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The play space is not school, and whilst learning may be an important playwork priority, what is even more important is how the child learns and whether s/he retains control over prioritising what is learnt. Play is a process of trial and error in which the error is as valuable to learning as is the success. Within playwork we generally define play as behaviour which is 'freely chosen', 'personally directed' and 'intrinsically motivated' (Hughes, 1984). The definition is seen as having authenticity by playworkers because it recognises not only the child-centredness of play, but its experimental nature (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1967, 1970). (Hughes, 2001, p. 97)
Playwork, as defined in Bonel and Lindon (1996) as 'managing the play environment and providing the resources which enable children's play' (p. 15), for example, by identifying and emphasising play as a powerful biological force which, I believe may only be subsumed into any particular social model at the expense of the children it is attempting to serve. (Hughes, 2001, p. xx)
Else and Sturrock (1998) get closer, by defining playwork as 'work[ing] with children in the expansion of their potential to explore and experience through play'. (Brown, 2002, p. 81)
Adult supervisors need to be trained observers who understand how to guide children when needed and who are wise enough to then stand back and let children play. While we take precautions to provide safe, challenging, stimulating playgrounds, we understand that risk is inherent in play, and indeed is essential for learning through play. Supervision may be improved by taking cues from the playleadership and playwork programs common on many European adventure playgrounds. All playgrounds should provide for a wide range of abilities and disabilities. We caution readers that no two play environments are identical; different manufacturers design individual playground equipment types in a variety of forms, and there are differences in available space, portable materials, natural elements, and age groups served. Consequently, care should be exercised in generalizing conclusions from studies on one playground to other playgrounds. ("The Developmental Benefits of Playgrounds," 2004) Making Sure Kids Have Opportunities to Play; in Association with Publicjobswales.Co.UK.

EVERY child in the UK has the right to relax and play, and to join in a wide range of activities, under article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
To support this right to play, jobs and career opportunities are flourishing in the playwork sector.
What is playwork?
Play is recognised as crucial to a child's happiness and healthy development.
Playwork is an emerging professional field with an an increasingly recognised and qualified workforce.
It is the work of creating and maintaining spaces for children to play.
Working in playwork means understanding and meeting the play needs of children and young people of different abilities, ethnic background and circumstances, usually but not exclusively between four and 16 years of age.
Do I need to take a qualification?
There are training opportunities at all levels of playwork for peoplewhowant to develop their skills and help empower children to play freely and take part in activities that are challenging, stimulating and also great fun!
Higher education institutions are also realising the need for quality degree courses to up-skill playwork professionals to meet the needs of employers.
What sort of jobs does a career in playwork entail?
People qualified in playwork take on a range of jobs as project managers or service development professionals, working in a variety of different environments.
You could be working for schools or at playcentres, which offer year round out of school provision, or for an adventure playground.
Opportunities are also available in childcare such as out-of-school clubs and holiday playschemes, mobile play provision such as playbuses, specialised settings such as hospitals, health service providers, social services, refuges or family services.
How much do you get paid?
Salaries in playwork are competitive and there are good opportunities for climbing the ladder.
For example, an interim summer playworker receives around pounds 7.50 an hour, a play development officer or adventure play development officer between pounds 20-27,000 and a resource centre management role around pounds 19,000.
Professionals seeking more senior roles, for example, working as a director of a playwork charity, can expect over pounds 30,000.
A rewarding career?
If you are committed to children's development, have a lot of energy, understand the value of free play and children's rights and, for some roles, are prepared to get very dirty - this could be the profession for you!
More information...
The national organisation for Children's Play: (Wales), (England) Children's Commissioner for Wales - and Children's Commissioner for England - NEWI (North East Wales Institute of Higher Education) in Wrexham has launched a new BA (Hons) Playwork and Playwork Studies: call the 24 hour advice line on 01978 293439 or email
"Playwork is defined as work with children aged 5 to 15 to facilitate their development through play." (McMahon, 1992, p. 214)
Here was a therapeutic method where the therapist largely stayed out of the process and let the self-healing take place, guided by the child's psyche rather than by the therapist. This was the beginning of my viewing sandplay as a place where the psyche works. I came to think of it as “playwork.” We speak of homework, office work, why not playwork? Work in play. The concept is at first easier to connect with children. After all, sandplay originated when a father observed that his two sons “worked out” their problems while at play with miniatures. Play as a form of therapy for children was easily accepted when it was first introduced fifty-plus years ago. But play as therapy for adults?! Most adults push it aside as not very serious. In fact, sandplay in its early form was used only for children. I do not think that Margaret Lowenfeld ever used it with adults. And the first edition of Dora Kalff's book on sandplay carried the secondary title, Mirror of a Child's Mind. (Bradway & McCoard, 1997, p. 1)
Fundamental role of play in human development," she said. "Play is critically important to all children in the development of their physical, social, mental and creative skills and we should seek every opportunity to support it and create an environment which fosters it.” The role of the playworker has never been more crucial." ("Wales' Lessons in Letting," 2007, p. 12) "When they are playing outdoors, we talk about children letting off steam. Actually they learn about the world around them by playing in the street or the park. They are learning those life skills that they need."

Questions we answered in class. 1. Identify the current function and context of playwork. A. From our opinions are:
It helps develop their investigation, imagination, invention and creative skills.
It also helps children understand concepts and learn life skills.

4. Current debate on working to enhance the childcare setting.
A. In order to enhance childcare settings through playwork we believe the implementation of an educational programme to educate all stakeholders i.e. parents, community, teachers etc. on the importance of playwork in child development should be undertaken.
B. teachers have to understand the importance of play and playwork. Teachers must learn how to integrate playwork into the curriculum.
C. by teachers understanding the importance of playwork, the teachers would then be able to relate the importance of playwork to parents and why it should be used in the classroom.
D. As there are no ministerial policies on playwork in Trinidad and Tobago, international policies on play and playwork need to be examined and studied.

Outcome 2 1. Appreciate the differences in playwork and early years practice.

Out-of-school childcare and playworkers * often work in breakfast clubs, after school clubs, or holiday play schemes * activities offered can include sports, art and creative activities * although half of the staff must have a playwork qualification there are jobs where no formal qualification is necessary
Senior playworkers * work with children in the 5-15 age range * manage the provision on-site and provide a range of safe and developmental play opportunities * a range of training and qualifications is available including the NVQ in Playwork at level 3
Assistant playworker * support senior playworker * there is no national requirement to hold a formal qualification

Early years care and education workers (or nursery nurses or nursery officers) * work in different settings such as local authority nursery schools or classes, private day schools, voluntary sector nurseries, child and family centres, community nurseries * need to hold appropriate early years qualifications at level 3

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