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Promoting Social, Emotional and Mental Health through structured play

The Derbyshire Positive Play Team is part of the Behaviour Support Service. We have been running the programme for over 20 years and have experience of working in Derbyshire schools and academies to promote positive behaviour and emotional wellbeing.

We provide an opportunity for children to experience a structured, supportive play programme that helps raise self-esteem and increase their engagement with the curriculum to achieve their full potential.

We work in schools directly with pupils, staff and parents to set up and run Positive Play Programmes and Family Support Programmes.

The Positive Play Team provides a unique opportunity to facilitate the development of confidence, self-esteem and social skills in a secure, caring environment.

The programme is delivered in a sensory area with a trained Positive Play worker through a series of structured activities and play; as play is a natural medium which helps children and young people make sense of their world.

The main objective of the programme is to help children and young people develop the skills necessary for them to achieve their potential in life. They need to be able to identify and manage their own feelings, empathise with others and their feelings, and develop the appropriate personal and social skills which contribute to emotional intelligence.

This programme provides children and young people a space to express and communicate feelings and difficulties in their lives through a variety of media in a constructive, rather than aggressive way, in a safe non-threatening environment.

Children who will benefit from the Positive Play Programme

  • Children and young people who do not respond to the normal behaviour policy of the school.
  • Children and young people who seem to be negative about school.
  • Immature children and young people who have difficulty settling in school.
  • Children and young people with poor social skills.
  • Children and young people with some developmental delay.
  • Children and young people who present as sad, depressed, withdrawn or isolated.

Support is offered to children and young people from 3 to 21 years of age while working with their teachers, parents and carers, since the structure of the programme enables the activities to be differentiated and adapted for any age group.

Members of the team may work directly with some children and young people but are mainly involved in training staff and maintaining a quality service by providing mentoring and support through a structured approach when delivering the programme. 

Schools receive ongoing mentoring and support from the Positive Play Support Team in order to ensure the programme is delivered according to the guidelines detailed in the contract and confirmed by the Accreditation Certificate.

Ofsted defined the Positive Play Support Programme as "an early intervention tool, reducing disaffection and encouraging inclusive education."

The Positive Play Team offer:

  • A purpose built 'Centre of Excellence' based in Danesmoor comprising a suite of rooms including a multi-sensory room known as 'Magic Room'.
  • A loaning library - a comprehensive resource library including books, games and activities.
  • Training - a bespoke 10 module training programme for school staff.
  • Mentoring - support in planning and tailoring sessions with advice and resources. 
  • Family Fun Time Clubs - support in planning and facilitating sessions.

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