A play strategy for Scotland’s children
To make our country the best place to grow up we must get it right in the early years.
As Children’s Minister I’m committed to supporting our children and families so they get the best start in life and go on to thrive and flourish.
And a central part of getting it right in the early years is play. Although clearly (and rightly) centred on fun, play is also hugely important to a child’s development and key to their physical, cognitive and social development. Here I speak from experience, being the mother of a wee boy myself.
Play is also pivotal to how children learn and a fundamental part of their quality of life. This being enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This understanding of the crucial importance of play is why we’re developing Scotland’s first national play strategy. This will set out our vision for play and the action we’ll take to achieve it – with a key aim being embedding play within children’s services through the forthcoming Children and Young People’s Bill. We’ll be consulting with key partners across the play sector on this before the end of the year with the eventual strategy due for publication in 2013.
The strategy will bring together and build upon the many things we’re already taking forward in this area. We support play at a national level in a variety of ways. For example, we’re increasing funding to £1 million a year for our PlayTalkRead campaign to help parents give their children the best start in life through spending more time playing, taking and reading with them. While our £4 million Go Play fund is also offering more chances for children aged five to 13 to participate in free play.
Elsewhere, the £3 million allocated (over the next three years) to the Go2Play fund will help develop more play spaces across local communities.
We share the play sector’s vision to see the value of play recognised throughout society and to raise awareness of the benefits it brings.
I look forward to working with those across the sector to develop this important strategy.
Together we’ll devise a vision which will drive the future of play for generations of children to come.
Minister for Children and Young People
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