Play is an essential part of childhood and is critical to child development, supporting the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children. Play is especially important during the early years (0-8 years of age), because this is the period in life when the brain develops most rapidly and has a high capacity for change – laying the foundation for health and well-being throughout life.
Indeed, play is so important to a child’s development that it is enshrined in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child:
“Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts”
Yet for many children, their right to play and to reap the developmental advantages associated with play is challenged. Factors such as poverty, war, displacement, child labour, abuse and exploitation can severely limit a child’s opportunity for play – further exacerbating the disadvantage they experience and impacting their long-term potential. Indeed, the World Health Organisation estimates that 250 million, or 43%, of children in low and middle income countries are unable to realise their full developmental potential. This is a reality we simply refuse to accept.
Through our early childhood development (ECD) programmes and bespoke playground solutions, we support some of the most vulnerable communities in the world to adopt play based practices, to enhance the lives of their children.