Play is the quintessential element for children to enjoy their childhood. It is fundamental to their quality of life as children. Playing is fun: it is how children enjoy themselves. Children’s development, learning, imagination, creativity and independence is promoted through the act of play. Play can help to keep children healthy and active. It allows children to experience and encounter boundaries, learning to assess and manage risk in their lives; both physical and social.
Children have a right to play. The right to play and formal recreation, for all children and young people up to the age of 18, is contained in article 31 of the UN convention on the rights of the child, ratified by the UK government in 1991. The government has a duty under this convention to protect and promote play opportunities for all children and young people.
Play helps children to understand the people and places in their lives, learn about their environment and develop their sense of community. It allows children to find out about themselves, their abilities, their interests and the contribution they can make. Play can be a way of building and maintaining important relationships with friends, carers and family members.
The Value of Play
Play enables children to learn through experience that cannot be taught. Through exploring and testing ideas children learn:
- About how to make new friends and communicate with other people.
- About how to play new games and learn new skills including physical skills like tree climbing.
- About how to get along with other people, learn how to share and work as a team.
- About how to stay healthy and build energy levels.
- About taking risks and keeping safe.
As a school we recognise the value of play and aim to develop a wide range of outside play environments to meet the needs of all of our children. Play is satisfying and freely chosen by the child. Play may or may not involve equipment or have an end product. It may be serious or light hearted. It may be done simply for its own sake. We aim to ensure children’s choice over their experiences is promoted in our grounds.
Each year we hold a whole school ‘Play Day’ to recognise the importance of childhood and play. Videos and photos of these days can be seen below.