Aspects of Playwork

Play and Culture Studies
by Kelda Lyons, Michael Dr. Patte, Alex Cote & others
rrp $53.84

Publisher: Hamilton Books

Series: Play and Culture Studies

Publication Date: October 02, 2018

ISBN: 9780761870616

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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The postwar years in the UK saw the development of numerous artificial playgrounds intended to compensate children for increasing urbanization and a lack of wild places to play. Many of these sites employed playleaders, whose job was to use play to instill social behavioral norms on children, using games with rules and organized activities. From the early 1970s, that approach began to be replaced by playwork, a nondirective way of working. Playwork marked a rejection of the adult-focused practice of playleadership.

Playworkers relied more on an ambiance that reflected their own childhood freedoms and on the growing body of knowledge regarding the importance of play. This body of new literature suggested that play, unadulterated by societal objectives, was crucial to the successful development of all children; that play was not just good for exercise and social interaction, but was vital to brain growth and the child’s ability to adapt to a fast changing world.

Since those early days, playwork has mutated through a variety of guises, and over the years has begun to explore the child’s impact on space, the relationships between child and adult, what playworkers do, the therapeutic aspects of play, and has even taken faltering footsteps into the complexities of the quantum world. Aspects of Playwork reflects this awesome diversity of views and interpretation, moving from the historical to the almost sci-fi and from ghostly traces to the hard realities of being a child and working with children in the 2000s. Most of all, though, Aspects of Playwork is a commentary on the beauty and wonder of what play is and what it is to play.