Therapeutic play aims to improve the emotional wellbeing of a child through the use of play and creative arts. Often children can present challenging, anxious or withdrawn behaviour as a result of a past or present trauma.
This behaviour and emotional instability will inevitably already be, or almost certainly, become barriers to learning, if not addressed in early childhood. These emotional states become emotional traits. Research has shown that when opioids and oxytocin are optimally activated in the child’s brain they do not want to fight. Therapeutic play activates opioids and oxytocin in the brain releasing feelings of calm. These feelings become habitual the more that the children engage in therapeutic play. Eventually children will reflect on their feelings rather than defending them. There will be a long-term positive impact on the brain and stress response systems and long term positive impact on the frontal lobe functioning.
How is Therapeutic Play delivered at Broadmeadow?
Therapeutic play is available for any child across the school who requires additional support to develop their play skills, social skills or emotional awareness.
Sessions are held on a one to one basis in the playroom situated on the playground. During these sessions, children are able to explore and create pieces of artwork using materials such as paint, playdough and chalk. Children can also create imaginary worlds using mini-figures, small world models, home corner equipment or dressing up costumes and masks.
Children are able to freely explore equipment in a quiet and nurturing environment for short sessions as often as they require it. We recognise that for children to be able to learn they need to feel safe and secure. Therapeutic play sessions aim to work through any anxieties or overwhelming feelings children may have in a secure environment.