Play as a Universal Language of Children

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Not Just swings & roundabouts

Play is often referred to as the universal language of children as it is through play that children interact with each other and the world around them. This unique feature of play is particularly relevant during ‘2020 Social Inclusion Week’  which is due to take place from Monday 28th September 2020 – Sunday 4th October 2020. Play is how children participate in society at their own level and in their own way, therefore it is appropriate that play should be highlighted as part of Social Inclusion week as it is in keeping the event tag line “Belonging, Including, Participating”.

The closure of the city’s playgrounds brought some attention to the issue of access to outdoor play for children and young people. However, for much of the time during this pandemic the focus on their lives has been in terms of education, physical distance and reducing the risk of contracting the disease. Consequently, the increased use of the city’s parks has presented unexpected opportunities for play that are found in the wider expanse of local and regional parks and open spaces and playing at and near home. Exploring forests, making dens, daisy chains and climbing trees have become the order of the day in making the most of what that nature has to offer. As they continue to use the parks for play, children and young people have displayed their resourcefulness and competency as they continue to come up with new and novel ways of playing. This focus on ‘play’ has also highlighted the issue of play for children and young people who are not so fortunate as to have access to outdoor space and has also placed a closer lens on the negative impacts this places on their quality of life. Local and citywide amenities such as parks and green spaces have gone some way in addressing this issue.

The reopening of playgrounds has allowed the city council to move forward with works that have seen the completion of existing and new facilities. ‘LeFanu Play Park’ was completed shortly after phase 2 of Lockdown and opened for use on 24th June 2020. The new facility includes a state of the art skate park and a highly accessible and inclusive play area. Having only recently been opened Kilbarrack & Sean Moore & Albert College Playgrounds had experienced extensive use following the long awaited completion of these new and refurbished play facilities.

The development of these new and reimagined facilities is a clear indication of how high quality and sufficient opportunities for play is provided when the expertise of children and young people as key players in the design and planning of their play spaces is acknowledged.

‘2020 Social Inclusion Week’ presents the opportunity to celebrate play as a right for children and young people under UNCRC Article 31; the child’s right to play. This article sees children and young people as protected and respected members of society. So for this special week and in support of play as an ‘everyday experience’ there is still time to catch the good weather and continue to enjoy playing outside. The following list will provide an extensive choice of public play facilities throughout the city managed by DCC Parks & Landscape Services. These facilities support children and young people to enjoy good old-fashioned outdoor play.