All posts by KellyC

21st of February, 2017 a ’Day of Joy’ in Hungary

On Tuesday, 21st of February, 2017 a ’Day of Joy’ was organised within the ARTPAD project by Rogers Foundation to share the results of the project so far with stakeholders. Attendees were introduced to the Best Practice Guide and participated in parallel workshops about play, games and drama. The event was held at RS9 Theatre, which was one of the organisations Rogers Foundation has introduced as a best practice – this way our cooperation was strengthened further.

There were 35 professionals participating at the event, coming from all over Hungary. Among them were representatives of national educational institutions and networks, such as the Hungarian Institute for Educational Research and Development, as well as practitioners, teachers and youth leaders, both from public and higher educational institutions, psychologists and trainers.

The event was officially opened by the president of the board of Rogers Foundation, Magda Draskóczi, followed by a short presentation about RS9 Theatre by Katalin Lábán. After the opening words, Virág Suhajda has introduced Rogers Foundation and the ARTPAD project, and Zsuzsa Vastag presented the Best Practice Guide and the central principles found throughout the research phase of the project. The participants were invited to look at all the themes and methods presented during the day keeping in mind the principles, and evaluate in what forms are each principle relevant to the given methodology/approach.

Three workshops were held both about play and games, and about drama. Regarding play and games, the first session explored the possibilities in using board games for educational and personal developmental purposes. Participants had the possibility to hear about theoretical approaches and also to try out different games in practice, discussing their benefits when playing with children and young people. Secondly free play was introduced. The participants got to know the approach of play and the importance of understanding the role of adults in children’s freely chosen activities, as well as discussed issues of health and safety and ways to differentiate between danger and risk. Finally at the third workshop an educational card game was presented, called ‘Morality – What would You do?’. It is a tool to use with adolescents to discuss moral and ethical question through a game.



Regarding drama, the first workshop was focusing on RS9 Theatre’s program about creative writing and drama camps. These one-week camps are organised during the summer, where children have the possibility to participate in writing their own play, rehearsing it and then present it to their parents at the end of the camp. The attendees of the workshop tried this method by forming small groups and sketching and presenting a scene. The workshop ended with a reflection about the experience and a discussion on the effects of such programs on children. The second workshop was called „Dramatic Changes”, where Rogers Foundation has introduced a good practice about using dramatic tools to help develop young people’s employability skills. Participants tried some drama games and discussed ways they could use such methods with their groups of young people. The third workshop was focusing on the power of tales and ways to act a tale or story in a dramatic way. Participants of this workshop listened to a folk tale followed by processing it dramatically.

The event was closed with a common discussion about the program of the day, where each participant had the chance to express their thoughts and feelings about the workshops, to reflect on the presented methods and approaches and explore how the central principles of the Best Practice Guide are relatable to them. According to their feedback, the Day of Joy was a success, as stakeholders left inspired and motivated to use some of these methods and approaches in their work, to learn more about our projects and also they had the chance to discuss issues with their colleagues.

If you would like to find out more about this event and future events please contact Judit Rátz at

ARTPAD Multiplier Event in St. Pölten – ”Good schools promote resilience – with drama and play”

The first Multiplier Event for the ARTPAD Project in Austria took place on May 23rd at the Hippolythaus St. Pölten

We started with a short drama drama exercise to welcome each other and to get a first idea about our expectations for the afternoon.


After this warm-up session, Paul Schober started to introduce the main ideas of the ARTPAD Project, the concept of resilience and the six ARTPAD principles, which are the base for supporting resilience.

Empowerment, Environment, Methodology of Drama and Play, attitude of the adults, the individual within the group and alignment are essential in this context.

Emina Eppensteiner and Dagmar Höfferer-Brunthaler reported on their work in schools. Both are experts in educational drama and they gave a clear insight into the practical dimensions of educational drama.

Although the research findings on resilience are well known, the concrete implementation in the educational institutions is only at the beginning.

To enable children and adolescents to resiliency, to cope with crises in such a way that learning chances arise, is becoming increasingly important. It is not only meant to deliberately accept a failure in certain areas, but also to provide learning opportunities and to train the resilience of one’s own personality. The methods of theatre and drama education are certainly well suited for this. The recognition of uncertain play situations, the risk of a common approach to themes and content, to allow failure to learn from it – all these elements of drama / theatre pedagogy are promoting resilience-, and they are usually also joyful and very motivating.

The next input came from Paul Schober again;he presented the Best Practice Guide more detailed and also gave a preview of the training course.

The Guide might be used to get a first idea of the connection between resilience, drama and play and to convince policy makers and decision makers in school authorities about the importance of both approaches

The training course will be piloted in Poland March next year and after that adapted and transferred to Austria. All participants were highly interested into training and we will keep them informed.

The next ARTPAD Multiplier Event in Austria is planned for May/June 2018. If you would like to find out more about this event please email Paul Schober at

UK Multiplier Event Report – March 2017

An information and consultation event – 29th March 2017

In March, staff at the University of Gloucestershire hosted the first ever UK meeting  to promote ARTPAD (Achieving Resilience through Play and Drama) to the play, youth and education sector.  This ambitious 3-year project has researched how play and drama is used in schools and youth projects in 5 European partner countries to help develop resilience in young people (Hungary, Poland, UK, Germany and Austria).  The project has developed a best practice guide for leaders of settings and is currently producing a course for practitioners.  As the event was held after the first year of research, the project event enabled staff to share the key findings so far and in particular the core principles established through the project.  The staff also provided inspirational lectures in play and drama techniques and how these can impact on the work of teachers, youth workers and playworkers.  This gave rise to a useful networking and ideas sharing discussion amongst the group which was really helpful to those who attended.


Events such as this are a vital way to promote the work of organisations and a wonderful opportunity to further the impact a project can make by getting news of the work out to a wide audience.  The event was well supported by Head teachers and teachers, staff from local drama education services and Play Organisations and attendees who travelled from as far afield as Torbay and Birmingham to hear about the project.

Leonie Burton from the University of Gloucestershire said of the day “it is so encouraging to hear how useful staff from Schools and Youth settings say the Guide and the course will be to them and how enthusiastic they were.  We are excited about the next stages of the project as we write the course and train new trainers in the UK who will be able to deliver this for us in the future.”

For anyone who is interested to find out more about the project and how they can benefit from the course development through pilots or accessing the training when it is completed – please contact

A Rainy but Fun UK Transnational Meeting!

An ARTPAD meeting held on 5th and 6th June in Cheltenham was well attended by partners and gave us a useful opportunity to launch in to the detailed preparations for writing the ARTPAD course for teachers and youth workers.  Aside from the very wet UK summer weather which disappointingly put our plans on hold to show our partners around Cheltenham, the 2 days was a great success and achieved a lot.  We were able to test run some of the materials that will be included in the modules around play and drama and to explore issues relating to how the course would be written and by when.


The ARTPAD course is ambitious in that it has a mixed target audience- teachers and youth workers.  It also covers two subject areas that are both very different from one another- play and drama techniques.  In addition, the end result is hoped will be improved provision for both in schools that will supports the development of resilience in young people and will have a positive effect on reducing school drop our/ disengagement in education and non-formal learning. Given this challenge, the group were also enthusiastic in planning the 2018 training of trainers in Poland which will be key to the success of delivery and is likely to be delivered at a training centre in a coastal location called Hel, as you’d expect, this provoked much hilarity about how the event could be branded- going to Hel and back!  The team has fixed the date for this 12th– 16th March 2018 and afterwards local pilots of the course will be delivered.  This seems like a long way off but as we know, things come around quickly especially when working transnationally, we need to have adequate time for planning.

Keep your eyes posted for more news about that and also for details of events in each country in March/ April 2018 and of course the International Conference in June 2018.  This a big year ahead for the project with hopefully lots of news coming out and we look forward to sharing it with you.

A free information and consultation event in the UK

Achieving Resilience Through Play And Drama – Wednesday 29th March @ University Of Gloucestershire

The event will introduce the newly developed Best Practice Guide for teachers and youth workers that was developed within the ARTPAD project, through the active collaboration of the partnership, and is a result of a year long research process. The methods introduced are intended to have an impact on the well-being of children and young people, developing a mind-set that helps them to face adversity and overcome challenges – resulting in greater engagement in learning.

The aim of the project through the Best Practice Guide and subsequent training is to highlight the importance of introducing drama and play in institutional programs. It is intended to support practitioners, teachers who want to learn about the possibilities and impact of drama and play on the development of themselves as teachers and the development of the children they teach.

During the first year of the project, the partnership has visited several organisations and institutions, best practices, in the five partner countries (Austria, Poland, Hungary, Germany and the United Kingdom), who work with play and/or drama methods with children and young people. The visited organisations – schools, youth centres, professionals, NGO-s, and more – all covered different aspects of play and drama. Through these visits, the partnership was able to conclude what are the core elements of these practices, what are the factors that ‘make them work’. These elements then were turned into central principles, fundamental suggestions for practices to consider when building up their program. These principles are the heart of this guide and the event, summarising all the experiences the partnership has gained throughout the research.

Using drama techniques and play for learning is not a new or even recent idea. There are examples within early Jesuit education of using play as a tool for learning. Comenius, a Czech philosopher from the 1500’s, emphasized the importance of demonstration, and promoted the use of drama and play in order to support learning. During his work in Sárospatak in Hungary, he wrote down this idea in Schola Ludus (“Playful school” 1654). Other philosophers, including Rousseau, also recognised the importance of inner motivation, freedom and spontaneity within a child. Froebel too believed in a holistic approach to education built on ‘first-hand experience, collective play, talk and reflection’. Thus throughout history drama and theatre have been used to inform, educate and stimulate learning, whilst play is the natural activity of humans and higher brained mammals.

This event will provide you with an insight in to what has been learned so far and presented in the Best Practice Guide and will be an opportunity to find out about the up and coming training and development opportunities and how you might get involved both on an individual level or if you are fact finding on behalf of your School, Youth Setting or Academy.

Find out more about the event visit:


”The starting point for Research phase”

ARTPAD visit in St. Pölten; Written by Paul Schober

St. Pölten was the starting point for the research activities of the ARTPAD project. The aim was to get to know good practice in the field of drama and play. For this purpose three projects were presented in St. Pölten:

”Füreinander Miteinander” is a educational drama group led by Emina Eppensteiner. Children and adolescents from different cultures, with different languages and religions often live side by side and not together: The project named “For each other – together” overcomes the everyday distances in the common theatre play. All children and young people are welcome. In groups of max. 14 children or young people, games are developed together and rehearsed. Everyone finds space for his creativity and imagination.

The drama-educational project of “dream catchers”, led by Christoph Rabl, addresses the question of how bullying and other forms of violence affect children and what can be done about it.

In the narrative form of the fairy tale, “dream catcher” takes up motifs of the Grimm fairy tale figures and joins them in a dramaturgical arc. It tells how children and adolescents are gradually gaining social competency and finding themselves out of the wake of their despair and developing new life perspectives.

Finally Margot Cammerlander and Paul Schober presented their Symbolwork. With the help of symbols they are able to provide children and adolescents with an additional language, when they cannot find the right words. In this context, symbols work similarly to an interpreter; furthermore, they transmit information one cannot or does not want to share.

As a symbol may have infinite meanings and is interconnected with multiple feelings, the key is an individual approach to support children and adolescents in adverse situations.

After a short presentation from each project the ARTPAD Research group had intense discussions about the characteristics and the impacts of the presented practice.

Development through play and drama – Day of Joy – 21st February 2017

Hungarian Multiplier Event

On the 21st of February 2017, a “Day of Joy” will be organised in Budapest, Hungary, as part of the ARTPAD project, by Rogers Foundation for Person-centred Education. The aim of the event is to share the results of the project so far with stakeholders in Hungary, including school directors, teachers, youth leaders and pedagogical staff. It is also an opportunity to present the Best Practice Guide developed within the project.

The event is named “Day of Joy”, as we are aiming for providing experiences and joy to the participants while learning about the project and the possible application of plays, games and drama methods in institutional programs. Following an opening presentation, there are going to be parallel interactive workshops focusing on the following topics:

  • Board games in education
  • The method and the benefits of playwork
  • Morality: What would you do? – Exploring moral dilemmas through a card game
  • Playwright and drama camps
  • Dramatic Changes: drama methods as means of developing employability skills of young people
  • Kamishibai (paper theatre), drama and tales

We are going to present the central principles of supporting the overall development of children and young people which the partnership has identified during the one-year long research phase of the project. We will then discuss with the participants how they are relevant to these concepts of play, games and drama and draw conclusions about their application. Therefore the event will be a great opportunity for stakeholders to share ideas and to network with each other, and to create a dialogue about the role of play and drama in education.


A Mutual Understanding in Gdańsk

ARTPAD visit in Gdańsk, Poland written by Paulina Pawlicka

The second research visit of the ARTPAD project team took place in Gdańsk, Poland between 31st of March 2016 and 2nd of April 2016. This was the meeting that brought our mutual understanding of resilience and core idea of how the Best Practice Guide should look and be like so that it was reader-friendly. The group dynamics brought us to the point where we set off to the deeper water and the individual differences of the group members became more visible resulting in fierce discussions. This showed how engaged in the project everybody was and resulted with better getting to know each other.

As the first meeting during the visit in Poland was planned for early afternoon, those who got to Gdańsk a day earlier had the opportunity to participate in a morning drama training session aimed for students of social work and early education at the University of Gdańsk. The training was led by our ARTPADer Adam Jagiełło-Rusiłowski. This created the opportunity to discuss the goals and the process of the training, which is the project’s Intellectual Output 2.

After the ‘welcome part’ of the meeting accompanied by lunch, everybody transferred to the Gedania 1922 kindergarten in Gdańsk to see the children education place working on introducing free play and equipped with a creative playground and huge outdoor area of the Gdańsk sports club. The discussion that followed the visit, introduced the theme: what free play is, the playworker’s approach and how to facilitate free play. During the afternoon session back at the Social Sciences Department of the University of Gdańsk the group worked on the Best Practice Guide. Each person introduced the chapter they had worked on. We also discussed the overarching aims of the Best Practice Guide and groups that it is addressed to.

The second day of the ARTPAD visit, which was All the Fools’ Day in Poland (April the 1st), started at the 12th Elementary School in Gdańsk, where the group had the opportunity to experience two actual lessons (with fifth-graders and second-graders) with elements of drama led by the certified drama teacher. It was an interesting and direct experience as the children agreed that the ARTPAD group stayed in the same room and even participated in the introductory part of the lesson. The lunch took place back at the University of Gdańsk, where the drama teachers leading the sessions with the children joined us for a reflection session. The rest of the day was spent on discussing the Best Practice Guide. In the evening the group met at Adam’s and his wife Magda’s house where the hosts prepared and served a delicious buffet dinner (home-made Polish and fusion) for the ARTPADers.

The third day took place again at the University of Gdańsk and began with the management meeting. Finances, action plan from the last meeting and preparation for the next meeting in Hungary were the main issues. Furthermore, a discussion on the second output of the Project, which is the drama and play course for teachers and youth workers, took place. We have made a decision, that a pilot of the course will take place in Gdańsk in February/March 2018. The last part of the meeting was held by Wendy Russell, our external elevator, and focused on the group dynamics and process of working on the Best Practice Guide. The session was followed by lunch, which was the last part of the visit.

A playful visit!

ARTPAD UK Visit written by Karen Benjamin

In November the partners from the European project ARTPAD visited the University of Gloucestershire as part of the yearlong study visits to see examples of good practice in a arrange of settings using drama approaches to learning and also those supporting play. The project is focused on researching how these approaches may support the development of resilience in children and young people.

On Day 1 the group visited a primary school in Stroud where the Year 5 teacher was using drama to engage children in learning about a specific aspect of history.  The children had already created an imaginary character with who they could relate to as she was of their age and had similar characteristics. By placing the students in an imaginary situation the teacher was able to engage them with the emotional context of the Fall of Pompeii.  We observed a very sensitive engagement by the teacher with her class who after their involvement in the task responded creatively through their language and similes, demonstrating a high level of involvement and understanding of the historical event.

Later that day Play Gloucestershire presented their work that targeted particular groups of children through their Play Nurture project where they provide targeted play sessions for children who need time and space to play away from their environment and with supportive adults.

Then Michael Follet presented on his work with OPAL (Outdoor Play & Learning) where school’s invest in a play audit that ensures school environments are improved to support children’s access to spaces for playing, and are supported by a change in school ethos and approach to playtimes.

On Day 2 a whole day was spent in Bristol where the group visited Bristol Children’s Scrapstore and a Scrapstore Playpod in a local Primary School.  Scrapstore Playpods introduce scrap materials as loose parts into the playground encouraging a range of play opportunities that support creative, risky and co-operative play and improve children’s overall experience of their school day. Evidence form the research  on the  initial pilot projects clearly showed how improving playtimes through resources and staff training impacted on the whole school and on children’s engagement with learning in the afternoon.

Alice from ‘Playing Out’ visited during lunch to talk about how the introduction of street closures supporting children’s play on their doorsteps had benefitted communities with research being undertaken through the  University of Bristol on the impact of the project.

After our European partners shopped in the Warehouse at Scrapstore we all travelled to Felix Road Adventure Playground where the Senior Playworker Eddie Nuttall showed the group around and we were fed delicious food from their kitchen whilst we sat around the fire pit and evaluated our day.

It was hoped that a great deal of good play projects were seen by partners as the UK is very proud of  playwork as an approach to supporting children’s play and this was something we wanted very much to share with our European partners.