Thinking about play: A Continuous Professional Development Opportunity in the Southwest!

18 June 2013

The University of Gloucestershire (UoG) is pleased to announce the pilot of an exciting new continuous professional development programme for experienced playwork practitioners in the Southwest starting in September 2013.

The programme

The programme, entitled 'Thinking about Play', originally created with Playwork London, provides an advanced framework for understanding and developing a playwork approach to working with children in adult organised play settings. The programme is based on the Manchester Circles model (Lester and Russell, 2002) that currently informs 'Quality in Play' (Play England, 2010) and covers how understandings of play influence all aspects of organizational policies and practices. It will be led by Stuart Lester, Senior Lecturer in Play and Playwork at the University.

It consists of five full-day workshops (5 hours per session), with time between each of these sessions to apply principles, concepts and tools into practice. The programme stands alone as an opportunity for practitioners to renew, reaffirm, reflect and reconfigure their understanding and practice. It also offers a framework for capturing elements of children's play and playwork  into a coherent picture and as such brings a playwork approach to 'quality assurance' and continuous organisational review through exploring ways of 'measuring' the relationship between the overall vision and values of the organization and what happens in the play environment.

More than a training programme

This pilot project is more than a training programme as it also looks at ways of developing a community of practice following the five workshops. 'Thinking about Play' is a central component of a small research project developed with the UoG that considers the ways in which play organisations and practitioners can best support and evidence the value of playwork. In order to make the most of this we needexpressions of interestfrom senior experienced practitioners and/or managers from playwork settings to participate in this pilot programme. We would also recommend that where possible a minimum of two workers from each setting attend in order to support each other when looking at current practice in the setting and introducing change. Participants should:

  • make a commitment to attend all workshops and participate in collecting 'evidence' using the tools developed in the sessions;
  • participate in post-workshop follow-up activities (online and face-to-face) that consider ways of developing playwork communities of practice to support on-going learning and development.

The pilot programme is heavily subsidised, so there won't be another opportunity to participate at such low rates!

Bookings can be made online by clicking here.

 To discuss this further, please contact Wendy Russell (details below). Email:

Telephone: 0115 841 2387 / 07930 682830



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