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Keywords:

  • play;
  • SEAL;
  • therapeutic interventions;
  • attachment;
  • group work;
  • pupil-teacher relationship

‘Everyone Playing in Class’ is an unstructured free play based provision for small classes or groups. The intervention involves training staff in attachment theory, presenting up-to-date research findings on the role of play in emotional well-being and relationship building, as well as teaching reflective communication skills. In this article Alison Woolf, who is a Member of British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT), describes how these weekly class play sessions can provide experiences that are beneficial for staff and for pupils. The essential elements that create the therapeutic intervention are described and explored, and set in context through their relationship to SEAL. The ethical considerations of school staff providing therapeutic opportunities are considered. Results of pre- and post-intervention assessments are given, and the responses of staff and pupils to the sessions are summarised. Results show improvements for pupils in the areas of self-esteem and of social development. Most significantly the results demonstrate an increase in the staff's ability to understand and respond to the children in their class.