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Therapy Lab Group is proud to present the Learn To Play: Foundation Training workshop. Learn to Play Therapy aims to develop the capacity in children to spontaneously self-initiate their own pretend play. Being able to play is essential to children because through play children learn about themselves and their world. Pretend play is complex play and research evidence has shown that children who develop more complex levels of pretend play increase in their abilities in social competence, narrative language, language, self-regulation, creativity, and problem solving. Not all children develop complex levels of pretend play. Reasons for this can be the child’s diagnosis (for example, children on the autism spectrum have difficulty developing spontaneous pretend play), the child’s environment, or no obvious reason. Learn to Play Therapy is an evidence-based therapy for developing more complex levels of spontaneous pretend play in a child.* 


19/09/2022 (Monday)






Matsudo Room

Box Hill town hall

1022 Whitehorse Rd,

Box Hill VIC 3128


Pre-workshop activities that include suggested readings and TED talks



Registration 8.30am


Start 9am


  • What is pretend play

  • Development of pretend play

Break (20 mins)

  • Why pretend play is important

  • Language and narrative

  • Social interaction

  • The brain

  • Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist (PPE-DC) with case study


Lunch Break (40 mins)


  • Principles of Learn to Play

  • What is Learn to Play

  • Key processes

  • Practice of repetition with variation

  • Practice eg. how to organise a 1 hour session, types of toys needed, room needed

  • 10 play skills with practice on tracking and putting in a problem.

Finish 4pm




Ms Belinda Dean (BA, MA, RND1, RPT) is a qualified Registered Nurse, Registered Play Therapist, Lecturer in Child Play Therapy and PhD candidate at Deakin University. Belinda has over 20 years’ experience in the healthcare field with a focus on Child and Adolescent Health & Development, Mental Health, Community and Family Health. Belinda holds a Master’s Degree in Child Play Therapy and supervises postgraduate Child Play Therapy students at Deakin University. Belinda is the director of Light Heart Play Therapy and a practicing play therapist. 


Belinda is passionate about play based models particularly Learn to Play to promote early intervention of biopsychosocial health through play therapy. Belinda’s main areas of research are play based social skill programs to support neuro-diverse adolescents, integrating therapeutic play into nursing and allied health practice and play based andragogy. 


Belinda is a past facilitator of the Imagine, Create, Belong program and is a co-author of Storying Beyond Social Difficulties with Neuro-Diverse Adolescents and related published peer reviewed papers. Belinda has presented nationally on this research. Belinda has co-published papers in the Journal of Play in Adulthood: Dean and Parson, Integrating play-based approaches into nursing education: Teachers as playful academics and has a book currently approved for publication in Springer Nature: Parson, Dean and Hadiprodjo, Integrating therapeutic play into nursing and allied health care: A developmentally sensitive approach to communicating with children. Belinda is the co-founder of Light Heart Publishing and Play Based Learning Pty Ltd. 

*The new Learn to Play book: Learn to Play Therapy: Principles, Process and Practical Activities was published in 2021. This 314 page book explains the theoretical underpinnings, principles and process as well as includes an additional 114 pages of play activities by developmental level. It comes with a USB that includes the play activities, parent handouts, and Play Background Checklist. This book is an essential reference source for Learn to Play Therapy.


The Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist (PPE-DC) is recommended if you wish to integrate play into your practice. If your workplace does not have a copy of the Pretend Play Enjoyment Developmental Checklist (PPE-DC), you may be interested in purchasing it before you commence this face to face workshop. 

10% Group Discount
Organisations sending 5 or more staff members to attend this workshop are entitled to a 10% discount off the total price (excluding early bird discount). To apply for the discount please email Therapy Lab Group directly at


Cancellation and refund policy
Please notify us of any cancellations by email:

To receive a full refund please advise your cancellation 8 or more days prior to the commencement of the workshop.

Cancellations made within 7 days prior to the commencement of the workshop will be refunded 50% of the original workshop fee paid.

No refunds will be issued for cancellations made within 48 hours before the commencement of the workshop.

Therapy Lab Group reserves the right to cancel the workshop and issue a full refund of the workshop fee to registrant.

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Thanks for registering. Please allow for 48 business hours for instructions for payment. Registration is only guaranteed after payment is received.

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