Are you committed to play? Play Charter for Scotland

Date: 20th February 2017
Category: Recreation, play and cultural activities

Play Scotland is promoting Scotland's first inclusive Play Charter. This describes a collective commitment to play for all babies, children and young people in Scotland.

The Play Charter builds on the Scottish Government's Play Strategy for Scotland and the Getting It Right for Every Child (GIRFEC) approach to supporting children, young people and their families.

The Play Charter is for all those with an interest in and responsibility for play. This includes service providers, professionals, elected members and community representatives as well as children and young people and their families.

The Play Charter shows a commitment to the following statements:

Every child has the right to play

We support children's right to play in line with Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). We recognise that all children have the right to participate in play activities and experiences.

The right to play applies whatever children's age, disability, gender, ethnicity, circumstances or where they live. We take into account the duties of the UK Equality Act 2010 and international commitments such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Our vision for play in Scotland

We value play as a life-enhancing daily experience for all our children in their homes, nurseries and early childcare settings, schools, services and communities.

We work in partnership with other organisations and sectors to create positive play opportunities for children in line with the vision of the Play Strategy for Scotland.

Play from birth to adulthood

We support children to have fun, creative, fulfilling and development-rich play experiences throughout their childhoods. Children and young people have access to play opportunities from the moment they are born until they become adults. This applies to all children including children with disabilities, who have the right to play, learning and friendships like other children.

Play essential to a happy childhood

We recognise that playing is an essential part of a happy childhood as well as being vital to children's wellbeing as individuals and members of society. We support the provision of children's play across local services and its contribution to the Scottish Government's strategies, GIRFEC and the Curriculum for Excellence.

The diversity of children's lives is valued and celebrated and we promote children's contribution as young citizens.

Play supports wellbeing and resilience

We acknowledge the contribution of high quality play opportunities to improving children's wellbeing and in lessening the impact of factors that lead to poor outcomes. We ensure that play is always supported in communities that face challenges due to poverty, the educational attainment gap and other circumstances. All children have access to a range of play experiences, including indoor and outdoor play and arts and cultural activities.

Inclusive play means no one is left out

We promote the benefits of inclusion for all children and young people. Play is available to children regardless of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, poverty, low income and other circumstances.

We challenge barriers so that all children are included whatever their need or disability, wherever they live and however they communicate. We are emphatic that discrimination and stigma in children's play experiences are not acceptable.

Children play where they live

Children can play in and around their homes, in a variety of ways, where they feel safe, whether accompanied by adults or not. We ensure that children and young people who stay or live in hospitals, residential schools and care settings have access to high quality play opportunities

Children are able to make choices about the play they participate in and who they play with, just like other children. These experiences are supported by staff trained in play and reflect the play opportunities of all children.

Play outdoors

We maximise the use of local play environments so that children can play near to where they live, free from traffic dangers and making use of school and community facilities. There are challenging, welcoming and interesting spaces for children to play outdoors in every community. We recognise the importance of children and young people having daily contact with nature. We make sure that children with disabilities are able to play where other children go and to participate in the same activities. We work with our colleagues in other services to make sure inclusive play happens.

Supporting children's participation

We recognise children as play experts and seek out their views on play. Children participate in planning, developing and evaluating play services in meaningful and consistent ways. We are proactive in finding the best ways to communicate with all children. We take into account the diversity of children's communication, recognising that children can express their views using some or no speech or using English as an additional language.

Play Champions

We champion play as professionals, elected members and community representatives and commit to strategies and policies that support play. Local Play Champions are established to ensure that play is always prioritised in planning, strategies and services. The Play Champions take a lead in highlighting the importance of play and seek out opportunities for dialogue with children and young
people, their families and communities.

Trained and experienced adults support play

We ensure adults are trained to support high quality play experiences in nurseries and childcare, schools, children's services, adventure playgrounds, play centres, holiday schemes, out of school clubs and play ranger schemes. Training is enhanced by regular professional development opportunities available to those who have a role in supporting play. Everyone who works with children has training on inclusion to ensure that all children, including children with disabilities, can fully participate in play. Adults are aware of and can articulate the benefits as well as the risks of adventurous and challenging play.

Share and learn more about play

We are enthusiastic about sharing our play practice and learning with others. We seek out and share examples of where inclusion is working. We ensure that there is time and opportunity to explore and learn about play across professional groups, sectors and interests.

Pledge your support

Should you wish to pledge your support to this Charter please send your name, job title, organisation, web address and your logo to