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Brought to you by Health New Zealand | Te Whatu Ora – Southern and WellSouth primary health network

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Hospital Play Specialists

Dedicated Hospital Play Specialists working in bright and colourful rooms filled with toys, books, paints and glitter help children to become more comfortable during their medical treatments at Health NZ Southern sites. 

Southland Hospital and Dunedin Hospital both have registered Early Learning Childhood Centres connected to them that are staffed by qualified Early Childhood Teachers known as Hospital Play Specialists. 

They assist children (inpatients or outreach patients) connected to Children’s Wards to help them adjust to hospital settings by reducing stress and anxiety around their treatments and stays through play. 

Our goals 

  • To provide programmes, experiences, education and focused learning to children. 
  • Ensure our play areas are a safe space for children and provide them with activities the encourage creativity, exploration and fun. 

Why is play important? 

Play is how children make sense of the world around them.  In hospital, it helps them to express their feelings and worries, understand what is happening and cope with treatment. Being able to play in hospital means children can continue an aspect of their normal life. 

What can you do as a parent/caregiver? 

  • Visit our playrooms 
  • Enjoy activities together with your child in the playrooms 
  • Talk to a Hospital Play Specialist to see how they can help your child 

How do I contact a play specialist? 

If your child is admitted to a Children’s Ward, speak to one of the nurses who can put you in touch with a Hospital Play Specialist. 

Hospital Play Specialists are also thankful for the regular support they receive in way of donations to the playrooms from different members of their respective communities.  

If you are considering donating any items to the playrooms, please contact a play specialist at our hospitals first.  

To learn more about Hospital Play Specialists go to: Hospital Play Specialists of New Zealand - Hospital Play Specialists Association of Aotearoa New Zealand