The National Eurochild Forums (NEFs) of Malta chose the theme “the Right to Play” to work on from the year 2020 to 2021. The Right to Play is crucial for the wellbeing of children since play is an essential part of a child’s development and holistic growth. Imagination and creativity, which stem from play during childhood, are assets. Make-belief and fun, although sometimes viewed as babyish nonsense, are necessary both in the world of adults and in the world of children. This comes to show that the Right to Play is not a mere privilege gifted to minors as a treat and should not be treated as such.
Hence, the main aim of the NEF project is to enforce and include this right in different areas of society which affect children’s lives. This vision will be reached through concrete proposals for decision makers, collaborations with other social groups and organisations, and long-term and short-term steps.
The methodology used was through a consultation process with children, questions were asked, and the answers reached through the shape of a particular toy – a robot. Through a child-adult collaboration process between the children’s hub team and the children and young persons’ council, a story about a robot was written and will be used to consult with children in a classroom/group setting regarding play.
The questions which were asked include:
- What is play? What types of activities are related to play?
- What does play mean to you?
- What do you like to play?
- Who do you like to play with?
- Do you think every child in society is able to play?
- Do you think playing is allowed/available at home? Is it safe at home?
- Do you think playing is allowed/available at school? Is it safe at school?
- Do you think playing is allowed/available online? Is it safe online?
- Do different people play the same way?
- Do you have time to play?
Sessions were conducted during summer schools in Malta and due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and the restrictions within the school setting, play workers facilitated the process. In total 387 classes from 39 different schools participated which amounts to the participation of almost 3000 children.
Results from these consultation sessions were collected and the outcomes will be finalised in a report.