A Day in the Life of A Playworker: meet Sam Gocher

Mittle Disciples Childcare based in Penymynydd, Flintshire. Our setting provides a breakfast club, wrap around care, after school club and holiday club for children from 3-11 years of age. 

When I was a child, I always enjoyed riding my bike around the lanes in our village with my friends and playing in the local park. I always knew from a young age I wanted to work with children.  Seeing the children achieve, have fun, and share their ideas always puts a smile on everyone’s face! 

Play is so important for children and young people as it provides a foundation for their social skills, promotes their imagination and creativity, and is essential for their physical and emotional wellbeing. I absolutely love observing children utilise loose parts resources to enrich their play opportunities indoors and outdoors.  

In our setting, we pride ourselves on providing excellent wellbeing opportunities for children. Providing activities and opportunities to chat about the children’s wellbeing, allows them to express themselves, build resilience and cope with challenges to support their mental wellbeing.   

On a typical day, as soon as I arrive at our setting, I work with staff to ensure that the play space is set up as a safe and stimulating place to optimise the children’s play, also ensuring that daily risk assessments are completed. We then welcome our children into the hall, complete the register and talk about what indoor and outdoor play opportunities and activities the children would like to access.   

During the session, we ensure that we support the children in their play and respond to any play cues.  We also respond to any questions and provide additional resources to enhance their play experiences.  

When children are collected, we communicate with parents/carers, providing feedback about the child’s day, any important messages and their achievements.  At the end of the play session, we always evaluate and reflect on the activities provided and free play opportunities, taking into consideration feedback from children. We also make sure the setting is clean and ready for the next day. 

I have been working in the playwork sector for 15 years and I started my career working in a primary school. I was asked if I would like to apply for a job as a relief playworker and was successful.  This role became permanent and I grasped opportunities to access qualifications, firstly achieving a Level 2 in Childcare, Learning and Development and then a Level 3 in Playwork.  This enhanced my practice and also allowed me to further develop my career prospects.  I became a manager 9 years ago.  

My career advice would be to have fun, play, and laugh with the children. Working in the playwork sector is really rewarding, fun and uplifting.