If you are interested in working with children aged usually from 4 to 14 years or even older, then this may be the right area of work for you. It is usually referred to as Playwork and the practitioners as playworkers or playleaders.
Playwork can be varied and challenging, but often very rewarding. The main purpose of playwork apart from keeping children safe, is to enable them to do self-chosen activities, develop new skills and most of all enjoy themselves in a social and friendly environment. You may be involved in helping with and facilitating a range of activities sometimes in a school or pre-school building or a community venue close to a school. As part of a playwork team you may be involved in preparing and supervising meals and snacks.
To work with children in this sector you need to be approachable and in tune with this age group. You also need to be adaptable and flexible in your thinking and skilful at responding to behavioural challenges. Be prepared for the myriad of questions that children and young people can ask, initiate discussions and challenge prejudice.
Useful qualifications would be: Level 2 or Level 3 in Playwork, 12 Hour Paediatric First Aid, safeguarding - training in recognising signs of abuse and neglect and food handling training. You should also get some more specific training at the setting where you work.
The Family Information Service holds details of vacancies for working in the out-of-school sector. You can search the vacancies in this directory. You can also contact us to find out more about the role of a playworker.