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Play to Z Ltd

Training & Masterclasses

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Training Options

  • In-house – Inset days, twilight or cluster sessions.
  • Masterclasses – Attend one of the many courses available at our Colchester-based Centre of Excellence.
  • Bespoke Training Solutions - Contact us to find out more. 
  • Training and Resource Packages – What better way of galvanising action after practitioners leave inspired from the training than for them to be able to put their learning into practice with gorgeous, stimulating resources. 
  • Sensory Appraisal – If you’re not sure whether children’s sensory play needs are being taken seriously in your setting, why not commission us to carry out a Sensory Appraisal, provide staff training, run a session for parents, and work with you on developing and implementing an action plan? 
  • Mentoring and one-to-one guidance.

Please email Sue ( for details of our Training Courses and Sessions.  


Coming soon - Dates for the latest round of hugely popular Masterclasses planned in Spring 2022. These 1 hour Masterclasses (plus browsing, questions and mentoring time) offer opportunities for hands-on guidance, demonstrations and bite-sized theory with author and Play Therapist Sue Gascoyne.

Popular options include:

  • Unlocking the Learning & Wellbeing Potential of Messy Play
  • Understanding & Planning for Children's Sensory Needs
  • Creating Quality Play & Learning Opportunities with Treasure Baskets
  • Improving Behaviour & Wellbeing- The Compas Approach
  • An Introduction to Play Therapy


All provision is tailored to meet client’s particular needs. The list of topics below gives an idea of the range of topics that can be delivered as keynotes, training sessions, mentoring or workshops.

  • Therapeutic Teaching & Benefits for Wellbeing
  • Supportive Children's Executive Functions
  • Understanding & Providing Enabling Environments for Under Two’s
  • Understanding & Meeting Children's Sensory Needs
  • Creating a Sensory-Rich Indoor and Outdoor Environment
  • Supporting Children's Physical Development with 'movement-rich Environments
  • Bringing the EYFS to life with Sensory Play
  • Developing Sensory Provision Outdoors
  • Science - Sparking Exploration & Investigation
  • Developing Creativity In & Outdoors
  • Supporting Children as Effective Learners
  • Developing Treasure Baskets that Work
  • Sensory processing difficulties and solutions
  • Getting the most from Low and No Cost resources - Object play, Heuristic Play and Loose Parts Play 
  • Supporting Wellbeing , Communication & Learning through Messy Play

Award-winning Training Style

Sue Gascoyne provides high quality training and workshops for early years practitioners, teachers, students, parents and carers. The Statutory Framework for the EYFS recognises the characteristics of effective learning as Playing and Exploring, Active Learning, Creating and Thinking Creatively. Adults too benefit from a good mix of learning through play, hands-on exploration and opportunities for being creative. As well as being highly participative and practically linked to the EYFS, all Sue’s courses and sessions feature the following ingredients, essential for maximising the positive benefits of training. 

  • Accessible theoretical foundation 
  • Fun and engaging activities 
  • Play observations – written, photographic and video 
  • Practitioner discussion and reflection 

Sue’s training is flexible, with sessions tailor-made to suit the needs of particular settings, participants or themes. Although many of the courses and sessions feature a focus on the senses (be it sensory stimulation, sensory processing, sensory play or a sensory edication) or object play (e.g. Treasure Baskets), their benefits are far wider reaching. For some, the hands-on medium of sensory play is a particularly empowering way of introducing crucial less accessible issues like pedagogy, the adult’s role in supporting play, getting the adult/child-led balance right, brain development, schemas, wellbeing and the EYFS. The benefits and learning gained are relevant and transferable to numerous aspects of child care and development and are designed to support good practice through changing hearts and minds. As a Creative Arts & Play Therapist Sue is passionate about the power of open-ended sensorial resources, like sand and water for supporting children's personal, social and emotional development and delivering tangible behavioural and learning improvements. Contact to discuss your Play Therapy needs.

Information Sheets and Webinars to Support Parents and Carers

Being a parent or carer has got to be one of the hardest jobs in the world! With the challenges of social media and Covid and all the uncertainties in the world around us, we can find ourselves feeling disempowered and unsure of how best we can help our children to feel Ok and self-regulated. Sometimes we can feel too close and personally involved to see what our children might be communicating to us through their behaviour. Often a child's words or actions may actually be the opposite to how they really feel and what they need, making it doubly difficult to see the wood for the trees! Being told by an adolescent that 'I'm fine' can be a cry for help, while a child seemingly needing to take control can actually mean they need the adults around them to take more control so that they feel safer. The pandemic has certainly impacted upon children and adult's felt sense of safety and also, our ability as parents/carers to reassure our children that everything will be ok and that they are safe. If this resonates with you then this Information Sheet: A Parent's Guide to Providing a Sense of Safety & Structure may be of interest. 


The EYFS and Sensory Training – inset day

‘Thank you so much for an amazing training session today – my staff are all buzzing and full of new ideas to support the children in our school. I really appreciate the effort you took to personalise so many things to our children and the resources were brilliant.

Thanks again – you are one of the best speakers we have had.’ (Donna Garratt, Head of Ghost Hill Nursery and Infant School)

Sensory Play and PSED

‘I feel much more confident and better equipped as I feel Sue really passionately shared her valuable experience and research.’

‘What refreshing passion you bring to your training sessions Sue – it’s been inspiring to meet you – thank you.’ (Rachel Stewart, Grow Big Sense Project Leader)

Bringing the Curriculum Alive with Sensory-rich Play – inset day

‘Thank you ever so much the feedback received was excellent.’(Nicholas Moore YPO for Barnsley MBC)

Monster Learning and Messy Play

I wouldn’t change anything, this course was fantastic” Holly Abnett, Childminder – Sunbeams & Rainbows 

 Unlocking the Wonder of the World

'This course was amazing - it encompassed all the things I love about working with children, and gave me fresh ideas as to how to do so'

'Sue was friendly, knowledgeable and approachable. So many inspirational ideas, my head was buzzing on the way home'

'Loads of new malleable activities to try, lovely ideas about Treasure Baskets, different ways of presenting things, new ideas to try with children on the Autistic Spectrum'

Wellbeing Module

‘Thank you so much. The student feedback was excellent they all really enjoyed your session and I hope that we will be able to make your session an ongoing part of the module each year. Thank you again.’ (Carol Rogers, Senior Lecturer; Faculty of Society & Health, Bucks University)

Whole school and nursery cross curricular training

‘As far as the use of treasure boxes is concerned within the classroom, and creating a more tactile / exploratory environment is concerned, here in Zollikon I have seen a vast improvement in the use of:

  • Water play, sand exploration, quiet retreat dens
  • Collections of tactile items within baskets are started!

So, there was certainly a buzz created from your workshop. Thanks again, and we will certainly remain in touch on various areas of our development within the schools.’ (Carole Tomaszewicz, Deputy Head, Tandem School Zurich)

Early Years Advisory Team's 'Understanding Under 2's' Conference.

‘After your training there's been a real buzz amongst settings this week and I know of two of my settings that have already placed orders to develop their resources so I'm really pleased. I wanted to reiterate again that Sutton would be really happy to get involved in any research you are undertaking. Some of our settings have really developed their practice and understand how children learn best and two in particular that have changed all their resources and really gone with sensory play and children's interests.’ (London Borough of Sutton)

 Click here to see a recent presentation Sue provided at the Autism Show on how neuroscience can help us to understand SEN.

 Mentoring, Workshops & Training with Sue Gascoyne

Working across the UK and internationally, Sue is a leading thinker and writer on sensorial play and provision, therapeutic play and has a keen interest in new materialism and messy play. With 10 years’ experience in education and 25 years as a trainer, Sue’s contribution to the early year’s sector was recognised in 2009 when she was awarded Nursery World Trainer of the year. She is a member of NEYTCO, a member and contributor to TACTYC, a regular speaker at ECEERA and sits on several EECERA Special Interest Groups such as Outdoor Play Play, Children’s Perspectives and Children as Researchers. As a qualified Creative Arts and Play Therapist based in UK primary schools, Sue works with vulnerable children using creative media to help them overcome their personal, social and emotional difficulties. Hands-on research has informed several acclaimed books