Protecting children’s right to play
Play is a vital avenue for learning and development in young children. Early Childhood Australia (ECA) is consulting with early childhood experts to find out how to stop it from diminishing.
If you were asked to explain why play is important for children, what would you say?
ECA recently asked a group of early childhood learning and development experts as part of its work in developing a National Statement on Play, which will explain and promote the role of play in young children’s learning, development and wellbeing.
It will be an Australian first: a document to help families, educators and policy-makers understand and respond to children’s need for play. Underpinning the statement will be a comprehensive research document, drawing on the best evidence—locally and internationally—for how to support children’s play.
The genesis for the National Statement on Play lies partly in the growing awareness that the time and space for children’s play is being squeezed. With family life becoming more busy and scheduled, the opportunities for children to engage in free play seem to be shrinking.
The physical space available for some traditional forms of play—outdoors and in nature—is also diminishing, especially in urban areas.
These social and environmental changes raise many questions and concerns, such as whether play is becoming neglected or devalued? If it is, the questions we need to ask are: How can we build respect for children’s play? And how can play be supported in family settings, in the wider community and in early learning settings?
Added impetus for the National Statement on Play has been provided by ECA’s Western Australian Branch, which is campaigning for a state government-led WA Play Strategy to reinstate young children’s right to learn through play at school and in the community.
The National Statement on Play will be launched in 2020.
If you’d like to find out more about this project, contact ECA at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was originally published in Voice, Early Childhood Australia’s (ECA) national quarterly member newsletter that updates ECA members on the organisation’s advocacy work and other information relevant to the early childhood field. Find out more here.