The Play Team Association operated as a trust for only a handful of years, yet it provided a springboard for the training of REFLECTIVE LISTENING between adults and children as a respectful, attentive relationship. It offered children the chance to play while being witnessed by a caring adult. This is usually a weekly session for several weeks. Through this play, the child has the opportunity to explore their hopes fears and difficulties, without judgement. The practitioner takes care of safety and any unacceptable behaviour.
This Non directive play is child-directed and is not a form of therapy or counseling although it has therapeutic benefits.
The playroom becomes a growing ground for the child, where he or she can discover him/herself as an individual, subsequently becoming more autonomous. An outcome based upon the fact, that play is the child’s natural medium of self-expression.
It is recognised that children respond positively to whatever their needs, when they feel listened to and valued for who they are. This individual playtime with children is also helpful in developing language, communication and other skills.
The Play Team Practitioners from many childcare contexts have been trained by the Play Team Association, in Non-Directive person-centred play, based on the work of Rachel Pinney (1983). Practitioners can be carers, teacher or learner support staff in school, grandparents, or parents, who follow a code of ethics and practice, and ensure that child protection policies are in place.
The Play Team also ran parenting skills groups, in which parents can find the skills they need to deepen their communication and develop a greater understanding of themselves and their children.
All practitioners had been C.R.B. checked, are insured and receive regular supervision.
They were able to work flexibly in a variety of settings and have established links with Schools, Social Services, Sure Start and The Youth Offending Team in West Sussex.
The trust was disbanded in 2013 due to bureaucratic pressure and lack of funding. However, REFLECTIVE LISTENING and PLAYFUL LEARNING encapsulate the key playful and eploratory learning principles that can support children’s learning in many contexts.
For further information please visit www.playful-learning.co.uk.