As a percent, one of the greatest joys in life is watching your children play. Little ones have big imaginations, conjuring up magical worlds within which they can learn about themselves and others.
A coalition of charities say children’s play needs to be taken more seriously and have released a Manifesto for Play, as recently discussed on Day Nurseries. The International Play Association England, Playwork Foundation and Play England want our political parties to make a greater commitment to children’s play in their election manifestos.
They stress how fundamental play is to the development of children’s cognitive, physical and social skills, as well as cultural awareness, creativity and character. It’s a timely response to the Good Childhood Report, recently released by the Children’s Society. Worryingly, the report shows that children have become more and more unhappy since 2009.
Nicola Butler, chair of Play England, emphasized the problem: “Children tell us that play makes them happy and is an important part of their daily lives. They want more and better opportunities to play.”
Since 2009, investment in play has plummeted from £235 million to zero in England. The coalition of charities are calling on political parties to make four pledges in their election manifestos:
- Create a children’s cabinet minister responsible for play
- Introduce legislation making it a statutory duty to plan for play
- Invest more heavily in play opportunities such as adventure playgrounds
- Invest in meaningful training and support for playworkers
Karen Benjamin, chair of the Playwork Foundation, highlighted the vital role playworkers take in children’s play, saying: “Playworkers support children’s play through a specific approach and understanding, based on strong evidence and research, of the importance of time and spaces for play.”
In an increasingly digital world, play is ever more important, allowing children to build resilience, shape their identities and practice decision-making in an organic way. Here at Little Willows, we always take play seriously.
- Our Bath and Corsham nurseries are designed to facilitate an easy flow between the indoor and outdoor space, encouraging children to explore and be creative in our beautiful gardens.
- Children can enjoy sand pits, climbing frames, story areas and much more.
- ‘Learn through play’ is at the heart of all we do. We empower children to play independently in a safe, happy environment, building their confidence.
- We take a child-led approach to learning, nurturing each child’s imagination and taking inspiration from their own unique interests and thoughts.
The magic of play is powerful. It helps children practice empathy and sharing, standing them in good stead for school and beyond.
Our practitioner-led work builds on this, teaching children invaluable skills such as patience and turn taking, preparing them for the next chapter. From cooking to arts and crafts, we offer plenty of fun activities which our practitioners plan around the Early Years Foundation Stage.
If you’d like to know more about how Little Willows can help your child grow, get in touch with our friendly team today.