What's in P3?

Playwork: Principles into Practice (P3) qualifications share an approach that blends theory with practical playwork skills and offer learners the opportunity to put into practice and reflect upon what they have learnt.

All our qualifications share an inclusive approach to play and playwork and the needs of disabled children are embedded within them.

Level 2

P3 level 2 provides an accessible introduction to understanding play in children’s lives and how we might facilitate it as playworkers. It outlines an approach based on the Playwork Principles and emphasises the skills, understanding and attitudes required by an assistant playworker.

Level 2 – Award
This course will give learners a clearer understanding of play and playwork. They will be able to describe the role of the playworker in creating an environment that supports play and understand the basic skills and intervention styles of a playworker. They will also be able to reflect on their practice.

The Award course covers: play and its biological, evolutionary, social, developmental and psychological importance; the Playwork Principles; an introduction to the Play Cycle; the playwork curriculum and theory of loose parts and the playworker's role in supporting an effective play environment; the compensatory nature of playwork; appropriate intervention styles, responses and relationships; reflective practice; inclusion and the social model of disability; the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); health and safety for playworkers; the importance of risk in play; risk assessment; child protection (N.B. this should not be seen as a replacement for dedicated child protection training from an appropriate body).


Level 2 – Certificate
The Certificate course builds on the work of the Award, developing and expanding its key messages. It is also underpinned by the Playwork Principles.

The course covers: affective play spaces; an introduction to human development and play theory; dynamic risk assessment; play types; an introduction to play deprivation; advocating for children's play; gender and play; behaviour and relationships; communication; food; discrimination and prejudice; essential procedures and the law; and it will recap and develop the understanding of the Playwork Principles, and a playworkers response to children's play.


Level 2 – Diploma
The Diploma course continues to develop and recap the work of the Award and Certificate.

It covers: emotional risk; the wider social context of the child and its impact on the play environment; observation; further development of the play environment and creativity; self build and loose parts; consulting children and participation; monitoring and evaluation; safeguarding children; mentoring and supervision; playwork history; administration and finances; policies; empowering children; and it will recap and develop the understanding of the Playwork Principles, the Play Cycle, inclusive practice, intervention, risk, and play deprivation.


Level 3

The level 3 qualification aims to provide learners with a deeper understanding of the significance of play in children’s lives and the role of the playworker in relation to the Playwork Principles. It provides the knowledge skills and attitudes required to effectively support children’s play and their own organisational practice.

Level 3 – Award
The Award covers: a detailed look at the Playwork Principles; play types; the playwork curriculum; the play cycle; The United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC); children’s need to play; barriers to play; planning and play audits; risk-benefit assessments and hazards and site checks; personal and professional skills of a playworker; policies and procedures (Wales); paperwork; reflective practice and personal triggers.


Level 3 – Certificate
The Certificate covers: benefits of play; barriers to play; play deprivation; gender in playwork; play needs and preferences; developing and sustaining relationships with children and adults and why they are important; implementing risk-benefit analysis in the environment including dynamic assessment and supporting risk averse adults; observing and evaluating play; intervention; regulatory requirements and evaluation tools; play value; developing recommendations for improving practice; reflective practice models; peer reflection; professional development needs and plans; inclusive playwork practice including both theoretical and practice approaches to working with children and adults; advocating for inclusion; understanding complex needs and particular requirements; understanding safeguarding legislation policy and procedures; working with others around safeguarding; and supporting those affected by safeguarding issues.

Level 3 – Diploma
The Diploma covers: exploring ideas around play through other disciplines including considering therapeutic play; creativity; children’s culture and the physicality of play; the impact of play spaces including play affordances, affective spaces and compound flexibility; the impact of playworker intervention; reflections on play spaces and behaviour; recruitment, selection and support of staff; communication and management; financial procedures and funding; group and personal reflection; review of personal and professional development; developmental theories and how they relate to playwork practice; understanding the benefits of play in the community; advocacy and networking; and an introduction to critical thinking.