Play Therapy


Children of all ages have a fundamental desire to play and engage socially, with an innate ability to learn from their environment, but what can be learned from children during play?

girl in a park with a net

A Paediatric Occupational Therapist (OT) would have you believe a great deal. Not only what can be observed and learned but also how over 70% of children experiencing any level of social, behavioral or mental health problems can achieve a positive change during play. Primarily effective with children aged 3 to 11, play is a mechanism for self-controlled expression and a necessary way to develop acceptance of self and their peers.

The theory of play and learning dates back to the times of Plato (429-347 B.C.) who remarked "you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation." Developments through the 18th and 19th century saw specialists such as Rousseau and Friedrich Frobel explore play as the primary vehicle to understand children, and provide insight into the inner child. Various developments of the 20th Century saw deeper analysis of the observation and multiple iterations of the technique for directive and non-directive play have evolved since the 1940's. More recently, associations for recognising this method internationally have been established, with the original Association for Play Therapy being founded in 1982.

Astonishingly, play therapy is still a relatively contemporary methodology within Australian practices. The emergence as a recognised and respected practice amongst paediatric OT's follows a widespread acceptance of the profession in the UK, USA, Canada and Ireland. Those innovative and progressive paediatric OT's who have dared to pioneer this movement are now being rewarded with recognition, local interest and multiple client success stories.

Playground planners are certainly one group who are due to benefit from the exhaustive research conducted by paediatric OT's to develop strategic play environments, geared toward preventing and resolution of psychosocial challenges. The directive play therapy employed in such environments is made more effective due to the researched based approach to playground planning.

Kompan takes pride in it's educated approach to product development and praises the pioneering Australian OT's taking play therapy to work. In the modern world of seemingly infinite online information, parents are increasingly aware of opportunities to help their children succeed. Through the guidance of play therapy skilled OT's and Kompan's research based play environments, the chance of successful childhood wellbeing is sought and realised.