Playing our part -  Tackling physical inactivity, increasing sedentary behaviour and rising childhood obesity through play.  

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Welcome to our first newsletter of 2016 for Go2Play. We have a lot of news for you from both Go2Play participants and from around the world. 
Content this month includes:
And Finally

   Healthy Valleys Embrace Active Play

Two communities in rural South Lanarkshire have embraced the active play programme over the winter - and doubled the numbers of kids taking part. 

Two communities in rural South Lanarkshire have embraced the active play programme over the winter - and doubled the numbers of kids taking part.
Go2play venture Healthy Valleys leads Active Play in both Rigside and the village of Smyllum.  Both are areas of high deprivation.

Recently numbers have almost doubled at the Smyllum sessions, increasing from an average of 10 to 19 per session. For an outdoor play over the winter months the team said this is a significant increase. 
Play leader Faye Frame says the winter was an opportunity for kids to develop their creative side. And they got stuck in. “At our last Smyllum Active Play session we played Christmas party games with a twist. The children really enjoyed racing around trying to dress up their team mates as snowmen and stealing Christmas presents from Santa’s sack!”

The team and local community have noticed how the sessions are making a big impact.  Faye remarked that “it has opened up so many opportunities for the children to get involved in big team games and interact with children they don’t already know. Both children and parents have expressed how much they value the Active Play sessions.”

“The children are using their imagination and are coming up with games which incorporate different fundamental movement skills. This is a fantastic achievement within the groups as they have previously struggled with these types of tasks in the past”.

The team at Healthy Valleys plans to working with specialised coaches in the coming months to introduce different sports and activities to the Active Play sessions. The aim is to provide opportunities for the children to progress further onto different sports and activities.

Contact Faye:

Active Play Research

Inspiring Scotland is working in partnership with the University of Strathclyde to measure the impact of investment in Go2Play and we are pleased to share the interim evaluation with you.

  • The research is testing the extent to which Go2Play projects increase the physical activity of children taking part, and how much children’s fundamental movement skills improve as a result of their participation.
  • The interim evaluation of research into Active Play suggests active play projects are making a positive impact in both increasing physical activity and improving movement skills.
  • Figures show that 399 children in Glasgow have taken part in active play at primary school, nursery and in the community with four organisations taking part in the research: Jeely Piece Club, Healthy Valleys, Enterprise Childcare and PASP.
  • Initial evidence shows that children started with low levels of physical activity. Measurement of levels of physical activity of a sample showed that children in schools are spending the majority of their school time in sedentary behaviour, with only 8% of time spent doing moderate to vigorous physical activity.
  • The research also reveals that the baseline levels of FMS among children are very low but active play is improving their skills and confidence in their physical abilities. Interim findings also shows all children have increased their levels of physical activity as a result of taking part in Active Play.
  •  Delivery organisations are collecting evidence that suggests children are becoming more active during Active Play sessions and playing for longer without the need for a break.
  •  Some children are already moving into other sports/activities. The number of children doing more physical activities or joining clubs or starting to use local facilities is a longer-term outcome but as of this month, research suggests progress is already clear with one organisation reporting 21 children have joined new clubs since starting Active Play.
  •  Play staff are more aware and understand the benefits of active play better, staff are more confident in supporting active play and more parents are encouraging their children to engage in active play.
The findings are encouraging and we hope that the final results will help raise awareness of the benefits of active play for improving the lives and life chances of children in Scotland.

Children will be retested at the end of the programme to measure any changes in FMS and changes in levels of physical activity.

Spotlight | Jeely Piece Club

The Jeely Piece Club has been delivering Active Play in Miller Primary School in Castlemilk. The school serves an area of Glasgow that sits in the poorest 15%. 

The Jeely Piece Club delivers 2x1hr sessions a week to a P3 class and 2x1hr a P2/P3 class.
The school has embraced Active Play and has a ‘champion’ who is developing a range of initiatives to integrate more physical activity across the school.
The school is introducing the Mini Play Ranger Programme to support play in the playground.
  • Mini Play rangers are children who are trained in leading games with other children in the playground. 
  • The school invited  children to ‘apply for the posts’ and interviewed children. This also supported literacy and confidence.
  • Children were given individual feedback on their applications/interviews.
  • The Jeely team then trained the mini play rangers in how to use the playground and include all children in play. 
The school has also engaged with a group of parents to set up a ‘play and stay’ session after the school.  The school has encouraged these parents to visit the Jeely Piece club to learn more about play and have a tour of the Jeely facilities.
It is hoped that some of these parents might use this experience as a pathway towards employment: there are opportunities to volunteer with the Jeely Piece Club where many volunteers can also secure sessional employment.
Miller Primary has also introduced a running club based on the Daily Mile project which was set up in a Stirling primary school. 
Miller “nurture group” children have also been taken into the Jeely Playzone (the Jeely Clubs indoor play facility in Castlemilk) to experience play on the interactive floor. Although all the children live in Castlemilk, none of the children had visited the Jeely club, so this has also introduced families to new services.

British Hearth Foundation | Early Years Manifesto

The British Heart Foundation has released an Early Years Manifesto that is focused on engaging politicians and policy makers to get increasing children’s levels of physical activity higher up the agenda.

The Best Start in Life sets out four key asks for policy makers to ensure every child has access to high quality physical activity opportunities from birth.
Inspiring Scotland shares BHF concerns that children are missing out on opportunities for health and development through physical activity.
We will be supporting this national campaign that will have significant profile. To support on social media use #activeplay and photos, videos, links to your Active Play work in Tweets.
You can tweet at @BHFactive and tell the BHF why early years physical activity is important to you using #BestStart in your tweet

Canada leads way with ambitious Play Strategy

The biggest risk to kids is keeping them indoors. This is the bold position put forward by a foundation in Canada this month in an ambitious outdoor play strategy.

The Lawson Foundation, a family foundation, announced £1.3 million for 14 projects to kick-start an outdoor play renaissance in Canada. The initiative has an explicit and exclusive focus on unstructured outdoor play and tackling risk aversion.

Lawson Foundation President & CEO Marcel Lauzière said, "Children's play is in decline. Kids actually need unstructured outdoor play – play that includes taking risks – because we know that this is important for their healthy development."
Find out more and access the strategy here

Changing school age should be on MSPs radar

Parents have started a grassroots campaign calling for a later school age and a four-year kindergarten stage for all Scottish children.

The Scotsman reports on the campaign and argues the case for an election debate around later start to school years after campaign calls for children to start school at age 7 not 5.
Upstart, the group who are behind the campaign, have pointed to Finland, Estonia and Switzerland, who have a play based kindergarten stage for three to seven year old children.  The countries are the top three successful western nations in the most recent OECD international review.

WHO publishes report on the war on childhood obesity 

The World Health Organisation has published a major report from the commission on ending childhood obesity.

One of the key recommendations is to ensure physical activity is incorporated into the daily routine and curriculum in formal childcare settings or institutions.
The Herald published a news story on WHO backing calls for a "sugar tax" on soft drinks in a major report on childhood obesity.
More on the final report

Dates for your Diary  

  • Inspiring Scotland’s Play Ranger and Risk and Play Roll out events – Melrose 24th Feb & Dumfries 23rd Feb
  • Happy & Healthy 2016 - Improving the Health & Wellbeing of Early Years & Primary School Aged Children - A One Day Conference - Thursday 21st April 2016, Glasgow (click here for further information)
  • Raising Attainment through Sport event in collaboration with Sportscotland and Scottish Rugby Union – 1 March at Murrayfield Stadium (click here for further information)

Our Ongoing Investment in Play 

Inspiring Scotland has worked in partnership with the Scottish Government over the past five years creating a track record in successfully supporting the development and expansion of free play in disadvantaged communities across Scotland.  

Through the Go2Play Fund we have invested in some of the most exciting and impactful play organisations in Scotland - helping develop the play sector and create greater play opportunities in Scotland’s communities. 

Over the last five years, we’ve learnt lots about the impact of play and really seen the sector flourish.  This year we’re looking to do even more and will focus our investment on Play Ranger activities, Family Support for Play and Active Play. 

We hope this e-newsletter is a helpful way of staying informed with our work.  If you are interested in any aspect, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we would be pleased to discuss our work with you.  

Julia Abel
Rachel Cowper

Riverside House, 502 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh  EH11 3AF
Connect:  Twitter   LinkedIn   Facebook
0131 442 8760

Copyright ©  2015 Inspiring Scotland All rights reserved.
Inspiring Scotland is a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in Scotland, No. SC342436, and a registered Scottish Charity, No. SC039605
A member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association

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