The Register of Playwork Professionals has welcomed the recommendations in the All Party Commission on Physical Activity publication ‘Tackling Physical Inactivity – A Co-ordinated Approach’ and its emphasis on the need to focus on the first 15 years of life, motivating key audiences such as young people and parents to be more physically active . The report refers to the Millennium Cohort Study (2013) which found that just 51% of young people engage in the recommended minimum 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day and states that ‘fewer than ever are able to play freely in the streets, parks or open spaces where they live.’ It also recognises that ‘active play is as important as organised sport’ and that one of the key factors needing further exploration is ‘understanding what motivates and incentivises children – we need to look at the things young people enjoy’.
The Register of Playwork Professionals ensures that those working in the play sector with school age children are qualified to understand what motivates children and young people to play and can provide a diverse range of stimulating and engaging opportunities which encourage children’s participation in natural, playful activity which might include climbing trees, playing tag or hopscotch, building dens or flying through the air on a zip-wire. In addition, members of the Register have made a commitment to the Playwork Principles, which require playworkers to ‘act as advocates for play’, and can include working with parents and carers, local and national organisations and initiatives which might impact on children’s play. This ties in very neatly with the Commission’s recommendations for town planning, and educational provision and the report’s aim to ‘actively seek the advantages … activity providers can play in delivering high quality, accessible… social interventions… for all.’
The Commission recommends the development of an innovative strategic communications strategy, supported and delivered by ‘…professional bodies who can provide education, training and Continuing Professional Development and support to front-line professionals…’ and we will be further exploring the Register of Playwork Professionals’ role in this with the Commission in the coming weeks.