The Playwork Principles

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An Introduction

The Playwork Principles establish a professional and ethical framework for playwork. They are endorsed by the national training organisation for playwork - SkillsActive - by the Welsh Assembly Government and by Play Wales.

Where the Principles refer to children and young people, they mean all children and young people.

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Playwork Principles

These Principles establish the professional and ethical framework for playwork 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.

The Playwork Principles are held in trust for the UK playwork profession by the Scrutiny Group that acted as an honest broker overseeing the consultations through which they were developed.

The copyright statement relating to this website does not apply to the Playwork Principles. The copyright of the Playwork Principles does not belong to Play Wales. The copyright is held in trust for the playwork profession by the Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group. Any reference in writing or ortherwise to the Playwork Principles should be attributed to the Playwork Principles Scrutiny Group, Cardiff 2005 - not Play Wales.

Further information 

The Playwork Principles – an overview

The information sheet aims to provide an overview of the Playwork Principles which establish the professional and ethical framework for playwork. As well as describing the development of the Playwork Principles the information sheet also briefly explores ethics and playwork.

View online | Download The Playwork Principles - an overview

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