Watch Me Play! (CPD17)

Explore how to support caregivers in nurturing meaningful connections with their infants or children through child-led play

The current cohort is now fully booked. Please register your interest to be informed about further opportunities to take this course.

Watch Me Play! is a way of supporting parents or carers and their baby or young child – aged from birth to around 8 years old – that promotes child-led play, individual attention from caregivers, and talking with children about their play.

This online training, comprising two parts, will introduce you to the principles of the Watch Me Play! approach and the benefits of implementing child-led play into your work with families. Hosted by Dr Jenifer Wakelyn, or colleagues from the team who helped develop the method, you’ll learn how to incorporate Watch Me Play! into your practice and discuss the approach with other delegates from a range of settings. Upon completing the course, you’ll be able to better understand a caregiver and their child’s needs so that you can provide them with more tailored support.

Aims and learning objectives

There are two parts to this training course. Part one, bookable here, comprises three online 90-minute workshops. You will be introduced to the Watch Me Play! approach and learn how it can be implemented into your work. If you choose to progress to part two, for which an additional fee is payable, you’ll participate in eight 75-minute small group supervisions where you’ll explore the use of Watch Me Play! in your practice.

During part one of this course, you will:

  • learn about the principles of the Watch Me Play! approach and what it involves for families and for practitioners
  • explore how you can introduce the approach into your work with families
  • recognise what the approach shares with other programmes of support and what is distinctive about it

Delegates progressing to part two of this course, will:

  • explore how to apply Watch Me Play! in a variety of different settings and contexts
  • learn how to support parents or carers in your work — during a Watch Me Play! session, in reflection and when reviewing progress and agreeing goals together
  • discuss and share experiences with colleagues from different settings, considering the barriers and opportunities for families and services when providing Watch Me Play! support
  • develop a thorough understanding of difficulties that may affect how families take up Watch Me Play! support and consider how to address these, how to build on progress, and when to refer on to further services
  • learn how to train and supervise colleagues in the Watch Me Play! approach, drawing on your direct understanding of the approach in the work context and both parts of your training

Who is this course for?

This online training is for you if you are a practitioner in health, social care or education and are working with caregivers with a baby or child aged from birth to eight years old.

You may be working in one of these roles:

  • perinatal practitioner
  • early years practitioner
  • social worker
  • contact supervisor
  • health visitor and children in care nurse
  • mental health clinician – for instance a psychologist, child psychotherapist or psychiatrist
  • a teacher
  • nursery nurse
  • early years support worker

The second part of the training, Watch Me Play! in practice, is for practitioners who have completed part one and are starting to use Watch Me Play!, and who can allocate time for writing notes for small group discussion.

Course details

This cohort is now fully booked. Please register your interest to be informed about further opportunities to take this course.

Part one of this training comprises three, 90-minute online workshops (course fee £275). In addition to this, you will need to be able to commit to four hours of reading and preparation activities. The dates for the workshops are as follows:

SessionsDateStart timeEnd time
Workshop 1 of 3Friday 19 April 20249:30am11:00am
Workshop 2 of 3Friday 17 May 20249:30am11:00am
Workshop 3 of 3Friday 21 June 20249:30am11:00am

If you choose to continue your training into part two of the course, you’ll join eight, 75-minute small group supervisions. These are anticipated to run in Autumn 2024, subject to demand and will cost £550. Delegates completing the initial workshops will be invited to join these supervisions. Delegates arranging for their organisation to fund their training may wish to seek approval for both parts to be funded at the outset rather than making a separate application for the supervision element. Taking part in these groups requires around two hours of preparation each time – reading Watch Me Play! materials and writing notes on a recent Watch Me Play! session with a family.

Dates and group(s) for this part of the training will be discussed with participants on the course. Please note that the part one workshops are a pre-requisite for the supervision element and this part cannot be booked as a standalone course.

This course will be delivered remotely using Zoom.

You will need a device with a microphone and camera together with a suitably fast internet connection. Although mobile devices and tablets can be used, we recommend the use of a laptop or desktop PC for the best experience. Some devices provided by employers may have restrictions in place. Please use this Zoom test link to check your set up before booking.

You will be sent the necessary login link about a week before the course start date. Should you have any concerns about the accessibility of remote delivery please contact us to discuss how we can best help you.

Part one: An introduction to Watch Me Play

Part one comprises three 90-minute online workshops:

  • Workshop one: You will be introduced to the Watch Me Play! approach and explore the importance of child-led play and individual attention from caregivers.
  • Workshop two: You will discuss the role of a Watch Me Play! practitioner and who can benefit from the approach, as well as case studies exploring the approach in different contexts.
  • Workshop three: You’ll prepare for implementing Watch Me Play! into your practice and for checking fidelity to the approach in your work.

Part two: Watch Me Play! in practice

For part two of the course, participants must be using Watch Me Play! In current work with individual families or parent/carer-child dyads. You must have time to prepare for the training including:

  • one hour for reading materials
  • one hour for writing a case summary before each group
  • four hours for collating case summaries and writing a reflection at the end of the course

We therefore recommend that you are not taking part in another training at the same time.

The WMP approach was developed by Dr Jenifer Wakelyn, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, in collaboration with colleagues in early years, mental health, perinatal and social care services, and services for children with developmental and neurodevelopmental difficulties. Funding from the Tavistock Clinic Foundation supported the development of WMP. The approach is now used in services across the UK and in countries including China, Israel, Italy, Greece, Japan and South Africa.

More information about the approach can be found on our website:

Integrating Watch Me Play! into your practice requires careful preparation. You will need time for direct work with families and for writing notes, and the support of managers and colleagues to develop your practice.

To benefit from this course you need:

  • a good understanding of baby and child development
  • opportunities to work with parents or carers and their baby or child where children are aged 0-8 years, or, in early years settings and schools, with individual children
  • a room or a suitable quiet space for 1-1 work, or the capacity to offer home visits, or work online
  • time to read the Watch Me Play! resources
  • time to write detailed notes on Watch Me Play! sessions and to check sessions for fidelity to the Watch Me Play! approach


“I found Watch Me Play! an extremely worthwhile training, with an approach that can be easily followed, that can be universally used by parents and cares , to slow down life, be present, play alongside and really see their child and meet them in their world, bringing life long positive changes from families.”
“I would highly recommend the Watch Me Play! training to anyone working with parents u0026 children who is interested in promoting understanding, encouraging development and strengthening relationships through play.”
“An amazing couple of days being trained in Watch Me Play! Jenifer and Jane were enjoyable to listen to and explained the approach with clarity and enthusiasm. I am looking forward to using this approach with families. ”
“This is one of the best training courses I have completed in my 20 plus years of practice. Facilitated by friendly, very experienced and skilful practitioners, who while sharing their knowledge and the process of Watch Me Play! also genuinely valued the varied experience that the group brought to the training. The training is so relatable to my work in Infant Mental Health and the two days left me feeling motivated and excited to continue to translate my Watch Me Play! learning into practice. ”
“Watch Me Play! is so usable/flexible for a range of services supporting families. Case studies used by the trainers and by course participant are very powerful in identifying challenges and positive changes within families and the resources for parents and practitioners on the website are very helpful. I’m excited about the prospect and possibilities with implementing this within our service. ”

Course facilitators

Register your interest

Bookings are now closed. Register your interest to join our waiting list and be the first to hear when this course reopens.

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