The Neighbourhood Play Network is one of the projects promoted by the Australian Institute of Play, a non for profit organization based in Logan, whose purpose is to promote, enable and protect Australian children and their right to play.
The organisation aims to use play to build resilience and wellbeing for and with children across communities, and particularly those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged. Evidence demonstrates that play is many things to children, including an intervention tool for health, wellbeing and efficacy.
Their actions stand on 4 pillars which are:
- childhood voice: Nothing about them, without them. Ensuring children are empowered to help cater for their play needs. They support children to share their thoughts and opinions on matters important to them and then they commit to actioning changes which will allow children to have control over when, what and how they play.
- Play-based strategies: is one method of how they deliver for children on their expressed play needs. Creating playful opportunities not only for children, but also leading by example, creating opportunities for community members to collaborate and role model high quality child-led free play provision for the community.
- Play capacity building: Working together with individuals, groups and organisations to build competence, capability and sustainability for child-led free play within the community. This ensure long-term positive outcomes for children and the entire city of Logan.
- Playful research: Building the case for more child-led free play. Demonstrating the impacts for all, as well as growing awareness of the essentialness, value and power of play to transform communities, build community pride and create positive narratives for all involved. Indeed, the AIP has partnered with Griffith University, the University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology to undertake current action research. These projects are ongoing and will be publicly available once published.
Australian Institute of Play together with another association (Logan Together) held a summit in in 2021 where 89 adults took part in listening to the voices of children and drafting the 2022 to 2025 Logan Play Action Plan.
Eleven priority areas were identified to make Logan the most Playful city in the world. As a result of the Logan Play Action Plan listed below, a multitude of play efforts across Logan have been inspired and are unfolding for the Logan community.
- Follow current research
- Co-design with children
- Increase community connections
- Increase play education
- Create free play events
- More loose-parts play
- Increase access to playgrounds & play spaces
- Increase intergenerational play
- Create more neighbourhood play networks
- Create community playboxes
- Increase social media on play
It is exemplary the way in which this city gives importance to the voice of children which is a category whose rights has been recognized quite recently (Onu convention on the rights of the child, 20 November 1989). Children’ voice must be listened and recognized to build equal and inclusive cities. Resilience in this case means be able to keep attention and listen to all targets of a community; creativity and play could be great contexts where to develop resilience. Moreover, the work of this organization, focusing on play, implies an additional attention to public and common spaces, preserving them from privatization. It is a good reference that could be applied (in different forms) in other cities all over the world.
Recommended by Greg Mews
Main source: https://www.australianinstituteofplay.org