Frequently Asked Questions

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The following are frequently asked questions about Play Wales, its work and matters relating to play. 

Play Wales

Who is Play Wales?

Play Wales is the national charity for children's play. Play Wales is an independent charity partly core funded by the Welsh Government through the Department for Health and Social Services - our area of charitable remit is Wales.

What does Play Wales do?

Play Wales works to raise awareness of children and young people's need and right to play and to promote good practice at every level of decision making and in every place where children might play.
 We provide advice and guidance to support all those who have an interest in, or responsibility for providing for children's play so that one day Wales will be a place where we recognise and provide well for every child's play needs.

More information

Who works at Play Wales?

Our team is listed by name alphabetically:

Mike Greenaway - Director
Ruth O'Donoghue - Finance Officer
Martin King-Sheard - Workforce Development Officer
Marianne Mannello - Assistant Director (Policy, Support and Advocacy)
Kathy Muse - Office Manager
Angharad Wyn Jones - Communications Manager

How is Play Wales run?

Play Wales is a registered charity and a company registered in Wales. We have a Board of Trustees that oversees the governance of Play Wales to ensure that we meet our objectives effectively and efficiently within the law. There are also a number of Observers to the Board who support the Trustees but who do not vote. Our Trustees are elected by our membership or co-opted so as to represent an area of expertise.

Where is the Play Wales office?

The Play Wales office is based in Park House, Greyfriars Road, Cardiff CF10 3AF

What are Play Wales’ contact details?

Telephone: 029 2048 6050
Welsh line: 029 2240 9795


What time is the Play Wales office open? Can I visit?

The Play Wales office is open between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday. Our telephone lines are open Monday to Friday between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Visitors are welcome by prior arrangement.

Play Wales Membership

Is Play Wales a membership organisation?


Associate membership is open to all organisations and individuals living in Wales.

International Associate membership is open to any organisation or individual living or working outside Wales that would like to support the work of Play Wales. There are restricted membership benefits for International Associate members because as a charity we are registered to work for the benefit of those within Wales.

How do I become a member?

Please complete and return a Play Wales membership form. Payment can be made by cheque, bank transfer an invoice can be requested.

More information

Why become a member?

Because you care about the way society treats children and you recognise that Play Wales needs support to reclaim space and time for children’s play. Most grandparents and parents when asked to reflect on their childhood experiences state that the most significant difference between their experience and those of their grandchildren / children, is the loss of freedom to play. Help Play Wales redress the balance.

What are the benefits of becoming a member?

We will: alert you to key consultations; keep you informed of developments and new research; provide discount delegate places at Play Wales events and a special deal on Play Wales publications; give you access to free Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks for staff working in regulated play provision.

As a member you can: join the movement to make Wales a play friendly place; help inform our position and influence our work with government and other agencies; strengthen our position when we are lobbying for change; help us evaluate our effectiveness; nominate and be nominated to the Play Wales Board of Trustees.

All Play Wales members are asked to endorse: The Playwork Principles and the Welsh Government Play Policy

How much does it cost to become a member?

Individual (living in Wales): £10
Organisation (one full-time member of staff or fewer): £25
Organisation (more than one full-time member of staff): £50
International (outside Wales): £25
Commercial or private: £75
Local Authority: £100

Information Service 

What does the Play Wales Information Service provide?

We provide information and guidance on play and play provision for all those who have an interest in children's play in Wales. This website and its regularly updated news section is a key part of our information service.

We provide an enhanced information service to members: a regular e-bulletin alerting members to new funding, events, research and publications; previews of Play Wales information sheets, magazines and other publications;
 access to our responses to consultations.

Does Play Wales produce publications and resources?

We publish a magazine, Play for Wales, resources and information sheets to raise awareness about children and young people's play and good practice in providing for it.

How do I subscribe to the Play Wales magazine?

Play for Wales is sent free to anyone who has an interest in children and young people's play living or working in Wales it - is freely available to download from this website.

Please contact us if you would like to receive Play for Wales – in print form or electronically.

Can I advertise a job on the Play Wales website?

If you would like to advertise a relevant post free of cost, please email the text making sure to include all the relevant details and a closing date for applications. Adverts will be posted the Monday after they are received and removed once the closing date specified.

Play Wales is not a recruitment agency, and we cannot enter into discussions or correspondence about jobs posted on this website unless they are jobs with Play Wales. All adverts will be vetted before they are posted.

Does Play Wales offer play area safety inspections?

Play Wales no longer provides a play area inspection service. Please contact the Register of Play Inspectors International for a list of inspectors who operate in Wales.


What is in the Play Wales library?

We believe it is the most comprehensive collection of books on children's play and play provision in Wales. It is an essential resource for playworkers, teachers, trainers, students and anyone with an interest in children's play.

We hold current and out-of-print material on a wide range of topics related to children and play - from play theory and child development, to building a tree house.

We will be making our library database available online in the near future.

More information

Where is the library?

The Play Wales Library is based in our office in Cardiff Bay. We also have a smaller collection of reference books and resources in the Glyndŵr University library in Wrexham.

Can I visit the library?

Visitors and small groups of students are very welcome - please contact our Information Service to arrange a visit and we will be happy to help you. There is quiet space to study and browse. 

Can I borrow publications?

At present we are unable to lend books. We have photocopying facilities that operate within copyright law.


What is play?

Play is difficult to define - it is many different types of behaviour and interactions with others and/or with environments and objects. The Welsh Government Play Policy (2002) defines play as follows:

play encompasses children's behaviour which is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. It is performed for no external goal or reward, and is a fundamental and integral part of healthy development - not only for individual children, but also for the society in which they live.

Playing contributes to the wellbeing and resilience of human beings - particularly young ones. Having welcoming places, enough time and the company of others to play with every day, is of great consequence to all children and young people - as adults we need to foster environments that support this.

More information

What does ‘freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated’ mean?

Freely chosen means that children themselves choose when, how and what to play. As such it is not part of a set programme and does not have any steps that need to be completed.

Personally directed means children themselves decide the rules and roles they take within their play.

Intrinsically motivated means that play is undertaken for its own sake, and not performed for any reward, certificate or status.

Do children have the ‘right’ to play?

All children have the right to play as enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is recognised both by the UK Government, and by the Welsh Government.

Article 31 of the Convention says:
Every child has the right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

The Children's Commissioner's Office in Wales, which monitors and champions children and young people's rights, has stated that time and space to play is a matter of entitlement.

What is a rich play environment?

A rich play environment is: a varied and interesting physical environment that maximises the potential for socialising, creativity, resourcefulness and challenge; and a place where children feel free to play in their own way, on their own terms.

What does quality play provision provide?

Quality play provision offers all children and young people the opportunity to freely interact with or experience the following:

  • other children and young people - with a choice to play alone or with others, to negotiate, co-operate, fall out, and resolve conflict;

  • the natural world - weather, trees, plants, insects, animals, mud ... ;

  • loose parts - natural and man made materials that can be manipulated, moved and adapted, built and demolished;
  • the four elements - earth, air, fire and water;
  • challenge and uncertainty - both on a physical and emotional level;
  • changing identity - role play and dressing up;
  • movement - running, jumping, climbing, balancing, rolling;

  • rough and tumble - play fighting;
  • the senses - sounds, tastes, textures, smells and sights;
  • feelings - pain, joy, confidence, fear, anger, contentment, boredom, fascination, happiness, grief, rejection, acceptance, sadness, pride, frustration.

What is open access play provision?

Open Access play provision can be permanent or short-term provision, located in a variety of settings with or without premises including play centres, adventure playgrounds, playschemes and parks. Whilst the term Open Access applies to registered provision for children under 8 years, such provision usually caters for a wide age range of children, including those over 7 years.

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Play policy 

What is a play policy?

A play policy sets out the principles by which an organisation or agency stands in terms of children's play. A play strategy is a plan by which these principles will be put into practice.

Play Wales recommends that all services or organisations that provide for children or families in Wales make a strong and dynamic statement supporting children's right to play, or that they might consider adapting the Welsh Assembly Government Play Policy, and that they implement a strategy to make provision for all children to access a broad range of quality freely chosen play opportunities.

Where can I find the Welsh Government Play Policy and Play Policy Implementation Plan?

Both the Welsh Government Play Policy and Play Policy Implementation Plan are available to download in the Play Policy section of our website 


What is playwork?

Playwork is a profession. Playworkers train to do their job. A common misconception is that playworkers play with children. In reality playworkers enable children to extend their own play and they protect and enhance the play space so that it is a rich play environment. Playworkers operate under the ethos of the Playwork Principles. 

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What are the Playwork Principles?

The Playwork Principles establish a professional and ethical framework for playwork. They are endorsed by the sector skills council for active leisure, learning and wellbeing - SkillsActive - by the Welsh Government and by Play Wales.

These Principles establish the professional and ethical framework for playwork and as such must be regarded as a whole. They describe what is unique about play and playwork, and provide the playwork perspective for working with children and young people. They are based on the recognition that children and young people's capacity for positive development will be enhanced if given access to the broadest range of environments and play opportunities.

Where the Principles refer to children and young people, they mean all children and young people.

Download the Playwork Principles

Who owns the Playwork Principles?

The Playwork Principles are held in trust for the UK playwork profession by the Scrutiny Group that acted as an honest broker overseeing the consultations through which they were developed.

The copyright of the Playwork Principles does not belong to Play Wales. The copyright is held in trust for the playwork profession by the Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group. Any reference in writing or ortherwise to the Playwork Principles should be attributed to the Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group, Cardiff 2005.

What playwork qualifications are available?

Although some playworkers start work without a qualification all playworkers will be expected to gain one eventually. Most playwork qualifications require learning through practical experience in a play setting combined with some study. Some written work will be required.

More information

What careers are available in the playwork sector?

Playworkers can practice at a number of different levels and can follow different paths - everything from part-time temporary work to full time permanent posts developing or managing play settings.

More information

Does Play Wales offer any courses or qualifications?

Yes. To meet the play needs of all children in Wales and all those who work where children play, Play Wales has developed a suite of qualifications known as Playwork: Principles into Practice or P3. More recently we have developed new level 2 and level 3 short qualifications – Award in Playwork Practice (L2APP) and Managing a Holiday Play Scheme (MAHPS). 

Award in Playwork Practice (L2APP)

A level 2 qualification that supports learners new to playwork understand a playwork approach and how to put it into practice. It is intended to support those working in holiday play schemes to achieve a qualification that meets requirements for registration.

It can also be used alongside a qualification in childcare to support to meet new requirements for registration to work with children up to the age of 12. Finally, it is a valuable accredited professional development opportunity for those working in related roles including: youth work, education, health and community development.

Time to complete: delivered over six sessions (three full days or six half days). Assessment tasks should be completed within 12 weeks of the course unless otherwise agreed.

More information

Managing a Holiday Play Scheme Award (MAHPS)

A level 3 Award that meets requirements for registration as a holiday play scheme with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (CSSIW) when held alongside a relevant level 3 qualification in a related field such as youth work or teaching.

It supports the professional development of staff managing short-term provision by providing an understanding of the importance of play to children’s development and how it may be facilitated in a variety of settings.

Time to complete: delivered over six sessions (three full days or six half days). Assessment tasks should be completed within 12 weeks of the course unless otherwise agreed.

More information

Playwork: Principles into Practice (P3)

What is Playwork: Principles into Practice (P3)?

These exciting level 2 and level 3 courses (similar to GCSE level and A level) have been extensively piloted in Wales, and is now available as a qualification on the Qualifications Credit Framework, endorsed by SkillsActive. P3 can be delivered in English or in Welsh.

The courses comprises an Award, Certificate and Diploma, with specially designed learning materials available for each part.

What is in the P3 qualifications?

The courses share an approach that blends theory with practical playwork skills. Courses offer learners the opportunity to put into practice and reflect upon what they have learnt. All the courses have inclusive play and the needs of disabled children embedded within them.

Why is P3 so good?

We assure the quality of the learner's experience and that the outcome for employers and children is the best it can be.

More information about what makes P3 special in terms of philosophy and structure, learning and delivery

What do learners say about P3?

'The tutors were really good ... they have a really good understanding of play', new playworker, Swansea.

'This course has given me a deeper understanding of playwork and has definitely made me a better playworker', playworker, Troed y Rhiw.

'Although it nearly killed me, I stopped myself from telling children not to do something, and learnt that it was OK, because they only did what they were capable of', new playworker reflecting on his reaction to children engaged in risky play.

'I find myself more confident and enthusiastic', new playworker, Swansea.

What do employers say about P3?

As an employer I was very happy with the training and the outcome for the team, from comments made and questions asked by the staff team it was evident the training had improved their understanding of their role.
' Jo Jones, Play Development Officer, Vale of Glamorgan

'The children played with all the unrestrained enthusiasm and energy that we had seen in previous years but there was a sense of greater freedom. Children played more imaginatively, were more physically active, relaxed, trusting, free, collaborative and happy. The same applied to the staff team.' Sue Bradshaw, Leader, Bishopston Summer Play Scheme, Gower

Play Associations 

What is a play association?

Play Associations come in all shapes and sizes, from local play associations, where a community group come together to run a summer play scheme or fundraise for new provision for play, to county and regional play associations that provide a range of services and aim to effect changes to local policy and strategy relating to play.

More information

Where can I find my regional play association?

More information about the ten regional play associations that cover Wales

The First Claim ... 

Where can I purchase a copy of The First Claim … ?

The First Claim … a framework for playwork quality assessment (along with The First Claim – Desirable Processes and other products) is available to purchase from the Play Wales online shop. Purchases can be made by credit card through PayPal, cheque, bank transfer or an invoice can be requested. Postage is free to all Play Wales members in Wales.

Are The First Claim … frameworks available electronically?

Yes, the frameworks are available to download in pdf and Microsoft Word format. 

More information


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