Playwork is a profession. Playworkers train to do their job.
Play is fundamental to children's health and wellbeing. In today's Wales there are fewer and fewer opportunities to play independently of adults.
We need to create opportunities and places where children and young people can play freely and with confidence. Places where they can encounter a wide range of opportunities and possibilities - where the adults involved understand the nature and importance of all aspects of children's play and work to support it.
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 ensure that the play space is inclusive - supporting all children to make the most of the opportunities available in their own way.
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. Playworkers neither direct nor organise play, they are trained to judge when or whether to intervene.
Playworkers operate under the ethos of the Playwork Principles. The Playwork Principles help to explain the role of the playworker.
Download People make Play Play England report based on Demos research into the impact of staffed play provision.
Download Playwork: what's so special? An information sheet that provides an overview of what is unique about playwork and the role of the playworker. It describes how playworkers’ work relates to the Playwork Principles in terms of facilitating children’s play and the impact of playworkers and their intervention on children’s play and the play space. It also provides a checklist for facilitating a compensatory play space.
Where do playworkers work?
Playworkers can work anywhere where children play, including:
- staffed adventure playgrounds
- childcare settings, e.g. out of school clubs (Clybiau Plant Cymru Kids' Clubs)
- doorstep and neighbourhood play projects
- integrated children's centres
- peripatetic playwork projects, e.g. playbuses or play ranger services
- holiday playschemes
- play centres - year round out of school provision
- a hospital play room or play area