The development of Active Play and PEEK’s impact

by PEEK Project 8th June 2023

What is the impact of Active Play? Active Play was developed to address low levels of physical activity among children which contributed to poor physical and mental health outcomes in later life. Active Play has been proven to increase levels of physical activity but is also linked to improved emotional, social and cognitive development, and therefore to improved educational attainment.

The programme has been adopted by Glasgow City Council and has been rolled out across primary schools in the city as part of Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge. It aims to improve physical activity levels among children in the poorest communities but also to address the attainment gap. Recent evaluation of the programme in Glasgow demonstrates impact:

94% of children have improved the physical literacy and improved fundamental movement skills

98% of children have increased levels of physical activity

The evaluation also highlights the wider impact of Active Play on children’s learning and development which demonstrates links with increased educational attainment:

  • Improved cooperation and negotiation about games and equipment
  • Increased positive behaviours at break times, more play taking place and less challenging/argumentative behaviour
  • An improvement in the behaviour of the pupils in class Reduction in confrontational behaviour and better relationships across the class
  • Improved resilience and showing more respect for others Improved relationships with teaching staff Children are happier, quieter, and more adventurous

PEEK has not only been a leader in the delivery of play but has also influenced the development of policy and practice in the third sector. PEEK has contributed to the understanding of the value and impact of play at the local level (in GCC schools) but also at the national level through its contribution to the development of the Go Play Evaluation Framework and to the development of the National Play Strategy 2013. PEEK has influenced practice through its contribution to the development of the Play Ranger toolkit and via its Play Champ and Community Training. PEEK has also been an innovator in the development of new models of play through the Active Play Programme which is now delivered across all schools in Glasgow and was first developed from a pilot project which was developed by PEEK.

“We have worked in partnership with PEEK for many years – working together to improve the life chances of children and young people… By joining forces, we are witnessing the real impact that PEEK is having on our communities and young people. PEEK offer a wide and varied range of opportunities free to our young people including volunteering, play, creative arts… The research about play having a positive impact on raising attainment is very encouraging and active play will be firmly embedded in Glasgow’s Improvement Challenge over the next few years. The Glasgow Active Play programme is about early intervention – changing the mindsets of parents and children early leads to greater physical activity later in life, going outdoors more and leading a healthier life – all through play. Anyone can play!” Maureen McKenna, Former Executive Director of Education, Glasgow City Council.

Read more about PEEK’s impact in our 21 year Impact Report.

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