The new centre, which will receive £300,000 Assembly Government funding over three years, will work with local authorities across Wales playing a key role in improving the quality of supervised play facilities for children and young people.
It will also work with partners on the development of high quality, accessible education and training for all those with an interest in the provision of children’s play services.
Now in its 20th year, Playday is the annual celebration of children’s play. Around 100,000 children across the country are expected to take part in a wide range of activities to promote the importance of play.
During her visits to play events in Caerphilly, Barry and Cardiff Bay, the Minister met with children as they took part in activities such as den building and traditional street games such as hopscotch, skipping, hoops and marbles.
The Assembly Government is leading the way in the UK in recognising the vital importance of play through our Play Policy and this new National centre reinforces this commitment.
This centre recognises the fundamental role of play in human development. Play is critically important to all children in the development of their physical, social, mental and creative skills and we should seek every opportunity to support it and create an environment which fosters it.
The role of the playworker has never been more crucial. I am confident that this centre will build on the partnership working already underway and increase the number of qualified and competent professionals that are needed to meet the growing recognition for the sector.
Mike Greenaway, Director of Play Wales said:
We're really excited about this new development for Playwork in Wales. Centres like this have been running regionally in England for a number of years providing a wide variety of playwork qualifications and learning programmes.
The National Centre for Playwork Education and Training Wales will work with employers to access and develop the right courses for their workforce. And it will work to support them to access funding streams to help delivery.
We think it will really change the way we deliver learning for playworkers here, which will ultimately change the quality of experience for children in playwork settings across Wales.
1 August 2007