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Tom Shea on Play

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Tom Shea on Play


Tom Shea is Fafu’s lead Imaginator. He prefers growing old to growing up really enjoys meeting new people and providing innovative ideas in helping day nurseries develop and create amazing spaces. Tom is an expert in early brain development and has been working with children for 52 years.

He has a nursery called Child First along with his incredible manufacturing space in Milton Keynes called The New Factory. You can also find Tom organising an annual educational trip called International Play Iceland which has grown over the past 6 years attracting attendees from all over the world.

In this interview, we discuss what children’s play is and what this means for children; challenge, risk and freedom in children’s play environment; the role of the adult in children’s play; having ‘Sparkle Plus’ to work well in childcare; the importance of good quality outdoor space; Play Iceland and the development of Fafunia; exploring what can be done together with children as the supportive adult.

Find out more about Fafunia here:

International Play Iceland:

Early Childhood and Neuroscience: Theory, Research and Implications for Practice
by Mine Conkbayir

Archive: Lady Allen Adventure Playground Chelsea, Circa 1970s

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Kathy Brodie

Kathy Brodie