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Poet and psychologists fight the erosion of school playtime

10 January 2020

The poet Michael Rosen has joined forces with the BPS to make the case for stopping the erosion of school playtime.


In ‘Right to play’, a new video produced by the BPS, Michael Rosen says:

“Play is not an extra. It isn’t an add on.

Play is a fundamental human right.”

Last year the DECP published a position paper on the importance of play to children. It said child-led play is critical to their development and wellbeing and that schools should never take away play time from them as a punishment.

Now the video sees children making the case for play themselves with narration from Michael Rosen.

Dr Dan O’Hare, chair elect of the BPS Division Educational and Child Psychology, says:

“Our paper on the importance of play in schools last year attracted a lot of attention because the pressure on play is a growing problem.

Children’s break time has been reduced by 45 minutes a week in recent years, and one of the results is that eight out of ten children now do less than one hour of physical activity per day.

We are grateful to Michael Rosen and the children in the video for helping us make the case that play is vital for schoolchildren. Because play isn’t just a means to an end: it’s fundamental to children’s development and wellbeing.”

The video features primary school children from Luton and London talking about why play is important to them, intercut with insights from psychology research.

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