Developing Pretend Play Skills in Children – Assessment & Intervention

Dr Karen Stagnitti

Play has always been part of learning and growing, as well as providing enjoyment and fun. Play is an important measure of children’s development, as it encompasses emotional, social, cognitive and language aspects. Research has indicated a significant relationship between the quality of children’s pretend play during the preschool years, and their cognitive skills, social skills, language, literacy, and problem-solving ability in early primary school and beyond.

Assessment  ModuleThese online sessions will provide therapists with an ability to “refresh” or gain knowledge with regard to understanding “typical” play deficits seen in children and the assessment of a child’s play development including the use of the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist and the Animated Movie Test.

Intervention Module  These online sessions will provide therapists with a clinical reasoning framework to support implementing Pretend Play interventions based on an advanced understanding of the principles of Learn to Play Therapy. The workshop will also look at intervention programmes for a variety of clinical groups/clinical environments including children who have experienced trauma, children with autism and working in schools. To enrol in the Intervention module, participants will be required to have knowledge of the development of pretend play and assessment of pretend play through attendance at a Developing Effective Play Skills in Children – Assessment workshop (or similar).

Workshop DeliveryParticipants will be expected to complete the workshop requirements via an integrated system of pre-reading material, online content and participation in scheduled group presentations/tutorial sessions. Participants will be responsible for having access to the Internet for some or all of the workshop content.

  • Workshop Manuals/ Self-Study Tasks participants will be mailed a hard copy of the workshop manual which will include
    • some pre-reading to assist with consolidating knowledge with regard to the importance of play
    • presentation notes, covering the online presentation content as well as the case studies used in the interactive components of the presentation sessions
  • Online presentation using Zoom videoconferencing, participants will have the opportunity to link into two presentation sessions per module (with 30 min break mid-session). Sessions will also include interactive components (ie group discussions, case studies and Q&A sessions) to assist with integrating participants newly acquired knowledge and skills. Participants will need to have access to internet facilities and webcam to ensure that they are able to download and view workshop content, as well as actively participate in the on line group tutorials. Participants will be emailed the link (including password) to the workshop presentation sessions.
  • Small Group Tutorial Session – Assessment Module (optional) – Between sessions, participants are encouraged to utilise their newly acquired assessment skills on an independent case study. They will then have an opportunity to engage in an optional small group tutorial to get feedback/support with this case study prior to the second session. (NB 9:00 – 9:45am AEST – Tuesday 7th September 2021)

This workshop is suitable for both occupational therapists and speech pathologists.

Participants will need to have access to internet facilities including Zoom and webcam to ensure that they are able to download and view workshop content, as well as actively participate in the on line group tutorials and agree to the online T&C

 About the Presenter

Karen Stagnitti graduated with a Bachelor degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Queensland in 1977. Since this time she has mainly worked in early childhood intervention programs in community based settings as part of a multidisciplinary team. In 2003 she graduated from LaTrobe University with a Doctor of Philosophy. Her area of research is children’s play. Karen has written 6 books and has over 130 national and international papers and book chapters published. Her norm referenced standardised play assessment, the Child-Initiated Pretend Play Assessment 2, (revised manual and score sheets) was published in early 2020.. She worked as Professor (Personal Chair) in the Occupational Science and Therapy program and taught into the Master of Child Play Therapy at Deakin University, Victoria until December 2018. She is now Emeritus Professor at Deakin University.

Expressions of Interest  for this workshop are now being sought. Please contact Zi Mei Events on or (07) 3358 3689 to register your interest.