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Practice in Relation to UNCRC

Play is a word used to focus on activities and behaviors that are creative and enjoyable to the child. The children are likely to describe these recreational activities with time in ways apart from ‘playing’. According to the United Nation Convention of the Rights of Children (UNCRC), the right of older children to their own recreational and cultural lives is considered to be as important as the younger children’s right to play. The convention under article one defines a child as a person below the age of eighteen years, unless described differently by a particular country’s constitution (Bird, 2007). The Convention under article 31 also articulates that children have the right to fun activities, and to come together in a vast range of cultural, artistic, play and rest. The charter implies removing any obstacles against the young ones who could have not had the chance to play and engage in fun activities with their peers as a result of origins, economic or social backgrounds or disability. Play is vital for children since they need to be able to express themselves through exploration and learn and understand their environments (Pretty et. al, 2007). The freedom to play is a vital part of the young ones’ lives and is very crucial to their healthy development.

Importance of Play

Play is a very important part of the development of any child as much as it is vital to their health and development; it helps them become resilient as they grow since they encounter instances for positive stress. Play can also be therapeutic in terms of dealing with pain from emotional constrains or even medical procedures such as injections. Through playing, children get the opportunity to have fun and be independent. It is a discovery ground for the children’s interests as it allows them to be innovative and put their imaginations to good use and in the process come up with their own ideas and on their own projects, thus achieving their potential (Hart, 2003).

Play encourages social relations. It gives children the ability to comprehend their environments, develop their sense of cohesion and learn about the people around them. It also aids the children in shaping their childhood experiences as they grow. It further enhances their emotional intelligence and growth since they are able to learn sympathy and understanding differences when in groups. Through play, independence and creativity are also encouraged and these are also vital for the healthy development of a child (Hart, 2003).

Play involves songs and through songs a child learns the norms and values of the society. Thus it does help in social inclusion of children into a society. During play emotions get high and learning to control the emotions promotes children’s development and emotional intelligence. In war ridden countries, play is encouraged to facilitate cohesion and faster emotional healing (IPA Declaration, 2014). It is through play in school that children grow social relations with friends and contribute to the building of the culture of their societies. With increasing global privatization and segregation, the mutual experience of safe utopic spaces, enables children to see themselves acting with equal rights and this promotes and strengthen societies (Hart, 2003).

Case Study of England

Children in England are always under watch than ever before. Fear among service providers in playing fields is usually high due to the consequence faced when a child is injured under their watch. As a result, play has lost its definition in terms of adventurous part of it. Some children thus seek out places which are more dangerous and exiting, and which are unmanaged (Moore and Cosco, 2005). The consequences are that children are not able to experience the freedom, fun, confidence and the development of independence that comes with free play.lose out on the enjoyment, freedom, confidence and developing independence that free play carries; caregivers and parents are worried on the quality of children they bring up; and communities lack the chance of seeing a beautiful environment with children enjoying themselves. As a remedy, the government of England published a 10-year national Play Strategy for the country in December 2008. The English government further put more funds into the local provision and made a commitment to support the UN Convention and specifically article 31 (Lester and Russell, 2008). However, despite these subsidies from the government most parents that would still want full time care would have to put in between 20% and 30% of their gross income on childcare (Fearn and Howard, 2012). To curb this, the government planned to involve the introduction of an Early Years Pupil Premium from April 2015, assigning £300 funding for every child that is disadvantaged to centers for such children to aid as additional support.

In England, the Play Strategy entails important government guidelines dedication so as to embrace children’s play. The strategy involves allocating funds to build playing centers for children, and working closely with play-workers and local governments in establishing of more utopic spaces and more 20mph speed limits in residential places (Cosco, 2005).

Case Study of South Africa

In South Africa, there have been efforts put forward in implementation the Convention of the Rights of the Children, CRC. These mainly include formulation of laws and policies which act as the guide to realizing article 31. Law reforms have concentrated on increasing the least age with which a child can leave school by recognizing the right of minors to be taught in their first language, admonition of the use of torturous retribution and safe guarding free primary education. South Africa’s Schools Act 84 (1997) warns against using physical beating, and the constitution gives the right to be educated in the child’s chosen language given that it is reasonably practical (Lester, 2008).

This was designed to promote cohesion and unity between the children thus the children were able to gain confidence to express themselves. One of the ways of expression is through songs which children sang during their playing time. The act further states that ten per cent of the national yearly income should be used in education. In addition to the act, there are acts such as the Guidance for Children with Special Educational Needs Act of 2000, which focuses on special needs children; the amendment in 2000 of the 1996 Vocational Education and Training Act was meant improve the population of children getting secondary education; and the Music Schools Act (2000), provided musically talented children with a chance to express themselves (Moore, 2005).

Case Study of Kenya

However, it is not always the case in terms of implementing the laws. In Kenya, there is still a harmful cultural practice in childcare; Infants aged twenty months spend most of their days in the cradle ranging to about twenty hours per day. This practice can significantly affect development and lead to handicapped children. Thus the right to play for the children is inhibited by some cultural practices. This shows the different challenges facing the implementation of the law. Traditionally, Female Genital Mutilation is practiced amongst communities and ethnic groups in Kenya. Some communities perceive the procedure to be of great value and almost all young girls it. After the mutilation, young girls are usually married of as wives to older men. This inhibits their right to play as their childhood is cut short (Lester and Russell, 2010).


The lack of play affects all children wherever they live. Insensitivity to children’s needs in the design, preparation and organization of what are considered to be more desirable environments can also result in play deficits. Dangers inherent in and erosion of many utopic spaces legally available to children to play in brings about the need for better intervention from the government in order to protect their rights under article 31. An acknowledged principle is that article 31 should be upheld through supporting the conditions in which play can take place (Lester and Russell, 2010).

While the right to play is not only about designated play spaces, these are vital areas of the mosaic of children’s world. These spaces should be understood as having both symbolic and practical value in that, symbolic, they point the right and need of children for space to have fun, and practical from the utility of the play environment (Keniger et. al, 2013). However, an issues arises when apart from enabling play, these spaces are taken to be the spaces in which play can take place, allowing play to be designed out of the general environment thus excluding children from public space. Stake holders are encouraged by the United Nations Committee to consider the inference for the rights of children under article 31 when coming up with policies that relate to housing, social protection, access to public spaces for children and employment (Gill, 2014).

In conclusion, Play is a critical part of human life and a child’s ability to exercise the right to play should not be variable with the environmental conditions where that child lives. It can be compromised by extreme and toxic pressures brought about through the failures of adults. The results are negative impacts on the children’s health, development and well-being. There should be comfortable and ample facilities and spaces for young ones to freely play at no cost in their environments. This can be done by coming up with secure and safe parks, streets and open spaces which are free and are easily accessible with trained staff to make sure that those that have contact with the children understand the value and significance of play.


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