Play Strategy

– in the Scottish Parliament on 7th March 2018.

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Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the implementation of its national play strategy. (S5O-01854)

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Scotland’s national play strategy was developed in collaboration with the play sector. This year alone, we have invested more than £3 million in this area, which includes our continuing support for Play Scotland. Play Scotland continues to develop and to distribute excellent resources and training for practitioners, teachers and parents to support the play strategy. That includes the play types toolkit, which highlights the range of play that children experience and the vital contribution that play makes towards their learning and development.

Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

Given the minister’s response, I know that she will agree that Play Scotland has a central role to play in the continued implementation of the strategy. Will she agree to meet Play Scotland and me to discuss current play issues, such as how weather is used as an excuse not to go outside, the withholding of play due to negative behaviour and some schools banning running in the playground?

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Absolutely—I would be more than delighted to meet the member and Play Scotland to discuss those issues.

Last week, I think that we all enjoyed watching the children of Scotland building igloos all around the country. I am not sure that the weather should be an excuse for not going outside. Undoubtedly, there are safety issues, and a risk assessment and a good decision need to be made but, in general, weather should not prohibit playing outside or running.

Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

I absolutely agree that early access to play is essential for children’s physical and mental wellbeing and their development. I read through the national play strategy, which has some great visions and objectives with which I whole-heartedly agree. However, it is light on the delivery programme. How will the Government practically deliver the ambitions of the strategy?

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

As the member will know, the significant expansion of funded early learning and childcare gives us an opportunity to define the experience that we offer. Last week, I spoke in the chamber about my fantastic visit to the forest kindergarten. There is a growing body of research and evidence about the benefits of outdoor learning for children’s health and wellbeing and for their physical and mental development. We are determined that outside learning will be a key part of our offering.