The time available to practitioners is a significant factor in their ability to put into practice inclusive actions and approaches
When we have asked about barriers to supporting/ facilitating play opportunities in the way people would like to, lack of time seemed to underlie a number of the issues.
Managers and practitioners reported lack of time to plan, to seek advice or meet specialists. They felt that this had a knocked on into a lack of time to put specialist advice into action. Time is required to find funds for improvements or appropriate resources and equipment.
Generally the number of paid hours available to staff within a service was felt not to meet the hours required to do what they know is needed. (Many staff seem to put in significant levels of unpaid hours).
"Childcare sector still relies on staff goodwill"
"It takes time to change attitudes"
"Limited time means children who are not accessing groups/play opportunities are not being encouraged to play"
"Had a good system in place but with the 600 hours (new childcare policy) over 90% of the time will be with the face to face contact with the children, need to have more time to reflect and plan."
In relation to coordination required to support inclusive opportunities, this also takes time and is key to ensuring that children have good experiences when they take part in play opportunities.
"Key issue is preparation and awareness raising if children and young people are to go into mainstream services and whole group needs to be on board."
"Time is so limited that staff have to focus on own service and little or no time to engage with other services, thus limited the service provided"
This is the vision
"We want Scotland to be the best place to grow up. A nation which values play as a life-enhancing daily experience for all our children and young people; in their homes, nurseries, schools and communities." Play Strategy for Scotland: Our Vision (2013) Scottish Government.
These are some of the things that could help achieve this.
It would help if:
- Play, childcare and other services where play happens were adequately resourced.
- Local Play Associations and Forums, and Play Development Officers (Local Authorities and third sector) are supported so that they can develop support, coordinate and pool resources for shared use and benefit
- Capacity building and models such as cascade training are more widely available and delivered throughout Scotland (see also Section 9)
Email: Deborah Gallagher