A new research project is looking at creating a “play-friendly” community with children in Whitecraig which could be used as a tool for those who work with youngsters and to generate practices and policies about play.

The study is being carried out by Silvia Veiga-Seijo, an occupational therapist from A Coruña, Spain, who is a PhD student in occupational science at Queen Margaret University, Musselburgh, and University College Cork, Ireland, within the P4PLAY Programme.

She said: “I am passionate about the right of children to play. I believe that we need to see children as experts in their own play and listen to what they can tell us about it. If we can see the world through their eyes, we can begin to understand how we can improve their opportunities for play in their communities.”

After arriving in Edinburgh a year ago, Silvia stated to take part in East Lothian Play Association’s (ELPA) play ranger programme.

“This gave me the chance to explore a lot of places and play spaces in the Musselburgh area, and gave me a broad perspective about the opportunities for children to play in East Lothian. With ELPA, we have recently created an advisory group which is giving advice about different elements of the research that we are developing,” she said.

“Creating a play-friendly community with children in Whitecraig is a new research project about listening to the perspectives of children and community members.

“The purpose is to know the perspectives of children about their play activities, what supports or limits their play in the community and what are their priorities and ideas to create a play-friendly community. Children will be the protagonists in this because their perspectives are essential to make Whitecraig a better place to play.

“Play is a right of children and an essential activity in their lives. It is through play that children understand their world.

“We know that play is very important for the development, health and happiness of children but it is also fundamental for the wellbeing of the community where children live.

“But policymakers and researchers, not only in Scotland but around the world, say that there is growing deprivation of play.”

She said: “Families and children are more than welcome to come to one of our friendly chats.

“I will be in the play park and community space on Wednesday from 3.30pm to 6.30pm. Come at any time to know about the project. I will be there more days. We already had some friendly chats with families and children, and we have some play investigators already on board which is wonderful.

“I am also collaborating with Whitecraig Primary School and Whitecraig Village Hub to further advertise the project.

“Children will participate in different activities using creative and participatory activities together in the next couple of months.

“In a group, we will create a big map of the community to talk about their play and children will have the opportunity to decide how we want to research their play.

“Each child will do a tour with me of their play activities, take photographs of their play, make videos, drawings or using arts/crafts. I will also observe children in their play activities and will play with them in their play. So, we will research play playing.”

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Silvia at SVeigaSeijo@qmu.ac.uk, on 07354 473082 or Facebook @PlaywithChildrenWhitecraig, where details of further meetings will be announced.