content embraced a wide variety of articles and information of interest to IPA members. More photographs (black and white) were used. In 1996 PlayRights adopted a more playful look but otherwise continued using the same format (6).


2000 to 2005 Brian Ashley, Sweden The PlayRights Journal was produced in print three times a year (7). It comprised 32 pages and was printed on substantial quality paper and was well illustrated with photographs. During 2004 and 2005, during a period of financial restraint, three editions were posted on the web only. Briefly the Journal became an E-­Journal. 2000 to 2005 Valerie Fronczek, Canada. (Newsletter) The Board of Directors (in 1999) appointed Brian Ashley editor of the regular ipa publication. It was agreed that the publication should be a journal of play policy and practice. To comple-­ ment this, an 8 to 12 page newsletter was born -­ strictly reserved for IPA organizational news. A print copy was circulated annually, and news updates through the year posted on the website (8). 2005 to 2011 Valerie Fronczek, Canada (Magazine) It was possible to re-­introduce the IPA publication PlayRights in 2006 though only one was issued that year. The publication reverted back to a magazine format, including both feature-­length articles as well as organizational news and a wide range of other material. Through member sponsorship and increased volunteer input, two 32 – 40 page editions became possible annually, using full-­ colour and good quality paper (9, 10).


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

IPA was represented at regional IYP preconferences in Addis Ababa, New York and Vienna. At UNESCO, IPA participated in a working group on ‘peace education’ where toys of war and violence were discussed. IPA groups around the world participated in an anti-­war-­toy campaign. Greece, Canada, Sweden, UK, participated and a special newsletter about toys of war and violence was issued. IPA was appointed a “Peace Messenger” by the Secretary General of the U.N.

2002 An international conference “Child and Youth Friendly Communities” was held in Vancouver, Canada. IPA members from Sweden, Belgium and the USA as well as a representative of UNICEF from the Innoccenti Research Centre, Florence, participated in the planning for this conference as well as in the conference itself.

2008 Jaap Doek, past chair of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, gave the keynote address at IPA’s 2008 Triennial Conference in Hong Kong.

1987 UN International Year of Shelter

2008 IPA wrote to the UN Committee on the Rights The Director of the International Year of Shelter gave of the Child requesting that a General Comment on a special lecture at the IPA Triennial Conference in article 31 be issued to interpret better – for the Stockholm. Four of the Conference resolutions benefit of all UNCRC signatories -­ the importance of addressed the problem of homeless children. play in children’s lives. IPA gained the support of seven key international organizations: International 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. IPA Paediatrics Association, World Organization for Early was included in the official briefing group prior to the Childhood Education (OMEP), International Council release of the Convention. A presentation on for Children’s Play, European Child Friendly Cities article 31 was prepared by IPA for the Geneva Network, International Toy Library Association, World meeting. Leisure Organization, Right to Play International, (Child Watch International joined the group in 2009). 1990 IPA participated in the NGO working group to 2008 International planning meeting held in influence the implementation of the Convention – with particular responsibility for article 31. Rotterdam, Netherlands, to discuss a framework for worldwide consultations on children’s right to play to 1993 IPA launches its “Article 31 Recognition support IPA’s request for a General Comment on Program” created to recognize projects that imple-­ article 31. ment in innovative ways the promotion of article 31. 2009 IPA produced a Working Paper entitled 1993 Article 31 Symposium held in Melbourne, Children’s Right to Play: An examination of the Australia: key speaker UNICEF Ambassador Anwarul Chowdhury.

1993 IPA participated in an International Forum on the UNCRC in Washington DC, organized by OMEP. IPA shared the platform with representatives of UNICEF, USAID and the World Bank.

1995 UN International Year of Tolerance UNESCO

importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. It explored children’s play within the CRC themes of participation, protection and provision.

2009 IPA launched the project “Global Consultations on Children’s Right to Play” involving eight Consultations in Johannesburg, Nairobi, Sofia, Beirut, Mumbai, Bangkok, Tokyo and Mexico City which took place between January and June 2010.

NGO questionnaire completed by IPA and recorded 2010 The Report of the Global Consultations Project in the December 1995 edition of PlayRights. was completed and sent to the UN Committee on 1996 Habitat II. In preparation for this conference in the Rights of the Child in Geneva. The IPA President and Communications Officer met with the full Istanbul, Turkey, IPA was officially invited to the Expert Seminar hosted by UNICEF and the Children’s Committee in Geneva in September. Environments Research Group (CUNY). A 2010 A paper was developed by IPA outlining the declaration on Children’s Rights and Habitat was drafted. This was successful in influencing the proposed content of a General Comment on article Habitat II agenda, which in its earlier version did not 31. even include children, let alone play. 2011 The UN Committee discussed IPA’s proposal for IPA was officially represented in Istanbul.

1997 Child Friendly Communities: The Child

a General Comment at its January/February meeting.

Friendly Cities movement emerged from the Istanbul Conference, coordinated by UNICEF, and numerous 2011 News was received that the UN Committee on IPA members were involved in developing this the Rights of the Child have agreed to prepare a internationally. General Comment on article 31 of the UNCRC.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition FEATURED ARTICLES

FEATURED ARTICLES In carefully reviewing IPA newsletters, magazines and journals published between 1961 and 2011 it was not difficult to discover that the vast majority of articles were about children’s outdoor play environments. The second most frequent topic was ‘playleadership’ or ‘playwork’ – the role and training of the adult in fostering children’s play. The following three articles have been selected with a view to representing these key areas of interest. A fourth has been added to illustrate the organization’s entry into worldwide information-­sharing on the importance of play and some of the challenges experienced in the developing world. Other examples of these are described in the report of IPA’s recent Global Consultations on Children’s Right to Play. www.ipaworld.org

Providing for Children’s Outdoor Play Environments in England Helen Woolley Children’s Outdoor Environments During the last fifty years there has been increased academic interest in the outdoor environments in which children spend their time. Such interest has been under-­ pinned by the seminal works The Child in the City (Ward, 1978), Children’s Experience of Place (Hart, 1979) and Childhood’s Domain (Moore, 1986), in the fields of geography and landscape architecture. These works have provided an understanding of what and where children ‘do’ things in external environments, initiated the concept of negoti-­ ated ‘home range’, begun to understand and articulate that sometimes there are gender differences in the way girls and boys experience the external environment and introduced a set of methods which are now widely accepted and used by social scientists across a range of disciplines. Other work of this time included a study with children in Detroit and Toronto (Bunge, 1973) which identified ways in which children were oppressed by the built environment. In addition the Growing Up in Cities (Lynch, 1977) project initiated by the urban planner Kevin Lynch was ground-­ breaking for developing an under-­ standing of children’s lives and outdoor experiences in a variety of cities in different parts of this world. The successor Growing up in Cities project led by Louise Chawla (Chawla, 2002) in the

1990s was extended and included children in the cities of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Melbourne in Australia, Northampton in England, Bangalore in India, Trondheim in Norway, Warsaw in Poland, Johannesburg in South Africa and Oakland in California, USA. Subsequent to these early works others in the fields of geography, psychology, landscape architec-­ ture and other disciplines have extended understanding of the use that children make of outdoor spaces and some of the barriers and constraints children experi-­ ence to the use of those spaces. Studies have revealed parental concerns about children’s outdoor play (Valentine, 1997), the extent to which young people use town centres (Woolley et al, 1999), the importance of a shopping mall to young people and adult attitudes to this (Matthews et al, 2000), the geography of exclusion and disen-­ franchisement which some rural children experience (Matthews et al, 2000) the use of recreational spaces in rural areas by girls (Tucker and Matthews, 2001) and skateboarders use of urban spaces (Woolley and Johns, 2001). Others, such as Holloway and Valentine (2000) and Christensen and O’Brien (2003) have brought together collections of research about children’s geographies and external environments.

A common issue in many of these pieces of research is the control which adults have over the experi-­ ences of children and young people in the external environ-­ ment. This adult control has been increasingly revealed over a pe-­ riod of years, with adult constructs and fears resulting in restrictions in the extent to which children in western society are allowed to use public open spaces. Nearly twenty years ago these adult fears were identified as both social and physical (Moore, 1989) or as social and neighbourhood fears (McNeish and Roberts, 1995). Under the latter definition social fears include fear of strangers, drugs, bullying and dogs while neighbourhood fears are domi-­ nated by the fear of traffic, feeling unsafe and a lack of facilities for children’s play experiences. Many of these social fears are far greater than the reality and have been identified as moral panics with fear of abduction and murder by strangers often being fuelled by the media (Valentine, 1996). This is compounded by the possibility that parents underestimate, ‘the abilities of children to manage their own personal safety’ (Valentine, 1997, p83). Other factors which appear to be influencing children’s use of open spaces are not only the prepon-­ derance of television and computer games but also an in-­ crease in the development and use of ‘commercial play-­


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition FEATURED ARTICLES

is, ‘the opportunity to explore and investigate materials and situa-­ tions for oneself’ (Moyles, 1989), while directed play is where an adult tells a child what to do, with the materials that are available. Children’s activities in public open Moyles suggets that there can be a play spiral where free play ex-­ spaces: what is play? Although the United Nations Con-­ ploration can feed into directed vention on the Rights of the Child play and ‘back into enriched free defines children as being anyone play’ allowing learning to draw under the age of 18 years old the upon wider experiences. main consideration of this paper will be those who are in the middle In the same way that there has been a variety of definitions of years, that is aged about 4 -­ 11. what play is, there has also been a Often when children are outside the confines of home and school selection of typologies or categori-­ sations of play. Boundaries be-­ and in public open spaces (for a tween different types of activities, discussion about public open play and who undertakes them spaces see Woolley 2003) they have been discussed by Sutton-­ undertake a range of activities. Smith (1997) who identifies a list of Much of this activity is described, activities as play. These include by adults, as ‘play’ and in recent mind or subjective play, solitary years there has been an increas-­ ing dialogue about play, what it is, play, playful behaviours, informal social play, vicarious audience where it takes place and its play, performance play, celebra-­ different forms. tions and festivals, contests (games and sports) and risky or Play has been described as ‘a deep play. A general typology of continually creative proc-­ children’s play has been devel-­ ess’ (Aaron and Winawer, 1965), ‘scientific research conducted by oped from play workers’ experi-­ children’ (Eibl-­Eibesfeldt, 1970);; ‘an ences and perspectives and in-­ approach to action, not a form of cludes sixteen categories: com-­ activity’ (Moyles, 1989);; ‘imitation munication, creative, deep, dra-­ matic, exploratory, fantasy, imagi-­ of adult’s activities bringing native, locomotor, mastery, ob-­ children closer to the adult ject, role play, rough and tumble, world’ (Noschis, 1992) and as the recapitulative, social play, socio-­ ‘nature of childhood’ (Prout and James, 1997). A widely accepted dramatic and symbolic play (Hughes, 2002). In the school set-­ contemporary definition of play ting three main forms of play have within the field of play workers in been identified: physical, intellec-­ England is that, ‘play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrin-­ tual and social/emotional. These forms are identified as having sub-­ sically motivated behaviour that actively engages the child’ (NPFA, divisions of gross motor, fine motor and psychomotor for physical 2000), while government depart-­ ment The Department for Culture, play;; linguistic, scientific, symbolic/ Media and Sport has defined play mathematical and creative for as, ‘what children and young peo-­ intellectual play and therapeutic, ple do when they follow their own linguistic, repetitious, empathic, ideas and interests’ (DCMS, 2003). self-­concept and gaming as so-­ cial/emotional play (Moyles, Although these definitions both clearly assert that play is an activ-­ 1989). More recently, a wide ity that is child-­initiated the DCMS range of play has been identified as taking place in primary school also states that ‘adult support, guidance or supervision, may help playgrounds and this has been categorised as play with high ver-­ to achieve the most successful play provision’ (DCMS, 2003). This bal content, play with high imagi-­ can lead to a debate about free native content, play with high play and directed play. Free play physical content and lessstruc-­ grounds’ (McKendrick et al, 2000a) in the form of ‘stay and play’ centres, child-­oriented theme parks, pubs and restaurants with annexes for soft play.

tured play involving activities such as walking, talking, sitting and watching (Woolley et al, 2005). Early playgrounds: enclosure of spaces for children’s play It has been suggested that four elements are required for the creation of a child’s play environ-­ ment: a place to play, a time to play, friends to play with and what the child actually does (Senda, 1992) and the first of these four elements ‘a place to play’ will now be discussed with respect to aspects of the external environ-­ ment. The seminal work of the Opies, who studied children’s games and play in different spaces, enabled them to conclude that, ‘where children are, is where they play’ (Opie and Opie, 1969,p10). Since this work in the 1960s a vari-­ ety of other research has identi-­ fied that children play in a range of different spaces in the built environment, with some of these spaces not only providing social and physical opportunities but also challenges (see e.g. Ward, 1978;; Hart, 1979;; Moore, 1986;; Cunningham and Jones, 1999;; McKendrick, 2000b;; Christensen and O’Brien, 2003;; and Woolley, 2007). Some of these spaces are designed for children to play in and are called ‘playgrounds’ while others are not specifically designed for children to play in (see e.g. Woolley, 2007), but are spaces in which children see the possibility or ‘affordance’ (Gibson, 1979) for play. The introduction and develop-­ ment of playgrounds in the West-­ ern world was initiated in the 19th century. In America in 1821 ‘outdoor gymnasia’ were intro-­ duced consisting, in the main, of indoor gymnastic apparatus placed in the outdoor environ-­ ment (Frost, 2006). This was followed by the development of individual pieces of apparatus or what is now called fixed play equipment (Frost, 1992). In the early 20th century the New York City Board of Education devel-­


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oped a system of summer play-­ grounds and vacation schools with the main purpose of provid-­ ing recreation and physical exer-­ cise for children. Then the Playground Association of America sought to introduce playgrounds across the whole of America (Gagen, 2004). This was accompanied by an increasing move at the end of the 19th century towards the allocation of land for specific use, described as the ‘era of specialisation’ of land use (Aaron and Winawer, 1965). The desire to physically contain children in specific spaces, getting

identifiable areas should be set aside in urban areas for such activities. Following this act the first ‘playground’ came into being in England in 1877 with the opening of the Burberry Street Recreation Ground in Birmingham (Heseltine and Holborn, 1987). In locations such as London, Guilds of Play organised games in city parks, while in Manchester volun-­ tary groups organised recreation grounds, which were later adopted by the Parks Committee of the local authority. Between the two world wars the number of children’s playgrounds in England

increased in parks and recreation grounds. The character of such playgrounds varied. Some London parks had large areas of sand for children to enjoy, an example of which can be seen in Heseltine and Holborn (1987, Fig 143, page 135). Local authorities and voluntary organisations were able to provide playgrounds and playing fields as a result of the early efforts of the National Playing Fields Association and as an outcome of the Physical Train-­ ing and Recreation Act of 1937 (Heseltine and Holborn, 1987). Play streets were facilitated by the introduction of the Street Play-­ grounds Act of 1938. After World The Recreation Grounds Act of War ll the spaces which children 1859 was the first piece of English legislation to mention children and could play on became fewer as bombed sites were redeveloped play and it recommended that them off the street and away from ‘bad influences’ was a result of social and moral reformers (Hart, 2002). However Hart reports that in this reform period only 20% of the target age children in the lower east side of Manhattan ever used playgrounds, preferring the spaces of the street where they might be closer to social networks of friends, family and neighbours. The importance of these social networks and the freedom to develop them in the local neighbourhood were clearly understood by the planner Jane Jacobs (1961).

and vehicular traffic increased on the streets (Miller, 1972;; Bengstsson, 1974). Since World War ll many playgrounds have been created in parks, recreation grounds, housing areas and open spaces. The advent of adventure play-­ grounds in England was inspired by the Emdrup playground in Denmark. The Emdrup waste material playground was opened in 1943, during the German occu-­ pation, in a new housing estate outside Copenhagen and with a leader who was an ex-­seaman who had trained as a nursery teacher (Lady Allen of Hurtwood, 1968). Most of the adventure playgrounds of England were initiated and run by local parents and people from the neighbour-­ hood within which the playground was situated. The physical nature of adventure playgrounds, with malleable materials which children could handle in their own way was complemented with the social structure of a leader and a supporting committee. Successful adventure playgrounds had un-­ derstanding leaders and support-­ ing committees who could find the right balance of supporting the leader without directing them too specifically. Adventure play-­ grounds have continued to exist in England, although the exact number of them is not fully known. In 1959 the first ‘play park’ was opened in England in a public park in London by the London County Council’s Parks Depart-­ ment, following on from and inspired by the success of such spaces in Scandanavia. Play parks were divided into smaller spaces, with low wooden fences and thus provided areas for differ-­ ent activities such as drawing and table games such as chess and draughts. An adventure area provided opportunities for build-­ ing, swinging from trees and ‘rough’ activities, while a third area provided space for team games and sports and a fourth space for smaller children to enjoy themselves (Lady Allen of


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countries (McKendrick, 1999). This attitude towards children’s use of public open spaces is considered to be, in part, enforced by planners and built environment-­ Playgrounds: designated spaces designers who it is perceived for children’s play believe that all of children’s Over forty years ago playgrounds ‘environmental needs can be accommodated in the play-­ were described as consisting of ground’ (Cunningham and Jones, heavy fixed equipment, tarmac 1999). Others have described surfacing and an occasional sandpit (Holme and Massie, 1970), playgrounds as being places that, while twenty years ago they were ‘offer standardized, controlled described in America as contain-­ and uniform spaces, governed by regulations, monitored by adult ing, ‘vast expanses of hot, hard asphalt, (and) poorly maintained eyes and cameras, where children old metal equipment . . .’ (Moore can play and be safe’ (Maxey, 1989). There has also been discus-­ 1999). sion about the nature of spaces for play, not only from a design In America playgrounds were considered to be at a crossroads point of view but also from a more than twenty years ago when societal viewpoint. Thus McKendrick (1999) has questioned Moore (1989) commented that the fact that within society there is playgrounds in public open an attitude that children should spaces might go in one of two play in playgrounds and not else-­ different directions. One of these where. He suggests that adults directions was, ‘a negative path have provided ‘standardized play-­ toward an increasingly conserva-­ scapes in similar settings’ and that tive, highly prescriptive view of this has been without the involve-­ children’s play, reinforced by ment of children and has been an tendencies already abroad in our society’. The other direction was expression of the wider culture of towards playgrounds which, ‘serve childhood current in some Hurtwood, 1968). Over time these play parks, which had play leaders, became similar in nature to adventure playgrounds.

an important social, cultural and educational role for children’, considered to be especially impor-­ tant for children in (dense) urban areas where opportunities for playing in non specific play spaces are likely to be limited. Interestingly in 2002 playgrounds in New York were still considered to ‘fail to satisfy the complexity of children’s developmental needs’ (Hart, 2002). The provision of these spaces specifically for children (playgrounds) and provided in a particular way, reveal one aspect of adult control of children’s outdoor environments that is underpinned by a particular attitude to childhood. This has resulted in playgrounds which for many years, across the breadth of England are of the same charac-­ ter wherever one is in the country. These spaces have consisted of a selection of play equipment, a flat surface increasingly covered in expensive, coloured, rubber ‘safer surfacing’, and enclosed by fencing allegedly to keep dogs out, but increasingly to keep children in. These spaces have


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been termed ‘KFC’ playgrounds comprising of a Kit of play equipment, being enclosed by Fence and Carpeted in rubber surfacing: ‘Kit, Fence and Carpet’ playgrounds (Woolley, 2007 and 2008). In many instances play-­ grounds across the country have been built in this way, having the same treatment and with no consideration for real landscape design, local character or children’s needs. However, despite the poor design of such spaces Moore (1989) has stated that such playgrounds in America were popular, particularly in urban areas because of the restricted opportunities for play in the exter-­ nal environment. More recent research in England confirmed that such spaces are often frequently used by children, although they would like more interesting things to play on (Dunnett et al, 2002). Recent development and the future of outdoor spaces for children’s play in England So why have playgrounds, in the main, not changed very much in their design and character in England during the last fifty years? Experience from practice reveals a range of issues which have influenced and constrained the provision of play spaces. These include concerns about maintain-­ ing differently designed spaces;; standards;; health and safety;; limitations of capital and, especially, revenue funding;; attitudes of parents, insurance companies, providers and politicians;; vandalism – or fear of vandalism and project briefs. Research reveals a number of influencing issues including the interpretation of relevant European Standards, other standards and legislation (Frost, 2005). Fears, underpinned to a large extent by an increasingly risk averse society (Gill, 2007) include parental fears about safety of children (McNeish and Roberts, 1995;; Jutras, 2003), fear of litigation from the provider’s point of view (Moorcock, 1998) and fear of accidents and risk (Ball, 2004).

Others have suggested that there has been little professional competence in the design of play areas partly because designing for children has little prestige;; society does not prioritise good quality space for children as a public service;; children have no political power and adults are too busy dealing with their own needs (Hendricks, 2002). It has also been suggested that the design approach of some providers, ‘has in turn largely been driven by the concerns of providers to minimise three elements: capital cost, the risk of liability and the costs of ongoing management and maintenance’ (Gill, 2006).

suggests the use of risk benefit analysis in the provision of outdoor play spaces, rather than just a risk analysis. In addition there was already in existence a series of policies relating to urban parks, home zones, sustainable housing, and transport which if fully implemented could influence the manner in which children use and play, and are allowed to use and play, in the external environment (Woolley, 2006).

There has not been a full review of all the new and refurbished play spaces and adventure play-­ grounds and with current and future financial cuts in local government spending and the In recent years the issue of play in reduction in size of Play England it the outdoor environment has risen is unlikely that this will happen. There is anecdotal evidence that up the political agenda in some of these new and England. There have been two refurbished spaces have moved large funding programmes: the away from the approach of the BIG Lottery fund of £155million last fifty years towards providing which provided for some indoor facilities and support, the creation more for children’s needs. However the future of the of some new outdoor spaces underpinned by the development Appropriate maintenance of these spaces and in some of play strategies and the establishment of Play England. A locations facilitating the use of the outdoor facilities is now uncertain. ten year Children’s Plan (DCMS, 2008) was launched by the gov-­ ernment together with a £235 mil-­ So will we yet move to provide public open spaces – and specifi-­ lion three year funding cally ‘playgrounds’ -­ which allow programme to provide new or for, ‘moving children, rather than renovate 3,500 playgrounds and moving equipment’? (Aaron and 30 new adventure playgrounds. The government also developed a Winawer, 1965). Or will the radical approach that parks, one of the Play Strategy (DCMS, 2009). major public open spaces in our Following a general election in urban environments, ‘do not need May 2010 the new coalition playgrounds because they have Government suspended the enough landscape elements Children’s Plan and Play Strategy themselves for children’s play thus and suspended and then allowing for playgrounds to be re-­introduced most of the third developed in other smaller spaces and final year of the £235 million spending programme. Supporting throughout the community, which are currently deprived of play these capital programmes were potential’ (Aaron and Winawer, two documents with the aim of trying to move away from the KFC 1965) be achieved? approach to outdoor play provision to play spaces with more Can England move to what I have elsewhere called ‘Playful ‘natural’ elements and where Landscapes’ (Woolley, 2009)? This children could find opportunities requires not only changes to the for play that challenged their abilities. The first document Design physical environment but also on-­ going challenges to the social and for Play (Shackell et al., 2008) suggests 10 design principles while cultural context of children, the second publication Managing especially in the outdoor environ-­ ment, in England. Risk in Play (Ball et al., 2008)


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Note: This paper has been developed from ‘Watch This Space! Designing for Children’s Play in Public Open Spaces’ first published in Geography Compass 2/2 (2008): 495-­512 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

averse society, London, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Gill, T. (2006) Providing for children and young people’s play and informal recreation: The London Plan – Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance, London: The Mayor of London. The Author: Hart, R. (1979) Children’s Experience of Place, New York: Irvington Press. Helen Woolley is a Chartered Landscape Architect and a Senior Lecturer in The Hart, R. (2002) Containing children: some Department of Landscape at The University lessons on planning for play from New York of Sheffield, England. Helen lives in City, Environment and Urbanization, 14(2): Sheffield in Kenwood Road on the corner 135 – 148. with Cherry Tree Road, which is where Hendricks, B. E. (2002) Designing for play, Murielle Otter lived in the early days of the Aldershot: Ashgate. IPA some 50 years ago. Helen is amazed Heseltine, P. and Holborn, J. (1987) by this fact. Playgrounds: The planning, design and construction of play environments, London: Mitchell. References Holloway, S. L. and Valentine, G. (2000) Aaron, D. and Winawer, B. (1965) Child’s Children’s Geographies: Playing, living, play, New York and London: Harper and learning, London: Routledge. Row. Holme, A. and Massie, P. (1970) Children’s Ball, (2004) Policy issues and risk-­benefit Play: A study of needs and opportunities, trade-­offs of ‘safer surfacing’ for children’s London: Michael Joseph. playgrounds, Accident Analysis and Pre-­ Hughes, B. (2002) A playworkers taxonomy vention, 36(4): 661-­670. of play types (2nd edition), London: Ball, D., Gill, T. And Speigal, B. (2008) Managing Risk in Play Provision: Implemen-­ PLAYLINK. Jacobs, J. (1961) The Death and Life of tation Guide, London: Department for Children Schools and Families, Department Great American Cities: The Failure of Town Planning, USA, Random House. for Culture, Media and Sport. Jutras, S. (2003) Go outside and play! Bengtsson, A. (1974) The Child’s Right to Contributions of an urban environment to Play, Sheffield: International Playground the developing and wellbeing of children, Association. Psychologie Canadienne 44(3): 257-­266. Bunge, W. (1973) The geography. The Lady Allen of Hurtwood (1968) Planning for Professional Geographer 25: 331-­337. play, London: Thames and Hudson. Chawla, L. (ed) (2002) Growing Up in an Lynch, (1977) Growing up in Cities: studies Urbanising World, London: Earthscan of the spatial environment of adolescence Publications Limited. in Cracow, Melbourne, Mexico City, Salta, Christensen, P. and O’Brien, M. (2003) Children in the City: Home, neighbourhood Toluca, and Warszawa, Cambrideg Mass. MIT Press. and community, London, Routledge Matthews, H., Taylor, M., Percy-­Smith, B. Falmer. and Limb, M. (2000) The unacceptable Cunningham, C. and Jones, M. (1999) The Flaneur – The shopping mall as teenage Playground: A Confession of Failure?, Built hangout, Childhood 7(3): 279-­294. Environment, 25(1): 11-­17. Tucker, F. and Matthews, H. (2001) ‘They Department for Children, Schools and don’t like girls hanging around there’ Families (2008) The Play Strategy, London: conflicts over recreational space in rural DCSF. Northamptonshire, Area 33(2): 161-­168. Department for Children, Schools and Families (2007) The Children’s Plan: Building Maxey, (1999) Playgrounds: From Oppressive Spaces to Sustainabel Places? Brighter Futures, London: DCSF. Built Environment 25(1): 18-­24. Department for Culture Media and Sport McKendrick, J. (1999) Playgrounds in the (DCMS) (2003) Getting Serious About Play, Built Environment, Built Environment, 25(1): 5 London: DCMS. – 10. Dunnett, N., Swanwick, C. and Woolley, H. McKendrick, J., Bradford, M. G. and Fielder, (2002) Improving urban parks, play areas A. V. (2000a) Kid Customer?: and green spaces, London: Office of the Commercialization of Playspace and the Deputy Prime Minister. Eibl-­Eibesfeldt (1970) Ethology: The biology Commodification of Childhood, Childhood 7 (3): 295-­314. of behaviour: New York, Holt. McKendrick, J., Fielder, A. and Bradford, M. Frost, J. L. (1992) Play and Playscapes, (2000b) The dangers of safe play, Children Albany, NY.: Delmar Publishers Incorpo-­ 5-­16 Research Briefing No 22. ESRC. rated. McNeish, D. and Roberts, H. (1995) Playing Frost, J.L. (2005) How playground it safe: Today’s children at play, London: regulations and standards are messing up children’s play, Today’s Playground, (Dec) Barnardo’s. Miller, P. L. (1972) Creative outdoor spaces, 5(7): 14-­19. Frost, J.L. (2006) The dissolution of children’s Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-­Hall. outdoor play: courses and consequences, Moorcock, K. (1998) Swings and round-­ abouts: The danger of safety in outside copyright Joe Frost 11 May 2006. Gagen, E. A. (2004) Making America Flesh: play environments, Sheffield: Sheffield Hallam University Press. physicality and nationhood in turn-­of-­the-­ Moore, R. (1986) Childhood’s Domain: Play, century New York schools’, Cultural Place and Development, London: Croom Geographies, 11: 417-­442. Helm. Gibson, J. J. (1979) The Ecological Moore, R. (1989) Playgrounds at the Approach to Visual Perception, Boston: Crossroads, in Altman, I. and Zube, E. (eds) Houghton Mifflin. (1989) Public places and spaces, Human Gill, T. (2007) No Fear: Growing up in a risk

behaviour and environment 10: New York: Plenum. Moyles, J. (1989) Just Playing: the role and status of play in early childhood education, Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press. National Playing Fields Association (NPFA) (2000) Best Play: What play provision should do for children, London: National Playing Fields Association, Children’s Play Council and PLAYLINK. Noschis, K. (1992) Child development theory and planning for neighbourhood play, Children’s Environments, 9 (2): 3-­9. Opie, I. and Opie, P. (1969) Children's games in street and playground : chasing, catching, seeking, hunting, racing, duel-­ ling, exerting, daring, guessing, acting, pretending, Oxford: Clarenden Press. Prout, A. and James, A. (1997) Constructing and re-­constructing childhood: Falmer Press, Senda, (1992) Design of Children’s Play Environments, New York: McGraw Hill Shackell, A., Butler, N., Doyle, P. and Ball, D. (2008) Design for Play: A guide to creating successful play spaces, London: Department for Children Schools and Families and Department for Culture Media and Sport). Sutton-­Smith, B. (1997) The Ambiguity of Play, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Valentine, G. (1996) Children should be seen and not heard: The production nand transgression of adult’s public space, Urban Geography, 17(3): 205-­220. Valentine, G. (1997) ‘Oh Yes I can.’ ‘Oh no you can’t’: Children and Parents’ Under-­ standings of Kid’s Competence to Negoti-­ ate Public Space Safely, Antipode 21(1): 65 -­89. Ward, C. (1978) The Child in the City, London: The Architectural Press. Wells, N. (2000) At home with nature: effects of ‘greenness’ on children’s cognitive functioning, Environment and Behavior, 32(3): 311-­330. Woolley, H. (2009) From playgrounds to playful landscapes, Spaces and Places 038:16-­19. Woolley, H. (2008) Watch This Space! Designing for Children’s Play in Public Open Spaces Geography Compass 2/2: 495-­512 Woolley, H. (2007) Where do the children play? How policies can influence practice Municipal Engineer, 160: 89 – 95. Woolley, H. (2006) Freedom of the city: Contemporary issues and policy influences on children and young people’s use of public open spaces in England, Children’s Geographies, 4(1): 45-­59. Woolley, H. (2003) Urban Open Spaces, Spon Press: London. Woolley, H. and Johns, R. (2001) Skateboarding: The city as a playground, Journal of Urban Design, 6(2): 211-­230. Woolley, H., Dunn, J., Spencer, C. Short, T. and Rowley, G. (1999) Children describe their experiences of the city centre: a qualitative study of the fears and concerns which may limit their full participation, Landscape Research, 24(3): 287 – 301. Woolley, H., Armitage, M., Bishop, J., Curtis, M. and Ginsborg, J. (2005) Inclusion of dis-­ abled children in primary school play-­ grounds, London: National Children’s Bureau and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


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What is a Danish Adventure Playground? Richard Hare

In the year 2000 I began visiting Denmark and exploring the work of the landscape architect C.Th.Sørensen. I soon discovered Danish adventure playgrounds. They seemed to have very little in common with the adventure playgrounds I had played on growing up in England. The first of these playgrounds I found was at Bellahøj, an area of highrises west of the city centre. Bellahøj had Denmark’s first tower block housing from 1950 and as part of the surrounding park landscape Sørensen created a 5,000 capacity open-­air theatre. On the back slope of the theatre, tucked away behind a wooden fence is the adventure play-­ ground that was established in 1965 according to a rather sparse plan drawn by Sørensen. The plan consisted of an enclosing fence, an asphalt strip and a small building. Everything else was to be created by the children, using whatever materials could be acquired. It was not Sørensen’s first such playground but it was undoubtedly his most local one being only 200m from his home in the penthouse of one of the tower blocks. Today on entering the playground a space opens up that at times resembles a bombsite, with piles of timber and junk, a variety of shacks and towers, and, after rain, lots of mud. During opening hours there are kids everywhere, some busy, others are hanging out and others chasing or scooting around. There are also the all important playworkers, who are generally serene and untroubled by the

apparent chaos all around and seem oblivious to the apparently dangerous conditions on site.

There seems to be an understand-­ ing of a common ethos however and serious injuries are almost unheard of. Impressively, there is a ‘homemade’ swimming pool in summer and a swing that is over 5m high. There are also rabbits. There are around 10 such playgrounds in the greater Copenhagen area today. Despite having much in common there are significant variations. Some playgrounds have many animals, even horses, others have few, and the amount of building also varies from playground to playground. The most famous adventure playground is the first to be created in 1943 by Sørensen and others, at Emdrup, a few kilometres from Bellahøj. It was here that Lady Alan of Hurtwood visited and experienced the idea at first hand. Here the first playleader John ‘Jonas’ Bertelsen had been able to verbalise the underlying philosophy of the playground as a wild and exciting place, full of potential. For many years such playgrounds were open access, though closed in the winter months. In common with other such playgrounds both Emdrup and Bellahøj subsequently became part of the local author-­ ity’s afterschool provision and for many years have been open all year as afterschool clubs for children aged 6 to 14. This ‘institutionalisation’ has been accompanied by the development of strong traditions, numerous annual parties and group holidays.


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Despite their similarities these two playgrounds have developed differently. At Emdrup the site is larger and, though screened from the surrounding streets by an earth bank, it is more open. Here the days of the muddy bombsite are a thing of the past. There has been an accumulation of structures as selected houses, built by the children, have been preserved for many years. These houses are generally neat and tidy. The children spend time maintaining them in the summer, repairing and repainting. This creates an almost fairytale atmosphere as the old houses are used actively in play. But Emdrup does maintain the idea of temporary building as a specific summer activity called ‘kassen’ where structures are removed at the end of the season. The overall impression at Emdrup is one of a well established village of houses. At Bellahøj however there are very few structures more than a few years old, and houses appear and disappear regularly. No older houses are actively maintained and things appear temporary and transient. This divergence in the develop-­ ment of these two Danish examples is clear. The rate of

building or demolition varies significantly however. Some years many new structures may appear at Bellahøj, other years relatively few. Despite the different character of play that these different approaches encourage they have a strong commonality in terms of variety of experience and opportunities for physically challenging play. Both playgrounds have hundreds of hiding places and vantage points, and swings and climbing ropes are strung up from trees and other structures. They are still environments largely created by children. Famously, C.Th.Sørensen stated, towards the end of his long career, that the adventure playground was his best work. It was certainly a concept that caught people’s imagination and hundreds of similar playgrounds sprang up internationally. While playgrounds like Bellahøj and Emdrup exist under the title adventure playground the term “adventure playground” in other parts of the world are often playgrounds built by adults for children. In Danish such a playground is a ‘skrammellegeplads’ or ‘byggelegeplad’ literally translated as ‘junk playground’ or

‘building playground’. These Danish names are, of course, descriptive and specific and it would be an anathema if the junk or the building were entirely absent from such playground. When the term adventure playground was coined to describe this Danish concept we were left with a term that leaves itself open to interpretation. It is clear that the self-­build aspect of such playgrounds has been lost when manufacturers of play equipment offer complete ‘adventure playgrounds’ for sale. Here it is possible to see how opportunities for physically challenging play have become the defining characteristic of an adventure playground. In Denmark despite a diversity of approaches it is safe to say that building and junk are still the defining characteristics. Perhaps a reappraisal of the use of the term adventure playground is needed if the original concept is to be clearly understood. Perhaps the term junkyard playground should be more widely adopted. In April 2010 I was asked to give a short introduction to these playgrounds for a group of bachelor students at Melbourne University. My eight year old son, who now attends an after-­school club at Bellahøj was keen to talk to them too. When asked what you needed to make such a playground his unprompted reply was ‘Junk, junk and more junk’. I am pleased that, being Danish, he has never been confused by talk of ‘adventure playgrounds’.

Richard Hare is a landscape architect teaching at The University of Copenhagen.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition FEATURED ARTICLES

Lessons of History -­ The Power of Taking Control Marc Armitage

Playwork across the four nations of the United Kingdom presents a very varied field of work: playworkers are engaged on adventure playgrounds, on play buses and mobile projects, in after-­school clubs, in leisure and recreation centres, in woods and on local streets. The way play projects are funded also varies significantly as does the purpose of individual settings. However, there is still something that links these disparate groups and provides a common understand-­ ing and identity that labels them all as ‘playworkers’.1 This article aims to highlight the role that collectivisation, network-­ ing and the development of infrastructure has had in shaping playwork and this shared identity in the UK since 1961. It will provide source material for those interested in a more comprehen-­ sive history and suggest what lessons there might be in this for the future of playwork both in the UK and around the world. Collectivisation, Networking and Infrastructure An early history of what eventually became playwork is full of well-­ meaning individuals and organisa-­ tions that saw their work with children principally as a form of protection, particularly protection from the evils or ignorance of society. In the period following the Second World War, creating opportunities for children simply ‘to play’ and the perceived role of the adult as an enabler, fostered a change in attitude that found a home in the growing field of local

community action and neighbour-­ hood development. The result was the appearance of largely individ-­ ual, unconnected community play projects and adventure playgrounds. It was a natural step for many of these individual play projects to gradually begin cooperating and providing mutual support. The period between 1960 and the beginning of the 1980s saw a gradual collectivisation of playworkers and the emergence of a playwork movement distinct from that of broader community activism. This grew from a very local level into networking across district or city and eventually, in some areas, to regional level. Hull Community Playschemes Associa-­ tion (HCPA) provides a typical example. The originating members of the association were very much linked to community development in the Spring Bank area of Hull in Yorkshire in the mid-­1970s and were providing free, open-­access holiday playschemes and tempo-­ rary adventure playgrounds in the local neighbourhood. By the early 1980s, the Association had grown city wide and had a more defined play focus, eventually employing more than thirty playworkers with a play resource centre and equip-­ ment loan service, an adventure playground, a double-­decker play bus, and a team of field playworkers providing playschemes and after school clubs.2 Representatives from this and other similar local playwork networks went on to establish a regional body, Yorkshire and Humberside Play Association.3

The early 1970s was a busy collec-­ tive time for playworkers and it was a logical step for national networks to follow with a number of organizations being established including Fair Play for Children (FPfC) (1973)4 and the National Play Bus Association (also 1973)5 but this wider collectivisation was not without its controversies. One issue has continued to provide the sector with a significant challenge. In the early 1970s playworkers were attempting to define what it was they did and this was not helped by a rivalry that developed between the ‘Play Leadership’ approach to play-­ work, largely based on programs such as holiday playschemes and after-­school club provision, and that of the hands-­off approach of the adventure playgrounds. “[These] two distinctive disciplines were in many respects ... worlds apart in theory and in practicali-­ ties”6 and the practitioners of both approaches were becoming more organised and were working on developing their own identity. The Adventure Playground Workers Association formed in 1970 (later the London Adventure Playground Association (LAPA) and more recently PLAYLINK7), was openly critical of the Play Leadership approach, and stated from an early point, “If we hope to influence adventure playground committees and who comes into the movement we must take ourselves seriously.”8 Despite being focussed on developing adventure playgrounds this ‘movement’ referred to was the broader movement of playwork.


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These early emerging networks were all effectively playworker initiated, ‘bottom-­up’ structures if you like. They shared a lack of significant central resources and little in the way of staffing, relying heavily on volunteer support. In 1974 the National Playing Fields Association (NPFA, first formed in 1925 and now called Fields in Trust9) brought a more organised structure to the movement nation-­ ally through the establishment of a number of regional officers tasked with supporting play, which in real-­ ity often meant adventure play-­ grounds. Although not necessarily representing the broad field that playwork was struggling to estab-­ lish, this was the first truly national structure that benefited from central resourcing. More signifi-­ cantly, it was this regional structure that led directly to the formation of PlayBoard, also referred to as The Association for Children’s Play and Recreation in 1983 which was, “... charged with coordinating work in children’s play – something that had never been achieved in the history of play organisations.”10 It had a budget of over £800,000 – an unprecedented amount for playwork at that time. The NPFA regional structure was dismantled and the newly formed PlayBoard aimed to coordinate ‘playwork’ in its broadest sense which included an attempt to create a definition of play that encompassed all. By 1987 however PlayBoard was gone.11 It had failed to achieve the support of the sector it was tasked with ‘coordinating’. One current key figure in playwork de-­ scribed the establishment of Play-­ Board as “a sell out” and another said “[at the time] As a playworker on the ground I could not see any influence it was having on the way I worked.” 12When eventually threatened with closure the lack of support from the playwork sec-­ tor was noted in a government debate on its future. The regional structure of PlayBoard was dis-­ solved and the centralised func-­ tions were gathered into a new unit with a greatly reduced budget. This was the National Children’s Play and Recreation

Unit (NCPRU) which was structured research this finding was rejected as part of the Sports Council. by government simply on the grounds that children should not In some respects this structure was climb on garage roofs and there-­ fore no revision of the then build-­ received as suspiciously as its predecessor as a significant ing regulations was necessary. element in the playwork sector viewed it as another top-­down By the time of its demise PlayBoard structure imposed on the field. had been able to release a One of the senior figures quoted number of research based above said “The word ‘recreation’ publications that aimed to in the title seemed to be defining influence local and central playwork in a way I was not happy government in design and policy, with, and as soon as I saw it was to using arguments drawn from play-­ be part of the Sports Council I said work. These documents were also ‘this is not for me’”.14 In spite of providing evidence for arguments their unpopularity with playwork-­ that the field had been making for ers, both PlayBoard and the some time but had no direct NCPRU left a legacy in the form of evidence for, such as the popular-­ engagement with central govern-­ ity of local streets as play places as opposed to expensive public ment on the issue of playwork playgrounds.18 The NCPRU which included research and publications in support of the field. continued in this vein and produced a number of Although playworkers had been comprehensive research review influenced by works such as Colin publications that are still relevant Ward’s Child in the City (1978) and to date.19 Robin Moore’s Childhood’s Domain (1986)15 there was at this It was not long before the first point, in the words of one key mainstream publications written figure, “Nothing about playwork to by playworkers for playworkers appeared. Annie Day’s book read”16 and little in the way of Playwork was published in 1995 rigorous research material that and was followed swiftly by Good was ‘playwork friendly’. What material was available also faced Practice in Playwork (1996) by Paul a significant credibility problem. Bonel and Jennie Lindon.20 The For example, The 1973 latter has been revised and repub-­ Department of the Environment lished many times since. Other research report, Children at Play mainstream textbook material was, and still is, amongst the most followed, notably by Fraser comprehensive pieces of research Brown21, and in 2001 the first about children’s play habits to be Serious attempt at an academic completed. The research focussed interpretation of playwork was on what children were actually made in the publication of playing and where, and made Evolutionary Playwork and recommendations on the future Reflective Analytical Practice by design and development of parks, Bob Hughes.22 playgrounds and neighbourhoods based on these findings. When By the time the NCPRU was commenting on children’s play disbanded by government in 1993 close to home the report found national structures had been that, “It seems clear that any fea-­ established in Wales, Scotland and ture of the site that offers children in Northern Ireland which had all, the opportunity to climb ... will be to varying degrees, provided a put to use. For example, where national focus for play. In Northern garages had flat roofs children Ireland what was the regional climbed on them. It is probably PlayBoard office had reconsti-­ not possible to prevent this, so tuted as the national body for such roofs should be strong play using the same title;; and by enough to cope with it ...” 17 the end of the 1990s Play Scotland Despite being based on sound and Play Wales23 had been


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formed but in both these cases they were developments of exist-­ ing national networks that had been largely playworker initiated. With the folding of NCPRU it was playwork in England that suffered most. Peter Kemp, writing in The Times, concluded that children’s play in England was a mess. He wrote, “Whether one looks at [children’s play] from the point of view of parents or children, the practitioners in the field or the Social theorist in an office, play is an essential part of a growing child’s environment. Where, then, has play stood within government! The answer is ‘all over the place’”24. He went on to list six government departments that had responsibility for some aspect of children’s play arguing that there should be a single point of responsibility. However, it took until 2006 to see the establishment of Play England. 25

which included resources to continue the research and publi-­ cation work previously carried out by the NCPRU. Although funded through central government it did not have the same relationship with government as had the NCPRU. It was very much an inde-­ pendent body in the voluntary sector but one which gradually earned the ear of government through lobbying and persuasive argument. Despite this there were still some in the playwork field who saw the change from NVCCP to CPC as a ‘top-­down’ initiative and sought to establish alternative structures that never really materialised.26

Continuing the tradition of research and publication the NVCCP and the CPC began a persuasive campaign to win the confidence of government. Amongst the most significant of these were the publication of the Each of the four nations now has, Charter for Children’s Play (1992)27 or is in the preparation of having, and later, Best Play: what play some form of national play policy provision should do for children and implementation plan largely (2000) aimed squarely at local campaigned for by the national government setting out a ration-­ play organisations. Wales was the ale and an explanation of play in first to achieve this in 2002 and a playwork context and raising the Northern Ireland and Scotland idea of ‘play deprivation’ stating have begun the process. The that, “... this publication shows that future of a play policy for England a body of knowledge has is less certain. The best efforts of accumulated which allows the Play England to promote such an fundamental need for children’s idea were seemingly dashed play to be asserted...”28 In 2001 when one of the first moves of the Play Wales contributed further by newly elected coalition publishing The First Claim -­ a government of 2010 was to framework for playwork quality suspend development of the play assessment29 drawing theoretical strategy for England. understanding together with prac-­ tice. This document significantly informed the development of the Play England has its origins in Playwork Principles (2005), a another voluntary sector body of professional and ethical frame-­ the 1980s, The National Voluntary Council for Children’s Play work for playwork returning once (NVCCP). Initially a representative again to the issue of a broad body for playwork the NVCCP had agreement about what playwork taken on the role of representing is.30 playwork in its broadest sense by drawing its council membership In 2004, the CPC administered and from the regional play associations published what has been and national bodies such as FPfC. described as the most significant By the turn of the millennium the document to have come from the NVCCP had become the Chil-­ field to date in the form of the dren’s Play Council (CPC) National Review of Children’s and was receiving funding Play31, commonly referred to as through central government the Dobson Report. Coordinated

by Tim Gill, then Director of CPC, and with the involvement of a number of playwork professionals32, the review was carried out by Frank Dobson MP a previous Health Secretary, which “... with the implicit support of Government, laid the foundations for subsequent funding and policy developments, in England at least.”33 The Dobson Report is most often the answer to the question about the most significant devel-­ opment in playwork since 1961. One (non-­English key person) said, “It had a strong message about the intrinsic importance of free-­ play, and about the relevance of play provision to wider public pol-­ icy”, and another “The play field has at times found it difficult to reach agreement on strategic is-­ sues but this brought the whole country together.”34 The recommendations of the Dobson Report made a subtle but highly significant recommendation when it came to spending over £200 million being made available through the National Lottery to-­ wards children’s play. It effectively said, ‘no play infrastructure at local government level and no play strategy – no money’. The effect was dramatic. The number of local voluntary sector play associations and networks, first begun in the 1970s, had been slowly increasing to the point where there were over one-­ hundred such networks nation-­ wide. But the Dobson report and the lure of lottery funding meant that local government became more interested in infrastructure development as they had to establish Local Play Partnerships to be able to prepare their play strat-­ egy, apply for and manage lottery funding. The local play networks were in an ideal position of exper-­ tise and took full advantage of this. Quite how lottery money has been used to establish a playwork infrastructure has varied in the four nations but the playwork infra-­ structure in the UK is at an all time high in the influence it can bring to bear, particularly on local government.


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The future The current financial situation at home and abroad is a cause for concern for further development of our hard-­fought-­for playwork infrastructure but history seems to suggest a way forward for the future. Those structures which have been most successful in furthering playwork as a movement and as a profession have generally been playworker initiated and supported. Top-­down, imposed (whether perceived or real) structures have fared less well. Collectivisation at a local, regional and national level has enabled playwork to define itself and lobby outside agencies using an increasing body of expertise and argument. Playwork across all four nations of the United Kingdom has devel-­ oped and survived since 1961 principally because of the sheer strength of will of groups of play-­ workers and the networking structures they developed, surviving confusion, infighting and government indifferences. This implies that playwork in the UK will survive any current crisis it faces and suggests that where play-­ workers in other countries wish to see this unique way of working develop then the way to do that is take control: collectivise, network and develop infrastructure. Marc Armitage is an Independent Playwork Consultant marc@marc-­armitage.eu


Williams (1989) Children’s outdoor play in the built environment: a handbook for all who design, plan or manage residential 1 In writing this article a number of ‘key neighbourhoods. London: NCPRU;; and figures’ in the playwork sector were asked what they felt were the major influences on Peter Heseltine (1994) A review of play-­ ground and related studies. London: the development of playwork since 1961. NCPRU. Some of those are quoted however, the 20 Annie Davy (1995) Playwork. London: views expressed are entirely my own. 2 Little did I know as a junior school pupil Macmillan Press;; and Paul Bonel and Jennie Lindon (1996) Good Practice in attending one of the associations early Playwork. Cheltenham: Stanley Thomas. adventure playgrounds (set up in the gap between a number of demolished houses) 21 See for example, Fraser Brown (ed) (2003) that in little more than ten years time I Playwork: Theory and Practice. Bucking-­ would join HCPA in my first playwork job ham: Open University Press. 22 Bob Hughes (2001) Evolutionary Playwork and eventually become secretary and and Reflective Analytical Practice. London: then vice-­chairperson. 3 Now known as Yorkshire Play Rutledge. 23 See www.playscotland.org and www.yorkshireplay.org.uk 4 www.fairplayforchildren.org www.playwales.org.uk 5 Now called Working on Wheels 24 Peter Kemp (1994) ‘Small subjects but a www.workingonwheels.org big issue’, in The Times (Thursday 8th Sep-­ 6 Raymond Willis (1988) ‘Freedom to Play: tember 1994). an history of the child at play’ (unpublished 25 See www.playengland.org.uk 26 Personal correspondence. MS) in Children’s Play Information Service 27 1992 NVCCP (1992) Charter for Children’s [CPIS]. 7 www.playlink.org.uk Play. London: NCB 8 Minutes of the Adventure Playground 28 NPFA/CPSC/PLAYLINK (2000) Best Play: Workers Association, Monday 13th April what play provision should do for children. London: DCMS. p.4. 1970, p.2. [CPIS]. 9 www.fieldsintrust.org 29 Play Wales (2001) The First Claim: a 10 Keith Cranwell, History of Play Organisa-­ framework for playwork quality assessment. Cardiff: Play Wales. tions (part 2), in IPA Play Words. 11 With the exception of PlayBoard in Belfast 30 Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group (2005) which reconstituted as the national organi-­ The Playwork Principles. www.skillsactive.com/playwork/principles sation for play in Northern Ireland. 31 Department of Culture, Media and Sport www.playboard.org 12 Personal correspondence. (2004) The National Review of Children’s 13 26th December 1986 HANSARD Play. London: HMSO. 32 Including the author. (Commons, Environment) 264L 33 Personal correspondence. 14 Personal correspondence. 15 Colin Ward (1978) The Child in the City, 34 Ibid. Pantheon Books;; and Robin Moore (1986) Children’s Domain: play and place in child development. London: Croom Helm. Play-­ Board gets a mention in the Robin Moore book. 16 Personal communication. 17 Department if the Environment (1973) Bulletin 27: Children at Play. London: HMSO. p.28. 18 PlayBoard (1987) Where children play: an analysis of interviews of children aged 5-­14. London: Sports Council/PlayBoard. 19 See for example, Gill Coffin with Morris

Courtesy of Play Wales


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition FEATURED ARTICLES

IPA AFRO-­ASIAN CONFERENCE: November 1983, New Delhi

Excerpts from the Inaugural Address: Play and Child Development: R.P. Khosla, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Social Welfare “When the Chairman of the Conference Organizing Committee first approached me with a request to support this Conference and to participate, I found myself wondering why the subject called for an international conference at all. Did the need to draw attention to this question arise from the desire of psycholo-­ gists, educationists and sociologists to focus their analytical and academic skills and air their views on what might be a somewhat esoteric and specialized subject, or did it represent a real social problem? When I found I was not alone in this reaction it seemed to suggest that the average person did not regard play and its role in child development as a problem at all. It was felt that children in any case spend too much time playing and not enough time in learning more important matters in life. There was therefore hardly any need to spend long hours discussing the question.

thrust more and more children into slums and into high-­rise apart-­ ments. The inexorable growth of population has meant that more and more people are living in less and less space. Where space is barely adequate for a family to sit and sleep, space for play is an unheard-­of luxury. This is a prob-­ lem which is assuming major dimensions in the countries of Asia and Africa, many of whom are represented here today, where populations are growing with alarming rapidity. Homes are becoming smaller and more crowded and the atmosphere of tension that so often prevails in such tenements is hardly conducive to the proper develop-­ ment of the child.

Space has disappeared not only from the home but from the schools. In the urban areas there are hardly any schools which provide enough space for children to play, whether inside the building or outside it. They are content to provide a room, a So I began to look around at children and their environment as black-­board and sometimes a few tables and chairs. Even when it is today and compare it with space is available, few schools memories of my own childhood. The most vivid memories were not provide the organizational the lessons I learnt in the classroom infrastructure to enable children to but those I learnt outside it. At no play. The few schools that do provide proper play facilities are time was there any doubt about my right to play, nor was there any so expensive that they are able to cater only for the affluent elite in dearth of opportunity to do so. society. When I look around today the picture is very different. Changes in our lifestyle, changes in our Together with the disappearance physical environment, changes in of space from the home and the school, is the disappearance of our aspirations have all space in public places. Small contributed to driving out play neighbourhood areas where from the life of many of our children, substituting it with occu-­ children can play are rarely provided by urban planners, as a pations which seem to have a very different focus from play as result of which children are driven we have traditionally understood to using the streets for their games. it. Changes in the physical envi-­ The growth of high-­rise apartments ronment are particularly visible in has made it impossible for mothers our urban areas. Today we have to keep an eye on children when

they play, with the result that children are either not allowed out or when they are, mothers remain tense about their safety. This picture of growing organization and the erosion of play opportunities for children will undoubtedly get steadily worse as time goes on. It is unlikely that the flow of population to the cities will be checked in the foreseeable future. It is equally unlikely that low cost and fast urban transport systems will become available to enable communities to live in open spaces on the periphery of cities and travel to work. Even if it were possible, the experience of dormitory towns has not been particularly happy and has not helped in the development of a sense of community identity which is so essential to provide children with a stable environment. We have not only encroached on the child’s play space, we have also encroached on his play time. Certainly in this country the overgrowing burden of homework indicates the gradual transfer of a substantial portion of the child’s learning process from the school to the home. This represents not only a failure of the school to per-­ form its basic function but also the disturbing phenomenon of increasingly severe competition for better and better results between children as individuals and also between institutions eager to win recognition and acclaim for the output of outstanding scholars. The villain is not only the pressure of homework and the pursuit of scholastic distinction. It is equally the ever increasing development of passive forms of entertainment. By far the most pervasive of these is television. Television may well


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition FEATURED ARTICLES

have opened up new vistas of knowledge for children and made it possible for them to acquire more information at an earlier age than used to be possible. But it has also driven out more active forms of play from their lives. It is much easier to press a switch and look at a picture than to assemble crayons and paper to create one. It is easier to turn the dial on a cas-­ sette recorder than to take up an instrument and create music.

areas and therefore require different solutions. For instance, space is generally not a problem in rural areas unless we mean covered space. Time also is less of a problem since academic competitiveness is less acute in village schools. But certainly the quality of guidance in play activity is a problem in the rural areas. I will come to this aspect a little later.

Our foremost concern is to create an opportunity for children to play, to provide them with space and time where they have been deprived of both. It is an impor-­ tant lesson for our urban planners and educationists. There has to be a conscious decision to provide play space in the same way as we plan for shopping centres, commercial areas, cinemas and hospitals when we plan for urban development. By this I do not mean playgrounds for organized institutionalized sports, or parks with their “keep off the grass” signs but areas where children are free to enter and play their games without being subjected to external rules and regulations. We have to realize that even in areas where land costs are very high, we have to resist the temptation of exploiting it for commercial or individual use and preserve it for the use of the Clearly what is necessary is to children of the community. If this formulate a strategy of action to means that the costs of not deal with the present predica-­ exploiting the area for commer-­ ment. I do not imagine that in a gathering like this, it is necessary to cial gain have to be borne by the explain or to justify the role of play community it should be willing to share the financial burden.” in the development of the child. This has already been done by Mr Khosla then gave examples of experts in child psychology and challenges in introducing play in human development. What this conference needs to consider is a education and the importance of this particularly in the early years. strategy to convert these widely He continued… accepted ideas into a programme of action. The exact “It is here that we need to look at shape of the programme of the situation in the developing action will naturally differ from countries – countries with limited region to region but there are resources and hardly any nursery certain factors which are common to the majority of coun-­ school services, countries where tries in Asia and Africa which need the bulk of the population is rural to be taken into account. In India and where incomes are low. It is the bulk of the population lives in entirely appropriate that this con-­ ference of Afro-­Asian nations villages. In many respects the should have a careful look at the problems of the rural areas are problem. The solutions for these different from those of the urban And then there is the age old problem of child labour. It is usually exploitive, but the long term consequences of depriving the child of his opportunities for normal development are far more serious. In urban areas children are driven by their parents to seek employment to supplement the family income and all too often this employment becomes the sole occupation of the child, pushing out not only play but education as well. Where it is not exploitive, children may be com-­ pelled to share in what are basically adult responsibilities, such as looking after their younger brothers and sisters or tending cattle. What hope is there for such a child to take advantage even of the rudimentary facilities that society has to offer?

countries do not lie in creating a network of nursery schools dependent for their effectiveness on highly educated, trained teachers like Montessori teachers or in providing a variety of specially designed play equip-­ ment. The cost of this would price them out of reach for too many countries. We have instead to evolve a solution based on locally available manpower and locally available materials. …..Can we evolve a simple, easily replicable package of practices and materials which can be used by teachers with a limited amount of training? Can this package be understood and perhaps applied by parents in the home? In developing countries, this is the real challenge to educationists and psychologists. It is not enough to develop awareness and receptivity among parents and teachers. Having done so, it is our responsibility to provide ser-­ vices, and this is the most difficult part of the programme. What we are trying to do is to reduce what has evolved as a somewhat complex and sophisti-­ cated concept into a simple, easily replicable package that can be used by teachers and parents who have neither the sophistication of a college education nor the ability to grasp the complexity of the process of child development. And the worker through whom we have to work is not just a teacher con-­ cerned exclusively with preschool education in which she can spe-­ cialize, she is basically a multi-­ purpose child welfare worker look-­ ing after both the education of the nursery child and also its health and nutrition. Experience has shown that in a traditional, somewhat conservative rural soci-­ ety, it is the multipurpose worker who is listened to and welcomed and not an army of specialists each to render a different service. I have no doubt that in all coun-­ tries with similar economic and social conditions, such solutions will have to be found.


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

A few more memories… Rajani Konantambigi, India I was ‘driven’ to developmental psychology and had a great academic interest in understanding the value of play in childhood! I wrote a paper on the subject and also made attempts to understand efforts made in terms of policy and practices to enhance play for children. I was primed for some action when I got to know about IPA India and the work of Dr Aruna Thakkar! I joined in and then started a long relationship with "play" and "IPA". The excitement of being a part of this group has been more than an emotional one - where I wished that all children, especially the urban ones, could play with abandon - but also one of a more practical nature. I wanted to ensure children's play is facilitated. The highs were being a part of the Mumbai University's certificate programme on Provision of Play Spaces for Children - where women volunteers were apprised of the importance of play in children's development and were given help in play provision. Another high was participating in the survey of parks and playgrounds in the city with a view to understanding the municipality's role and supporting the use of facilities by children and adults. Audrey Skrupskelis, USA I don’t know how to begin! IPA became the focal point of my academic career. After attending my first IPA/USA conference in 1992, I felt like I found my “home.” I have always believed in play as the single most important contributor for children’s healthy overall development and at the Denton conference I realized that there are many others who believe as I do. The friendships that I formed there are still strong today and over the years I think we have had a positive impact in getting the message across that play is absolutely essential for all. There is much more work to be done and I will continue to be as involved as I can be. And on a practical note – my involvement with IPA/USA and IPA World got me promotion and tenure at USCA! Thank you IPA! Gill Evans, Wales One of the most exciting opportunities offered by being part of IPA is that I and other grassroots workers can join together and be involved in driving change that benefits children not only in my own country but internationally. Kathy Wong Kin Ho, Hong Kong, China I first joined IPA in 1996 and since then I have attended many of its conferences. IPA has opened up my eyes and my mind! It is a very large group of like-minded people with a strong belief and passion in its purpose – promoting the children's right to play. It has been a great professional sharing and supporting platform for me. I am inspired by so many play specialists worldwide who by working together can effect change locally for children. Members of IPA are introduced to new concepts in a wide variety of topic areas including playwork, adventure play, play space design, safety, and so on. Last but not least, IPA friendship is invaluable to me! Alan Rees, Scotland IPA has given me friendship and opportunities - friends in many countries; opportunities to travel and enjoy different cultures and memorable places. It has taught me about the importance of play for children in all kinds of circumstances and the variety of ways this can be recognised and satisfied. Although my involvement started before I retired from paid work in 1993, IPA has filled a large part of my life since. Hard work sometimes, yes, but highly rewarding. Seeing both our branch and the international association flourish is very satisfying. So in this 50th year, I hope for every success in the future. Elizabeth Hannan, New Zealand IPA preconference tours are important.in helping delegates understand the culture of different countries, meeting local communities and sharing ideas. The visits to preschools, schools, welfare facilities and so on, provide much information for discussion and indeed produce lasting friendships. One family from Otari (Japan) has visited our home three times and we have exchanged correspondence regularly. Tom Jambor, USA Who was to know that a trip of curiosity to the 1978 IPA conference in Ottawa would lead to a personal and professional love affair with Play…. play in the lives of children and the communities in which they live. And, that the befriending of a Norwegian at the 1981 Rotterdam conference would set the stage for over three decades of IPA involvement, playground environment design, writing & research on the importance of play to total development, world wide IPA friendships and travel opportunities. It’s been quite a trip. Who would have known… Verner Storm, Denmark My first contact with IPA was its conference in Sweden. I also enjoyed the wonderful conference in Tokyo where we met the late Mrs. Ohmura, who later came to visit us in Denmark, At the conference in Finland I participated in a canoe trip (with an English girl) as part of the conference. I have had ongoing contact with her since and have been able to follow her education, her work with women and children, and now the start of her own family. Conferences are a great place to make friends from all over the world – with people who have the same goal, people who work and fight for the child’s right to play. Wonderful the IPA people I have met! All of them!


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition


PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

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PlayRights Magazine Special 50th Anniversary Edition

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