Play Leadership

Course CodeVRE101
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Learn to be a play leader

Play leaders are people who create and manage play opportunities. Sometimes play leaders are people who are fulfilling a duel role. They can be parents, teachers, pre-school teachers or nannies, who look after both the play needs, and other needs of children in their care.  Some play leaders are employed specifically to concentrate on managing the play needs of children. They may be an assistant to a teacher or care worker, or they may be employed in a supervised playground, play centre or other facility that focuses on play.

This course will develop valuable skills in anyone working, or wishing to work with children. Our staff have experience training play leaders since the late 1970s, our knowledge in the industry is extensive and current. We 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!


Lesson Structure

There are 11 lessons in this course:

  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)
  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
  3. Planning Play Programs
    • Benefits of a structured program
    • Factors to consider in planning choices
    • Issues for effective programming - people, purpose, participation, relevance, flexability, 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
  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
  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
  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
  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
  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
  9. Play Apparatus
    • Toys
    • Playground equipment
    • Big toy playgrounds
    • Environmental features
    • Equipment (consumables)
    • Tools
    • Naturally occurring materials for play
    • Painting and paints
  10. Play Activities
    • Scope of activities
    • Crafts - weaving, candle making, bark pictures, mosaics etc
    • Growing crystals
    • Camping
  11. Special Project Planning an after school play program


  • 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 a supervised children's play program.
  • Describe the impact of play upon the psychological development of a child.
  • 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.
  • Explain 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.
  • Expand your knowledge of opportunities that can be offered for children to play, appropriate to a wide range of different situations.

Let's Play!

Uninterrupted play is important for a child’s social, physical and mental development; play encourages brain development, stimulates creativity, increases a child’s academic ability, and enhances quality of life through to adulthood. Children who have learned how to play, will have a more playful and creative approach to life as adults.

This course focuses on the provision of play opportunities for children and teenagers.

Play leaders are people who create and manage play opportunities.

Sometimes play leaders are people who are fulfilling a duel role. They can be parents, teachers, pre school teachers, or nannies, who look after both the play needs, and other needs of children in their care.

Some play leaders are employed specifically to concentrate on managing the play needs of children. They may be an assistant to a teacher or care worker, or they may be employed in a supervised playground, play centre or other facility that focuses on play.


Planning for Play

While free play is a very important part of the childhood experience, it is not always possible or desirable that children are just left to play when, where and how they wish. Sometimes, their situation does not encourage or support free play. Sometimes, lack of social skills, shyness, cultural differences or other factors can limit the child’s ability to initiate play or to interact in a relaxed and enjoyable manner with other children. Often, working parents rely on supervised programs to provide safe and enjoyable care after school hours or during holidays.

Play programs can take a variety of forms. Some can be loosely program, providing resources and opportunities for free play in a supervised and contained situation. Others can involve structured play activities. Structure is not necessarily an impediment to play, but it must be carefully planned and managed to avoid losing the vital ‘play’ aspects of intrinsic motivation, optimal arousal and control.

Aside from the benefits of structure and predictability offered by play programs, there are other important benefits, some of which are listed below.

  • A degree of structure can introduce children to play options that they might not otherwise have considered.
  • A program can provide a range of stimuli and experiences for the child
  • A program can increase children’s opportunities for socialising with others of the same or other age groups
  • A program can make it easier for children to participate in group activities
  • A program can provide support for those children who need it, when they need it
  • A well-designed program can improve inclusiveness by providing a range of activities that meet different children’s needs
  • A program can provide an adult presence that can be very reassuring to young children, and agreeable to older children  who have been shown to seek out responsive adults for conversation)
  • And very important, a program, if properly managed, can decrease the likelihood of anti-social, bullying or excluding behaviours (such as not allowing another child to join in or to even watch).


Why Study this Course?

Our Play Leadership course is aimed at people wanting to gain work in a role where they are involved with children playing such as the child care industry and teaching.  Is is also a great professional development course for someone already working with children and adolescents.


Meet some Of our academics

John Mason

John Mason is one of Australia's most prolific writers. He saw his first work published when at secondary school, where he worked on the school magazine. In 1973 he was writing a weekly column for his local newspaper and by 1975 he was a regular contributor to Australia's national magazine "Your Garden". John was engaged by Victoria's Dept of Youth, Sport and Recreation to write a book on Fun and Fitness Trails in 1978. In 1981 he saw two more books published (one in America, another in Australia), and commenced writing regularly for the Self Sufficiency Magazine, Grass Roots. John is a long term member of the Australian Society of Authors, the Garden Media Guild (UK) and the Horticultural Media Association (Australia). He has written or contributed to over 100 books, many published by international publishers and published more than 2,000 articles across a range of genres (Gardening, Education, Business, Farming, Fitness). In addition, John has contributed to and overseen the development of more than 600 distance education courses which encompass around 20 million words. He has been an avid photographer for 40 years, building a collection of over 100,000 images, which are used to illustrate his work. His marine animal photos are even used by Legoland in England, on their Atlantis ride! Writer, Manager, Teacher and Businessman with over 40 years interenational experience covering Education, Publishing, Leisure Management, Education, and Horticulture. He has extensive experience both as a public servant, and as a small business owner. John is a well respected member of many professional associations, and author of over seventy books and of over two thousand magazine articles.

Check out our eBooks

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method


$434.00Payment plans available.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.