Register of Playwork Professionals welcomes Activity Commission’s report

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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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Playwork Register officially launches

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Last week saw the official launch of the Register of Playwork Professionals at the Hayward Adventure Playground in Islington, which was warmly welcomed as an exceptional resource for ensuring children have the best opportunities to play creatively.

 
As a recent Health & Safety Executive’s document stated, ‘the opportunity for play develops a child’s risk awareness and prepares them for their future lives’, while children’s right to relax and play is entrenched in the Unicef summary of rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 
Lesli Godfrey, UK Strategic Lead for Playwork and the Children’s Workforce, said, “The importance of quality play in our children’s well-being and development cannot be over emphasised. Play is increasingly recognised as fundamental for children’s health, well-being and future adult development. The Register of Playwork Professionals builds on the expertise gained from the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), seeking to replicate its success by raising the profile of playwork within the children’s workforce, ensuring high quality, rigorous standards and professionalism.”

 

Lesli Godfrey added, “We know that a broad range of environments and play activities provide children and young people with opportunities for challenge, discovery and adventure. A qualified workforce reassures parents that their children can safely enjoy the benefits of quality play, while being looked after by professional staff – we encourage parents to ask if a playworker is a Register member.”

 
SkillsActive developed the Register of Playwork Professionals in partnership with employers, playworkers and representatives from key national organisations, including Play England, KIDS, Sheffield Hallam University, Leeds Metropolitan University, Unite, Unison, Outburst Kids, Fit for Sport, CACHE, City and Guilds, Pearson, Scottish Qualifications Authority.

 
Lesli Godfrey concludes, “The new Register of Playwork Professionals encourages professionalism in the sector, and reassurance for parents. Children and young people of all ages and abilities can be encouraged to creatively explore their world. It is essential that we inspire children to be challenged through play, whilst also feeling safe and supported. Through supporting a child’s right to play, we can lay the groundwork now to ensure future generations have the tools to live fulfilled, confident and healthy adult lives.”

 
The event was attended by employers, registered members and key figures within the playwork sector and also included a lively debate and Q&A session with Lesli Godfrey, Barry Walden (London Borough of Camden) and Angela Brown (Training in Child care).

 
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support of the Register as it wouldn’t be possible without it, and those who were able to attend on the day. In case you were unable to attend we also have a video of the days events included that Q&A session coming soon.