Sport NZ to pro­tect kids’ play

North Shore Times - - HOME & GARDEN - FELIC­ITY REID

Kiwi kids are not play­ing like they used to, and their par­ents are partly to blame, ac­cord­ing to Sport New Zea­land.

Sport NZ play con­sul­tant Scott Macken­zie said child­hood play is un­der threat, but his or­gan­i­sa­tion has a plan to pro­tect the right of young New Zealan­ders to play.

‘‘A lack of time, space and per­mis­sion to play mean fewer Kiwi kids are hav­ing the same play­ful up­bring­ing en­joyed by pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions,’’ Macken­zie said.

‘‘There are a num­ber of rea­sons for this – fac­tors like tech­nol­ogy, a more risk-averse par­ent­ing ap­proach, and in­fill hous­ing that means many fam­i­lies don’t have back­yards to get out and play in.’’

Qual­ity play is the vi­tal start­ing point for equip­ping chil­dren with the mo­ti­va­tion, con­fi­dence, phys­i­cal com­pe­tence, knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing that al­lows them to value and en­gage in phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity for life, Macken­zie said.

Sport NZ re­leased a new set of seven prin­ci­ples that recog­nise, and will be used to pro­tect, the right of young Ki­wis to play.

Play, in this in­stance, is de­scribed as an ac­tiv­ity that is spon­ta­neous, per­son­ally di­rected, freely cho­sen and fun.

Among the prin­ci­ples are the ideals that young peo­ple must have ac­cess to en­riched and var­ied play­ful ex­pe­ri­ences within their lo­cal area, play should in­clude the op­por­tu­nity to be ac­tive, adults should have lim­ited in­put and young peo­ple need the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence risk and chal­lenge through play.

The re­lease of the prin­ci­ples co­in­cides with United Na­tions Univer­sal Chil­dren’s Day, cel­e­brated an­nu­ally on Novem­ber 20 to pro­mote in­ter­na­tional to­geth­er­ness, aware­ness among chil­dren world­wide, and im­prov­ing chil­dren’s wel­fare.

‘‘So much about en­hanc­ing and en­abling qual­ity play op­por­tu­ni­ties and ex­pe­ri­ences comes from good poli­cies and plans,’’ Macken­zie said.

Sport NZ will work with the Ak­tive - Auck­land Sport & Recre­ation, Auck­land Coun­cil and play NGOs to see the prin­ci­ples en­acted.

Sport New Zea­land wants to pro­tect play in line with UNESCO’s right for kids to play.

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