The right to play
All children have a biological need and legal right to play. This need and right is recognized in Article 31 of the United Nations Declaration on Children’s Rights. International consensus, supported by the International Play Association and echoed in the national policies of the four UK countries, understands play to be a freely chosen, personally directed behavior which is intrinsically motivated and undertaken for no external goal or reward.
Play is a process with great value in its own right. Providing environments and opportunities which support play give children a better chance of having a more fulfilled, joyful and satisfying experience of day-to-day life. Play is the evolved mechanism for learning, through which children establish, explore and test the relationship between self and other, and between mind, body and the physical world. It is fundamental to children’s development, and to their sense of their place in the world and wider community.
The UN convention on Children’s Rights is now incorporated into Scottish Law, and the Scottish Government recognizes that play is “fundamental to children’s quality of life.” Our child-lead, open-access approach is in line with the best practice outlined in Play Strategy for Scotland (2013) and in the Scottish Government’s Getting It Right For Every Child Framework (2008).