Play Development in Fife

Practice Development Team Overview Model

Practice Development Team Overview Model

 Practice Development Team Overview


Click on the blue links for further information


The Practice Development Team was established in 2012 to support play development across Fife with the primary focus of the team to improve children’s outcomes through play for all ages. This recognises the role play has in child development and in the development of physical and mental health and wellbeing.


We aim to raise awareness of the value of play throughout Fife, develop increased community-based play opportunities and support Fife Council services and partners to use play as a medium for learning and development.


Based within the Practice Development Team is Fife Play Resource, established in 2005 as a toy lending service. This has been developed in recent years to provide a more holistic service, offering play development support as well as resources for play. There are currently 97 members accessing the service from across Fife.


In supporting play development across Fife we facilitate free play opportunities underpinned by the child’s right to play and the Playwork Principleswhich recognise that

children’s play is ‘freely chosen, personally directed and intrinsically motivated’.


‘Free play opportunities provide the biggest benefit in a child’s development’.

(National Play Strategy 2013, Scottish Government)


The work of the Practice Development Team has had a positive impact on children, families and professionals. In recognition of innovative and high quality outdoor play

experiences the team have won the Nancy Ovens Award for Play  - Best Play Experience, for the Free Range Project and a Bronze COSLA award for Tackling Inequalities and Improving Health for  our Play Development work.


Fife Play Resource


Fife Play Resource lends high quality equipment and resources to support Fife’s children’s sector and communities by providing resources to enrich learning experiences, support creativity and active learning. Membership is on a yearly basis and members include childminders, nurseries, schools and community groups, as well as elderly care homes. Members can access our online catalogue and booking system with deliveries taking place throughout Fife.


Free Range Project—Confident Children Naturally


The Free Range project is a targeted, referral based outdoor play project based at Falkland Estate. The aim of the Free Range project is to improve the quality of life through outdoor play for vulnerable children experiencing disadvantage in identified areas of Fife. It is an entirely outdoor free play experience for children aged 4-9 years that aims to increase children’s confidence and resilience by providing challenge and adventurous play in a natural woodland environment. The project takes place during school holiday periods and children attend each day for a week, Monday to Friday. Over 1100 children have attended the project since 2012.


Community Play Programmes


Play Ranger Programme


The Play Ranger programme takes place in a local park or greenspace. Play sessions are based on the Play Ranger Modelwhere children of all ages and their families can participate in free play sessions and games, using open ended play materials and are free to access. This supports communities’ understanding of the importance of play for children’s wellbeing and also supports strengthening family bonds.                                                                                                                         


Outdoor Adventure Days/Weeks


Outdoor play adventure days/weeks take place in local parks, woodland and beaches across Fife during school holidays for children aged 4 -12 years. Children can book for a required number of days or a week. The Adventure Weeks are targeted at families who can afford to pay for their children to participate in a range of adventurous outdoor free play activities.




We support  and promote the PlayTalkRead roadshow in Fife. It  encourages parents/carers and children, 0-4 years to spend time together having fun with songs, stories and messy play aboard the bus and gain lots of ideas for activities to do at home.


Play Development Support


The Practice Development team offer play development support to nurseries, schools, out of school clubs and community groups.  This has included workshops with

children and parent/carers in the woods, loose part play and playground play development. We also deliver an outdoor play training course – ‘Inspiring Outdoor Play’ as well as Forest and Beach Kindergarten training.


We also organise and facilitate the annual National Playday event that takes place in August each year in a Fife Council park. In 2018 over 2000 people attended the event at Beveridge Park, Kirkcaldy.


Fife Families Information Service


The Fife Families Information service is a free impartial service providing information on a full range of services led by the needs of children, their families and carers. We provide news, events and information, acting as a first point of contact for parents/carers seeking childcare, play and family service information. The Fife Families Facebookpage provides regular up-to-date information as well as promoting information within Fife Council, other agencies and partners across Fife.


Fife Families Information Service also offer a Childcare Search facility where parents and carers can search a variety of childcare options in their area using the Scottish Families Information Website(Scottish Government). They can also search for activities, advice, classes and groups that are local to them.


Passport to the Hills

The Passport to the Hills booklet was created as part of the Living Lomonds Landscape Partnership developed by Fife Council's  Play Development Team and Falkland Centre for Stewardship. The booklet gives families lots of ideas of things to do outdoors. The passport is used to record adventures, achieve badges and learn about the creatures who live in the countryside. 

There is also a Passport to the Hills app available too.

The Practice Development Team comprises of the following team members:

Sharon Faulkner - Practice Development Officer

Jacqueline Bell – Play Development Senior Practitioner

Daryl Samson – Play Development Senior Practitioner

Brenda Thornton – Play Development Practitioner

Michelle Quinn – Play Development Practitioner

Claire Jarrett – Support Officer, Information Services


Sharon Faulkner, Practice Development Officer



January 2019





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