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Developmental Play for Teachers and Clinicians 

Progress through play in stages not ages

Teachers, carers and therapists who work with children know that each child is unique, but it’s hard to create a new approach for every child. Developmental Play shows you how to adapt your playful style so that any child can benefit from the approach.  We offer you short courses in person and online and can offer bespoke packages for your school or clinic. Contact us to find out more or train directly through our online Academy.

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Our short courses include:

  1. Understanding body schema and sensory body play

  2. Understanding attachment and relationship based play 

  3. Inspiring our learning community through the power of play and helping to create a sense of belonging in school

  4. Messy play – its power and how to do it 

  5. Nature play, its importance and how to design nature sessions

  6. Mark making and art as a foundation for writing 

  7. Regulation and how to support it with playful ideas to build focus and attention

  8. Understanding oral sensory issues and creative play ideas to support feeding and breathing.

  9. Building higher play, language and symbolic thought through storytelling

  10. Understanding trauma and how play can help

Who are these courses for?

This course is specially designed for

  • Teachers in mainstream and special education 

  • Pre-school teachers and child-care workers

  • Occupational therapists and other clinical professionals working with children and adolescents

  • Artists and community workers involved in play and creativity 

  • Arts and play therapists

What is its philosophy?

The courses are relationship-centred, based on contemporary research and practice, including:

  • Attachment theory and playful creative relationships

  • Creative arts education and play-based learning 

  • Eco-play, nature play and outdoor play

  • Sensory processing and bodywork 

  • Group dynamics and social learning

  • Integration of ‘body-mind-soul'

  • 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, Therapeutic Play and Play Therapy. Routledge

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

You can also train in our Certificate of Developmental Play with three levels of Developmental Play training for teachers and clinicians (if you are based in the UK this is offered as a CPD training at AECC University College)

Level 1 Foundation Certificate in Developmental Play

This level explains what play is, why it is so important, and what impact it can have on children when they play – and when they don’t. It takes you into a play mindset where you start to see what a difference you can make, and how to make it. It changes your mindset about play and gives you skills and ideas to use with children in the classroom and clinic.


The Foundation Certificate includes the Certificate of Theory and the Certificate of Practice for the full Level 1 qualification.  You can do the full certificate online or contact us for blended learning at your school.


Level 2 Certificate of Applied Developmental Play

The next level is more advanced, with ideas for using Developmental Play across the whole spectrum of children’s abilities, mainstream and special needs, always treating each child as unique. Once again for  the full Level 2 qualification, it includes the Certificate of Theory and the Certificate of Practice, either sign up for the one day workshops at one of our centres of excellence or you can do the full certificate online.



Level 3 Advanced Practitioner in Developmental Play

This is our premium level and is designed for teachers and clinicians – anyone who works with children in a professional capacity. To move up to Level 3, you’ll need to have done the theory and practice for both the foundations course and the applied course. The Level 3 workshop is three days long, and you can either study at a centre of excellence (we have one in India and one in the Philippines), or be mentored online by a CreateCATT expert to work in your own centre.

Contact us to find out more.

Finally, to qualify as a Certified Developmental Play Practitioner (CDPP), Level 3 certificate holders must submit a 2,000-word assignment essay describing how they have put into practice what they have learned. 

Please note that you can qualify as a CDPP only after doing all the online courses and workshops, and by completing this assignment essay. To understand the power of play you need to experience it.

Once certified, you join the global CreateCATT community. The more people who join in, the more impact we can all have, and the more children’s lives will be changed through play. Contact us to find out more.

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We look forward to welcoming you to our Play Community.

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