On Tuesday 14th March, local MSP Ruth Maguire led a Holyrood debate celebrating and welcoming Scotland’s first Play Charter.

The Charter was written by Play Scotland, a group which works to promote the importance of play, and describes a collective commitment to play for all babies, children and young people in Scotland, in line with the right of children to play as set in out in Article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC).

Following the debate, Ruth hosted a reception event for MSPs and play practitioners from across Scotland, where attendees heard from Minister for Childcare and Early Years, Mark McDonald, about the Scottish Government’s commitment to, and plays for, Scotland’s Play Charter.

Opening the debate, Ruth highlighted the importance of the UN Covention on the Rights of the Child in underpinning children’s right to play, and welcomed the launching of Scotland’s first national play strategy by the Scottish Government in 2013, as well as the Play Charter.

Speaking, Ruth said:

‘Play is what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests in their own way and for their own reasons. Play is also frequently described as what children and young people do when they are not being told what to do by adults. Play is an essential part of every child’s life, and it is vital for the enjoyment of childhood as well as for children’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

The Play Charter describes our collective commitment to play for all children and young people, in line with article 31 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It builds on both the Scottish Government’s play strategy and the getting it right for every child approach to supporting children, young people and their families. It is hugely important in positively promoting play and providing a clear reference and rallying point for everyone with an interest in and responsibility for play.

I encourage all MSPs to become Play Champions and to encourage relevant individuals and organisations in their constituencies to pledge their support for the Play Charter, too.

Let us do all that we can to ensure that the children and young people in the communities that we serve can enjoy all the wonderful opportunities to play that we did. It is their right.’