CaRE

Better Play Times

Better Play Times are weekly 30 minute play sessions given to a child for a minimum of 12 sessions, by a member of staff who has training in attending to children through the medium of play. The premise for these sessions is based on the belief of many theorists that play is a therapeutic and healing experience (Jung 1964, Erikson 1995), and that the presence of an attuned and non-directing adult can enhance and facilitate this process (Axline 1969, Cattanach 1992).

The course will:

Skills

The course will introduce staff to new ways of working with children during weekly 30 minutes ‘Better Play Times’.

These skills fall into 3 categories

  1. Learning to be a Better Playmate
    • Developing listening skills
    • Practising the use of reflection and summarising
    • Attending to children and the communication in their play
    • Matching, mirroring and amplifying the child’s verbal and non verbal communications
  2. Learning to plan for Better Play Times
    • Setting up a time and a place
    • Starting and finishing the session
    • Equipping a play box
  3. Learning how to create and maintain limits
    • Deciding which limits to set
    • Practising the limit setting ‘formula’

Theory

The course will introduce staff to theories of child development and their relevance to ‘Better Play Times’. The main theorists covered are:

The adult/child relationship

The course will introduce staff to the experiences brought to the session by each individual, and the way our past influences our present. Areas looked at on the course include

Personal Development

The course will introduce staff to new ways of working and new ways of thinking. A2C have a commitment to include an element of personal development in all of their training.

During a weekly group session course members will have opportunities to explore:

The medium of play

What is play?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary definition includes 18 possible meanings of the verb to play.

These include :

In further expansion of these definitions the dictionary alludes to:

Play can be used to explore the physical world, the internal world, relationships with others and the wider social and cultural environment. Play leads to taking in and taking on while allowing for letting out and letting go. Play can provide a safe medium for trying out and rehearsing, a child can control the experience of risk taking, discomfort, anxiety and uncertainty within a play situation.

“In play a child behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour; in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself. ” - Vygotsky 1978

Is there something about play that allows the child to demonstrate his competence, perform at his highest level, risk otherwise unproven means of communication and expression? Is practice in play necessary before mastery in concrete reality?

That a child learns concepts and facts through experimental play may be accepted wisdom in the world of education and child development, but is there a belief that a child is linguistically, cognitively and emotionally more mature in the world of his play than in the world of his reality?

Therapeutic Play

When watching a child at play you may have felt that the play was significant, even a reflection of the childs experience of the world. Furthermore play is intrinsic across the life-span, meeting many needs, both for personal expression and social relationships. Through the experience of play, themes emerge from all stages of development.

Taste, touch, sight, smell and sound help the baby to develop a sense of his own body and the external environment. These stimuli retain their power to evoke our emotions throughout our lives and are intricately tied to earlier memories and associations. Physical sensations may remind us subconsciously of positive and negative feelings experienced in the first years of life. They can comfort or worry us. Using play, in a safe environment with accepting adult support, children have chances to re-experience sensations with a more positive outcome and to fill in the gaps left by missed experiences. They can be given opportunities for mastering external skills, which reflect difficulties they experience in their personal development. Supporting children as they play with sensory materials may help erase or restructure uncomfortable memories of early exploration of tactile stimuli.

Childrens use of small world toys can often be seen to be replaying an actual event. Equally the child may construct a fantasy scenario, symbolically representing an experience just as real and important to them as the actual. Listening to childrens play, that is, paying attention to the play, which can often be silent, adults have the opportunity to learn much about the childs life. Free access to play equipment and a respect for the value of childrens self-chosen play, allows for the greatest possibilities of expression through play.

Engaging in role-play is part of the natural development of the child as a social creature. It provides an opportunity to act out being yourself and being another. It also provides opportunities to script and re-script the drama as it unfolds. Role-play enables the child to rehearse actions and reactions, finally achieving mastery or resolution within a safe setting. As such it is the key to developing healthy social relationships.

The Role of Better Play times in School Provision

PSHE

Better play times will help children to;

Pastoral Care

Better play times will help staff to;

Inclusion

Better play times will enable the school to;

Healthy School Bid

Better play times will support the schools bid for Healthy School Status by providing an intervention to improve the emotional well being of:

Attending 2 Children provides a range of training for staff with responsibility for SEN, Inclusion, PSHE, Pastoral Care, and the Wellbeing of Staff.

Therapeutic Play

When watching a child at play you may have felt that the play was significant, even a reflection of the childs experience of the world. Furthermore play is intrinsic across the life-span, meeting many needs, both for personal expression and social relationships. Through the experience of play, themes emerge from all stages of development.

Taste, touch, sight, smell and sound help the baby to develop a sense of his own body and the external environment. These stimuli retain their power to evoke our emotions throughout our lives and are intricately tied to earlier memories and associations. Physical sensations may remind us subconsciously of positive and negative feelings experienced in the first years of life. They can comfort or worry us. Using play, in a safe environment with accepting adult support, children have chances to re-experience sensations with a more positive outcome and to fill in the gaps left by missed experiences. They can be given opportunities for mastering external skills, which reflect difficulties they experience in their personal development. Supporting children as they play with sensory materials may help erase or restructure uncomfortable memories of early exploration of tactile stimuli.

Childrens use of small world toys can often be seen to be replaying an actual event. Equally the child may construct a fantasy scenario, symbolically representing an experience just as real and important to them as the actual. Listening to childrens play, that is, paying attention to the play, which can often be silent, adults have the opportunity to learn much about the childs life. Free access to play equipment and a respect for the value of childrens self-chosen play, allows for the greatest possibilities of expression through play.

Engaging in role-play is part of the natural development of the child as a social creature. It provides an opportunity to act out being yourself and being another. It also provides opportunities to script and re-script the drama as it unfolds. Role-play enables the child to rehearse actions and reactions, finally achieving mastery or resolution within a safe setting. As such it is the key to developing healthy social relationships.

The course will:

Skills

The course will introduce staff to new ways of working with children during weekly 30 minutes ‘Better Play Times’.

These skills fall into 3 categories

  1. Learning to be a Better Playmate
    • Developing listening skills
    • Practising the use of reflection and summarising
    • Attending to children and the communication in their play
    • Matching, mirroring and amplifying the child’s verbal and non verbal communications
  2. Learning to plan for Better Play Times
    • Setting up a time and a place
    • Starting and finishing the session
    • Equipping a play box
  3. Learning how to create and maintain limits
    • Deciding which limits to set
    • Practising the limit setting ‘formula’

Theory

The course will introduce staff to theories of child development and their relevance to ‘Better Play Times’. The main theorists covered are:

The adult/child relationship

The course will introduce staff to the experiences brought to the session by each individual, and the way our past influences our present. Areas looked at on the course include

Personal Development

The course will introduce staff to new ways of working and new ways of thinking. A2C have a commitment to include an element of personal development in all of their training.

During a weekly group session course members will have opportunities to explore: