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The Value of Play by Perry Else


The Value of Play by Perry Else

This is an accessible coursebook for those specifically engaged in playwork and those on Childhood Studies programmes. Most recognize that play is good for children yet we are confused by the dangers we see in the wider environment and so often restrict children's natural opportunities to play. As a result children's play has gained increased awareness amongst a variety of professions working with children, many of whom have different approaches to play and children. 'The Value of Play' is explained using the Integral Play Framework, a model that draws together differing views on the purpose of play and its various types. These ideas are then used as the basis for chapters of the book: showing why playing is valuable to our bodies, our minds, and culturally and socially.There are examples of how play can be supported both informally and formally, at home and in children's settings. As well as theory, there are relevant, practical approaches for play activities, and observations of playing children to help explain the processes. Key questions are asked at times to help those who may be engaged in a more reflective form of practice. The Value of Play has been written to be accessible by a broad spectrum of readers, including all those training to work with children; those specifically engaged in playwork as a field in itself; and, those on Childhood Studies programmes.


This is a rich and eclectic book - and if I regret the absence of Liz Brooker and Tina Brice then I welcome the inclusion of Brian Eno amongst others - read it and relish it. Keith Savage, The Higher Education Academy 20 August 2009 'This book is timely. Among the emerging texts that inform the field, there has been little attempt to map and coordinate our actions and reactions in a reflective domain. We speak of reflection and the reasons we should do it but not the manner in which such reflection should be conducted. By locating this interplay in the compass of Wilber's four-quadrant theory, the author ensures that our praxis is firmly grounded in an aware analysis of point, position and product. That this has been achieved in a clarity of expression and a meaningful exploration of practice - bringing experience to theory - is something to be applauded. An accessible discourse that illuminates the humanity of the shared playing encounter - child to adult - is a necessity in the playspace and for our roles as adults working in that delicate area of interchange. This book hits the mark.
Hugo Grinmore, Playwork consultant

'Perry uses the Value of Play to communicate key ideas and examine issues that impact on children's play in a thorough, interesting and accessible manner to all those who want to know more about play and the playwork approach. This is a comprehensive 'must read'
for anyone wanting to increase their understanding of children

's play.'
Mike Greenaway, Director, Play Wales

'A useful and thoroughly-researched reminder of why play is of such immense importance. Children's experience of play is multi-faceted and the integrated approach rightly helps us to look at play from many angles. I liked the comprehensive footnotes pointing interested readers to further research, and the anecdotes and recounting of play experiences that link us back to what children actually do when they play.'
Theresa Casey, President, International Play Association, UK

'This is a must -- have book for anybody working with children and young people in play settings and across other children's services.'--Playwords magazine, Autumn 2010, Issue 42 (UK) 'This is a must have book for anybody working with children and young people in play settings and across other children's services.'--Playwords magazine, Autumn 2010, Issue 42 (UK) The importance of play is well recognised by early years practitioners, and reflected in the EYFS focus on learning through play. This book, with chapters including What do you mean by play?, What gets in the way of children playing? and a play history will support reflective practice Nursery World, 4 June 2009 'An inspiring overview of play for students and practitioners who work - or wish to work with children. It draws on a range of theories and covers the history of writing and thinking about play, as well as setting the social policy context. Perry Else also gives lively examples and discussion points which make it a useful educational resource. In short, the book makes a valuable contribution to the development of reflective practice, not only for playworkers but for other professionals in children's care and education.'
Pat Petrie, Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London, UK

'Provides a huge number of ways to build on the actual text, from key questions to stimulate reflection to extensive references to follow up. The book takes you through all the current 'hot topics'
such as risk, the media, participation, presenting these as well as old friends such as the Playwork Principles and play environments

...The book presents its thoughts using the Integral Play Framework. ..[which] provides a logical framework for the book's journey which enables a reader even with no knowledge of play to travel from the individual child lost in play to the natural conclusion as to the importance of play to successful human evolution. It also argues the importance of play in adult life, and has certainly inspired inspired me! Highly recommended!
Play Today

--Sanford Lakoff 'The value of play is hard to capture,
says Else. But this accessible and comprehensive book manages it beautifully. A must

-read resource for those studying playwork courses, professionals working with children, and indeed parents and carers; all will gain valuable insights. It is also extremely timely: impending cuts in services require passionate and knowledgeable advocates for play.'--Sanford Lakoff 'This is a must - have book for anybody working with children and young people in play settings and across other children's services.'--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Perry Else is course leader for BA Hons Playwork at Sheffield Hallam University. He has extensive knowledge of play theory, contributing to national policy agendas.

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Book Info

Publication date

20th February 2009


Perry Else

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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


184 pages


Primary & middle schools



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