Learn to Play Therapy – Part 1: Foundation (2 Day Face to Face Workshop) Tues 26 – Wed 27 April 2022

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Learn to Play Therapy – Part 1: Foundation (2 Day Face to Face Workshop) Tues 26 – Wed 27 April 2022

April 26, 2022 @ 9:00 am - April 27, 2022 @ 4:30 pm


Learn to Play Therapy Part 1 – Foundation (2 Day Face to Face Workshop)

Tues 26 – Wed 27 April 2022

9am – 4:30pm

Presented by Emeritus Professor Karen Stagnitti and Mrs Bridget Sarah

Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne



Learn to Play Therapy aims to develop the capacity in children to self-initiate their own pretend play. Being able to play is essential to children because through play, children learn about themselves and their world. Pretend Play is complex play and research evidence has shown that children who develop more complex levels of pretend play increase in their abilities in social competence, narrative language, language, self-regulation, creativity, and problem solving. Not all children develop complex levels of pretend play. Reasons for this can be the child’s diagnosis (for example, children on the autism spectrum have difficulty developing spontaneous pretend play), the child’s environment, or no obvious reason. Learn to Play Therapy is evidence-based therapy for developing more complex levels of spontaneous pretend play in children from 2 years of age.*


The first day of this 2 day workshop provides participants with knowledge on the development of pretend play from 12 months to 5 years and how to use this knowledge as an assessment of a child’s play ability using the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist. The links between pretend play, theory of mind, narrative language and self-regulation are also discussed. A brief overview of the neurobiology of play is also included.


On the second day, the Learn to Play Therapy approach is explained with an introduction into the underlying theoretical principles of Learn to Play Therapy. Participants are taken through the principles and process of this therapy, which includes 11 key play skills that are an essential part of a child’s ability to play. In this workshop are guidelines on how to identify children who would benefit from Learn to Play Therapy and how to engage children in play.


This workshop uses a mixture of information giving, case studies, video analysis and small group practice of the key skills involved in play assessment and the process of Learn to Play Therapy. This workshop would be valuable to occupational therapists, speech pathologists, play therapists, social workers, psychologists and early intervention workers who work with families with children under 8 years of age who have a developmental delay.


Day 1

  • Defining pretend play
  • Development of pretend play
  • Pretend play and links to social competence, language, narrative language, self-regulation and the neurobiology of play
  • Assessment of pretend play using the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist


Day 2

  • Identifying children who would benefit from Learn to Play Therapy
  • The process and principles of Learn to Play Therapy
  • How to engage children in play and build play ability in children who find playing difficult
  • 11 key play skills


*The new Learn to Play book: Learn to Play Therapy: Principles, Process and Practical Activities was published in 2021. This 314 page book explains the theoretical underpinnings, principles and process as well as includes an additional 114 pages of play activities by developmental level. It comes with a USB that includes the play activities, parent handouts, and Play Background Checklist. This book is an essential reference source for Learn to Play Therapy.

At this face-to-face workshop, play assessment manuals and score sheets and the new Learn to Play Therapy book will be available for purchase.



Karen Stagnitti is Emeritus Professor in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia. She is retired from full time teaching but continues to run workshops and write. She graduated with a Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Queensland. For over 35 years she has mainly worked in early childhood intervention programs in community-based settings as part of a specialist paediatric multidisciplinary team. In 2003 she graduated from LaTrobe University with a Doctor of Philosophy. Her area of research is children’s play. Karen has over 120 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, and books. She has developed several play assessments including: Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment, the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist and the Animated Movie Test. From this research, Learn to Play Therapy was developed. Throughout the year, she is invited to present her work on the play ability of children nationally and internationally.



Bridget Sarah is a paediatric Occupational Therapist and Masters qualified, Registered Play Therapist. Bridget has experience working with children and families in a diverse range of clinic, home, school and community settings where she has pursued her particular interest in the play of vulnerable children from backgrounds of disadvantage and disruption. Bridget is currently employed as a Lecturer and Researcher in Play Therapy at Deakin University where she provides education and supervision to play therapy students in the Graduate Certificate / Diploma of Therapeutic Child Play and Master of Child Play Therapy.

Bridget enjoys delivery training workshops both nationally and internationally, to a range of audiences, in particular allied health clinicians and those in education wishing to champion play in their early childhood and school settings. She feels passionate about the need to make a priority of addressing the mental health, social and emotional wellbeing needs of children and families in the community using developmentally sensitive and appropriate interventions. As an Occupational Therapist and Registered Play Therapist, Bridget is an integrative Play Therapist trained and experienced in the delivery of multiple play therapy models and approaches including the range of Learn to Play programs and assessment tools. Bridget’s research interests to date have focused on exploring the play abilities of children with acquired brain injuries, and how Play Therapists can use standardised assessment to measure play themes in play therapy to inform their clinical decision making and make sense of the messages that children communicate through their play.


April 26, 2022 @ 9:00 am
April 27, 2022 @ 4:30 pm


Learn to Play


Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne
328 Flinders Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
+ Google Map
+ 61 (0) 3 9250 1838


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Learn to Play Therapy - Part 1: Foundation (2 Day Face to Face Workshop) Tues 26 - Wed 27 April 2022
$ 785.00 GST incl
29 available

Workshop cost
The workshop cost includes pre-workshop refreshments, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, and all workshop resources.

15% Group Discount
Organisations sending 5 or more staff members to the same workshop are entitled to a 15% discount off the total price. To apply for the discount please email Jessica directly at learntoplayevents@gmail.com.

Cancellation and refund policy
Please notify Jessica of any cancellations by email: learntoplayevents@gmail.com.
Cancellations made within 7 days prior to the commencement of the workshop will be subject to a catering and administrative fee and will be refunded 50% of the original workshop fee paid.
No refunds will be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours before the commencement of the workshop.
Learn to Play reserves the right to cancel the workshop and issue a full refund of the workshop fee to registrants.

The Rendezvous Hotel is offering our delegates a 20% discount off the best rate available at the time of enquiry. Rooms are not holding and are subject to availability. Bookings can be made via the link below or by calling the Rendezvous Hotel reservations team on 03 9250 1877.


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Parking: The Rendezvous Hotel offers self-parking at $25 per car per day.