CAPS (Children's Access to Play in Schools)

Play is in the core of a child’s life. Play researchers suggest that play is children’s default setting, their way of engaging with the world. It can contribute to the development of resilient capacities such as emotion regulation, stress response systems, attachment and an openness to learning. In addition, play’s great contribution to life is its vitality and the pleasure it brings. This is more than a luxury, it gives us all a greater satisfaction in being alive. Children who can find time and space to play are more likely to be happier, more settled and more engaged in other aspects of school life. Although playing can emerge whenever conditions allow, restrictions on children’s ability to move around their neighbourhoods without adult supervision, over-programming of children’s lives, and the heavy focus on academic achievement all contribute to a reduction in ‘free time’ for children to just play.

Therefore, the six partners of the CAPS project are working to support schools to become more play-friendly. Drawing on the experience of the UK-based OPAL programme (Outdoor Play and Learning), a mentor supported school improvement programme, it has developed National Adaptation Plans for five of the partner countries, a Quality Criteria to assist schools to work towards a Play-Friendly School label, and a training course for staff.

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The Partners

University of Gloucestershire (United Kingdom)

Gesellschaft für Sozialforschung und Bildung (Austria)

Palacký University Olomouc, Faculty of Physical Culture (Czech Republic)

Rogers Foundation (Hungary)

Gedania 1922 Association (Poland)

TANDEM n.o. (Slovakia)