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Watch Me Play!


Course overview

This Masterclass series will provide an accessible introduction to the ‘Watch Me Play!’ approach, including its background in child development research and its links to infant observation. Key concepts will be explored via engaging, lecture-style presentations, and there will also be plenty of time set aside for you to submit questions.

Please note that this Masterclass series has now come to an end. Sign up to hear about future Digital Academy courses and events in this area.


Course aims

Helpful in a wide range of contexts, ‘Watch Me Play!’ is a simple method for supporting babies, young children and their caregivers – promoting child-led play, individual attention from caregivers, and talking with children about their play in order to enhance relationships and create a better understanding of each child’s strengths and needs.

This Masterclass series will introduce the ‘Watch Me Play!’ approach – summarising the method, exploring how to introduce the approach to caregivers and colleagues, and examining the research and principles which underpin its development and application. Over the course of each stand-alone Masterclass, you will gain an understanding of how the approach might be used to help parents and caregivers support their child’s development through play.

Find out more about ‘Watch Me Play!’ and training in this approach.


Course topics

  • The first Masterclass, on 23 November 2020 at 1pm UK time, provided an introduction to ‘Watch Me Play!’ – outlining how practitioners can introduce and model the approach, and discussing a range of practical examples from mental health, social care and educational settings.


  • The second Masterclass, on 14 December 2020 at 1:30pm UK time, explored the child development research which supports the ‘Watch Me Play!’ approach – including the benefits of child-led play, the nature and consequences of childhood adversities, and the need for flexible intervention.


  • The third Masterclass, on 18 January 2021 at 1pm UK time, will examine the roots of the ‘Watch Me Play!’ approach in infant observation, discussing the role and significance of ‘attention’ and the relevance of observation in perinatal, early years and social care practice.

Who is this course for?

We welcome anyone to this Masterclass series who has an interest in the subject.

In particular, these Masterclasses are for you if you work with babies, young children and their families and wish to enhance your understanding or practice or are considering further training.

You may be working in:

  • A school, preschool or nursery
  • Social services
  • Healthcare
  • The voluntary sector
  • Perinatal, infant or child mental health
  • Or you may be considering work with babies/young children in the future.

Course requirements/assessment

There are no requirements for this Masterclass series, and there’s no assumption that you’ll have prior knowledge in this area.

Once you’ve registered to each individual Masterclass, we’ll send you a link to the Zoom video platform, where you will watch the live session.

There’s no assessment associated with this Masterclass series, just click the link and watch!

A short reading list, including a manual for parents and a digest of relevant child development research, will be provided.


Course Timings

Each Masterclass will be delivered live via Zoom, and will last no more than one hour.

Live Masterclass dates and times in this series can be found below:

  • Masterclass 1: Introducing the ‘Watch Me Play!’ approach – 23 November 2020 at 1pm UK time
  • Masterclass 2: The child development background to ‘Watch Me Play!’ – 14 December 2020 at 1:30pm UK time
  • Masterclass 3: ‘Watch Me Play!’ and infant observation – 18 January 2021 at 1pm UK time


Please note that you will need to register and pay for each Masterclass session separately.

Bookings will close at midnight on the day before each Masterclass, but if you contact us directly for any last-minute bookings, we will do our best to help. Once you’ve attended a live Masterclass session, we’ll also send you a link to the recording, which you can access for three months (90 days) after the live session. Closed captions will be available for recordings; live subtitling is not currently available but is being investigated for future Masterclasses.


Course facilitators

Dr Jenifer Wakelyn

Dr Jenifer Wakelyn

Dr Jenifer Wakelyn worked as an artist and in early years’ education before training in psychoanalytic child psychotherapy at the Tavistock Centre. Dr Wakelyn is lead child and adolescent psychotherapist in a mental health service for children in care in London, and has a special interest in therapeutic support for babies and young children in…


I have really enjoyed the Master Classes for 'Watch me Play'. They are easily accessible and very well organised. This enables you to fully immerse yourself in the world of 'Watch me Play' and to learn the different aspects of this intervention. I am certainly interested in using this approach in my work and am keen to learn more. I hope that there will be further masterclasses in the future.
Masterclass Participant

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