Introduction to Play
What is Play?
Play is an essential part of a child’s life and is vital to their development. It is the way children explore the world around them, develop and practice skills. Play can be defined in the following ways:
- ‘Play is freely chosen, personally directed, intrinsically motivated behaviour that actively engages the child. Play can be fun or serious.’ (Best Play)
- ‘What children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests, in their own way and for their own reasons’. (Getting Serious About Play 2004)
- Play can be further described as follows: “Play can be fun or serious. Through play children explore social, material and imaginary worlds and their relationship with them, elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to the challenges they encounter. By playing, children learn and develop as individuals, and as members of the community”. (Best Play)
Play also manifests itself in a wide range of activities, behaviours and styles. Sixteen play types have been identified and are listed in Appendix A.
Door 84 recognises children’s right to play as contained in Article 31 of the UN convention on the Rights of the Child 1991 and is committed to offering Young People a welcoming and stimulating environment for personal and social development. Door 84 aims to provide a range of exciting, fun and challenging activities to suit all tastes, interests and abilities.
Our aims will be achieved in consultation with Children and Young People to ensure that their play needs are being met within our setting whilst ensuring that we are working within a legislative framework that is relevant to Children’s rights, health and safety and well-being.
Door 84 supports and Facilitates play by:
- Operating in accordance with the Playwork Principles (see Appendix B)
- Creating a varied and interesting environment that stimulates social, physical, creative, emotional and intellectual play. Ensuring the play setting includes the provision of open space, music, lighting and loose parts that young people can select to develop in their own way.
- Planning, creating and developing activities using a wide range of resources that reflect the children and young people’s interests and supports individual needs to ensure enjoyment for all.
- Ensuring staff recognise the importance of free play and that Children and Young People have a natural need to test boundaries and engage in risky and challenging play. Staff should recognise the importance of minimal intervention and manage the balance between risk vs benefit and only intervene when necessary: to reduce risks of accident or injury, or to highlight appropriate social skills or have been invited by a play Que.
- Ensuring that the staff team are offered the support and opportunity to undertake training relevant to working with Children and Young People and are kept up to date with developments in Playwork. All Staff and Volunteers are expected to attend the in-house training “Introduction to Play and Youth work”
- Recognising that young people need to engage in the 16 play types taken from Bob Hughes Taxonomy of play types (See Appendix A)
- Consulting with the Children and Young People on a regular basis about the provision. This will be done in a number of ways: open discussion, suggestion box, Youth Council and observations.
- Evaluating practice on a regular basis and taking action on those findings. This is done by evaluating and reflecting after each Youth Session and monthly Staff meetings and identifying different play types that have been observed. Staff are also invited to share play quotes at Staff meetings.
By following The Seven Best Play Objectives as outlined below, we aim to:
- Extend the choice and control that children have over their play, the freedom they enjoy and the satisfaction they gain from it.
- Recognise the child’s need to test boundaries and responds positively to that need.
- Manages the balance between the need to offer risk and the need to keep children safe from harm.
- Maximise the range of play opportunities.
- Foster independence and self-esteem.
- Foster children’s respect for others and offers opportunities for social interaction.
Foster the child’s well-being, healthy growth and development, knowledge and understanding, creativity and capacity to learn.