ECA WA call for a WA Play Strategy reaches key milestone of 10,000 supporters
Early Childhood Australia WA (ECA WA) has confirmed that their campaign calling on the Government of Western Australia (WA) to develop a WA Play Strategy to address diminishing opportunities for children (aged birth to eight) to access quality play in WA early childhood education and care, including the early years of school settings has hit the 10,000 supporter mark.
The campaign was launched in 2016 with the publication of an ECA WA discussion paper titled “A Call for a WA Play Strategy in Early Childhood Education and Care” that called out in particular a growing tendency for teachers, in response to school administration direction, to pursue more structured educational programs for younger children and the increased formalisation of early learning.
The consequences of this shift are a narrower scripted developmental pathway that allows for fewer authentic opportunities for self-directed learning through play for children and is in direct contrast to the core emphasis on play based learning embedded in The Early Years Learning Framework.
Dr Sandra Hesterman, Director of Early Childhood Education at Murdoch University, said that diminishing opportunity for quality play in early childhood education and care settings, particularly in the early years of school is “out of step with best practice and our international counterparts, including England, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand and northern Europe.”
Dr Hesterman went on to say “ECA WA has called on the WA Government to develop a government-led WA Play Strategy—in consultation with the wider community—to ensure that all children, no matter who they are or where they live, can access quality play experiences.”
The following benefits that Play Strategy will bring to the children of WA are highlighted by the campaign:
- Lifting the status of play and providing a tool for advocating its importance
- The development of a shared language across stakeholders to unite actions and thinking
- Increased confidence in educators to implement play-based learning
- Increased parental understanding of the value of play
- Increased community and society understanding of the value of play
The campaign has now reached the 10,000 supporters mark across the state and more than 180 organisations in WA have endorsed the campaign to protect children’s right to play.
To endorse the WA Play Strategy and join 10,000 other supporters please click here and then click the “Click Here to Endorse” button.