Given how rapidly things get lost on the interweb, it might be helpful if I park these here.
The Playwork Primer by Penny Wilson (Alliance for Childhood 2009)
The very best introduction to playwork, and what it isn’t.
A lost classic, a companion piece to Best Play, containing some gorgeous stories that really give you a feel for the playworkers mindset.
What play provision should do for children. If your ‘space’ doesn’t do these, it’s not playwork provision, even if it is lovely.
An excellent overview for beginners
Here they are, and in the poster below. The key one in these endtimes for playwork is #4:
For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult-led agendas.
And finally, for now, some thoughts from Professor Play himself on what makes Playwork unique:
The Unique Elements of Playwork
- A conceptualisation of the child that actively resists dominant and subordinating narratives and practices
- A belief that while playing, the ‘being’ child is far more important than the ‘becoming’ child
- An adherence to the principle that the vital outcomes of playing are derived by children in inverse proportion to the degree of adult involvement in the process
- A non-judgemental acceptance of the children as they really are, running hand in hand with an attitude, when relating to the children, of ‘unconditional positive regard’
- An approach to practice that involves a willingness to relinquish adult power, suspend any preconceptions, and work to the children’s agenda
- The provision of environments that are characterised by flexibility, so that the children are able to create (and possibly destroy and recreate) their own play environments according to their own needs
- A general acceptance that risky play can be beneficial, and that intervention is not necessary unless a safety or safeguarding issue arises
- A continuous commitment to deep personal reflection that manages the internal relationship between their present and former child-self, and the effects of that relationship on their current practice