In My View: Let the children play when we emerge from lockdown

The Covid – 19 global pandemic has spread to more than 216 countries with more than 2 million people who have died of the disease worldwide.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 3:48 pm

Measures aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, has included school closures, except for certain groupings and lessons being moved to home-based or online learning to encourage adherence to social distancing guidelines. The education of 77.6 per cent of children has been impacted globally due to coronavirus.

Here in Sheffield the transition away from physical classes has significantly adversely disrupted the lives of children and their families. The isolation of children has been particularly hard on the most vulnerable children and those residing in low-income families and it is posing a potential risk to the mental well-being of all of our children with the imposition of social distancing has limited social interactions.

In contrast to some quarters calling for children to have suspended their summer holidays and instead to attend catch-up lessons to make up for lost ground, experts in child development have been calling on Central Government to support “a summer of play” for children in England as means of helping them to recover from the stresses of lockdown and the other adverse impacts of our year long Covid battle. The experts have written to Gavin Williamson pleading for an increased focus upon play, for when our children and young people emerge from this lockdown.

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Patrick Meleady.

The value of play in Adventure Playgrounds to children’s learning, health and development should not be underestimated.

Adventure Playgrounds are integral to supporting children’s and young people’s health, fitness, cognitive, social, creative, moral and physical growth and development and they continue to be a road map to recovery and getting back to ‘normal’, in these Covidtimes.

Playing outdoors continues to be safer for children than being indoors and here in Yorkshire, we are blessed to have four of the UKs best places to play. Highfield, Pitsmoor, Big Swing and the Old Quarry Adventure Playgrounds. All are bastions of quality play and community cohesion over the years and in these days of Covid-19 it will continue to be so.

Users of Pitsmoor Adventure Playground were 'in the frame' when the snow fell last week. Picture by Patrick Meleady