What is Play-friendly Schools

In a play-friendly school, play is recognised, valued and supported in all its forms and across all of school life. This includes providing dedicated times and spaces for playing, and, where appropriate, making use of playful pedagogies as well as valuing and working with playful moments that may erupt in the course of everyday school life.


Playing is children’s default setting. General Comment 17 states that play “takes place whenever and wherever opportunities arise”.  This makes things much easier for schools wishing to support children’s self-organised play. Rather than providing or leading specific activities, it means schools need to pay attention to the conditions in which play can emerge. These conditions require sufficient time and adequate space, as well as a whole school culture that supports playing. Paying attention to the conditions that support playing also requires consideration of the structures and processes that help the school move towards the ultimate outcome of being a play-friendly school where children can and do play. The five Quality Criteria address these elements and support schools to become play-friendly.

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