Watch Me Play! (CPD17)

Supporting babies and young children, together with their parents or caregivers

Watch Me Play! is a way of supporting vulnerable babies and young children (aged from 0-7) and their caregivers. Developed with the needs of young children in care in mind, the approach has been found helpful in a wide range of contexts, including post-adoption, teenage parents, supervised contact, as well as for children in intact families who have emerging but unclear difficulties, and as a first line or waiting list intervention.

Produced with funding from the Tavistock Clinic Foundation, the Watch Me Play! manual has been disseminated in Australia, Japan, South Africa and Scandinavia and translations are underway into Estonian, Italian, Japanese and Russian.

Aims and learning objectives

After taking part in the online course, you will:

  • understand the rationale for a therapeutic approach to support vulnerable babies and young children
  • be familiar with the principles of the Watch Me Play! approach
  • understand how to introduce the Watch Me Play! approach to caregivers and colleagues
  • understand ways forward for introducing and establishing Watch Me Play! in a range of settings
  • be familiar with ways of training and supporting colleagues working with families in different contexts
  • be able to draw on the experiences of colleagues in planning delivery and evaluation of Watch Me Play!

Who is this course for?

This online workshop is for you if you are a practitioner in health, social care or education and are working with vulnerable babies and young children and their caregivers.

You may be working in one of these roles:

  • early years practitioner
  • social worker
  • contact supervisor
  • health visitor and children in care nurse
  • mental health clinician including psychologists, child psychotherapists and psychiatrists
  • a teacher
  • nursery nurse
  • early years support worker

Course details

The course runs over two days on the following dates:

SessionsDateStart timeEnd time
Day 1 – Introduction to Watch Me Play!Friday 3 November 20239.30am3.30pm
Day 2 – Watch Me Play! in practiceFriday 26 January 20249.30am3.30pm

There is a gap between sessions so you can implement your understanding from the first session.

This cohort is now fully booked. Please use the “register your interest” button to be updated on future opportunities to join this 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.

The approach promotes child-led play, individual attention from caregivers, and talking with children about their play. Caregivers are encouraged to provide children with age-appropriate toys and their undivided attention in a quiet environment for regular short times two or more times a week.

Caregivers are also encouraged to talk with the child about their play, and to reflect with another involved adult or a professional on their observations of the child’s play and how it felt to be with the child as they played.

Day one – An Introduction to Watch Me Play!

The introductory day is a friendly, interactive forum for practitioners from a range of professional backgrounds. You will be invited to share your experiences and expertise and there will be opportunities to ask questions throughout the day.

A presentation giving an overview of the Watch Me Play! approach will include video illustration. We will talk through the freely downloadable Watch Me Play! materials. The day focuses on practical applications and has a varied format including whole, small group and case discussion.

Day two – Watch Me Play! in practice

This day offers you an opportunity to consolidate your understanding of the approach and share successes, difficulties and dilemmas with other practitioners and the facilitators. The day focuses on practical applications for those introducing Watch Me Play! to their practice and/or providing training and supervision for practitioners in their service.

A range of teaching styles will be used including whole, small group and case discussion. You will be invited to discuss a recent Watch Me Play! session and receive feedback and reflections from the group. There will also be opportunities to discuss evaluation and service-specific materials.

Prior experience of infant observation will be helpful for this course.

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

To benefit from this course you will need: 

  • at least two years’ experience of work supporting children and families;  
  • a good understanding of baby and child development; 
  • opportunities to work with parent-child or carer-child dyads, 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 
  • regular supervision. 

Training and supervising colleagues in order to cascade the Watch Me Play! approach requires: 

  • experience of Watch Me Play! with five or more families, with children of different ages and families in different situations 
  • a good understanding and familiarity with the Watch Me Play! resources 
  • opportunities to shadow or co-train with experienced trainers 
  • regular supervision with an experienced practitioner 


“Hungry for more, which is very good to feel. Thinking how I can begin to pilot this in my CAMHS service in the near future and now with parents that I am working with.”
“I am buzzing with ideas now! How to use this and where it’s possible, because it’s so accessible and now with a new found confidence to support others in using Watch Me Play! I can’t wait to get going!!! ”

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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