Behavioural and emotional well-bring of children following non-directive play with school staff

Donna Ewing, Jeremy Monsen, Maria Kwoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This action research project considered whether significant improvements inchild and young person behavioural and emotional mental health could beachieved using school-based play workers as opposed to qualified therapists.This was seen as being an important practice question as access to qualified playtherapists was severely restricted with long waiting lists. The Strengths and DifficultiesQuestionnaire (SDQ) was used as a pre- and post-intervention measureto identify any changes following non-directive play sessions with school staff.Significant improvements were found across all SDQ scales, with the mostmarked improvement observable in children and young people identified as havinga high need for intervention. Number of play sessions attended and agegroup did not significantly affect SDQ scores according to teacher and child/young person ratings. Parent SDQ ratings indicated greater success of the playintervention for children aged between three and eight years compared withchildren aged between 11 and 15 years.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-203
Number of pages12
JournalEducational Psychology in Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2014

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Educational Psychology in Practice on 02/05/2014, available online:


  • non-directive play
  • therapy
  • school-based
  • mental health
  • Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire


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