Research – ESR 8

Enhancing participation through play interventions in school settings


  • To examine the potential role of play occupations in advocacy practice within education contexts with migrant children at risk of play deprivation.
  • To operationalize play occupations as a central element in school life as a platform to enable participation and inclusion in school environments.

PhD award:

Double degree at Lulea University of Technology (LTU) and University College Cork (UCC)

Background rationale:

Play is under threat for many children in varied contexts resulting in a focus on play solutions in policy as well as practice, in order to address “play deprivation”. Play deprivation occurs when children do not have the same freedom or capacity to access play opportunities on an equal basis to other children, due to cultural, social, or physical barriers (i.e. associated with people, place, policy, and practice). In schools, groups of children engage in extended social play more readily than in community playspaces. Despite this, schoolchildren are at risk of play deprivation within education contexts since playspaces at school offer different social complexities compared to community playspaces. For enabling inclusive play in school settings, new context-based approaches of practice are needed to promote children’s play occupations.

Expected results:

  • The potential role of Occupational Therapy to enable children`s play in schools will be identified.
  • Results will include the development of innovative solutions for implementing play interventions in school contexts.
  • Results will include a framework for enhancing play opportunities in outdoor school spaces with a special focus on migrant children.
Prof Margareta Lilja

Supervisor at Luleå University Of Technology for ESR 8

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Dr Maria Prellwitz

Supervisor at Luleå University Of Technology for ESR 3 and ESR 5

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Dr Bryan Boyle

Supervisor at University College Cork for ESR 4 and ESR 8

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PHD Student:
Michelle Bergin

PhD Candidate - Early Stage Researcher 8

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Dr Maria Kapanadze

Advisor for ESR 8

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