Supporting the school age childcare sector

Play In Childcare

PlayBoard delivers training, advice, and support to the school age childcare sector across Northern Ireland, and represents the interests of the sector at a strategic level through ongoing engagement with government departments.

  • Schedule of regular training covering a range of areas including play, minimum standards and inspection, and business support

  • Bespoke training available to meet individual setting needs

  • A range of informative and practical publications

  • Opportunities for networking and support through the School Age Childcare Forum.

Quality Play Offer

Childcare is the provision of a safe, caring environment for children and young people, offering a range of active and restful activities designed to stimulate children’s natural curiosity. Childcare has a special role in offering quality play opportunities for children.

There are three elements which are crucial to getting play right: the play experience; the people, and the relationships they have with children; and the place – the environment in which play happens. Good childcare settings provide them all.

As adults, we all have a place we love spending time in – somewhere we can get away from the pressures of life and relax. Children also need that space where they can forget about school and other worries, play, and just be.

Good play settings foster children’s emotional well-being, independence, respect for others, their knowledge, and their capacity to learn. Having fun, stimulating places to play where children can meet new friends and enjoy new experiences provides numerous benefits to the children who attend.

PlayBoard’s focused training and practical resources can assist settings to further enhance provision and ensure quality play.

Achieving a High-Quality Service

Quality in childcare is a key achievement in establishing a successful service. Achieving quality in childcare is critical if you want parents to choose your setting over others that are available.

Registered childcare settings must adhere to the Minimum Standards for Childminding and Daycare. These regulations set out the minimum standard of care required and provide assurance of a consistent level of quality within childcare services.

PlayBoard provides advice and support to those who require help to comply with those standards. We can provide assistance to those looking to improve quality standards within their setting, as well as to those who are new to childcare who are seeking to set up registered services. Take a look at the training we offer and our resources, or email for more information.


PlayBoard delivers free, online training sessions throughout the year covering a range of areas including play and business support to enhance quality and service delivery in childcare settings.

  • Business development in your childcare setting

  • Quality in play

  • Understanding the Minimum Standards

  • Understanding and improving your role in providing a play setting for children

  • Programme planning for play

  • Enhancing your play environment

  • Embedding the Playwork Principles

  • Outdoor play

  • Bridge to management

  • Physical play, health and well-being

View PlayBoard’s Play Services

View available courses on our Training Calendar.

To discuss on-site bespoke training for your setting email


PlayBoard has a range of informative publications of benefit to childcare settings. To purchase (in pdf or hardcopy) please email for details.

  • Implementing Best Practice – available to buy as a set of seven or individually, in pdf or hardcopy.
    • Book 1 Best Practice
    • Book 2 Business Planning
    • Book 3 Financial Management
    • Book 4 Management Committee Roles & Responsibilities
    • Book 5 Staffing Matters
    • Book 6 Marketing SAC Services
    • Book 7 Policies & Procedures
  • Accident & Incident Books – bestseller!
  • Space to Play – designing your outdoor play space
  • Connecting through play – supporting children and young people’s mental health and well-being

School Age Childcare Forum

The School Age Childcare (SAC) Forum provides an opportunity for practitioners to align their voice with like-minded people; those who understand the issues that are being dealt with on a day to day basis. The SAC Forum is a place where you can talk about your concerns and contribute your voice in an effort to find solutions.

The SAC Forum is led by those working in the sector and exists to act on matters affecting the sector – whether that is by discussion with Forum members or by engaging with policy makers and external bodies.

PlayBoard acts as secretariat for the Forum, with the meetings chaired by those working within the sector.

The SAC Forum welcomes membership and attendance from anyone working with children of primary school age in Northern Ireland. Email for further information.


  • Delivered CPD sessions to 250 participants from 35 settings aimed at enhancing their service delivery and supporting them to meet the challenges of Covid-19.

  • Delivered 11 cluster sessions to 132 participants exploring key issues impacting on quality of delivery within settings.

  • Supported Bright Start funded groups with guidance on a range of areas including strategic development, fundraising and governance.

  • 8 sessions delivered in the Republic of Ireland focusing on the enhancement of play-based childcare.


“Excellent training course! Provided for all learning techniques, definitely recommend PlayBoard courses.”

“The preparation for the webinar was very professional and the facilitator really responded to what issues are being experienced by our practitioners locally and designed the webinar to reflect this … the team couldn’t do enough to ensure the webinar was a success.”

“Excellent training. The pace and delivery were absolutely spot on. It was engaging, interactive and very useful. Staff all came away thoroughly motivated and inspired! Really first-class training!”