Register of Playwork Professionals welcomes Activity Commission’s report

outdoor play kids

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.

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Interest grows in a new vehicle for playwork

Policy for Play

Following a successful stint at the Playwork Conference in Eastbourne earlier this month, the momentum towards establishing a new playwork body continues to grow.

Around 150 people have now broadly agreed on the purpose and nature of the kind of vehicle that the field wants to create.  A new playwork body could, for example:

  • Represent playworkers UK-wide, giving them a collective voice.
  • Be a focus for good practice: supporting research and other areas that develop playwork.
  • Promote playwork nationally and support local campaigns.
  • Lobby for policy change to create a legal and regulatory framework conducive to playwork services.
  • Provide support and benefits for playworkers, such as networking, information, skills sharing, events and resources.
  • Be outward looking, building links with other professions and sectors.

The discussions have also led to a broad consensus on what kind of vehicle the playwork community needs, with some general principles giving us a clear direction…

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This week is Love Outdoor Play Week!

Love Outdoor Play

Outdoor Play Week is a campaign being led by Re:Play and is now in its fifth year.  It is all about celebrating the play opportunities on offer in the fantastic green spaces across the South East. 

It is an annual celebration with events organised all over the region to help children and young people get out and play, encouraging and promoting outdoor play, whatever the weather.  Reminding play workers and families alike that outdoor play is not just for the summer, and that as long as you are dressed appropriately you can play out all year around.

Outdoor Play Week was started in the wake of research showing that children are spending less time playing outdoors than ever before.  A survey for Natural England found that as little as 10 per cent of their time is spent outdoors.  The attraction of TV and computer entertainment takes much of the blame…

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Is technology killing children’s play culture, or breathing new life into it?

A highly interesting blog. We’d love to know your thoughts on technology and play

Rethinking Childhood

Just before Christmas, I was helping out at an after-school play session in a community centre in Tower Hamlets in East London. Eight-year-old Jane arrived, took a plastic mug from the kitchen, sat down at a table near me, and started clapping her hands and the table, and tapping and flipping the cup, in a repetitive, rhythmic routine.

Cup on a table in front of a boy

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Let’s get celebrating our sector! The 5th Annual Playwork Awards

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The 5th Annual Playwork Awards will be taking place on Tuesday 4th March as part of the National Playwork Conference at the Winter Gardens in Eastbourne and we are delighted to be sponsoring the Paul Bonel Special Mention Memorial Award. This award is for an individual who has made a significant contribution to the play and playwork sector but who does not fit in to any other award category. This could be a recent contribution, one that has been ongoing for a while or one that is historical. The award is not a lifetime achievement award but for what could be a single significant piece of work or project or something that has been happening over a long period of time.

The awards set out to celebrate the playwork sector and to praise the work done in the industry by identifying people who have made a noticeable contribution and difference to the lives of those they work with.

With significant cuts now happening in the play and playwork sector these awards come at an ever important time to show to all that their hard work and determination is appreciated and has not gone unnoticed.

It is important that we celebrate and reward all playworkers nominated for their never ending commitment and professionalism. Even when times are tough and funds are limited some playworkers creativity never ceases to amaze those they work with.

So please help us recognise and praise the hard work that playworkers have put in over the past year by making your nomination today!

The categories include:

  • Paul Bonel Special Mention Memorial Award  [sponsored by SkillsActive]
  • Training Provider
  • Playwork Writer [sponsored by the Journal of Playwork Practice – Policy Press]
  • Playwork Team [sponsored by Unite the Union]
  • Outstanding Playwork provision [sponsored by International Play Association EWNI Branch]
  • Playwork in other contexts [sponsored by Play England]

To find out more information about each category and to make your nomination please follow this link.

Please note nominations close on the 24th January 2014. 

Play services decimated by cuts

Great blog from Tim Gill. Worth reading!

Rethinking Childhood

Gate locked with chain Public play facilities have suffered huge cuts in the last 3 years. New data shows that spending by English local authorities fell by nearly 40 per cent between 2010 and 2013. Revenue spending has been even more badly hit, falling by over 60 per cent. As a result, almost one in three councils have closed at least one play facility.

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