::: Australian Children’s Play Summit – history in the making!
On May 17th and 18th, Play for Life Australia in partnership with Play Australia, invited 58 children from eleven Victorian schools and gathered them together at the Melbourne Town Hall in the presence of Right Hon. Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Robert Doyle, to discuss four critical questions on PLAY in order to create a Play Manifesto BY Australian Children FOR Australian children.
Australia, unlike many other OECD countries does not yet have a Play Charter in support of Article 31, so these young student representatives came here to create history as they lay their fingerprints on this most important document and raised their hands to be heard in support of PLAY.
Under the Conventions of the right of the child, Article 12 states …
1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.
2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.
Just prior to the end of term 2 the children were each sent a ‘Student Delegate Action Pack’ containing the four critical questions and ideas on ways to discuss these questions with people in their schools and the wider communities.
The children spoke to people they knew and proudly informed them that they were attending the first ever Australian Children’s Play Summit in order to help create a Play Manifesto and asked them what their views were on the four critical questions on play. The people they interviewed include family members, neighbours, other school friends, grandparents, and other people from their community.
After recording their information, the children got together with the other Student Delegates coming to the Summit from their school [some schools chose 6 Students Delegates others 4 and one school chose 2 ] and their teacher to discuss the four critical questions on play, and the views and ideas they had collected individually.
As a group they prepared a report coming from this meeting which summarised their views as a team for the Play Summit. This information was shared with Student Delegates from the other school communities at the Play Summit on Day One. Each report was unique and they were presented in a number of different ways from the use of graphs, photographs, film, interviews, drawings and stories etc.
Part of the work the children did on Day One of the Play Summit was to discuss what the differences and similarities were between all the different school groups, investigating how communities around Victoria are the same and how they are different.
The four questions the children were focusing on were …
Question 1 - What is the current state of play for children in our communities?
Question 2 - What are the play barriers children in Australia face?
Question 3 - What are some possible ways we might start breaking down these barriers?
Question 4 - What might be our Australian vision for a Children’s Play and how might this be achieved?
After spending the day collaborating, the final Play Manifesto was created.
On Day Two the children gathered in Council Chambers at the Melbourne Town Hall where they officially voted to accept the Play Manifesto they had all so diligently worked on together.
where the children proudly handed over a copy of their Manifesto in a closing ceremony, hosted by the Governor of Victoria, The Hon. Alex Chernov AC QC and his wife, Mrs Elizabeth Chernov, the Patron of Play for Life.
Play Australia (the Australian representative body of the UN International Play Association) will take the Play Manifesto and create the first ever Play Charter for Australia, in support of Article 31 which states … ”
1. States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.
2. States Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.
The Play Charter will then be handed up to the United Nations in New York in the near future.
“At Play for Life we believe that if we put the future of PLAY back into the hands of Australia’s children, then PLAY will be in very good hands! ”
Tags: Article 31, Articlel 12, Australian Children's Play Charter, Government House Victoria, Melbourne Town Hall, Play Australia (the Australian representative body of the UN International Play Association)