The Association was established in 1996. Its aims are to:
- Promote the profession of hospital play specialist;
- Provide professional support for hospital play specialists throughout New Zealand;
- Set and monitor standards;
- Encourage research and publication;
- Develop training programmes for hospital play specialists;
- Disseminate information on the psychosocial needs of children and young people in healthcare settings;
- Promote the employment of appropriately trained staff to be responsible for play and recreation programmes;
- Liaise and cooperate with organisations which have common objectives.
Membership of the Association enables the organisation to continue its valuable work in promoting play in hospitals, advocating for healthcare environments which support children’s and young people’s wellbeing and supporting the role of hospital play specialists.
- Support to hospital play specialists through membership;
- A quarterly journal entitled “Chapters”
- Access to the professional library;
- Professional development support including “transition” seminars for newly appointed hospital play specialists;
- Opportunity to participate in the biennial conference;
- A certification process;
- Advice and information for hospitals seeking to establish hospital play programmes and for existing services.
The Hospital Play Specialists Association recommends that all hospital play specialists are qualified early childhood teachers. Many have advanced teaching qualifications and/or additional qualifications in fields such as special education, psychology or counselling. Professional development is provided by the Hospital Play Specialists Association.