Providing for play involves giving children the time, space and independence to play in their own way and on their own terms. Children can play anywhere – at the bus stop, in the supermarket, in the car, at the park, in school, at home, at the beach and so on. Children will play with or without equipment and materials, with others or on their own.
Staff can support children’s play in all settings where children typically attend. By providing a wide range of opportunities and possibilities for play in rich and supportive environments adults can support play that meets the play needs of those attending. Playworkers support play that is led by children. They provide children with a space for them to be themselves and to play in the ways in which they want and need to. Playworkers plan for play, observe and reflect on what they see. This reflective practice is then used to plan for more play, enabling children to extend their own play experience.
Those who work with children and young people should provide a rich play environment, create play opportunities and build relationships. By understanding the nature and importance of all aspects of children’s play, we can protect the space where children play and extend this play to meet children’s play needs.
Playworkers see children and young people as competent individuals. They understand the need for children to encounter and create uncertainty and challenge as part of their play.