What is play & playwork?

Playwork is the work of creating and maintaining spaces for children to play.

The theory and practice of playwork recognises that children’s play must be ‘Freely chosen, personally driven and intrinsically motivated. Children’s playing must not be ‘Adulterated’ by any adult or external agendas.

It is the job of a playworker to ensure that the broadest possible range of Play Types are available to children, to observe, reflect and analyse the playing that is happening and select a mode of intervention or make a change to the playspace if needed.  Playworkers ensure that the play space is inclusive – supporting all children to make the most of the opportunities available in their own way.

Playwork is a highly skilled profession that enriches and enhances children’s play.

Being qualified in Playwork can lead to a wide range of jobs, working in a range of settings, including:

  • Play centres
  • Nurseries
  • After school clubs
  • Holiday play-schemes
  • Mobile play-schemes operating from buses and vans
  • Hospitals and other NHS settings
  • Prisons

Play rangers work with children in parks and open spaces and, in some areas, playworkers can be found in schools.