Inspiring Play, Sept 2012

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Inspiring Play newsletter is for anyone who works or has an interest in the play of children and young people age 0-19 years in Oxfordshire, UK


  • Inspiring

    Inside Inside Inside Play News & Updates

    Play Conference details

    Being InclusiveTen

    Top Tips

    Fun Optical Illusions

    Info for Playworkers

    PlayThen and Now

    Play Training

    Baby Signing Fun

    And more...

  • 2


    newsletter is produced by Oxfordshire Play Association on behalf of the Oxfordshire Play Partnership (OPP), a group

    of organisations whose aim is to increase the amount and quality of play opportunities for children and young people aged 0-19 years across Oxfordshire. OPP creates and updates the Oxfordshire Play Strategy this and lots of other OPP info is available on Oxfordshire Play Associations website see under Play Resources.

    For further information about OPP, Inspiring Play or any other aspect of play and playwork,

    contact Oxfordshire Play Association: Tel: 01865 779474; email:;

    Childrens Play & Leisure Promoting a Balanced Approach

    A Statement from the Health & Safety Executive (HSE)

    The HSE have issued an update which includes the following key messages:

    a) Recognising the benefits of play: play is great for childrens wellbeing and development.

    When planning and providing play opportunities, the goal is not to eliminate risk, but to weigh

    up the risks and benefits. No child will learn about risk if they are wrapped in cotton wool.

    b) What parents and society should expect from play providers: those providing play

    opportunities should focus on controlling the real risks, while securing or increasing the

    benefits, not on the paperwork.

    c) If things go wrong: accidents and mistakes happen during play, but fear of litigation and

    prosecution has been blown out of proportion.

    More here:


    Oxfordshire Play Partnership is updating the

    action plan of the Oxfordshire Play Strategy.

    If you would like a copy of the strategy and

    action plan, it is available on the OPA

    website (details at bottom of page).

    NewOPA PLAY BOXES The updated OPA Play Box catalogue is now available on the OPA website. There are

    new themes to the Play Boxes, which link directly into the

    themes of the revised EYFS. The Play Boxes are suitable for all

    ages, with activities covering Air, Water, Fire, Sporty Games,

    Imaginative Play, Wheely Play, Creative and Sensory Play.

  • 3

    Cost: from 10 To book, contact Jane Gallagher at OPA:

    01865 779474 or email:

    Saturday 16th March 2013


    at Oxford Brookes University

    Wheatley Campus (just off ring road)

    Wheatley, Oxford OX33 1HX

    Lots of free parking & regular public transport

    For everyone who works in play or has an interest in play for

    children and young people age 0-19 years in Oxfordshire.

    Keynote Speakers:

    Cath Prisk (Play England)


    Vicky Hatch

    (OCC Childrens


    A choice of 8






    goodie bag

    Who should attend?


    Youth workers


    Childcare workers

    Development workers


    Sports & Leisure Clubs


    Other colleagues

    Improving lives through play

  • 4

    Conference Programme 09.30 - 10.00 Registration, refreshments and stalls

    10.00 Welcome: Martin Gillett, Oxfordshire Play Association

    10.10 Keynote Speaker: Vicky Hatch, OCC Childrens Centres

    10.30 Coffee break & Move to workshops

    10.50 Morning workshops

    12.00 LUNCH and stalls

    1.00 Welcome back with Playful Activity

    1.15 Keynote Speaker: Cath Prisk, Director, Play England

    1.40 Move to workshops

    1.50 Afternoon workshops

    3.00 Whole conference activity, Prize Draw, Goodie Bags and closing remarks

    3.30 Close

    Other useful info:

    The same workshops will run in the morning and the afternoon.

    Places on the workshops are limited, and will be allocated on a first come,

    first served basis. We will endeavour to ensure that everyone receives their

    1st and 2nd choices, but will allocate 3rd choices if workshops are full.

    Some of the workshops are practical, and the Fire Play workshop will take

    place outsideplease dress accordingly!

    Refreshments and buffet lunch are include in the (highly subsidised) price.

    Stalls will be available for information and purchases.

    Places can be cancelled up to 10 days before the conference date, otherwise

    the full amount is payable. Places can be swapped to a different person at any timeplease try

    to swap instead of cancelling.

    Photographs and video footage may be taken for use by Oxfordshire Play Partnership for

    promotional materials. Please contact us if you do NOT consent to this.

    More conference information, directions and a map are available on the OPA website at

    Contact OPA (Oxfordshire Play Association) for more details and information about the

    conference: 01865 779474 or email:

    Improving lives through play

  • 5

    Saturday 16th March, 9.30am-3.30pm at Oxford Brookes University (Wheatley Campus)

    Booking Form Please complete one form per person (feel free to photocopy it).

    Workshop Choices You will be attending two workshops. The same workshops will run in the morning and afternoon. Please indicate your 1st and 2nd choices in the boxes below. Please indicate a 3rd choice in case

    either of those is full.

    Payment: (please tick one)

    Payment method: (please tick one)

    Please return the completed booking form by email or by post to Jane Gallagher at Oxfordshire Play Association:

    Email: Address: Oxfordshire Play Association, Temple Cowley URC,

    Oxford Road, Temple Cowley, Oxford OX4 2ES. (Tel: 01865 779474)


    Job role

    Telephone Landline


    Email address

    Place of work +

    Work address + Postcode

    Any specific access requirements

    Any specific dietary requirements

    Fire Play An exciting practical workshop learning

    about fire skills.

    Resolving Issues A new approach to supporting children and

    young people to resolve issues.

    Playful Schools Ideas for how to make your school more


    The Business of Play Exploring practical ways to run a successful

    childcare business.

    Playing for Cheap Wonderful play ideas using recycled and

    low-cost materials.

    Play for Health & Wellbeing Fun ways to enable children to be active,

    engaged and to take risks.

    Encouraging Playful Families Exploring ways to encourage families to

    have more playful times.

    Creating a Rich Play Environment Ideas to make any space more playful using a

    variety of loose parts.

    10 (early bird discount, only for bookings received by 31st December 2012)

    15 (for bookings received after 1st January 2013)

    50 (for anyone who works outside of Oxfordshire)

    Cheque (made payable to: Oxfordshire Play Association)

    Bank transfer to OPA (Account no: 00009290; Sort Code: 40-52-40)

    Invoice please invoice my place of work address as above

    Improving lives through play

  • 6

    Even in 1903 we bemoaned the fact that children were playing less...

    "Children are forgetting how to play. To realise this, one

    has only to watch the pupils in recreation time with their

    disappointed amusements, their unrelated racings and

    shoutings, their perfunctory attempts at leapfrog...but the

    village pastimes which were organised for children...are

    fast becoming obsolete. This is doubtless an inevitable

    result of modern developments

    Article from Leisure Hour, 1903, quoted in The Lore of the Playground by Steve Roud

    Childrens Roaming Map

    You may have seen this map, which accompanied a Daily Mail article entitled How children lost the right to roam in four generations.

    It outlines how much freedom to roam each of 4 successive generations had at the age of 8:

    Eds great-grandfather was allowed to walk 6 miles by himself to go fishing.

    Eds grandfather was allowed to walk one mile to the woods.

    Eds mother was allowed to walk half a mile to the swimming pool.

    Ed is only allowed to walk to the end of his street (less than 300 metres).

  • 7

    The current training OPA offers includes: Take 5 for Play: a 15 hour tutor-led course with 10 hours of practice in playwork settings. This is an accredited course and is ideal for those who are new to playwork. QCF Level 2 in Playwork: a work-based and classroom-based qualification. There are short workshops once a month to support the learner in all the underpinning knowledge areas. An assessor will visit you every 4-6 weeks to assess your practical work. QCF Level 3 in Playwork: a work-based and classroom-based qualification. There are short workshops once a month to support the learner in all the underpinning knowledge areas. An assessor will visit you every 4-6 weeks to assess your practical work. QCF Level 3 Transitional Award from Early Years to Playwork: a level 3 qualification that is suitable for those already holding a level 3 qualification in Early Years or Childcare.

    80% of all of the above courses are currently funded by Oxfordshire County Council until March 2013so sign up soon to receive this great offer.

    Many congratulations to the following learners who were successful in achieving their Level 3 Transitional Award in June of 2012!

    Short Courses: OPA also offer short courses (normally 2 hours) in play to childminders, children centres, out of school providers, school staff, early intervention hubs, leisure centres, community associations and other groups throughout Oxfordshire. Short courses include:

    We are constantly developing our training around local and national developments in the field of play. We are happy to adapt current courses and

    design new ones to meet specific requirements that you may have.

    If you would like more information on any of our courses please contact Brid: 01865 779474 or email: or visit OPAs website

    Susanna Auger, Ann Dunsdon, Sian Harris, Charlotte Howes, Andrea Law, Alicia McCauley, Karen Parsloe, Shauna Simister,

    Suzanne Smith, Samantha Surrage, Diane Wilson & Maria Reader.

    From Brid Muldoon, OPA Training Officer

    Loose Parts

    Something up your Sleeve, Whatever the Weather

    Fun with Food

    Arts & Crafts from a Big Red Box

    Promoting Play at Playtime

    Recycled Creations

    Inclusive Play

    Promoting Positive Behaviour

    Playwork Principles

    A Taste of Playwork

    A Bit Risky but a Lot of Fun

    Kitchen Chemistry & Magic Potions

    Managing a Playwork Setting

  • 8

    The events were organised

    by steering groups, each made up from a variety of

    local organisations which

    fundraised hard for each

    event, including Oxfordshire

    Play Association, district councils, county council,

    parish councils, voluntary

    organisations, and many

    more, plus over 200 groups which ran the playful


    Each event and all activities

    were completely free, and

    Oxfordshire can be proud of a great effort for PLAY.

    More play events in 2013!

    DIY face painting and hanging out

    Doing back flips off Dad

    Over 16,000 people attended the 12

    Playday events which took place across Oxfordshire this spring and

    summer. The events were part of

    National Playday, which promotes the

    value of play for physical health,

    mental wellbeing, self-esteem, family bonding, community building...the list

    of play benefits goes on!

    Cardboard makes den cities and bionic arms


  • 9

    Do you work with children or young people? Is you setting truly inclusive? Here are the ten features that you would find in inclusive

    play provision.

    1. Everyone is welcomed. 2. A commitment to change practice and attitudes and adopt a positive 'can-do' approach.

    3. Children's play interest lead their play, and activities take into account their likes, dislikes and access support requirements.

    4. Each child has a chance to express their views on the play sessions and the setting in their own way.

    5. All staff have undertaken rights-based training around

    disablism, equality and diversity. 6. The setting has a clear vision on what it wants to do and how they will achieve it.

    7. Every parent feels welcomed and valued and encouraged to work in partnership with staff to ensure their child is genuinely included.

    8. It is demonstrated through attitudes and behaviour how unremarkable it is that disabled children are part of the local community.

    9. All staff are developing their skills to communicate effectively with each child, whilst encouraging children to develop ways of communicating with each other.

    10. The manager is committed to the active participation and involvement of all children, parents, staff and other partners so that each child can be effectively included.

    From KIDS (

    To order your Including All of Us poster

    for 1 per copy plus p&p,



  • 10

    You may have heard of baby signing: its the phenomenon of using

    sign language, in conjunction with speech, to help pre-verbal children

    communicate. Baby signing swept the UK some years ago from the US

    and it is very much here to stay.

    Dont be mislead by the term baby - using signing has benefits for

    children of all ages and can be used very effectively in reducing tears

    and tantrums up to around 5 years, when a child may be more able to

    verbalise what they need.

    Why sign?

    Gesture is a normal part of communication development, and using sign language is a fun,

    inclusive method of introducing concepts that may be beyond a young childs capacity to

    verbalise. (There is a common fear that children who sign will not speak, but this is not the case

    if signing is used correctly, in conjunction with speech).

    Ultimately, signing will NOT cause your baby to have delayed speech. It will be one of the

    best things you do to help prepare your baby for talking!

    Christina Schabow, Speech and Language Pathologist

    Signing Fun!

    Not only can the use of signing help communication development, give children a head start,

    help with confidence, reinforce learning and help children have a greater word bank it can also

    be HUGE fun for everyone within a setting or family!

    Children are kinaesthetic learners which means that they learn most effectively by being able to

    do - games, interspersed with signing, are probably one of the simplest, most effective ways

    of reinforcing language structure and word acquisition.

    Getting started with signing is very simple and

    straightforward as children tend to demonstrate a

    natural curiosity and interest in learning sign language,

    becoming active participants in learning.

    "Research shows when signing is added to the (pre-

    school) curriculum, children not only find signing fun

    but also show a significant improvement in receptive

    English vocabulary and retain information for a longer

    period of time."

    Daniels, M (2001): Dancing with Words Signing for

    hearing childrens literacy

    George signing ball

    Baby Signing: Fun for Everyone!

    By Shelley Ensor, Little Signers Club

  • 11

    Just adding in a few signs to everyday games at a setting or home can encourage children to learn

    new words and develop their motor skills. Settings have a range of ages and

    families get bigger; older children ADORE showing their signing skills to younger children and often

    become the person who signs the most with a new arrival.

    Signing fun to try...

    1. Animal Sign and Sound

    One person makes the sign for an animal and the others provide the sound effects. Practice

    at home and then have fun in a more public place as no one will know why you are making

    elephant noises at the top of your voice!

    2. A Signing Hunt

    Try a signing hunt around the room or garden, with signs along a topic. For instance,

    colours. One person signs a colour and everyone else needs to go and find things of that

    colour. You can adapt this game easily for any topic that you may like to cover - a mini

    beast hunt, a clothing hunt, an outdoor or indoor treasure hunt - the list is endless!

    3. Secret Sign Codes

    Make up some secret signing codes that you use only in your setting or family. Examples

    might be signing 'I Love You' or making up signing names for each other.

    Signing can be great fun with all ages in a setting or family and has the added benefit of reducing

    frustration very effectively. Speech, Language and Communication (SLaC) are now at the heart of

    the new EYFS and, as 90% of tantrums are said to be caused by a childs need to eat, drink, sleep,

    receive comfort or help, you can see how implementing a few signs, through play or as part of a

    routine, has the ability to transform childcare immeasurably, as well as meet new SLaC targets.

    Learn more...

    Join our Continuing Professional Development Training Programme (CPDT). Our courses are

    aimed at anyone working with children under 5 years, particularly focussing on Signing and

    Communication Development as well as strategies that help develop communication interactions.

    Oxfordshire CPDT is taking place on Saturday

    17th November 2012 in Thame. Please email for an information

    pack and booking form.

    Get your FREE baby signing e-book!

    Signing Hands: Get Ready to Sign contains

    great tips and first signs for you to start using

    with babies, toddlers or pre-schoolers. go to:


    Website: Ayla signing all gone

  • 12




    Den Building Day with Childminders and the

    Community Childcare & Play team in Stoke Lyne

    Woods, Bicester, August 2012

    Part of Oxfordshire County Councils Community Childcare and Play

    Officers role is to support childminders, and that includes promoting and improving quality and encouraging rich play experiences. One of

    our more popular activities is den-making, and we decided to invite

    childminders from the North Oxfordshire area to join us in Stoke Lyne

    Woods near Bicester to have a go at building dens outdoors in a natural


    We found a perfect clearing and, equipped with several sets of canes to

    build cane dens, and large quantities of material, such as old curtains,

    netting and blankets, we were joined by 12 childminders, a dad, a granddad, a mum and 50 children aged from 9 months to 12 years.

    Using fire with children is often avoided, but we showed that as long as you are well-prepared. this can be an enriching experience for children

    of all ages. Using a small kettle BBQ, the children had the opportunity

    One childminder brought some

    cardboard boxes for the children to use in the construction of their den they

    also made a great carpet (and an

    extra room for teddies!see insert)

    Getting outside and letting

    the children use their own

    ideas in a safe environment

    gave them lots of freedom

    and a chance to try different



  • 13

    to have a go at toasting

    marshmallows. As you can see from the photo

    below, they loved it,

    listening very carefully to

    our instructions and all were

    happy to wait their turn. The majority came back to

    have several goes all very


    Having seen how easy it can

    b e , w e h o p e t h e

    childminders will have the

    confidence to try this

    themselves even in their back gardens.

    The children particularly

    enjoyed the marshmallows

    on the fire. I thought the

    event was very well-

    o rgan i sed and the

    childrens needs had been

    catered for.

    We took great care to only use the branches that were already broken

    and we left the area as we found it, taking our rubbish with us. The day was a great success and we hope everyone went away with new,

    imaginative play ideas that in the most part were free, and also the

    confidence to have a go at activities that include fire. From the very

    positive feedback we have had, we are sure there will be some very

    happy memories of what was a very magical day in the woods.

    Loved being

    outdoors in the fresh

    air. Outdoor things

    are always popular.

    It was a lovely little wood

    which was easily accessible

    and had lots of natural

    recourses which children could

    choose from.


  • 14

    How many legs does

    this elephant have?

    Just a cat? The horizontal lines are parallel!

    A ghostly triangle

    Appears to spin Impossible cube

  • 15

    Are square A and square B

    the same colour or

    different colours?

    Answer: The same. Impossible Lego

    Spinning or not?

  • 16

    Revised EYFS This applies to all school-managed clubs and playschemes, as well as settings on the Ofsted Early Years Register. A revised EYFS took effect at the beginning of September. You need the following new documents, dated 2012: The 'Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage' 'Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage' 'Parents' Guide to the Early Years Foundation Stage' You can find all these documents on the Foundation Years website,, or buy them from organisations such as the National Day Nurseries Association, or the National Childminding Association, Remember that you can personalise the parents guide and make it available to parents/carers electronically or in leaflet form.

    The Playworkers Network Meeting

    The Oxford Community Childcare and Play team are hosting a free exciting training and networking session

    Wednesday 17th October 6.308.30pm (food at 6.30pm)

    at Barracks Lane Community Garden in Cowley. Were planning it all at the moment so more details soon but it will involve fun practical ideas, some tasty food and brilliant play activities for you to take back to your clubs. Hope to see you all!

    Masako Sparrowhawk (Community Childcare & Play Team) Email:

    Revised EYFS Training Guides Morton Michel have updated their series of training guides for those working in the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage). Free to Morton Michel policy holders. Go to and put in your policy number. If you want a quote for Morton Michel insurancedont forget that OPA members receive reduced rates. Call them on 0845 2570 900.

    Botley ASC wins 300 Botley School After School Club are the

    proud winners of the 50 things every child should do before there are 11 3/4

    challenge set by the Community Childcare & Play team (Central). Activities included climbing trees, lighting a fire without using

    flint, created a beach and hunted for treasure. Well done to you all!

  • 17

    Safeguarding training - availability All courses are free and run through Oxfordshire Safeguarding Children Board. See Click on Training, then Booking for OSCB training courses and View our courses. Call 01865 815843 if you have difficulties with booking. 2 hour generalist safeguarding Weekday evenings, listed under Play Workers, Early Years and Childcare settings Generalist safeguarding: 8 October, Bicester 18 October, central Oxford 15 November, central Oxford 20 November, Witney 13 December, central Oxford 17 January, central Oxford Saturday mornings 6 October, central Oxford 8 December, central Oxford 9 February, central Oxford Weekday daytimes, listed under Generalist safeguarding: 3 October, Crowmarsh, near Wallingford 10 December, Crowmarsh, near Wallingford 12 December, central Oxford One-day specialist safeguarding Saturday, listed under Play Workers, Early Years and Childcare settings Specialist safeguarding: Watch the website for details of the next course! Weekdays, listed under Specialist safeguarding training 19 October, Banbury 15 November, Crowmarsh, near Wallingford 6 December, Witney 23 January, Banbury Note: its fine to attend the ones that arent described as being for Play Workers, Early Years and Childcare settings! The childcare ones are promoted in this way, because they run at times/days that are generally more convenient for those working with children.

    Changes for Ofsted-registered settings Ofsted have published revised versions of several documents, and more are appearing regularly on the Ofsted website, Entering reference numbers in the website search box should find them easily. Revised documents include: 'Ofsted's regulation and inspection of providers on the Early Years Register from September 2012: common questions and answers', ref 1202323. 'The numbers and ages of children that providers on the Early Years and Childcare Registers may care for', ref 080293. 'Are you ready for your inspection? A guide to inspections of provision on Ofsted's Early Years and Childcare Registers', ref 120085. 'Conducting early years inspections', ref 120087 and 'Evaluation schedule for inspections of registered early years provision', 120086 (these are guidance documents for inspectors).

  • 18

    The Birds and the BeesNature and Risky Play

    By Jenny Creese, Project Manager for Connecting Naturally

    spent bird-watching in the garden, conversations about what birds eat and how we can encourage more birds to come into the garden. We have also made bee houses for solitary bees, the children used small hacksaws and loppers to cut bamboo canes to small lengths then tied them together using cable tiesall asking continuous questions, from How will the bees use them? to What do bees eat? Both these activities encourage children to use real tools in a safe way, to build something that has a real purpose. Not only does it foster a sense of responsibility towards wildlife and nature, but also respect for tools and working safely!

    Nature and play are perfect partners, and outdoor environments offer children (and adults) endless possibilities for exploration and discovery. Nature brings together many elements of play and learning. I have been working with Berinsfield Childrens Centre for the last 18 months as part of the Connecting

    Naturally* project. The essence of the project is to work with families in their communities, finding things that are relevant and that interest them which, over time, leads to lasting connections with the outdoors and nature. The children, parents and staff at the centre have been keen to encourage more wildlife into the garden, so we set about making a bird box and bee houses over the summer. Both these play sessions offer children the opportunity to use tools and build something which will be a permanent feature at the centre. Following plans, the children measured, cut and nailed the bird house together. All the children were able to take part and the achievement at the end of the day

    wa s

    * The Connecting Naturally project is funded by

    Natural England (through its Access to Nature

    programme, part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing

    Spaces programme), the Patsy Wood Trust,

    Oxfordshire County Council and the Earth Trust.

    Based at the Earth Trust in Little Wittenham, (near

    Didcot) and run in partnership with Oxfordshire

    County Council.

    Blue tit

  • 19

    A Woman of Vision

    By Natty Mark Samuels, CDI Youth Project, Blackbird Leys

    If red and yellow result in orange; two plus two makes four then literature added to science equals Ellia Townsend. For the twin worlds of books and experiments are the fuel of her present force. They nourish and thrive off each other.

    Having read seventy books since October, she is hoping to have read two hundred by the end of this yearfor enjoyment, vocabulary expansion and introductions to varied literary styles. She dreams of completing a novel by her eighteenth birthday in two years time. Ellia was the winner in a school creative writing competition, and her article about the artist Banksy was an outstanding highlight of a recent literary exhibition.

    This prospective University student intends to emerge as a scientist, maybe specialising in forensics. To help decipher the dead-end mysteries.

    As well as the lab, she spoke of the street. Of her community. Said there was an upsurge in hostility less positive interaction. That there needed to be more inter-generational links. Paramount of all: that young people needed to be listened to more.

    I have no doubt that this visionary young woman will attain the heights she's climbing towards. A continuing credit to herself, as well as the community she resides in. Like the Kenyan Nobel Prize Winner, Wangari Maathai, who used science and vision to bring us closer to justice.

  • Inspiring Play is produced 4 times a year by Oxfordshire Play Association on behalf of the Oxfordshire Play Partnership.

    Deadlines: March edition: 14th February June edition: 14th May

    September edition: 7th September December edition: 14th November

    Next Next Next Next

    deadline deadline deadline deadline



    Halloween jokes What do witches put on their hair?

    - Scare Spray

    What do fishermen say at Halloween? - Trick or trout?

    What has webbed feet, feathers, fangs and says Quack quack? - Count Duckula

    What is the favourite game at a ghosts party?

    - Hide and shriek When do skeletons laugh?

    - When you tickle their funny bones.