Theraplay

At Oakway Academy we offer Theraplay to support parents and children with a qualified practitioner


What is Theraplay?

Theraplay is a child and family therapy for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay interactions focus on four essential qualities found in parent-child relationships: Structure, Engagement, Nurture, and Challenge. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.

Sunshine Circles

At Oakway Academy teachers are being provided with 2 days of training in which they will learn how to deliver Theraplay Sunshine Circles in all classrooms:


What are Sunshine Circles?

Sunshine Circles ® are adult-directed and structured, but rather than talking, the teacher leads playful, cooperative and nurturing activities with children. Sunshine Circles are 99% interactive and create an atmosphere of fun, caring, acceptance and encouragement that leads to better social, emotional and even cognitive development.

Children generally embrace the three rules of Sunshine Circles… No Hurts, Stick Together and Have Fun! These rules can then can be carried on with the children throughout the day. Sunshine Circles can very quickly and dramatically improve the quality of the classroom and provide teachers with resources to maintain an emotionally positive and cognitively enriched environment.


What support do we provide?

Our school offers Sunshine Circles, Team Time as group interventions based on Theraplay® principles. 


Sunshine Circles are a small group intervention led by one of our two practitioners who have attended Level One Training in Theraplay®.


Team Time is led by the class teacher who has been trained to use Theraplay® informed practice. These sessions involve the whole class and class teacher as they engage in enjoyable multi-sensory activities together. 


Team Time and Sunshine Circles are designed to build relationships, allowing children to grow socially, emotionally and intellectually. Every activity helps to develop children’s self-esteem, sense of belonging, ability to trust and to care for themselves and others.


Theraplay® for child and family is also offered by our school counsellor for building and enhancing attachment, self-esteem, trust in others, and joyful engagement. It is based on the natural patterns of playful, healthy interaction between parent and child and is personal, physical, and fun. Theraplay sessions create an active, emotional connection between the child and parent or caregiver, resulting in a changed view of the self as worthy and lovable and of relationships as positive and rewarding.


How do children access the support?

All children have access to weekly Team Time sessions with their class. For Sunshine Circles and child and family Theraplay® interventions children are identified by teachers, or members of the Welfare Team who complete a referral form and hand to the Head of Pupil Safety and Welfare. Children will then be allocated to an appropriate intervention.


Who do I contact?

Claire Byron, Inclusion Manager