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Why is the Playground Square: What causes problems on our playground and how do we solve them?
Playwork is difficult to describe ... it is not child-care or early years work (but it does engage younger children) and it is not youth-work (although it does engage older teenagers too) and it is certainly not education or teaching (even though there are things ‘learnt’ on play settings). Put simply, playwork is about enabling children and young people to play by providing sympathetic and adaptable environments in which they can do so without the need for direct adult involvement ... it is not 'adult-led' or ‘child-led’ but ‘play-led’. Playwork defines play as 'what children and young people do when they follow their own ideas and interests in their own way and for their own reasons'. There is no external goal or outcome expected in playwork and certainly nothing that is easily measureable. This is what makes it difficult to describe ... to truly get playwork you need to see it in action. It also explains why as way of working it sometimes conflicts with other forms of work.
Most school systems around the world have a place (the playground, school yard) and a time (playtime, break, recess) set aside during the school day in which children exercise free-choice over what they do and how they do it. For the most part what they do there and then is play. However, most school systems around the world also report negative issues in relation to the recess periods citing the effect on discipline, bullying and interference in class-time for example.
The reasons for this are generally laid on the children using that space and an apparent lack of the kind of play adults remember from their time at primary school and as a result many schools place significant restrictions on what can be done during recess, reduced the time allocated, and in some cases remove it all together.
This seminar explores this issues identifying what is actually causing the problem on most school playgrounds and presenting very simple, cheap but effective methods for dealing with them.
Questions to be covered will include:
Marc Armitage is a playworker, an independent consultant, researcher and writer in children’s play and the wider social world of children and young people from 0-19 years.
He has been a playworker for nearly thirty years, the last twenty plus as an independent and freelance play-working consultant. Marc has such a solid reputation of being one of the leading experts on PLAY in the United Kingdom and he is in high demand to teach and lecture all over the UK, 12 months of the year.
Marc is a regular speaker to conference and seminar events around the world and has been published in magazine articles, periodicals, journals and books in English, Swedish and Dutch. He is also is a member of the Society for the Study of Childhood in the Past, the History of Education Society and the Folklore Society.