SRF Program

  • Learn to Play Program

    VEYLDF Alignment

    Item uses these practice principles: High expectations for every child.

    Item responds to these sub-outcomes: Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes, Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media, Children begin to understand how symbols and pattern systems work.


    Learn to Play is an interactive program that aims to develop imaginative play in children.

    Created by Dr Karen Stagnitti of Deakin University, the program aims to develop spontaneous pretend play in children with the support of a professional.

    Self-initiated play is viewed as a way for children to explore the world and learn about themselves. The assumption is that pretend play will help to improve multiple areas of child development, including language, self-regulation, social interactions and problem solving.

    Detailed Costs

    Learn to Play Therapy – Introductory course (two-day workshop): $690.

    Learn to Play (five-day workshop): $1,590.

    Parent Learn to Play: Train the Trainer (one-day workshop): $410.

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: children under the age of eight.

    Program / practice descriptions and details: a facilitator manual is available for professionals to support short group courses with parents. A parent handbook is included so that facilitators can provide this to parents. Parents can then record sessions with children in the home environment. The Learn to Play: A Practical Program to Develop Child’s Imaginative Play handbook contains play activities and handouts that professionals can reproduce to deliver the program. This handbook comes with the Symbolic and Imaginative Developmental Checklist. Both resources are available for sale online. A free parent handout is also available for download.
    Staffing: Learn to Play can be delivered by therapists, early childhood teachers, social workers, psychologists and early intervention workers.

    Services should consider the cost of backfill when determining the cost of accessing this program.

    Factors to consider: consider how staff may be able to share the practice knowledge they obtain from this program with others at the service. This will ensure that improved approaches to practice or innovative ideas can be implemented across the service as a whole.

    Training requirements: practitioners interested in the program can attend a two-day introductory course.

    Strength of Evidence

    Not able to be rated