Play is an instinct, felt by creatures of all ages. Animals play, children play, and even adults do too! Playwork is a decades-old approach to supporting children’s self-directed play. Our theory and practice grows out of the adventure playground movement, and today playworkers operate in schools, parks, housing shelters and hospitals. Of all professional approaches to children’s play, playwork uniquely emphasizes children’s play as a right, and staff responsibilities to “adult a non-judgmental, non-prejudicial, non-directive, and largely reflective approach to their work” (Prof. Fraser Brown).
Playwork developed primarily in the UK, though students around the world are now able to access information and training through online courses. Many more are hosting independent Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds, a model designed to help build community around play at the grassroots level.
To help share these ideas with teachers, parks and recreation staff and everyone else who was curious, Pop-Up Adventure Play tours and lectures often at conferences. In 2015 Morgan and Suzanna drove 11,000 miles around the USA, a road trip which they documented in The New Adventure Playground Movement: How Communities Across America are Returning Risk and Freedom to Childhood. In 2016 their World Tour included stops in the UK, USA, Costa Rica, Singapore and Hong Kong.