In its April meeting, the Family Strengthening Task Force (FSTF) hosted Anne-Sophie Dybdal from Save the Children to give a presentation on “Families in Focus - Using a Framework of Learning through Play”, a project implemented in Jordan with refugees and host communities in collaboration with the LEGO Foundation.
In this project, ‘play’ was used as a powerful tool to support parenting and child development outcomes in a joyful, efficient, substantial and contextualised way. The objectives of this approach were to:
- Strengthen caregivers and children bonds,
- Boost parents' confidence and capabilities, and
- Enhance children's development and resilience.
The programme was implemented with young children (3 to 10 years old) and their caregivers and was paired with child protection and psychosocial support elements. One main challenge was the engagement of fathers, as mothers mostly participated in the play sessions. Qualitative and quantitative tools were used to measure the impact of the programme. These tools included, among others, the International Development and Early Learning Assessment (IDELA), The Child Youth Resilience Measure (CYRM), a self-reported parental attitude test, focus group discussions and key informant interviews.
The outcomes of play were significantly positive, and participating mothers reported meaningful visible changes in their and their children’s attitudes. In addition, the joyful aspect of play generated a positive impact on the creativity of children, caregivers and even project staff. Finally, a recommendation was made for the researchers to investigate how play and joy spark positive human development and to explore more deeply the power of play to unlock potentials in responsive care, parental wellbeing, children’s development and staff capabilities.
The Family Strengthening Task Force would like also to share the following link from the LEGO Foundation on Playful Parenting in the Early Years: https://www.legofoundation.com/media/1695/what-we-mean-by-playful-parenting-in-the-early-years.pdf.