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We (Ben and Mike) have worked for many years in play advocacy, support and development roles. We have worked in local authority and third sector organisations as well as in colleges and universities. In 2012 we carried out our first Play Sufficiency Assessment. That research generated many interesting and challenging findings. Most challenging for us was that much of the work needed to enable all children to exercise their right to play would require a much broader and farther-reaching outlet than the constraints of our jobs at that time allowed. So, in 2013 we set up Ludicology.
Understanding children’s playful behaviour and ways to support it are essential in caring for or working on behalf of children, families and communities. Through Ludicology (which means the study of playfulness) we support those interested in play and playfulness to develop evidence-based, play centred policies and practices. We also like working together, it’s when we do our best work, so that’s what we try to do as much as possible. Ludicology work to support all those interested in children’s play through advice, research and training. All our work is underpinned through three core principles:
Principle 1: Playing is Living
Humans have evolved to embody a playful disposition in their youth. Playing represents children’s primary form of participation in their everyday lives and is central to their experience and enjoyment of living. Play has unique behavioural qualities that lend themselves to the creation of experiences that are essential to children’s immediate and longer-term wellbeing and development.
Principle 2: Cultivating the Conditions for Play
Children are capable of being highly competent players however, their opportunities for playing will be restricted where conditions are not supportive. Ensuring our communities and institutions are fit for children requires the cultivation of sufficient time, space and permission for play across multiple levels of politics, policy, practice and provision.
Principle 3: Adopting a Play Centred Approach
Adults have a responsibility to be sensitive to the ways in which their actions impact upon children’s ability to play. This will inevitably involve negotiating concerns associated with allowing children greater freedom but will ultimately lead to the design and development of neighbourhoods, services and spaces that are more in tune with children’s innate drive to play.