Learning to play, playing to learn

Well done, TESS, for highlighting the importance of play to all aspects of children's development ("It's all fun and games in Glasgow sport scheme", 20 September).

Physical play, both structured and unstructured, provides opportunities for fun, enjoyment, exploration and creativity as well as helping children to practise and refine their movement skills, and to develop their social skills through sharing, taking turns and playing cooperatively.

All this and more is developed in the Active Play project from charity Possibilities for East End Kids. Furthermore, by allowing young people the chance of freedom and self-expression in a safe and supervised environment, it accommodates the different ways and differing rates at which these skills develop.

What is novel about the project is the pathway it creates between play and more structured activities, and even more innovative is that this goes both ways. Some children will prefer play to sports-specific activities; what is important is that they are motivated to take part in physical exercise.

I hope the project evaluation will lead to the programme being rolled out more widely.

Chris Wood, Former classroom teacher, physical education (retired).

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