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New briefing – Playing and being well: a relational capability approach





Explore Play Wales

We have published a new briefing note to introduce our forthcoming Playing and being well: A review of recent research into children’s play, social policy and practice, with a focus on Wales literature review.

Play Wales commissioned Wendy Russell, Mike Barclay and Ben Tawil to undertake the literature review. The work was carried out 10 years after the commencement of the Play Sufficiency Duty and while the Welsh Government was undertaking the Ministerial Review of Play. The evidence gathered in the literature review will inform this ongoing work.

The review draws mainly on academic research, across a range of disciplines, but also draws on professional, advocacy and practitioner literature where appropriate. Children’s play has been researched across a variety of academic disciplines, including biology, evolutionary studies and education studies.

Sources are as current as possible (apart from some classic texts). The review includes children aged 0 to 18 years, although some age ranges have been better researched than others.

The briefing includes information about:

  • Background and scope of the literature review
  • Recent developments in childhood and play research
  • Policy developments
  • How play contributes to wellbeing
  • Children’s play today.

The briefing proposes a relational capability approach (drawn from the literature) as a new framework for thinking about children’s play and wellbeing. It isn’t a comprehensive summary of findings from the review – it wouldn’t be possible to cover the breadth, depth, complexity and diversity of the research reviewed in such a short document.

The summary report will be published in the summer, with the full report to follow later in the year.

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