Out of school care are settings for school aged children (approximately 4-16 years) to play and have fun when school is closed. People who work in out of school care are known as ‘Playworkers’.
Out of school care includes:
Breakfast Clubs – open in the morning before school
After School Clubs – open in the afternoons between about 3pm-6pm
Holiday Play Scheme/Holiday Clubs – open during school holidays between about 8.30-6pm.
Playworkers may also be found in adventure playgrounds, open access playschemes (where children can come and go as they like throughout the day) and hospitals.
You will be working as part of a team setting up spaces where children can get involved in original and interesting activities. You could be doing anything from joining in their games (if they invite you to!), providing breakfast, helping with homework, supervising and participating in art/craft activities, arranging sports or escorting children to and from school.
The role of the playworkers is to ensure that children and young people have the chance to play and socialise, choosing exciting activities for themselves in a safe and caring environment.
Playworkers may be based indoors and outdoors and may need to work away from home, e.g. summer camp. They may also take children on day trips.
As a brand new playworker you will attend an introductory playwork course that gives you a good grounding in the principles and values of play. As a trainee, you will start off working in a supervisory role as an Assistant Playworker working towards a Level 2 qualification in Playwork. You could then progress to a managerial or supervisory position with a Level 3 qualification. You can also decide to study for a degree in Playwork or Youth Work.
If you think you might be interested in working with children, what are your next steps?