Play Policy


Clubland is committed to providing quality play, which is child led in a safe and stimulating environment, which may involve an element of risk.

‘Play can be fun or serious. Through play, children explore social, material and imaginary worlds and their relationship with them, elaborating all the while a flexible range of responses to the challenges they encounter. By playing, children learn and develop as individuals and as members of the community.’ Best Play – Children’s Play Council

Play Principles

These principles establish the professional and ethical framework for play work 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.

  1. All children and young people need to play. The impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well being of individuals and communities.

  2. Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. That is, children and young people determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons.

  3. The prime focus and essence of playwork is to support and facilitate the play process and this should inform the development of play policy, strategy, training and education.

  4. For playworkers, the play process takes precedence and playworkers act as advocates for play when engaging with adult led agendas.

  5. The role of the playworker is to support all children and young people in the creation of a space in which they can play.

  6. The playworker's response to children and young people playing is based on a sound up to date knowledge of the play process, and reflective practice.

  7. Playworkers recognise their own impact on the play space and also the impact of children and young people’s play on the playworker.

  8. Playworkers choose an intervention style that enables children and young people to extend their play. All playworker intervention must balance risk with the developmental benefit and well being of children.

How we plan for Play Opportunities

The majority of the indoor equipment is stored on shelves that can be easily reached or in low level clear boxes, with a photograph of the contents to enable children to have free access to them. In cases where the children cannot have direct access due to safety precautions, a book containing photographs is available so the children can choose.

The children direct their own play throughout the session and choose whether to participate in an adult led structured activity.

When purchasing or obtaining equipment, care is taken to ensure that we offer a balance of equipment to cover all play types within the setting.

Rough & tumble Discovering physical flexibility and gauging relative strength Playful wrestling Tag    
Deep Play Allows child to encounter risky or even life-threatening experiences, to develop survival skills and conquer fear. Trim Trail Climbing Trees BMX bikes Swimming
Imaginative play Imagining you are a ship or a tree where conventional rules which govern physical world do not apply Drama workshops Free play    
Role Play Exploring ways of everyday life Preparing food in the play kitchen Sweeping the floor and ironing Shopping and paying for food Doctors surgery
Creative Play Which allows a new response, transformation of information, making new connections Painting, Cut & stick Playdough clay Junk modelling Woodwork
Communication Play Using words or nuances Britain’s got Talent Karaoke Story telling  
Dramatic Play Play that dramatizes events that they are not a direct participator. Eg: TV show, funeral Props for role play Festivals/events    
Exploratory Play Play that allows you to access information through the manipulation and or mouthing of object. Playdough Clay Building bricks Sand & water Cookery
Fantasy Play

Play which the child rearranges to fit their world: eg: being a pilot and flying around the world.

Role play props Furniture/resources Dressing up  
Locomotive Play Movement for its own sake Tag Tree climbing Hide & seek Running
Object Play Play which uses interesting sequences of hand eye coordination. Eg: examination and novel use of any object Painting using straws Clay using objects to create patterns    
Symbolic Play Play that allows you to explore and increase your understanding without being out of your depth. eg: a piece of string to symbolise a wedding ring. Using creative & equipment within their play Objects to denote people    
Social dramatic play Enactment of real and potential experiences of an intense person, social domestic or interpersonal nature, following rules Role playmeal time Shopping Visit to dentist  
Affective Play Play that involves children experiencing or experimenting with emotions, feelings, and attitudes Talent shows Team games Role play Music


How we manage Risky Play

All play is risky but the level of risk is dependent upon the age, ability, experience of the child as well as the environment.  All our play experiences and activities are risk assessed, some in a more formal way than others.

It is our opinion that risky play has a vital role in the development of a child and provided that staff are given the necessary tools,  training and children follow instructions and abide by rules it can be a very rewarding experience. 

For example, too often children will  go into the woods and start climbing a tree without giving too much thought to how they will get down. At some of our locations we are lucky to have trees to climb, and within a controlled environment with a 1st Aider on hand, children can learn the safe method of climbing and desending a tree.

Firstly, they learn to recongnise if a tree is solid enough to take their weight. Is it old and brittle or too young and branches will bend? After a visual inspection they test a tree by climbing up to the 1st branch and whilst holding onto the trunk place one foot on a branch and test it to see if it will hold their weight. They then climb down.

If they feel confident about going up slightly higher, they can go up to the next branch and repeat the process. The children can continue this process until they have reached the height the playworker has agreed is the limit.

This is a prime example of staff offering the necessary support and guidance to children  to scaffold their development, whilst learning what their limitations are. 

Through the scaffolding process the input of the playworker reduces as the confidence of the child increases.