Shelley is one of the play workers who is part of the team at active fun days play schemes. She shares with us what a day is like at one of their holiday play schemes.
It’s 8.30am and we’ve just welcomed our first group of excited children in school years 1-6* to our active fun days play schemes at our community centres in Jennyfields, Knaresborough, Pateley Bridge and Ripon. We will say hello to more children, who have booked onto a shorter or a half day, later on. I love seeing the kids walk into our halls, scanning the room for their friends and wondering ‘what will we do today?’ Whether its arts, crafts, baking or sports, all our youngsters are ready to get stuck into the activities we have put together for our week of themed days, which run every school holiday.
In my role as a play worker, I often find myself wearing many different hats. I am first point of contact for parents and children so I like to welcome everyone with a smile and warm hello. I set up activities, prepare notice boards, check the safety of equipment, and prepare resources with my play workers.
Throughout the week, we often make crafts, do Hama beads, make slime, paint, play ball games or we go to the local park for some fresh air. At the end of the week it will be bouncy castle day; a favourite amongst our children.
It’s now lunchtime and we’ve just taken a walk to the playground and we’re back for our packed lunches, which children are asked to bring themselves. This afternoon, we’re going to play some games.
Playing with children is a vital part of the play worker role. I enjoy interacting with the children and getting down to their level; it shows I value them. But I also know when to take a step back and allow them to play on their own. Children love praise and acknowledgement for good work- it helps build their confidence and lets them know we respect them as individuals.
As play workers, we are outgoing, lively, and enthusiastic and we don’t mind making a fool of ourselves! We think on our feet, come up with some imaginative and creative ideas but the most important thing we do is have fun.
Home time has arrived and the children say goodbye to us and their friends and say hello to their parents/guardians. For the first time today it’s quiet and it’s time to tidy up. The play workers gather together and we talk about how the day went and we starting planning for tomorrow.
Looking after children can be tiring but ultimately it is the most rewarding job. Seeing a child have fun, make friends, laughing and participating in play activities is a fantastic achievement.
*Ripon Leisure Centre’s play scheme welcome children in years 1-7. The school holidays run in accordance to North Yorkshire County Council.
Summer holiday Active funday playschemes run Monday – Friday from Monday 22 July until Friday 30 August (excluding August bank holiday). Booking is essential to ensure a place. All our schemes are registered and regulated through Ofsted, and childcare vouchers are accepted. For full details including times and daily prices visit www.harrogate.gov.uk/playschemes