The Skoobmobile was introduced into the Renfrewshire community in early 2015. The premise behind the service was to introduce children to the benefits of reading and play activities as a means of helping to bridge the literacy attainment gap.
We are a team of four, with my role being the Playworker, which I truly love. There is no nicer feeling than seeing a child beaming with pride as they eagerly march off the bus with their art creation, as they can’t wait to boast about it when they go home. These moments should be cherished, and it is why I have chosen to work with children over the last 15 years.
We take it for granted that children are naturally playful, and yes they are, however they are now given less opportunities to engage in ‘free play’, which is proving to be detrimental to their social, creative and emotional development. The rise of play deprivation and the government’s acknowledgement that outdoor learning is crucial in children’s education was the reason I developed Play in the Park activities. In October 2015 we delivered our first Play in the Park which was based on Room on the broom by Julia Donaldson. The Skoobmobile team have now been offering these fun events in parks throughout Renfrewshire during the school holiday’s, and they have been attended by children, families, and local nurseries. The children are read a story and then encouraged to solve the clues as they follow a trail through the lovely park area. The excitement and sense of personal achievement is clear to see, even if they are sodden through or caked in mud! For me, it is amazing to watch how children react when ‘let off the lead’. They have sense of freedom, which can never be replicated when sitting behind their Xbox. One family had even remarked that they didn’t realise how big the park was!.
Being a Playworker, is more than just offering toys, it’s about engaging with the children and their families. I am very fortunate that I have been able to work with Families First in Linwood and Ferguslie, and see how the little ones, and the adults, love a visit from the Skoobmobile. It fills me with pride when I see parent and child making cupcakes out of playdoh together, as I know that these experiences will leave long lasting memories.
So, next time you see us in our colourful bus, give us a smile and a wave.
Go on. Let the inner child out of you!!