KOOP is looking for a special, magical person interested in working with children using a particular philosophy called playwork. Don't worry-- we'll train you and help you learn! Scroll through KOOP Adventure Play's Facebook of Instagram to get a peak at what we're doing here! Here's a job description, a day in the life series of photos and at the very end, instructions on how to apply. We're a small crew here which means every hire counts. Please read this information thoughtfully before applying.
Job Title: Part-time Playworker
Reports to: KOOP Executive Director
Creates open-ended, child-directed play opportunities for the Adventure Play After School, camp & community programs. Provides space, time, and materials for children to know themselves and their peers, and to explore through self-directed play. Collaborates with the Adventure Play (AP) Team regarding the children’s health and well-being and is trained in playwork philosophy which underpins every decision made day to day.
Required: You must believe that children are capable and competent and be able to truly let them lead in this context!
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
• Ability to create and uphold a climate that is conducive to free play - behavior that is personally directed, freely chosen, and intrinsically motivated.
• Demonstrate professionalism and best practices in playwork & willingness to train in this philosophy
• Offer creative ideas and materials to support a wide range of play types and opportunities.
• Provides an environment that is welcoming and safe for child-directed play.
• Maintain Adventure Playground, including restocking & organizing materials, building and general site maintenance.
• Conduct reflection on play activities daily (written) & at weekly AP staff meetings.
• Perform regular risk assessments in collaboration with the AP Team.
•Willingness to be introspective, accept and act upon supervisor feedback and a mentality that truly keeps the children's best interest at heart.
•Play is deeply personal to children and can bring up a lot for playworkers as well! We operate as a team and help each other learn, grow and work through challenges.
Competencies & Attributes:
• Flexible, Adaptable, and Patient: On any given day, a playworker might help children build a fort, be involved in a water fight, observe play from a discrete distance, or clear out materials that aren’t being used.
•A playworker does not provide specific activities, but responds to children’s ideas and needs in a playful and non-judgmental manner.
•A playworker is not a teacher. Though vast education and development occurs in our setting, we do not teach children in the traditional sense of the word and we intentionally position ourselves as followers in this space that is child- owned.
• Ability to communicate and collaborate within a team: The playworker balances being deeply present for individual children “in the moment” while observing the play site as a whole and in balance with partnering playworkers. Communication with other playworkers and adult caregivers is essential. Willingness to learn and grow through the reflective process and professional development opportunities.
• Ability to separate widely held preconceptions around adult-child relationships, and children’s capacities.
• Excellent time management, ability to prioritize, and problem-solve independently.
• Ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions-- really, we're outside every single day!
More about the position:
•This job will likely expand into administrative duties, communications and other duties outside the after school program.
•Hours expected to be available are Monday- Friday from 230-6pm plus a weekly Reflection meeting with staff. Additional hours during 1-2 days a week before the program begins is also likely.
•This job requires a lot of time and energy from a very small non-profit to hire and train for. The interview process will likely include 2 interviews, reading and discussing a short book and an on the job trial experience.
•If the job is offered to you and you accept, please understand that we are asking for a minimum of 1 year commitment (August-August).... though hopefully more!
•Bachelor's degree required. Perfect for a grad student or community member.
•Experience working with children, in formal or informal environments is preferred.
•Experience working on a team.
•First Aid Training preferred.
A day in the life of a playworker:
A crucial point of the job is actively observing children at play without interrupting or making it about ourselves.
We have a variety of materials that we provide for the kids and lifting, trash pick- up and moving materials is an everyday part of this job.
Playworkers respond to play invitations, or play cues, when appropriate and when invited.... which means sometimes we might be found crawling around in tall grass.
....And sometimes our quiet presence, willingness to engage in un-adulty things and our practiced active listening leads to personal and therapeutic conversations with children about their lives and their struggles. Even if it just looks like playing in the mud.
We follow the lead of the children in this space. We intentionally step back and let the children own the space, time and materials and we stay deeply present and accessible to children for help or in anticipation of their needs. Deep relationships are built with children in this work and with that comes great responsibility.
If you read this entire description and are still here and want to apply..... here's how:
Email your resume and a cover letter to KoopAdventurePlayground@gmail.com
•Subject line: Your Name- Playwork position
•Tell me why you want this position over others
•Tell me why/if this job speaks to your heart
•Tell me how you played as a kid.
•Tell me that you've looked at the qualifications and be honest about what you can offer