Play is key to child’s potential - expert

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PLAY is key to developing a child’s potential, a leading Sheffield expert will tell the Government.

Dr Pat Broadhead - the city’s early years children’s champion - is to speak at a conference in Sheffield next month.

She will tell childcare professionals and parents that youngsters should be given more time and freedom to express themselves through play.

Dr Broadhead has conducted substantial research into the subject and says allowing children to have good quality play experiences can enhance behaviour, concentration and motivation.

She said: “Research has shown that when children have access to quality play in school settings, they play in ways that are far more complex and challenging any adult would think of.

“Play is a central part of intellectual, social, emotional and mental wellbeing.

“The Government has a continuing responsibility to promote children’s play experiences both in educational and community settings, it has also signed up to the UN Charter on the Rights of the Child which pledges to protect play – we need to see that pledge honoured with action.”

Dr Broadhead is Professor Emerita of playful learning at Leeds Metropolitan University, and will speak at the Supporting Families in the New Economy conference, organised by Sheffield Information Link, on October 9, at the Sheffield United ground.