And the winner of The Highland Play Award is…
The Highland Council’s Play Improvement Group has assessed all of the applications for the annual Highland Play Award and the decision has been made that it will go to Badenoch and Strathspey-based “Roots and Shoots” who will receive £1000 towards their project.
Runners-up, each receiving £500, were Fort William-based “Stramash” outdoor nurseries providing quality early learning and childcare for 2 to 5 year olds and Kincraig Under 5’s playgroup which uses the local environment to give children a forest school experience.
Sandra Harrington, Chair of the Play Improvement Group at Highland Council said: “We received a large number of entries - the standard of which was very high. The Play Improvement Group enjoyed reading all of the excellent examples of play opportunities being provided in Highland. Due to the high standard of entries and how close the top three were, the group decided to award prizes to two runners up in recognition of the excellent examples of play underway.”
The Highland Council, in association with Play Highland, offer this annual award to the group, organisation or community that has done the most to promote play in the region. The award is presented by the Play Improvement Group which works to promote self-directed free play with daily access to the outdoors.
Roots and Shoots Highland is a not-for-profit social enterprise launched in May 2016 with the aim of increasing outdoor play opportunities for all in Badenoch and Strathspey and the Cairngorms. Their plans for 2017 include supporting disadvantaged families in Badenoch and Strathspey to play outdoors with their nursery aged children. Their focus is on providing opportunities for child-led adventurous play in a natural environment using a ‘forest school’ approach. They provide resources to support children’s play, generally with a box of den making supplies that can encourage tree climbing, natural crafts, bug hunting, den building, fire lighting and cooking around a campfire.