The 2017 International Play Association (IPA) conference sparked a lot of conversation around the importance of play in our community of Lethbridge. Stakeholders from several organizations were asking the question, “How do we make play a priority for all children and youth in Lethbridge?” Lethbridge Early Years Coalition (LEYC) decided it was time for action. LEYC brought together 25 local organizational leaders to develop a Play Charter for Lethbridge. After 10 months of collaborating to create the Play Charter, it was ready to take to City Council. In the fall of 2018, the Lethbridge Play Charter was unanimously adopted by Lethbridge City Council and signed by the Mayor. The city began contributing resources to support the creation of an action plan to raise awareness of the importance of play and shift the mindset in the community to one that makes play a priority. Over the past year LEYC has actively supported the work of the Lethbridge Plays committee in translating the Play Charter into 9 languages, raising awareness at community events, development of outcome measurement tools and more. In January of 2020 the Lethbridge Plays committee hosted the inaugural PLAY! Summit which brought together stakeholders, policy makers, researchers, students, and parents to learn about the importance of play. The Lethbridge Play Charter is making an impact on policy, decision making and priorities for local programs, services and resources. It is shifting community mindset. Caregivers, youth and children are now saying, “Its time to play!”
Lethbridge Early Years Coalition (LEYC) created five themes of Digital Play Packs to help parents and caregivers find balance between engaging in active play opportunities and digital play with their children. Learning from the West Red Deer County Early Childhood Coalition, LEYC created Science Magic, Hide & Seek and Superhero Fun Digital Play Packs (DPPs).