Play in Decline: Advocating for children’s play in a competitive world

An open lecture by
Elida Kalpogianni, MSc
PhD Candidate, University of Reading, Scientific Director of PLAYING

When: Friday, May 26, 18:00–20:00

Where: 6th Level Auditorium

Organized by: The Graduate Master Class Series, School of Graduate and Professional Education

To reserve your place, please contact Maria Kritikou via email: or telephone: 210 6009800 ext. 1210.

Workshop Description

Play has been widely acknowledged as being critical to children’s health, development, and wellbeing. However, in spite of the consensus on the importance of play for the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social development of children, play has considerably declined in recent years. This has been observed both as a limitation in the time that children spend playing, but also in relation to the types of play they engage in and the quality of their play, with outdoor play especially lacking. The factors that affect children’s play are both environmental and social.

This phenomenon of play’s decline is affecting children’s life experiences and has implications on their health and development. Health issues which are on the rise in childhood, such as obesity, attention problems, anxiety and depression, have been linked to the reduction of free play opportunities. In addition, the important role of play has been investigated in relation to growing social problems related to aggression, such as bullying.

The lecture will discuss the main barriers to children’s play, such as lack of time and space, and dysfunctional adult perceptions around play. Issues such as the effect of different types of play on children’s development and learning will be discussed, as well as the importance of risk, and the ways that play affects children’s resilience and wellbeing. Ways to support play and play promotion materials, which are freely available, will be presented. The role of the educators and health professionals in children’s play promotion and advocacy will be emphasized.

Elida Kalpogianni

Elida Kalpogianni is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, with 22 years of professional experience of working with children and families. She received her MSc in Pediatric Occupational Therapy from the University of East London. She has had extensive training in various therapeutic approaches, in Greece, the UK, and the US. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Institute of Education of the University of Reading, researching play in the preschool years.

She has worked for the NHS, as well as in the private sector serving children and families in the community. She has also worked in preschool and school settings for many years, in close liaison with teachers and other health professionals. She is currently working in the nursery of the Hellenic-American Educational Foundation in Athens. She has taught in the Occupational Therapy School of the Technological Educational Institute of Athens, has delivered numerous presentations, seminars, and workshops, both in Greece and in the UK, aimed at parents, teachers and professionals. She has also presented in various national and international conferences, and authored articles in national and international scientific journals.

In January 2013, Elida Kalpogianni co-founded the non-profit organization PLAYING, aiming at the promotion of play in childhood. She is the mother of twin 8-year-old boys.