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What is playwork?

The practice of playwork was invented as a unique way of working with children in the UK adventure playgrounds set up just after the Second World War. In the last 70+ years, the growing international playwork field has tried to define and describe its work in a number of different ways (Newstead, 2019). 

What is PARS?

PARS is the first ever holistic model of playwork practice. It was created by Dr Shelly Newstead, who analysed 70 years of playwork literature to find out what it means to do playwork from a playwork perspective. The PARS model defines and describes professional playwork practice. Grounded in the original philosophy of the adventure playground pioneers, PARS contains theories, methods and techniques which enable practitioners to articulate, develop and evaluate their playwork practice.

Why use PARS?

All over the world children spend their free time being supervised by adults. The aim of PARS playwork practice is to compensate children for the presence of adults in supervised settings. PARS empowers adults to let children to make their own choices about how their spend their free time.

Adults who use PARS when supervising children in their free time are…

  • less likely to intervene in children’s self-directed activities
  • more open to children’s risk-taking behaviours.

As a result, children’s social and emotional development and emotional resilience increases (Chan et al, 2020).

Worldwide PARS training

PARwas originally piloted and developed over a number of years in Hong Kong and the UK as part of Shelly’s doctoral research programme. Now PARS training is enabling practitioners all over the world to explain how and why their playwork practice differs from other approaches to working with children. Around 1000 people have now taken part in PARS training in seven different countries.

Take a look at the buttons opposite to find out more about PARS training in specific countries. We have also recently developed online training courses to meet the demand for PARS training in the current pandemic: POM (PARS Online Masterclass) and POP (PARS Online Practicals).

Download the PARS Flyer POM_POP

Join the growing worldwide PARS community!

There are a number of different ways that you can join the growing PARS international community…..

Read about our first ever PARS conference!