My Place to Play

Aims to enhance parent-baby interactions and children’s physical (tummy time), emotional (sense of safety, wellbeing and belonging), cognitive and language development for infants living in homeless/emergency/overcrowded accommodation.

My Place to Play, which aims to enhance parent-baby interactions and children’s physical (tummy time), emotional (sense of safety, wellbeing and belonging), cognitive and language development for infants living in homeless/emergency/overcrowded accommodation was developed in 2018-19 in partnership with the Dublin City North Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC), Healthy Ireland Funds, ABC Programme (Dublin Docklands and East Inner City, Preparing for Life in Darndale, Better Finglas and Young Ballymun), Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) and Focus Ireland.  

Since then, ELI has been part of a multi-agency Implementation Working Group comprising Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC) National and local areas, Tusla Partnership, Prevention and Family Support (PPFS) National, Tusla Homeless Liaison, the International Protection Accommodation Service (IPAS) to develop it further.  The project is a leading example of the upscaling of a multi-agency, collaborative and responsive project from local to regional to national level 

An evaluation of the My Place to Play Project was recently completed by Children and Young People’s Services Committee (CYPSC, 2020): 69040-Tusla-My Place to Play Report Inner.indd (cypsc.ie). It found that “My Place to Play” achieved positive outcomes for babies, parents/guardians and families, for practitioners and for Project stakeholders and should be replicated for other families living in accommodation with limited space such as families living in homeless hubs and emergency accommodation.  

Programme Delivery 

Professionals working in emergency accommodation provide families with a play mat and accompanying materials, which enable parents to create a dedicated space for play with their baby and support their infants’ development.  

Expectations of Professional taking part in the Programme: 

  • Engage in online information session before distributing the materials to the families, thereby ensuring that they have: 
    • Knowledge and practical skills around the importance of play in physical development 
    • Skills to promote parental engagement in their baby’s learning through the play mat 
    • Familiarly with the materials and benefits of each toy.  
  • Talk the families through the materials highlighting the use and benefits of each toy.  
  • Check back in with the family after two weeks to access the benefits of the materials for the children involved and see if additional support is needed 
  • Complete an online survey and encourage the parent to do so also if possible.