Innate Drive to Play

29/07/15 – Unit 3.9
3.1 – How well do you as a team support children and young people to create play spaces?
In order to answer this question I would first like to give our club some context. PlaytimeXtra work in a relatively large space compared to other settings with a classroom opening up on to a playground. We also have a field beyond this playground and a small woods beyond that. The average number of children coming to the after school club is relatively small compared to other clubs (5 children per night). There are only two staff working in the club – myself and Beth James who is also finishing her level 3.
Because we are a small team, we work very closely and discuss how we create play spaces and reasons for doing them on a regular basis. We discuss what to spend the budget on and also what we can ‘pick up’ for free to make the play spaces more stimulating for the children. Creating play spaces is about boundaries as much as equipment – We quickly realised that children wanted to explore the areas beyond the classroom and the playground. We have created a playtime in the field and the woods and allow children to have ‘free time’ to explore along with some structured activities. We (as a team) regularly discuss boundaries and rules and ask the children to agree what is acceptable. This forms our ever expanding risk assessment policy, the important points being fed back to the parents and agreed on a termly basis. Parents who want to opt out of some of the more ‘adventurous’ activities which put their child in greater risk of harm can do so on their child’s behalf.
In addition to boundaries however, we do endeavour to create ambient spaces – using mobile tents, dressing up boxes to encourage role play, a variety of art equipment, the use of sand/mud and water and of course the physical environment which I have touched on in the previous paragraph.
3.2 – Why is a team approach important?
Having worked with Beth, I have always encouraged a two way...