The Learn to Play program now listed on the Victorian Government’s School Readiness Funding Menu


A warm welcome to the Learn to Play website. Learn to Play Events has been up and running for nearly 3 years and we are pleased to announce that the Learn to Play program is listed on the Victorian Government’s School Readiness funding menu of evidence-informed programs and supports (“the Menu”). Because of this we are offering a new workshop for 2019 for kindergarten teachers, as well as Learn to Play Introduction and Advanced workshops.

Over the last 3 years Learn to Play Events is proud to have offered and delivered a variety of workshops related to Learn to Play Therapy and play assessment. In 2019 we are expanding our workshops to include a workshop for those who work with children with chronic medical conditions and/or children who have had a lot to do with hospitals. This workshop is run by Dr Judi Parson who is a paediatric nurse and play therapist. She has written book chapters and papers on medical trauma.

Since we have been up and running Learn to Play has published new products:

Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist by Karen Stagnitti
Pretend Play Checklist for Teachers by Karen Stagnitti and Louise Paatsch
Parent Learn to Play Facilitators manual and Parent Handbook by Karen Stagnitti

We are very happy to announce further resources coming in 2018:

Animated Movie Test (a play assessment for young people aged 8 – 15 years) by Karen Stagnitti
Indigenous Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment by Karen Stagnitti and Alma Dender.

Enjoy the website and don’t forget to check out the free resources.

Jessica and Karen

Introduction of new products

2017 will be a year where we are pleased to announce that 2 new products will be available. In March the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist will be available for purchase. This assessment includes the manual, Professional Scoring Booklet, and Parent/carer scoring booklet. This new assessment combines observation of a child’s pretend play ability, with their enjoyment of play, and their sense of self through play. We hope that you will find this new assessment for children, aged 12 months to 5 years, useful and a valuable addition to your working tools.

Later in the first half of this year the Parent Learn to Play facilitators manual will also be available. This manual provides overview and detail to run parent groups over 7 or 12 sessions. Parent Learn to Play aims to build the play knowledge of parents, as well as build the capacity of parents to understand how their child plays, and how to facilitate their own child’s play. The facilitator’s manual comes with the Parent Handbook. The Parent Handbook comes in pdf in colour or black and white, and will be emailed after the purchase of the manual. In this way you have flexibility to provide Handbooks to parents as you wish, at little or no cost.

Already this year there has been training in Geelong (organised by Learn to Play), Perth (organised by DOT), and Brisbane (organised by Zi Mei Events). I have enjoyed engaging in the workshops, sharing knowledge, and learning from others how they embed play in their practice. I also pick up gems of knowledge from others and refine my own thinking. So thank you to those who have attended. The next workshop is in June in Adelaide and is organised by OT Australia.

Karen Stagnitti

Learn to Play Resources

Children’s play is often dismissed as unimportant by adults. You may have heard the comment, “They are just playing”. In fact, play is very important to a child’s development and well-being because through play, children learn about their world, how their bodies move, and gain a deeper understanding of their experiences.

A large part of my work has been working with children who don’t know how to play or can’t play. I also work with their parents, carers and other professionals to help them understand how to play with children.

Play is a complex ability because when children play, they use many skills all at the same time. For example, children think about what they want to play, they find or create the play materials they need, they work out how they are going to play (such as, I put the blocks in the truck and then push the truck over there before I move my truck to here), they coordinate their bodies, they use their hands to manipulate objects, they visualise and talk about what they are doing and they may even be playing with other children and so they need to negotiate and cooperate with others.

Play is a very broad term and within play there are many types of play. This website is primarily concerned with pretend play and how pretend play can assist a child’s social, emotional, language and cognitive development.

This site contains links to books, resources and workshops. There is information for therapists, teachers and parents.

Enjoy the site.


Karen Stagnitti