Commonwealth University student instructs elementary students during class project.

Playwork (Minor)

Playwork is a well-respected, professional field that draws upon a variety of disciplines including anthropology, child study, civics, drama, human development, pedagogy, physical education, psychology, and sociology.

Degrees & Offerings
  • Minor
  • Bloomsburg
  • Lock Haven
  • Mansfield
Program Contact
Professor of Teaching and Learning
Illustration of Mountain

The field’s rich history dates back to the beginning of the 20th century, when Normal Schools throughout America, including Bloomsburg, offered The Normal Course in Play, a curriculum for training playground and recreation workers. All normal school students were required to study play and its significance to both the individual and larger community. The main purposes for instituting The Normal Course in Play were to make community recreation vital, to give the spirit of play value as a philosophy of life, and to provide a conception of the scope of play and its influence throughout the lifespan.

Currently playwork has a strong presence throughout Europe and Asia with a reemerging footprint in America. The field has developed from a need to compensate for the loss of natural play spaces and a reduction in the freedom afforded to children to play. Playwork is about providing children with access to rich play environments where adults playworkers support children’s natural play inclinations. In today’s society, many parents are hesitant to let their children play outside without the presence of an adult. Professional playworkers meet that need by supporting and facilitating children’s play.

The Minor in Playwork is the first of its kind in America. The Minor in Playwork actualized through an international collaboration between faculty from Bloomsburg and Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom. Leeds Beckett University offers the premier Playwork degree training program in the world. Both Leeds Beckett University, and Skills Active, the premier Playwork certifying body in the United Kingdom have endorsed the Bloomsburg Minor in Playwork.

In addition, due to its multidisciplinary nature and emerging presence in America, the Minor in Playwork appeals to a wide variety of undergraduate majors across various colleges as well as non-degree students and potentially improve their marketability. 

Students interested in the Playwork Minor should consult their advisor for information on course requirements. More information will be added to this page when available.

Courses and Curriculum

Through completion of the course sequence, student will 

  1. learn to explain the origins, aims, and methods of playwork; 
  2. apply playwork principles to planning, organizing, implementing, and evaluating play provision for children; 
  3. explore children’s changing allocation, navigation, and construction of place, space, and time; 
  4. and learn and apply the complex knowledge, skills, and professional dispositions required of effective playworkers.

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