Interview with Greg Bottrill

"You don't ever actually stop being a child to a degree, You carry your childhood in you, your childhood is your identity. The moment we take the scissors to play childhood ends. Play is the chrysalis of identity."

Greg Bottrill

I interviewed Greg Bottrill Author of "Can I go and Play now?" back in the hot Summer of 2020 lock down.

I'm absolutely delighted to have interviewed the lovely Greg Bottrill. Greg is a writer, educationalist and experienced Early Years practitioner whose first book Can I go and Play Now, which was published by Sage in 2018, explores the need for children to play and have an education that is done with them, not to them. Based in Devon, Greg is passionate about the magic of children and the power of play, and is committed to supporting others to maximise early childhood experiences and ensure that children are given space to explore and go on a co - adventure. When not busy with education or play, Greg finds time for his two dogs Bonnie and Eppie, and unearthing the joy in the little things like woodland walking, listening to the Go - betweeners and daydreaming. Discover more about Gregs pedagogy and belief in the magic of children at

Greg's first book written from the perspective of an early years teacher massively impacted my choice in choosing home education.

I was really pleased to chat with Greg about all things play and how we as parents, teachers and carers can facilitate the best opportunities for children and childhood.

Greg's role now is all about travelling around the world helping people with their journey into play working with Schools.

Gregs website:

4:50 Could you tell me a little bit more about your journey and how you ended up in your career as an early years teacher, what drove you to that area?

8.10 How do you define play and what was your best experience in play that you can remember as a child?

16.32 You don't ever actually stop being a child to a degree, You carry your childhood in you, your childhood is your identity. The moment we take the scissors to play childhood ends. Play is the chrysalis of identity.

19.17 Are the teachers in Reggio Emelia different from the UK?

Creativity is highly valued, teachers are more highly valued. Talks of alternative education and the arts is always rejected in mainstream schools.

22.42 The language we use is what creates the barriers. "words like broken soldiers"

25.00 Families are worrying over lock down that their children are going to be behind at school and worrying they are not keeping up. What do you believe the focus should be on for these children during a pandemic?

Lock down has highlighted the lack of emotional connection that children have with learning.

31.26 Children care about things if there is joy to be found in the learning. In home learning you have more freedom, whereas teachers don't.

32.28 How do you think parents can support their children at home with play, how do we help encourage parents to value play? "Try to create a world of good things"

38.49 Do the best you can with the resources you have. Sharing a playful attitude with your children helps create a culture of relationships in the world of good things.

40.56 How do you encourage any teachers listening to encourage play and use language that is congruent with that?

42.48 Greg talks about how in teachers training he learned how to control a class, how to prepare lessons, and how to teach phonics but he was never taught about engagement.

42.55 Greg talks about "The magic mirror" from his second book which tells you if you have added to childhood or eroded it. As a parent or teacher you are sending a gift into the future.

46.16 How do you think we can educate parents, teachers and carers in the western world to understand the importance of play, not just in the early years but throughout childhood and living a playful life how can we continue the idea of co play, how can we start and continue it so it doesn't just end? Greg talks about a "pause button"

49.50 Creating ways to enjoy reading and language. The message centre - fun with messages and languages and fun and play! Reading for pleasure.

53.05 When did you leave the education system as a teacher and how did you manage to stay so long in that environment? Community and passion/taught from my soul. Loving the children and loving pedagogy.

56.22 How do you think adults in general create a culture of love, and where children are important and we have love for children and a community that is more connected. How much we value childhood.

59.53 Asking important questions so we are focused not on academic grades and ofsted reports but what are you going to be with my child's childhood? Education has become a marketplace. The more you embrace childhood the more children will enjoy learning at School. We cannot just drop our kids off at School at not think about what they are doing all day? Focus on the love and change.

1:02.23 Can you tell us more about the work you are doing now Greg? Different way of going about teaching children, especially younger children. Greatest belief is that Play is political, it's takes time to make these changes, and create more Freedom. 1:03:41 Greg teaching and support others teachers and schools, doing talks to various organisations and universities, advocate childhood.

1:03:36 Playschool TV, nothing is static and everything is connected.

1:04:48 What is greatest dream vision for the future of children. What do you think the world will look like what do you think learning will looking and what change are you making.

Adult world waking up about what they are doing to children, the agendas have to shift from the marketplace to freedom, play pedagogy valued, trust given back to teachers! Social change, community and everyone is valued. The world of good things is coming.

I really enjoyed having this talk with Greg because what we do is so important, there is so much treasure in here from Greg. What we do matters.

I really hope you enjoyed this interview and I really encourage you to buy Greg's books and read them! If you enjoyed this blog post and interview please consider sharing it with a friend. You can subscribe below if you would like to keep in touch.

Love Jade


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