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Foreword

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 March 2022

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Summary

This book needed to be written.

As well as providing a road map for all who want England to again move forward in improving everyday play opportunities for children, it will also become a key resource for play advocates and policymakers everywhere, offering a template for effective, long-term government action in this neglected but crucial area of public life.

Like all countries in the industrialised world, England has been suffering in recent decades from a great erosion of children’s mobility, and a diminution of their freedom to play. While there are many overlapping forces that have led to this state of affairs, there is much that can be done to ameliorate or even reverse the trend.

What follows is a remarkable account of the campaign to develop a national policy and commitment in England to do just that. By offering a detailed chronological account of these efforts, during the recent decades of significant social, economic and political change in the UK, it offers a unique window into the complex set of forces that influence whether children’s play is taken for granted, directed and interrupted, or allowed to flourish. The book bases its forceful arguments for play policy on a thoroughly convincing explanation of children’s right to play, and its crucial importance for both their ‘here-and-now’ lives as children and for their longerterm development and well-being.

Much of the book’s wonderful evocation of why play is central to being a child comes from the field of playwork – the uniquely British profession that understands children’s daily lives out of school – their play, their culture and the spaces that best afford it – better than any other. The author, a playworker himself, gives full voice to the central role of this young profession as a guiding force for change, not only in the play lives of the children who access its services, but also within the spheres of public life where debates are enjoined and policy made. He is clear that a key part of playwork is advocacy: for play, and for policy for play.

Type
Chapter
Information
Policy for Play
Responding to Children's Forgotten Right
, pp. xv - xviii
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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