February 17, 2010

Play around the world

Check out this inspiring article from India, where the Sports Ministry is pushing to pass a law mandating all new residential developments "reserve" space for playgrounds. They're making a concerted effort to address the lack of urban playspaces, such that "…all urban residential construction be directed to ensure that a minimum percentage of area is reserved for playground and is maintained and protected". This is an example of significant top-down leadership that articulates what “healthy development” means, and makes a clear connection to the importance of play. It’s another example of how other countries are placing a priority on play.

The English nonprofit Play England has been incredibly successful in bringing play to children in the form of Adventure Playgrounds. Funded in significant amounts by the national lottery, the organization has been setting minimum standards for quality and staffing, as well as sponsoring a movement for Playdays.

With all this emphasis on the importance of play elsewhere in the world, where is the movement and momentum for play here in the United States? Where is the discussion of play deficits or the need for play in every healthy community?

What are the actions we can take both in our communities and nationally to ensure that play becomes a priority – that the younger generations will always have a place to play?

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