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Play and health

The focus on play within NHS Health Scotland centres around the play@home programme which aims to improve family emotional ties, encourage child development and promote a stimulating, nurturing environment within the home for the child’s early years. This fits with the Scottish Governments direction of supporting children in the early years and links with several key policies:

Equally Well (2008) recognises that children's circumstances in the earliest years of life are critical to future health. The Early Years Framework (2008) recognises the right of all young children to high quality services which offer a holistic approach to meeting their needs. Achieving Our Potential (2008) seeks to provide all children with the best start in life. play@home links with these three social policies to address the underlying causes of inequalities which are crucial to shaping positive outcomes for future generations. Informing parents with simple ideas that they can use in their own homes at a time that is convenient to them, promoting positive family bonds through promoting loving touch, massage, play and communication and promoting good physical and mental health through partnership working identifies play@home as a universal programme for all parents with the flexibility to be adapted to provide more intensive support where required. The review of Equally Well in 2010 reiterated the importance of partnership working and intervention in the earliest years of a child’s life.

Positive play experiences and the implementation of play@home also contribute to other early years policies including outcomes of the National Performance Framework (2007), Getting It Right For Every Child (2004) and Curriculum for excellence (2004) supporting children to have the best start in life and being ready to succeed, improving life chances for children at risk and creating successful learners and confident children.

play@home contributes to the physical activity guidelines for the under 5's

play@home also contributes to early parenting messages