'Developing Play in a Social Way'

The 6-8 week program is designed to facilitate a child's ability to engage in pretend play whilst also developing language and social skills. Including a peer in the play adds the element of social play and aims to teach children how to engage in imaginative play with others, learn how to join in to the play, learn to adapt to another child’s ideas and be flexible within the play.

The program involves a qualified Occupational Therapist (Chloe O'Connor or Sophie Schultz) who facilitates play interactions between 3-5 children at similar play levels, often with another professional for assistance of group management.

The program runs for 6-8 weeks (consecutive Saturdays) and requires an assessment of pretend play skills with the Occupational Therapist prior to commencement of the program. Children will be grouped on the basis of their developmental play ability and their age will also be considered.

What are the key skills which will be focused on over the program?

Week 1: Attuning to the child: children’s play preferences and feelings in the play are used to encourage initial social interaction with a peer.

Week 2: Building play sequences and play themes in joint play.

Week 3: Focus on object substitution. Encouraging turn-taking and flexibility through sharing ‘unstructured’ objects and applying meaning to them in play.

Week 4: Focus on doll/teddy play and character role plays.

Week 5: Focus on play scripts, extending play sequences and combining with characters.

Week 6: Encouraging joint role play (referring to absent objects, creating problems in the play), putting the play together.

The play program will be structured with the use of visuals to assist children to move from one activity to another.

Language/conversation facilitation and turn-taking is a large focus of guiding the play interactions.

If you would like to find out more about 'Developing Play in a Social Way' and when the groups are running throughout the year, please phone 5222 2405.