Summer Play Programme

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As part of Dublin City Council’s summer programme of activities, Play Development supports the delivery of 3 play programmes - Fun Inc, Muck & Magic and Runamuck - during July and August each year.

Fun Inc

‘Fun Inc’ is aimed at supporting local Summer Projects that run in many of Dublin City Council’s housing and flat complexes.  It is a free 2-hour session of fun and games for children and young people between the ages of 4-12 years, in groups of up to 30 children.  This programme aims to encourage children to develop the skills required to direct their own play and to participate in outdoor ‘street games’

Its focus is on facilitating simple traditional games that children and young people love such as rounders, dodge ball, skipping and chasing games.  Each year the success of this programme is evident where children are active and visible in their own communities through playing in local streets, neighbourhoods, parks and open spaces long after the ‘’Fun Inc’ programme has ended.

Runamuck / Muck & Magic

Building on the success of the pilot programme in 2014, the 2015 ‘Runamuck’ programme ran for the 2nd year during July and August of this year. This initiative was developed through the DCC Play Development section.  The key objective of this type of programme is to promote outdoor play whilst facilitating children and young people’s access to play opportunities in an outdoor natural environment.  This is achieved by encouraging children, young people, parents/guardians and the wider community to utilise the outdoor environment for play.  The 2015 programme included actions based on the recommendations made in the 2014 ‘Runamuck’ Programme evaluation report.  The evaluation report focused mainly on increasing the variety of outdoor environmental play opportunities in addition to gardening activities for children and young people. This was achieved by demonstrating the many play opportunities that are afforded in a natural outdoor environment.  Taking all of the recommendations from the evaluation report on board has resulted in maintaining the key concepts of the programme and further enhancing its ‘playful’ elements.

The key objective of the ‘Runamuck’ Programme is to influence key stakeholders i.e. statutory agencies, environmental groups, educators, parents etc. to support outdoor free play activities for children and young people.  In order to achieve this, activities and information that inspire and encourage further ideas and practice in environmental play are provided.  Developing attitudinal changes assists in overcoming fears and apprehension towards environmental play.  Three key actions are identified and included which have been instrumental in refocusing the programme emphasis to playing in and with the natural environment:

  1. Identification of a key location that is rich in natural landscapes to carry out the programme, namely St. Anne’s Park.
  2. Invitation and inclusion of local summer projects citywide to avail of this resource as part of their summer activities programme; up to 50 children from various DCC housing and flat complexes were invited to attend a one-day play event in St Anne’s Park during the month of July.
  3. Inclusion of local children from the surrounding area of the St. Anne’s Park to attend the programme one day per week in July and one full week in August (excluding Bank Holiday).

This type of initiative has proved to be an excellent example of local authority liaison, incorporation of resources and information to support environmental play and in turn achieve the maximum outcomes for children and young people in their local areas.  The increased play opportunities provided through the further development of this programme assists the children and young people who participate in experiencing nature on a regular basis in a playful, creative and natural way that is both accessible and inclusive.

Developing the programme in this way has provided clarity with regard to the purpose and content of the programme; the key purpose and focus of the ‘Runamuck’ Programme is to promote and provide ‘free play’ activities in natural surroundings. To this end the ‘Runamuck’ Programme includes but does not prioritise gardening activities as a medium to promote outdoor environmental play.

 

This year’s programme proved to be a great success as over 1,200 children and young people from all over Dublin city participated in the activities provided during a five-week programme at St. Anne’s Park Raheny. Both adults and children enjoyed the benefits of playing outdoors. As one ‘mature’ youth leader commented “This has been such an enjoyable activity for the leaders, children and young people alike, I have been transported back to when I was 10 years old and it was just great!”

We can now look forward to the 2016 ‘Runamuck’ programme which promises to be another exciting and challenging adventure that promotes and supports outdoor play!

NOTE: CHILD SAFETY

All of the staff working on the ‘Runamuck’ programme are employed through Dublin City Council Summer Student Placement Scheme and DCC Play Development Section.  All Staff are trained and experienced in working with children and young people and have undergone and confirmed clearance to work with children and young people through the Garda Vetting procedure with An Garda Síochána.

If you have any questions please contact Debbie @ 012225396 / 0868150997 or email debbie.clarke@dublincity.ie

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