Ben and Mike
We created Ludicology to share our knowledge and experiences of supporting children’s play and to work with other parents, practitioners and policy makers to improve conditions for playing beyond the scope of our day jobs. We also really like working together, it’s when we do our best work, so that’s what we try to do as much as possible.
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Playing is Living
Humans have evolved to embody a playful disposition in their youth. Playing represents children’s primary form of participation in their everyday lives and is central to their experience and enjoyment of living. Play has unique behavioural qualities that lend themselves to the creation of experiences that are essential to children’s immediate and longer-term well-being and development.
Cultivating the Conditions for Play
Children are capable of being highly competent players, however their opportunities for playing will be restricted where conditions are not supportive. Ensuring our communities and institutions are fit for children requires the cultivation of sufficient time, space and permission for play across multiple levels of politics, policy, practice and provision.
Adopting a Play Centered Approach
Adults have a responsibility to be sensitive to the ways in which their actions impact upon children’s ability to play. This will inevitably involve negotiating concerns associated with allowing children greater freedom but will ultimately lead to the design and development of neighbourhoods, services and spaces that are more in tune with children’s innate drive to play.
Who We Are
For more than 10 years, Mike was the play sufficiency lead for Wrexham Council before going on to support other organisations and communities in their work with children’s play. In doing so he has led on the completion of play sufficiency assessments and the implementation of associated action plans. This has involved participatory research with children; coordinating partnership working in support of children’s play; encouraging local authority departments and partner agencies to develop more play-centred policies and practices; working to ensure that play and playwork are integral to the planning of services for children and that further restrictions on children’s time and space for play are avoided whenever possible. Mike has presented on the topics of play sufficiency, playwork and risk management at local and national conferences. He has also written for a range of publications and his research has been referenced in other similar studies. Mike is currently a trustee of the Wrexham Youth & Play Partnership and an honorary tutor at the University of Manchester. He is also a qualified playworker, design engineer and adult trainer, and has background in out of school childcare and staffed play provision.
Ben has worked in early years settings, in management positions at two adventure playgrounds and as National Play Development officer for Play Wales. He has also lectured in the subjects of childhood studies and play in both Higher and Further Education. Ben has worked on research projects investigating the effects of loose parts play on children’s physical activity, the sufficiency assessment of children’s opportunities for play, the influence of a playwork recess intervention on the school community and the development of suitable processes for managing risk is staffed children’s play settings. Ben’s work has appeared in industry publications including: Ip-Dip, Childcare Professional, Play For Wales and the Journal of Playwork Practice. He has also written for edited books including: Foundations of Playwork, Playwork Theory in to Practice, The Venture a Case Study of an Adventure Playground and Aspects of Playwork. Ben routinely either delivers conference and training events or speaks at them; of most note recently this has included co-facilitating Play in School and Public Health events with Play Wales and the Home Life events he developed and delivered in both North and South Wales.