Unit 2 Children’s Play and the Playwork Environment

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CACHE Level 3 Diploma in Playwork (DPW)
Unit 2 Children’s play and the playwork environment

E2 Describe how play and play opportunities benefit the development of children and young people across the age range 5-15 years

“The first assumption is that: children’s play is freely chosen, personally directed behaviour, motivated from within; through play, the child explores the world and her or his relationship with it, elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to the challenges she or he encounters; by playing, the child learns and develops as an individual”. [Playwork Level 3 Penny Tassoni]

“There has been less focus on playing for playing sake and how this is fundamentally important for children so they have the choice to learn to take risks, to find things out for themselves and to have fun.” [Evolutionary playwork and reflective analytic Bob Hughes]

Play and play opportunities can benefit the development of children in many ways. Children learn through social interaction. The correct play setting can provide limitless opportunities for development in a fun and safe environment. By allowing the children to be involved in as many aspects as possible of the running of the club, we can provide them with such opportunities.

An example is allowing children to choose what games they play. This helps children to understand freedom of choice, the need for rules and respect for rules. It also encourages interaction with other children, play workers and the play environment.

Children of different age groups and abilities require different forms of activities as they are at different stages development. Younger children between the ages of 5 and 8 tend to enjoy the attention of play workers more. They have reassurance that they are acting correctly and feel safer with some form of adult presence. Children of this age sometimes need a play cue or some coaxing or encouragement to interact with others. This social interaction is very important and provides the foundation skills necessary for concepts such as sharing, cooperation, loyalty and consideration for others. Older children require different forms of stimulation for development. For example, an older child playing on a swing does not need someone to push him or her, and this non requirement for assistance in turn makes the child feel more independent. It helps to build confidence which in turn aids self expression.

A simple card game like pairs demonstrates how different age groups benefit from play differently. Pairs helps memory improvement through all age groups. The younger children benefit by mastering simple skills like possibilities and identifying shapes and numbers. Children aged between 9 and 11 would have mastered such skills and tend to play such a game more competitively. This encourages faster physical reactions and responding to the actions of others.

Children aged between 12 and 15 tend to find this game very easy but can benefit by playing with younger children as they pass their knowledge and skills down. It teaches them to support younger ones and help in their development; it also helps the older child’s confidence, self-esteem and self-reliance.

“Play should empower children, affirm and support their right to make choices, discover their own solution, to play and develop at their own pace and in their own way”. [Playwork Level 3 Penny Tassoni]

We offer a large range of creative activities from painting, to music, to drama, because the children enjoy using their imagination to express their feelings and emotions. This helps them develop hand to eye coordination, motor and manipulative skills, locomotive skills and general coordination.

“The second assumption is that whereas children may play without encouragement or help, adults can, through the provision of an appropriate human and physical environment significantly enhance opportunities for the child play creatively and thus develop through play”....
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