Arts, play and heath

Extended Education Conference - World Education Research Association

Play as interculturality in the compensatory practice of school-age educate

-Eva Kane, PhD, senior lecturer, Child and Youth studies, Stocholm University, Sweden


Some school-age educare settings in Sweden have many newly arrived children. The study explores how staff in one setting describe their “integrationsfritids” (integrative school-age educare). School-age educare staff´s practice is enabled and constrained by the schools’ practice architectures: the “cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements” with which they are intertwined (Kemmis et al., 2014). Facilitating play is part of school-age educare practice. Play practices intertwined with schools’ practice architectures can be called play practice architectures (Kane, 2015). This paper focusses on how staff talk about their particular play practice architecture. The material (two focus groups, one interview) has been transcribed, coded and themed. This article focuses on the parts of the material where play is discussed. The results describe play as a means to increase participation, develop language skills, learn and follow rules. This happens when children play with those that do not share their mother tongue. The staff talk about all children´s need to understand that which is ‘traditionally Swedish’ but also to learn to live in the ‘new’ Sweden. The staff´s play practice architecture is enabled primarily by funding from the council that employs language support staff and limited by parents who do not take up the school-age educare place offered. The conclusion is that staff´s practice is moving towards ‘play as interculturality’ as it becomes clear to them that the play-culture at school-age educare is something that is continuously renegotiated and not something that only the newly arrived children have to learn to be able to integrate.

The positive effect a Playwork way of working has on children, their play, and their internal locus of control during COVID-19

-Angus Gorrie, educational leader, Camp Hill Outside School Hours Care, Australia


External attributions have a significant cause and effect on children and their play. This phenomenon has been particularly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic with children using this global event as a significant theme in play. This qualitative practitioner paper explores the changing nature of play frames, correlated with the changing level of understanding and thus attribution of understanding of the children. This exploration is discussed using real life observations and recordings on the play themes as they present in play frames and the general fortitude of the children involved.  This paper also posits that this evolution of attribution in play, and the development of a strong internal locus of control were supported by a Playwork way of working by the practitioners in the play space. It is suggested that this way of working is ideal for children in regard to supporting their ability to take on potentially anxiety inducing issues and finding positive ways to deal with them.

Towards enhancing research on adolescent positive mental health

-Ársæll Már Arnarsson, PhD, professor, University of Iceland, Iceland; Charli Eriksson, PhD, professor emeritus, Stockholm University, Sweden; Mogens Trab Damsgaard, PhD, associate professor, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark; Petra Löfstedt, researcher, Department of Public Health, Sweden; Thomas Potrebny, PhD candidate, Western Norway University, Norway; Sakari Suominen, MD and PhD, professor, Nordic School of Public Health, associate professor, University of Turku, Finland; Einar Baldvin Thorsteinsson, PhD, associate professor, University of New England, Australia;  Torbjørn Torsheim, PhD, professor, University of Bergen, Norway; Raili Välimaa, PhD, researcher and lecturer, University of Jyväskylä, Finland and Pernille Due, PhD, professor, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark


The positive mental health and well-being perspective represents innovative public health research of first-rank priority in Europe. Good mental health is both a state and a resource for everyday life. Hence, the concept often refers to a subjective feeling (hedonic component) as well as positive functioning (eudaimonic component). Different conceptualisations of mental health-related issues are a background to this paper, which gives a brief overview of three research issues in the Nordic countries. First, the development in the occurrences of adolescent mental health-related indicators such as life satisfaction, health, sleep, and school pressure. Second, review of Nordic methodological studies reporting on different mental health-related measures. Third, the selection of measures of positive mental health employed in the 2017–2018 Health Behaviour among School-aged Children (HBSC) data collection in the Nordic countries. Using the Nordic HBSC data for 2002–2014, it was found that symptom and problem-oriented analyses of mental health can improve our understanding of the challenges adolescents face. However, there is also a need to examine positive aspects of mental health in order to enhance our understanding of different mental health-related dimensions. New measures were included in the 2017–18 HBSC data collection in the Nordic countries, enabling researchers to answer different research questions including analysing factors mediating and moderating positive mental health among school-aged children. Extending the perspective from a symptom- and problem-oriented view to a more positive and asset-based perspective adds additional value to studies of mental health.