Childcare Office

Play Policy

Play is an essential part of a child's life. The Cambridge Universities' Holiday Playscheme (CUHP) takes children's play seriously. It is the role of the Playworker to offer a wide range of play opportunities that enable children to play freely and be the masters of their own play.

All children need to play: the impulse to play is innate. Play is a biological, psychological and social necessity, and is fundamental to the healthy development and well-being of individuals and communities.

Play is a process that is freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated. Children determine and control the content and intent of their play, by following their own instincts, ideas and interests, in their own way for their own reasons. To play is to allow one to freely explore and make sense of the world, experiment, and express things without fear of judgement.

The prime focus and essence of Playwork is to support and facilitate play.

The role of the Playworker is to support all children in the creation of a space in which they can play.

The environment will be set up prior to children arriving and will include a range of play opportunities.

Children will be confident in making requests for other equipment, which can be used as the children wish.

The Playworkers response to children and young people playing is based on a sound up to date knowledge of the play process, and reflective practice. Children are not required to be occupied at all times.

Playworkers recognise their own impact on the play space and the impact of children's play on themselves.

Playworkers choose an intervention style that enables children and young people to extend their play. All Playworker intervention must balance risk with the developmental benefit and well-being of children.

A record of activities and play opportunities will be kept and reviewed to facilitate future planning. Children will be involved in planning activities so that the programme reflects their opinions. Activities will be carefully planned to reflect children's natural curiosity, advance their thinking and use their imagination.

Playworkers recognise that children need to put their own creative style and ideas into their creations such as cooking, arts, crafts, sports and gardening. Children will be given notice when their play must come to an end. If a play request is refused an explanation will be given.

Outdoor Play

Children will be offered access to outdoor play every day, with the exception of adverse weather conditions.

Any outdoor play will take place in safe, appropriately supervised spaces. Before outdoor activities commence, safety checks and risk assessments are carried out.

CUHP's resources reflect positive images with regard to culture, ethnicity, gender, and disability.

Activities will be evaluated by Playworkers and children regularly so play experiences can be improved.


CUHP provides a wide range of resources and equipment in order to facilitate play opportunities and enhance children's play experiences. Resources will show men and women in a variety of roles, and people with different abilities being both active and creative. Examples of everyday life will portray people from a variety of cultural backgrounds in a range of non-stereotypical roles. CUHP provides a wide selection of books that are regularly updated. The selection includes reference books, dual language books and a range of age-appropriate formats.

Policy reviewed 6 December 2011.