What is Learn to Play Therapy?
Learn to Play Therapy is a framework developed by Dr. Karen Stagnitti, designed to measure children’s level of pretend play ability. It is suitable for children from 12 months to 10 years old who need help to be able to play with their peers. Participating children need to have a developmental age over 12-18 month level and have at least one meaningful word, gesture or focused attention on an activity that interests them.
Pretend play is the core foundation of Learn to Play Therapy, also known as symbolic play or imaginary play. It is an ability that many children do not develop naturally. According to Dr Stagnitti, “The aim of Learn to Play Therapy is to build a child’s ability to spontaneously and independently self-initiate their own pretend play to their maximum potential.”
A child’s pretend play ability is scientifically proven to be linked with their development in language, narrative understanding, creativity, social competence, emotional self-regulation and cognitive skills. Improving children’s pretend play skill can enhance their ability to understand others points of view, see beyond the literal use of objects, and impose meaning and stories within their play. Learn to Play Therapy involves a framework for assessment, framework for goal setting, and direction of how the intervention needs to be scaffolded for the children.
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