Category Archives: Play Scotland

One Little, Two Little, Three Canadians, We Love Thee – Who is Singing Canada’s Play People Chorus?

I pinched this ‘Four asks’ infographic from a Rethinking Childhood blog post published today by Tim Gill – it’s well worth a read. It’s brilliant that the Children’s Play Policy Forum has created a big tent for play where policy makers, researchers and practitioners from across the UK can get together to advocate and take action.

Four asks for playFour asks – for play, for health, for children, for everyone. Click to enlarge.

In the UK, non-governmental organizations – Play Scotland, Fields in Trust and London Play et al – that focus their work almost exclusively on children’s play have over the years become strong voices influencing national and local government policies. This is an important strategic difference when looking at the Canadian experience. Where is our Play Canada, Joue Québec, or Toronto Play?

It’s not that there is a lack of dedicated and fun loving Canadians who recognize and promote play. They range from educators, health care professionals, designers and landscape architects to journalists, municipal recreation leaders, parents, physical activity enthusiasts, public servants developing policy and programs and all the others who are part of the play continuum. But where are the unifying Canadian voices that focus exclusively on play and its benefits? It’s very possible that I’ve missed them and if so, I would like to get acquainted with any such groups.

Spirit of CanadaSpirit of Canada by Kyle Jackson

We Canadians wouldn’t be remiss in getting better acquainted with the best practices of other jurisdictions including the UK to see what could fly here. Never mind that, we could start sharing our own best practices related to play more broadly. In addition, a clearing house of information on children’s play research and initiatives from our various orders of government and non-governmental agencies would be a step in the right direction.

In 2017, the play world is coming to Canada’s doorstep as the City of Calgary, the International Play Association (IPA) Canada and the Alberta Parks and Recreation Association are hosting the International Play Association Conference. It will be a great opportunity for Canada to share its playbook and for Canadians to take stock of strategies that are advancing play in other parts of the world.

ConferenceInternational Play Association (IPA) Conference, City of Calgary – 2017

I just signed up with the IPA last April after meeting with the association’s President Theresa Casey. She was kind enough to take time out of her day and have a coffee with me looking out over Edinburgh’s Princes St. Gardens where on that day daffodils bobbed riotously in the wind and kids rolled down the grassy incline. What great work this IPA crowd is doing – more on them in a future installment of PlayGroundology……

DSC06497Princes St. Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

Do read Tim Gill’s post – Politicians told: invest in play, and children, families and communities will all see the benefits – then ask yourself, what can we do in Canada? What can be done in other countries?

Play Is Play For A’ That

Robert Burns Day is a fine time to share a flickr photo gallery of Scottish playgrounds. Though playgrounds per se were not part of Burns’ 18th century cultural landscape, I have a feeling that in today’s context Scotland’s Bard would be a vocal and formidable supporter of children’s right to play.

4525711335_43b32dd33e_bMake-shift Climbing Frame, Kingussie, Scotland. Photo credit – Dunnock D. License – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

Burns personified the independent mind which is also a characteristic of parents, teachers, advocates, designers, artists, playworkers, landscape architects, planners and community organizers involved in making possible creative play for kids. Free play and independent minds, I’m sure there is a correlation…

Raise a dram for Rabbie tonight and rest assured he’d be speaking out for the bairns if he were with us today. In his absence, we have the fine folks at Play Scotland to carry the torch and fight the good fight – kids everywhere have a right to play.

Here’s leaving you with a wee bit o’ Burns.

To a Mouse

Small, sleek, cowering, timorous beast,
Oh, what panic is in your breast!
You need not start away so hasty
With a hurrying scamper!
I would be loath to run and chase you,
With a murderous spade!

I’m truly sorry that Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
And justifies that ill opinion
Which makes you startled
At me, your poor, earth-born companion
And fellow mortal!

I doubt not that you may steal;
So what? Poor beast, you must live!
An odd ear from twenty four sheaves of corn
is a small request:
I’ll get a blessing with the rest,
And never miss it!

Your tiny housie, too, is in ruin!
Its feeble walls the winds are strewing!
And nothing now, from which to build a new one
Of foliage green!
And bleak December’s winds ensuing
Both bitter and keen!

You saw the fields laid bare and wasted
And weary Winter coming fast,
And cosy here, beneath the blast,
You thought to dwell,
Until crash! the cruel plow passed
Right through your cell.

That tiny heap of leaves and stubble (grain stalks)
Has cost you many a weary nibble!
Now you are turned out for your trouble
Without house or home (belongings),
To endure the Winter’s sleety dribble,
and frosty cold.

But Mousie, you are not alone
In proving that foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes (plans) of mice and men
Go oft astray (oft go awry)
And leave us nothing but grief and pain
Instead of promised joy!

Still, you are blessed, compared with me!
Only this moment touches you:
But oh! I backward cast my eye
On prospects turned to sadness!
And though forward I cannot see,
I guess and fear!

ScreenShot Mondays – The UK’s Birds of Play

A couple of Mondays per month, PlayGroundology screenshots a cyberspot that focuses on playgrounds, or play. I hope readers dive in and explore. Even if you’ve seen the selection before, take a moment and check to see what content has been added recently.

Think of this as a very slow stumble upon, an invitation to relish something new or to revisit an old friend. Some of the people and places may be household names in the world of play and playgrounds, others not so much. I hope all will pique your interest in what they have to offer and further your own possibilities for playfulness.

Play England

This week’s edition of ScreenShot Mondays features four, count them, 4 brilliant UK play organizations. Together with communities and constituents they do so much in the name of play. They are involved in research, policy development, promotion and advocacy. They’re the best friends play could ever have.

Be sure to check each group’s resource section. There are some great treasures to discover.

Playboard Northern Ireland

From my vantage point across the pond, I see these UK organizations as birds of a feather, birds of play so to speak. With the magic of social, we’ve got them flocking together right here at PlayGroundology.

Play Wales

Each of them has got amazing work on the go. This past summer, Play Wales hosted the International Play Association conference. Check their site for insights from play leaders.

Play Scotland

None of these organizations do it alone. They play well with others, they collaborate, they share and they engage with other organizations, individuals, the larger civil society and of course with kids….

We’re fortunate to have groups like these managed by dedicated staff and volunteers.

Thanks

Play England
Playboard Northern Ireland
Play Wales
Play Scotland