Child Development Specialist underscores the need for playgrounds in dev’t of children


Mrs Asha Bello, a Child Development Specialist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Cheeky Monkey Club, has underscored the role playgrounds play in the development of children.

He said designated spaces and programmes, including parks, summer camps and children’s events were essential to the quality of life for children and families.

In an interview with Ghana News Agency, Mrs Bello said
child development was a global concern as it pertained to planning the future of a country.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) recognises that every child has a right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11 partially states that by 2030, universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities must be provided.

Mrs Bello said city planning with children in mind was crucial.

“There’s so much more we can do for children in Ghana, at all levels,” she stressed.

The CEO, however, expressed worry about the lack of open spaces with children in mind although there was an influx of real estate development over the past five years in the country.

“…But as with most emerging markets, developing open spaces with children in mind often gets neglected,” the Specialist said.

According to her, Accra’s population of over 4 million, with 31 per cent aged zero to fourteen years, had a shortage of spaces and programmes that centred on the cognitive and physical growth of children.

Mrs Bello noted that the potential and cognitive development of children could be inhibited if the role of designated spaces and programmes for play in the country was undervalued.

The Specialist believed that children needed a break from the routine academic calendar.

She called on private and public stakeholders, including schools, communities, public spaces and homes to create enriching content for children since it was a sure way for ensuring the holistic development of children for today and the future.

In 2019, the GES Council had threatened to sanction schools without playgrounds on the basis that they were a key requirement in setting up schools and they played a key role in the holistic development of children.

Mrs Bello said her outfit was assisting schools in Ghana to design and develop playgrounds with most of them designed with the SDGs requirements in mind for children to play as they learned.

The Cheeky Monkey Club is a space dedicated to child development through learning and playing and other alternative education programme.

The Club, which has recently moved to a bigger space is equipped to expose children to activities that centred on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), coding, team building, body and brain coordination and improved flexibility and balance.

The space also supports children to develop motor skills, hand-eye coordination, improved instincts, healthy heart and lung function, stronger muscles and lowered risk of obesity.

During the long vacation from July and August, parents have an opportunity to enrol their children in the MindCraft Summer Programme starting from 4th July, 2022 to 26 August, 2022.

The Cheeky Monkey will host the MindCraft Summer Camp and a Children’s Entrepreneurship Fair in September 2022.

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