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2020 Newsletter "Our year in review"

We do hope that this end-of-year catch-up finds you all safe and well. What a year it’s been, and a year I’m sure most of us will be glad to say goodbye to. As we come to winter (in the northern hemisphere, at least), we thought these words which some inspiring soul shared on Facebook might resonate with you:

“It’s like the long winters of the past. During the dark days, you do things. You repair your tools. You enjoy each other’s company. You sing old songs and write new ones. You make ropes and nets and weave blankets and do anything you don’t have time for in the summer. And it’s hard to do it and hard to stay hopeful, but that way when spring comes – and spring does come, spring will come – you can start working in the fields with a brand new plough and good boots and a head full of songs.

It really sums up our year – though it has been hard we have kept playful and creative during the ‘winter’ of 2020 and we hope that some of our “doing things” will continue to inspire you into the ‘summer’ of 2021.


Like many educators we’ve embraced online work and Zoom teaching this year, and have been working to get our Developmental Play training online in the most creative and playful way possible. We were delighted to welcome our first fully online cohort in October, and you can now join our playful journey and train as a Certified Developmental Play Practitioner wherever you are in the world.

We’ve also created a new online training on Developmental Art Making which will launch in January 2021. We are launching it with a promotional code “2021Offer” that gives 20% off for the first five people to sign up before December 31st. Just log on and type in the code when you come to pay.

This year we’ve also welcomed a new illustrator and designer to our team, and Barnaby Duffy has been creating animations and infographics to help spread the word about the power of play. Do check out our new animations and infographics and share them. Some have already been subtitled in different languages and if you’d like to help us translate it into your language, please get in touch.

Developmental Play


Earlier in the year, as many of you will have seen, we created our free

Stay at Home Play at Home resources. These were translated into 10 languages and have inspired children across the globe to keep playful. Thank you to everyone who translated our works and shared them with children in need.

We have also run some new workshops in Singapore on Nature Play and will be developing new projects with Ground Up Initiative, Singapore’s ‘school of life in a nature-inspired campus’ next year, ensuring that adults and children get a chance to build resilience and experience wellbeing through playing in nature. If you want to attend our next Nature Workshop, please contact Check out our latest podcast on Nature Play, our infographic on 10 ways the answer is in the trees and our article in the Asian Regional Network for Early Childhood publication (coming soon).


As our lives have changed so much this year, many people have found they’ve simply not been moving enough. It can be hard to, when you have to stay at home! With support from sensory integration specialist Sue Allen, we’ve developed new resources on the importance of movement, and we hope these can inspire all of us to keep moving, keep fit and stay well.


All new initiatives and models need to be well researched and written up, and this year we’re excited to announce a paper and a chapter in peer-reviewed publications on our model, which we hope you will enjoy and use to support your work in play.

· Essame, C. (2020). Developmental Play: A new approach to understanding how all children learn through play, Childhood Education, 96:1, 14-23

· Essame, C. (2021). Stages not ages: The emerging Developmental Play approach for differently abled children. In C. Holmwood & S. Jennings (Eds) International Handbook of Play and Play Therapy. Routledge.

We were also delighted to have our full Developmental Play Certificate endorsed by the World Federation of Occupational Therapists this year which really validates the learning journey.

We hope that the winter of 2020 is over and we can all sing new songs in the spring. May this holiday season bring you peace, hope, and most of all the healing magic of play and positive relationships.

Warmest wishes,

Caroline and Caroline

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