Working together for children: Stirling
Working together for children: Stirling

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Working together for children: Stirling

4 Play

The activity in this section considers the importance of play as an expression of children's agency and as a contributory factor to children's wellbeing. You will be encouraged to reflect on how children's play intersects with your own role and relationships with children, and the level of opportunities children have for play beyond the gaze and influence of adults. You will critically analyse the extent to which some children are denied opportunities for play, and how play space itself is sometimes a site of inequality and power.

There is one activity for you to complete that recognises how adults still have a role in initiating and supporting play.

Activity 5

1 hour 30 minutes

The scrutiny of adults can, in some ways, impede or interfere with children's opportunities to play. In this activity we recognise that adults still have a role in initiating and supporting play to ensure that it is inclusive. You will consider what kinds of skill, knowledge and values are needed to achieve this.

Compile a list of practitioner skills, knowledge and values that appear to be important to this experience.

Click play to watch the 'Play' video clip (6 minutes).

Download this video clip.Video player: Play
Skip transcript: Play

Transcript: Play

Paul
Plus is a voluntary organisation based here in Stirling. It was formed about 20 years ago now, nearly 20 years ago by a group of families who were very concerned that their children with disabilities were not able to get involved in ordinary local play activities, particularly at that time. They were concerned about the summer holidays and the fact that their children were stuck at home when others were being able to get involved in getting out and about and doing things with friends.
Louise
We’ve got 17 kids coming today, 9 of them are one to ones.
Angus
Stand next to the window there. In front of it, stand in front of the window. Yep. Yeh, that’s it. (Can hear woman’s voice off mike during this).
Record.
What do you like about , about working at Plus?
Louise
I like when all the boys and girls come and have loads of fun…
Angus
Yeh?
Louise
… and when they go outside when the sun’s shining, so they’re not all stuck inside all day … that’s what I like.
Angus
Yeh?
Louise
And I like when we play parachute games at the beginning.
Angus
Yeh?
Louise
… cos it gets all the Angus and girls together.
Angus
Yeh, is that all?
Louise
Well I like lots of things about coming to Plus.
Angus
Anything else?
Louise
Anything else about what I like? Ehm I like when we do baking and you all get to take your cakes home … and nobody makes me any. And I like when we have the cinema, when people make tickets for the cinema … and they all get to watch their favourite films.
Angus
Yeh, like we’re going to do this afternoon.
Louise
We’re going to do that this afternoon. And you’re going to make some tickets.
Angus
Yes and, yes.
Louise
And …
Cameraman
…what were you going to say Angus, you were going to tell me something then?
Angus
In a minute
Man
OK.
Angus
Is that all?
Louise
Yes.
Angus
Yeh, this afternoon you can come and show me making the tickets if you want to.
Paul Dumbleton
Children with disabilities face so many obstacles and a lot of those are not physical obstacles, they’re to do with their vulnerabilities and their need for a bit more support or a bit more supervision than the average child of their age.
And so really what we’re giving children is a chance to be away from away from their families and families to have a break from, from caring for their children. And although families do love to spend time together, family members also like to spend time apart and particularly for children and particularly as they grow and get older.
Louise
Angus has Asberger’s Syndrome and some loss of hearing.
Angus
Do you like coming to play with us?
It’s just great fun, there’s lots to do and there’s nothing, there’s nothing boring here.
Louise
He enjoys like building and construction so he probably enjoy the junk modelling through there.
Darren
I like working at Plus because I know I’m making a difference when I work here.
Louise
He’s a very loud voice and he will start shouting when he’s quite excited, so just get him to calm down and speak a wee bit quieter, especially if you’re standing right next to him, he is very loud.
Angus
Why do you like coming here?
Boy
Because there’s lots of other things to do and with lots of games and sometimes you get to watch DVDs. And you even get to get make bake stuff like crispy cakes, muffins and you get to make popcorn and stuff.
Angus
Is that all?
Boy
Yeh.
Angus
That’s very good thank you.
Boy
Angus, I’m the banker Angus.
Angus
The banker doesn’t two, both jobs.
Boy
He does actually.
Linda
That’s alright.
Angus
Come on, come one. That’s four … five. Where am I?
One, two, three, four, five.
Boy
There you go. I think I’ve got that one.
Linda
Did you? Have a wee look. Oh no that’s …
[lots of voices off mic]
Paul Dumbleton
There aren’t legal requirements to make sure that children have friends or make sure they get out and have a bit of fun. And actually that’s the basis of them, for example, succeeding at school.
If you go to school and you’re lonely and miserable the chances of you learning a lot are pretty, pretty slim.
If you’re very bright I suppose you might learn a lot to compensate for lack of friends but if you’ve got learning difficulties and no friends, what do you do?
End transcript: Play
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
Play
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Discussion

It is widely acknowledged that disabled children (perhaps more so than other children) have lives that are constantly under the scrutiny and influence of parents or carers. One consequence of this can be that disabled children are marginalised from mainstream play opportunities and environments, and all of the benefits that these can provide. Therefore, practitioners need to have a commitment towards inclusive opportunities for all children, as well as sensitivity towards the realities and associated feelings of children, parents and carers.

Sometimes the overbearing attitudes of adults towards children emerge from a desire to protect them from potential discrimination, from their own feelings of isolation, or a lack of awareness of what support services are available in their neighbourhood. Some children also need and desire close adult contact to maintain their own emotional or physical safety.

In the video clip, Paul Dumbleton reminds us that both children and their families sometimes need a break from each other, and projects like Play Plus have evolved in response to this. Practitioners consequently need skills to be able to work sensitively in partnership with families, and to provide them with information and flexible choices geared towards their differing positions and lifestyles.

It is evident from watching the video clip that practitioners need to work as a team and communicate knowledge about children with each other. Providing inclusive play opportunities may mean attending to children's specific requirements and desires (even to the extent of providing one-to-one support), yet this can only be achieved where practitioners are fully aware and consistent in their approach.

Children with behaviours associated with the autistic spectrum may benefit more than others from differing levels of structure and certainty within the play environment. Skill is needed to facilitate these children's participation in group play settings, striking a balance between structure and the integral uncertainties associated with free flow play.

The video clip provides many examples of practitioners working to ensure that their support for children is as unobtrusive as possible. In reality, and with well-planned and adequately resourced support, most disabled children can have positive and inclusive play experiences.

KE312_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus