__MAIN_TEXT__
feature-image

Page 61

Play

a national network of sustainable public play spaces to support children’s health. Scotland’s First Minister has promised a £60m fund to renew every play park in Scotland, so that all children have access to a place to play in their own community. The Association of Play Industries has written to the Prime Minister, the Health Minister and the Minister for Housing, Communities & Local Government, urging the UK Government to match this commitment to children’s outdoor play throughout the entire UK. We have also written to the new Children’s Commissioner for England in the sincere hope of a fresh approach to tackling the serious issues facing children and young people. We have appealed for a strong emphasis on prevention and highlighted the protective nature of outdoor play in dealing with children’s mental health and childhood obesity. It is essential that the Government sets out a clear plan for investment in outdoor play, so that all children from all backgrounds across the UK have access to community, doorstep playgrounds. There is a real danger that these spaces could disappear for good with catastrophic effects on children’s mental and physical health unless the Government acts now. School playgrounds matter As vital as the campaign is for central funding for community playgrounds, school playgrounds also have a critical role to play in children’s health and wellbeing. Almost one third of parents said they rely on school playgrounds to get their children active and 66 per cent of parents said that outdoor play facilities are important when choosing their child’s school. In addition, school can be the only safe place for some children to play, providing their only outlet for physical activity, socialising and fun. With one in three children overweight or obese by year 6 and child mental

Schools, now faced with the idea of children having to ‘catch-up’ academically, may feel under pressure to increase classroom time at the expense of allowing children time to play outdoors freely in the school playground health problems at record levels, highquality outdoor play equipment in schools is now more important than ever. Play is fundamental to the development of pupils’ physical and mental health. Free, outdoor play boosts learning, concentration, physical literacy, creativity, resilience, confidence and social skills. How schools can prioritise outdoor play When schools improve their playgrounds and outdoor facilities, positive things happen. Physical activity levels increase for a start, important at a time when childhood obesity and physical inactivity are rising and time spent outdoors is falling. To introduce more physical activity into the school day, school playgrounds and outdoor spaces need to deliver outstanding play and learning opportunities. Welldesigned, high-quality outdoor facilities for play, learning, sport, PE and physical activity make a huge impact on school life and children’s educational experiences. Children have natural energy and enthusiasm so schools can make the most of this by building physical activity into the whole school day. Playgrounds and outside spaces get children moving during lesson time, break and lunch times, before and after school, and for extracurricular activities, as well as

during sport and PE lessons. Physical literacy levels will improve and many schools report improvements in behaviour and wellbeing too. Active kids become active adults School playgrounds help to give children a lifelong love of play. Choosing the right play environment for your school is a significant decision so it is essential to get it right when choosing a provider. As the UK’s leading play companies, API members are reliable, trustworthy and financially sound. They operate to the highest standards and are backed by the API’s Professional Code of Conduct. They will provide evidence of previous work and references and design exceptional, high-quality play spaces for children of all ages and abilities. The API Charter encourages members to design fun and challenging play spaces with elements of built-in risk. This drive for innovation ensures API members are always at the forefront of new thinking in play value, inclusivity, safety, diversity, educational value and landscaping. L FURTHER INFORMATION To find out more about how API members can help schools, visit their School Zone: www.api-play.org/resources/ school-zone-schools-get-active/

Issue 26.3 | EDUCATION BUSINESS MAGAZINE

61

Profile for PSI  Media

Education Business 26.3  

Business Information for Education Decision Makers

Education Business 26.3  

Business Information for Education Decision Makers

Profile for psi-media

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded