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Community Play Award 2016

Congratulations to Smithton Primary School, who have won our Community Play Award 2016

Winners of The Highland Council / Play Highland Community Play Award were commended and congratulated today by Members of the Council’s Education, Children and Adult Services Committee.

Smithton Primary School’s Mrs McCormack, Mrs Aitken and pupils Fiona Roehling and Jake Richardson were presented a certificate by Cllr Drew Millar, Chair of the Education, Children and Adult Services Committee.

He said: “As we approve the Highland Play Strategy for 2016 – 2020, I am delighted to present Smithton Primary School with this Highland Community Play award for their Outdoor Explorers after school club and Green Leaf Garden.

“Play and especially outdoor play is vital to the learning and development of children and Smithton Primary has shown that with very little they can achieve a lot. With the prize money that they receive I am certain that they will further expand the play horizons of their pupils.”

Janice McCormack, Pupil Support Assistant said: “It’s amazing what a couple of spades and a muddy corner of the playground can provide as a play opportunity for children. Over time we developed different play zones at the school including a ‘mud kitchen’ and a den building area. Loose materials such as sand and pipes also provided huge fun for the children.

“But this is more than just fun – we have enmeshed play into the learning curriculum. The pupils have been reading catalogues, writing letters, and using their arithmetic skills as part of the competition process – all because of play.”


Driving Change Through Play Seminar

Play Scotland & Inspiring Scotland held a free seminar in Inverness on the 1st December 2015, one of 6 similar events held throughout Scotland. The event was chaired by Cath King, Health Improvement Policy Manager and Chair of FHC4 Play Improvement Group/Play Highland.

The main objectives of the day included considering the National Play Strategy and what has been achieved so far; how play contributes to achieving local and national outcomes & priorities; the opportunities presented by play as a new Key Change area for the Early Years Collaborative; new tools available that will support and enhance provision, or encourage development of new services.

Read the full report on the Care and Learning Alliance Blog.

Community Play Award 2014/15

Afters@TRACC, one of Care and Learning Alliance's managed out of school clubs, has won an award for the development of very low cost play opportunities that promote free play. The vehicle for this play is drainpipes! The children’s imagination determines how the pipes will be used and this has involved water, marbles, toy cars and den making. They have even stood in as skis!

The award, offered by The Highland Council, in association with Play Highland was presented at the Easter Ross District Partnership on the 4th of September. Read the full story on our 'News from around the region' page.


Forestry Commission Scotland Community Fund

The Forestry Commission Scotland Community Fund aims to directly support the delivery of the Scottish Forestry Strategy outcomes and objectives, including:

• improving health and wellbeing of people and their communities
• assisting community participation
• enhancing opportunities for health and enjoyment
• contributing to growth in learning and skill

Eligible applicants for this fund include community groups, voluntary groups, development trusts, social enterprises, charities, local authorities etc., with objectives supporting the above outcome and objectives. The Community Fund is not available to private individuals.

Eligible activities for the fund include schemes that promote physical activity, eg. walking schemes, safe routes to school, natural play and adventure play.

Funding is only available for activities delivered before the 29th February 2016.

For more information about this funding opportunity, download the Forestry Commission Scotland Community Fund Guidance PDF.

New body - Scotland's Play Council

Scotland’s Play Council is an exciting new body which will help build the capacity and voice of the Play Sector in Scotland. It will build on the successes of the former Scottish Play Policy Forum, the National Play Forum Network and the Inspiring Scotland Play Leadership Forum.

This initiative is supported by Scotland’s first national Play Strategy and Action Plan and is aimed at leaders who value, support and promote Play across the children and young people’s sector.

Scotland’s Play Council will be administered by Play Scotland, and supported initially by a core group including Inspiring Scotland and the inaugural Chair, Margaret Westwood, a well renowned Play Champion in Scotland and internationally. Play Scotland hope to attract members from across Scotland, and intend to meet three times per year in central venues.

There will be a wide range of website services and social media coordinated by Play Scotland, to support and promote the activities of the Play Council.

Highland Play Strategy

'Play Matters 2012 - 2015 For Highland's Children Play Strategy' was adopted by the Joint Committee for Children & Young People in March 2012.

The desired outcomes are:

Involvement - Children and other stakeholders are meaningfully involved in the decision making and planning around play.

Communication - Highland is actively promoted as a play friendly place, where adults give value to and understand the benefit to children of freely chosen challenging play.

Access - Residential areas across Highland are play-friendly, providing access to a variety of play experiences, including natural and informal spaces, to involve and include the diversity of children and young people represented in the community.

Child Centred Play - Children are supported to access opportunities for freely chosen play (reflecting their own views and aspirations), which may be challenging and or creative.

Play matters because it is fundamental to our children's wellbeing and development. It contributes to the outcomes of Getting it Right for Every Child and For Highland's Children, that children are Safe, Healthy, Achieving, Nurtured, Active, Respected, Responsible and Included. It contributes to the development of the Curriculum for Excellence capacities that children should develop in to Successful Learners, Confident Individuals, Effective Contributors and Responsible Citizens. Therefore, Play Matters to our communities and our schools.

Play Strategy for Scotland

This Strategy is built on the views of children and young people, parents and carers, the play sector and others involved in their wellbeing. Together with the action plan it seeks to improve the play experiences of all children and young people, including those with disabilities or from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Download the Play Strategy for Scotland.

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