Theraplay's Sunshine Circles®

Sunshine Circles nurtures children's social, emotional, and cognitive skills through playful, cooperative and nurturing activities.

Program details

  • Priority area: Wellbeing (social and emotional)
  • Primary audience: Educators
  • Delivery mode: Group training, consultancy
  • Strength of evidence: Level 3 – Promising research evidence
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity – anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Emotional maturity – aggressive behaviour
    • Emotional maturity – hyperactivity and inattentive behaviour
    • Social competence – responsibility and respect
  • Item cost: Moderate ($200–$2,000 per person/item)

Program description

Sunshine Circles® is a group based on Theraplay® principles that focuses on the social and emotional development of children. Sunshine Circles gives children an opportunity to practice their self-regulation skills, co-regulation skills and to feel encouraged to have a go at achievable challenges. Educators lead playful, cooperative and nurturing activities to create an atmosphere of fun, caring, acceptance and encouragement. The goal is to enhance children’s social, emotional and cognitive development. Sunshine Circles provides educators with the resources to maintain an emotionally positive environment that supports cognitive development.

Sunshine Circles strives to provide educators with the tools to:

  • create an atmosphere that is warm, engaging and challenging
  • meet the basic needs of children so they can be free to explore their world socially and emotionally
  • promote warm relationships between children and adults and encourage friendships among peers
  • engage all children
  • bring fun into children’s lives
  • emphasise cooperation between children
  • encourage children to learn and practice self-control and emotional regulation
  • enhance the trust of others through concrete, personal and positive experiences
  • assist children to develop skills that support self regulation
  • address cognitive, social and emotional development.

This training is designed for teachers, educators, support staff and the professionals who support them; including social workers, school counsellors or psychologists and early childhood specialists.

Detailed cost

Two-day training package:

  • Early Bird ticket: $885 per person (including GST)
  • Standard ticket: $985 per person (including GST).

This price includes an additional one hours of group online support.

Further support and coaching (online or in person): $150 per hour.

For further information on training packages, payment methods and registrations, please contact the provider.

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: early childhood educators.
  • Program/practice descriptions and details: Sunshine Circles can be run in a classroom or kindergarten setting for a whole class, once a week for 15 to 20 minutes, or once a day. The program should be run by a professional or para-professional who has completed the Sunshine Circles training.
  • Staffing: one or all staff members in a service can undergo Sunshine Circles training. It would be beneficial for all adults running the Sunshine Circles groups to have completed the Sunshine Circles training; however, it is not compulsory. Services should also consider how to provide supervision, planning, collaborating and administration time for running these groups.
  • Training requirements: attendees of the two day training program must attend both days of training.
  • Supervision/coaching: one hour of group online support is included in the 2-day training package (via Zoom).
  • Implementation model: educators who have attended the training can run Sunshine Circles groups. Further support, such as supervision groups, direct supervision and support with implementation, can be accessed through the provider.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Reflective practice
  • Partnerships with families
  • High expectations for every child
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
  • Equity and diversity

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

  • Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
  • Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media
  • Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing