What is PARS?

PARS was invented as a unique way of working with children on the adventure playgrounds set up in the UK just after the second world war. Since the 1960’s, playwork has been used in an increasing number of diverse settings around the world, including earthquake disaster zones in Japan, working with children with disabilities in Fiji, orphanages in Romania and kindergartens in Hong Kong.

Historical research by Dr Shelly Newstead found that the practice of playwork was originally invented to compensate children for the presence of adults on adventure playgrounds (basically allowing children to play without adults interfering).

Grounded in the original philosophy of the adventure playground pioneers, the PARS model enables practitioners working in any setting to make decisions about whether and how to compensate children for the presence of adults in their time and space. PARS playwork practice is an ideal response for practitioners working in supervised settings who are concerned about shrinking childhoods and the loss of children’s freedom.

The Pars model has been embedded across all of its settings through training and mentoring for its whole staff team.

We are currently in the process of developing our policies and procedures with Dr Shelly Newstead to fit within the PARS model.

PARS training

The PARS master class is completed by Playleaders within the setting. PARS master class is delivered by Dr Shelly Newstead, founder of the PARS playwork practice. The master class covers:

  • A brief international history of adventure playgrounds and playwork.
  • The original philosophy of the adventure playground pioneers and how this is applied in PARS playwork practice.
  • An overview of the PARS model and explanation of how it can be used to articulate, develop and evaluate playwork practice.
  • In-depth exploration of PARS theories, methods and techniques and how to apply them.
  • Discussion of case studies and “real life” video clips to enable participants to apply the whole PARS model to their work with children.

Other playworkers complete “Playwork practicals” which is a day course covering the basics of the PARS model.

PARS 4 Parents

We are also running PARS 4 Parents at all 3 of our settings to help give parents an understanding of what the PARS model is and why we use this model in play. The presentation will be lead by Dr Shelly Newstead herself and will consist of the following:

  • A brief introduction to the PARS model
  • The role of the playworker within an out of school setting.
  • Discussions of real life play scenarios.
  • How PARS can be used at home.
  • Questions and answers.

These sessions will take part on the following dates:

Robert Arkenstall Primary School, Haddenham- Tuesday 30th April 2019- 6:00pm to 7:30.

Girton Glebe Primary School, Girton- Monday 8th July 2019 – 6:00pm to 7:30pm

Ridgefield Primary School, Cambridge-

If you would like to attend any of the PARS courses or would like more information on PARS, then please visit the PARS website to book a place at:

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