Play boosts children's development

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New research by the Children's Play Policy Forum has found that play improved children's physical and mental health, as well as their emotional well-being, reports the BBC.

The report looked at a a range of research around the importance of play in supporting children develop essential skills and knowledge . It found that parents regarded playgrounds with family well-being and happiness, and that families and communities benefited from play initiatives and building community spirit.

In addiiton, play and youth facilities in public spaces has led to reductions in levels of anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

Naturally, school playgrounds were said to be one of the best ways of increasing children's levels of physical activity. Futhermore, links were found between physical activity and improvements in social skills, social relations between different ethnic groups, and adjustment to school life.

Report Conclusions:

  • Play initiatives lead to improvements in children’s physical and mental health and well-being, and are linked to a range of other cognitive and social developmental benefits. While evidence of beneficial outcomes is strongest for play in schools, it is reasonable to expect that they will also be seen in other contexts where children have comparable play experiences.
  • Families and communities also benefit from play initiatives – and want action to improve them. Play initiatives generate high levels of volunteering and community action. This finding is echoed by the consistently strong support for play provision stated in opinion polls over the years.
  • Play initiatives are associated with inter-related benefits across a range of health and developmental domains. These benefits need to be thought of as a whole rather than in a piecemeal fashion.
  • The improvement in opportunities for play is a valid outcome in its own right. There is enough empirical evidence for policy makers to be confident that initiatives that lead to improved play opportunities will also reliably lead to the wider benefits discussed in this report.
School Leadership Today
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