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Therapeutic Play Skills - Blended Learning

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Approx 3 months


QQI Level 6


Awarding Body

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Therapeutic Play Skills - Blended Learning

We are working remotely and are available to support you with any queries you have - please email Jenny at or call her on 01-8920031. 

Our academic delivery teams are all also working remotely and are supporting our students to continue with their studies through online learning or to get started for those just commencing their learning journey.  This course is available to start immediately with workshops delivered by webinar. 

"Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in the child's soul"

Fredrich Frobel

Research has found play to be an effective therapeutic medium for children in difficult and challenging circumstances such as family changes, separation and divorce,  new schools, chronic illness and even death and dying. It is a natural means for children to work out difficulties they might face such as in making friends, dealing with excessive anger, fear, sadness, worry & shyness.  Play also helps in dealing with issues emerging from aggression & acting out;  school difficulties; abuse & neglect; social adjustment; sleeping and eating difficulties; poor self concept & low self esteem; trauma; grief & loss; hospitalization; and identity.

The purpose of this QQI level 6 award is to equip you with the knowledge, skill and competence to use play as a therapeutic medium in a range of early years and special needs settings to facilitate young people, focusing on children’s specific needs in relation to holistic development

This course is specifically designed for anyone with experience of working with children or adolescents, also those who work or intend to work therapeutically with them. It includes;

  • Counsellors
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Psychotherapists
  • Montessori and Primary school Teachers/Assistants
  • Pediatricians
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Play School/Sessional services staff
  • Children’s Hospice care Home staff
  • Adoption/Foster Care Workers
What is blended learning?

This QQI level 6 award has been specifically designed for delivery by blended learning. It is very suited to you if you are want to study from home whilst gaining this qualification. During the induction, you will be given your log-in details to the online portal,  "ePortobello". Here you will find course notes, reading lists, articles of interest and assessment guidelines. The content is structured in an easy to "find and follow"  format. You will need basic computer skills such as searching the internet and typing a word document.

There is one to one expert tutor support available to you through out your learning journey. You can upload your assessments and your tutor will give you feedback on whether you are on the right track. Blended learning allows you to study at your time with support available  when you need it. The practical workshops are delivered by webinar and designed to give you the practical insight into Theraputic Play Skills from an experienced practitioner.

What is a Webinar?

A webinar, in the context of online learning, is a lecturer delivering a presentation or class online to a group of students. We use specifically designed elearning software so you can participate in the class just as if you were present in the same room. You can ask a question of the lecturer at any stage during the class. The software is designed with "break-out rooms" where you can discuss a topic or complete a group exercise with a smaller group from your class. You will need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone that has internet connection, an audio facility so you can hear and speak during the class and a camera so your lecturer and fellow class participants can see you. The webinar is a secure online environment and only those permitted entry by the lecturer can gain access to the "classroom". See under "Course Structure" for further details of Webinar 1 & Webinar 2 for this programme.

Who will I learn from?

Aoife Kelly has been an Early Years tutor at Portobello Institute since 2006 and has significant experience working with children in various capacities since 1991. Aoife is a qualified play therapist and clinical supervisor with her own private practice. Aoife gained her Montessori and Special Needs Qualifications from Portobello Institute and progressed onto NUI Galway to complete a Post-Grad Certificate and Diploma course qualifying as a Play Therapist. She then decided to complete the MA programme in Practice Based Play Therapy, transferring to Leeds Beckett University completing a thesis on ‘Exploring the Effectiveness of Using LEGO in Play Therapy’. Aoife leads many of the therapeutic play skills courses in Portobello Institute.

QQI Level 6 minor award (6N4705)  in Therapeutic Play Skills

Entry to this course is by direct application to Portobello Institute.  There are no previous academic requirements.

This is a blended learning course, a mix between online learning and webinars. The content is all available on ePortobello and is in an easy to follow "week by week" format.

You can commence this course immediately with the online content and attend the scheduled webinars as and when they arise. You must attend the first webinar before attending the second webinar. If for any reason you are unable to attend the scheduled webinar, you can attend the same webinar at another date. Please contact your assigned programme support manager for details of alternative dates.

Outlined below is the content covered during each webinar.

Webinar 1: Introduction to Therapeutic Play Skills

  • Introduce the course aims, objectives and discuss the assignments
  • Introduce the history of play therapy power point presentation with general discussions around this.
  • Lecture of play and explore the difference between "play" and "therapeutic play".
  • The concept of the therapeutic relationship introduced
  • Introduction to Bowlby and attachment types, then Erik Erikson's stages of man.
  • Webinar 1 wraps up with  explaining the mediums we will discuss on webinar 2
  • Question and answer session

Virtual breakout rooms used for group discussions throughout the day.

Webinar 2: More insight into the practical elements of Therapeutic Play Skills
  • Introduction to sand play and experiential exercises. 
  • Introduction to art therapy and experiential exercises.
  • Introduction to clay/play dough and experiential exercises
  • Introduction to therapeutic stories and discussion/ideas about stories
  • Introduction to puppets and discussion. 
  • Catch up on Eric Erikson stages of man theory and Bowlby attachment theory.
  • Time allocated to support students with queries about content and assignments.

Virtual breakout rooms used for group discussions throughout the day.

At the end of this course, you will be able to;

  • Evaluate the key concepts, principles and practice in utilising play as a therapeutic medium in a variety of child settings
  • Appraise therapeutic play theories and their relevance in different settings
  • Demonstrate understanding and awareness of interpersonal communication to include one to one and group dynamics
  • Explore the limits in terms of helping children develop self-control and decision-making and also in terms of personal security and ethical relationship
  • Examine the needs of specific individuals such as children who are bereaved, behavioural issues or those experiencing long term illness or medical care in a hospital setting
  • Identify own personal skills and competences in terms of practice
  • Contribute as an effective member of a team in an early years, education or healthcare setting in adhering to supervisory or management structures and maintaining appropriate documentation
  • Design and implement a range of practical play techniques to include the creative expressive therapies of art, drama, music and dance activities
  • Manage the planning and preparation of group work to include facilitation of a range of techniques for children and adolescents
  • Facilitate individual needs with ensuring equal opportunities and best practice to enable children to reach their full potential
  • Demonstrate the academic and vocational language, literacy and numeracy skills relevant to therapeutic play skills
  • Exercise substantial personal autonomy and responsibility.


The cost of this course is €689

Apply Now

Course Code Location & Info Price
EYTP-B-DS-SP-20 Portobello Institute, Dublin 1

Webinar 1 - 05/09/20 & Webinar 2 - 10/10/20
Start online learning today and register to attend the webinars on the above dates
€689 Book Now
EYTPS-B-DS-NV-20 Portobello Institute, Dublin 1

Webinar 1 - 07/11/20 & Webinar 2 - 05/15/20
Start online learning today and register to attend the webinars on the above dates.
€689 Book Now
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