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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment


Learn to be an effective play leader - the children you work with will know you're fun, being within your care is exciting for them; and of course, parents can relax as their children enjoy attending care and go home tired from carrying out a variety of activities you have designed.

This course will able you to work as either a volunteer or in employment as a professional in this challenging and rewarding field. You will need to have lots of energy and imagination! You will need to love children and genuinely want to work for their development needs. 

Perfect for ... 

practitioners and parents,
youth workers, leaders and supervisors,
early childcare, creche, pre-school, primary school staff, home-care child-minders, babysitters and nannies 
play assistant and program leaders, 
outdoors play spaces and adventure park staff

Our staff have experience training play leaders for 4 decades and have devised this truly fantastic course which will challenge you and arm you with the skills you need to succeed in this vitally important industry.  Children deserve the best!

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Understand and apply a knowledge of Children's play to help children's physical and intellectual development.

This course will ensure you develop an understanding of the importance of play and childhood interactions. It gives practical methodologies for productive  activities for children.

The content is challenging touching on aspects of psychology and management - a real learning experience. 


"A truly cohesive course. Excellent in fact!  Absolutely essential for anyone working in child-care, a play leader at a children's vacation camp or even parents who want to understand more about the importance of play in child development.  This course gives a very in-depth look at a variety of topics which carry tremendous value in understanding children!"  Jade Sciascia, former Youth Leader, Sexual Health and Relationships Educator and High School Teacher. 



There are ten lessons in this course, plus one special project, covering:

Lesson 1. Understanding Play

  • Play leadership defined
  • Levels of childhood development
  • Nature or nurture
  • Isolating hereditary characteristics
  • Continuity versus discontinuity
  • Cross sectional and longitudinal studies
  • Reliability of verbal reports
  • Ethics and experiments
  • Play deprivation and juvenile violence
  • Free play
  • Compiling an activities file ( a project that extends across future lessons)

Lesson 2. Leadership Skills

  • Scope of skills
  • Career path options
  • Philosophy of play work
  • Qualities of a good leader
  • Leadership communication
  • Leader responsibilities
  • Types of activity
  • What is a good back up plan
  • Hints for leading activities
  • Achievability of activities
  • Challenging the child
  • Community participation

Lesson 3. Planning Play Programs

  • Benefits of a structured program
  • Factors to consider in planning choices
  • Issues for effective programming - people, purpose, participation, relevance, flexibility, evaluation
  • Program planning process
  • Types of program
  • Dimensions of a program
  • Participants goals
  • Personal characteristics
  • Ideas
  • Socio-physical context
  • Participants approach to achieving goals
  • Participant behaviour
  • Perceptions of consequences
  • Ideas

Lesson 4. Child Development through Play

  • Levels of child development
  • Theories of Learning in Infancy and Early Childhood
  • What is learning
  • Habituation
  • Vicarious learning
  • Classical conditioning
  • Operant conditioning
  • Cognitive development
  • Jean Piaget’s theory
  • Importance of play - Exploratory play, Constructive play, Symbolic play, Pretend play
  • Assimilation and accommodation
  • Socialisation

Lesson 5. Play Safety

  • Play versus safety
  • Legal considerations
  • Age and safety
  • Safety in exercise
  • Safety in aerobic activities
  • First aid facilities
  • Oxygen equipment
  • Identifying hazards
  • Basic safety audit for play spaces
  • Pre screening participants
  • Legal liability
  • When is liability a problem
  • Contributory negligence
  • Insurance
  • Inspecting play equipment

Lesson 6. Physical Play

  • Manipulating and changing the environment
  • Plant associations
  • Playing with the environment - animals, plants, earth, manufactured things
  • Trailing - sensory trails, cryptic puzzle trails
  • Gardening, animals, collecting, crafts, sports
  • Environmental activities - observing, collecting, aquaria, an antarium, asphalt activity, other examples
  • Organised exercise classes for children
  • Exercise programs for different age groups
  • For intellectually and physically disabled
  • Configurations or patterns of movement

Lesson 7. Social Play

  • Significance of social play
  • Influences on social behaviours
  • Benefits of social play
  • Social facilitation
  • Developing social skills
  • Stimulation by social play 
  • Impediments to social play
  • Strategies to facilitate social play
  • Social play activities

Lesson 8. Adventure Play

  • What is an adventure playground
  • Establishing an adventure playground
  • Playleader duties in an adventure playground
  • Site design
  • Playground facilities for disabled
  • All accessible playgrounds
  • Dedicated playgrounds
  • Liability

Lesson 9. Play Apparatus

  • Toys
  • Playground equipment
  • Big toy playgrounds
  • Environmental features
  • Equipment (consumables)
  • Tools
  • Naturally occurring materials for play
  • Painting and paints

Lesson 10. Play Activities

  • Scope of activities
  • Crafts - weaving, candle making, bark pictures, mosaics etc
  • Growing crystals
  • Camping

Lesson 11. Special Project Planning an after school play program


Duration: 100 hours



  • Explain the purpose of play in the cognitive, physical and social development of a child.
  • Determine the skills required to carry out a play leadership role in different situations
  • Plan for a supervised children's play program.
  • To develop a basic understanding of the impact of play upon the psychological development of a child.
  • To determine appropriate measures to take to protect a child's safety when at play, while minimising any interference which might diminish the quality of the play experience.
  • Explain options for physical play activities, including games and sports, in a supervised play program.
  • Develop an understanding of options for social play activities, in a supervised play program.
  • Plan, establish and manage a supervised adventure
  • Evaluate a range of different play apparatus, including playground structures, toys, sports equipment, commenting on quality, safety features, appropriate applications and cost benefit.

To broaden your scope of opportunities that can be offered for children to play, appropriate to a wide range of different situations.


Who will benefit from this course?

Youth leaders in community organisations or involved in community work

Coaches, trainers, and others involved in child health and fitness

Child carers, or people looking to transition into the early childhood industry

At the end of this course you will:

  • Understand how to plan, establish and manage a supervised adventure
  • Be able to explain the purpose of play in the cognitive, physical and social development of a child.
  • Understand how to effectively use play resources and structures in your interactions with children




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Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.
John MasonMr Mason has worked 45+ years in Writing, Education, Horticulture and Recreation. His experience in both public & private sectors is extensive; particularly across Australia and England.
Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

Check out our eBooks

Event ManagementThe Event Management ebook can be used as a reference for students or as a foundation text for professionals who need to know the finer details for organising an event. This book takes the reader through the all of the considerations that need to be looked at prior to, during and after an event is organised. The topics covered in the Event Management ebook are 1/ Scope and Nature of Event Management, 2/ Developing a Concept and Planning, 3/ Organising the Resources Required, 4/ Catering: Food and Drink, 5/ Promoting an Event, 6/ Managing the Clientele, 7/ Risk Management, Legalities and Contingency Planning, 8/ Delivering the Event, 9/ Organising Celebrations and Parties, 10/ Organising Exhibitions, 11/ Organising Conferences and Seminars and 12/ Working in the Event Industry.
LeadershipWhat makes a good leader? Is it an innate personality trait or a skill that can be acquired? This book is an excellent guide to the theories and practice of leadership. It is full of interesting facts about social dynamics and examples of leadership styles. For those who are curious or in need of some leadership skills, this book will provide both entertainment and advice.
How Children ThinkAnyone who has ever tried to make a child do anything (clean up their mess, desist from throwing mud, stop drawing on the walls) knows that children think differently to adults. This book attempts to provide the skills and knowledge to develop a greater understanding of children.
The Environment of PlayFull of inspiring colour images of playgrounds around the world, this book is ideal for designers, park managers, schools and parents! First published in the USA in 1982. Used in the past as a university text (in landscaping and education degrees). Completely revised in 2012. Full of inspiring colour images of playgrounds around the world, this book is ideal for designers, park managers, schools and parents! Play is the most important and effective method of learning for adults as well as children. It can be active or passive, planned or spontaneous. If you want to learn about the relationship between PLAY and the ENVIRONMENT, this is the ebook for you.