Instructions
Rubric
Scoring
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 2
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Instructions
There is a dream playroom in all of our imaginations. Time,
space, budget constraints, and infection control guidelines aside,
we all know what we would provide children and families if we
were able to do so. The VIPAR© is intended to present the best
possible scenario, and to measure how your playroom is meeting
the needs of all pediatric patients and families at your hospital.
Use this rubric as a quality checklist to assess playroom design
and operation. Score each category based upon observation and
investigation. Add together the 18 category scores to reach a
total. Use the key at bottom of rubric to interpret the total score.
It can be helpful to underline or highlight specific items to be
improved within each category.
Once a score is obtained, determine which improvements
are within the department’s control to improve. Set goals and
deadlines for improvement. This rubric is not intended to make
you feel that your playroom is substandard in any way. The
hope is that it will guide you towards making some small or
significant changes that will improve the quality of play
available in your hospital.
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 3
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Rubric
Category
3 = Meets Optimum Patient
Needs
2 = Meets Many Patient
Needs
1 = Meets Some Patient
Needs
Score
1. Room Size
o The playroom size is large
enough for many children
and family members to
play comfortably
o There is generous space
for gross motor activity
o Storage space is plentiful
and inside and outside the
playroom
o Storage space is easily
accessible
o The playroom size
somewhat limits the
number of children and
adults who can be there at
the same time
o There is some space for
gross motor activity
o Adequate storage space is
available inside or outside
the playroom
o The room allows for no
more than several adults
& children to be there at
the same time
o There is no space for gross
motor activity
o Storage is inadequate
and/or far away from the
playroom
2. Nature
large windows and natural
light
o Cabinets, shelves and
furniture are made with
natural materials, such as
wood
o There is a horticulture
program.
o Programming includes
visitors from local
zoos/museums/aquariums
who bring nature into the
playroom.
o Found objects in nature
are incorporated into
materials and activities,
representing the child’s
natural environment
o Pet therapy programming
is available
o There is a fish tank in the
room
o There are windows and
natural light
o Some cabinets, shelves or
furniture are made with
natural materials, such as
wood
o Sometimes programming
allows for activities
connecting children to
their natural environment
(bringing in snow for play)
o There are no windows, no
natural light, no live
plants, and no materials
from the child’s natural
environment
o There is no pet therapy
program or activities that
connect children to nature
3. Universal
Design
Accessibility
o The room and all activities
and toys are accessible to
children who are either
ambulatory or in
wheelchairs
o The room and most
activities and toys are
accessible to children who
are either ambulatory or
in wheelchairs
o The child cannot access
room without adult help
o Most activities and toys
are inaccessible to
children
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 4
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o There is room for IV poles
and personal items, plenty
of outlets to plug IVs into,
and seating for all children
and caregivers
o There are
accommodations to take
into consideration
children with special
needs, such as sensory
issues, immobility or
developmental delays
o Activities and toys are
adaptable to meet the
needs of all children
o Many sinks, chairs, tables
and work surfaces are
child-sized and conducive
to small group interaction
o There is room for IV poles,
personal items, some
outlets to plug IVs into,
and seating for most
children and caregivers
o There are some
accommodations to take
into consideration
children with special
needs, such as sensory
issues, immobility or
developmental delays
o Activities and toys are
adaptable to meet the
needs of most children
o Some sinks, chairs, tables,
and work surfaces are
child-sized and conducive
to small group interaction
o There is little or no room
for IV poles, personal
items, few outlets to plug
IVs into, and seating for
few children and
caregivers
o There are no
accommodations taking
into consideration
children with special
needs, such s as sensory
issues, immobility, or
developmental delays
o Activities and toys are not
adaptable to meet the
needs of most children
o Sinks, chairs, tables and
work surfaces are not
child-sized or conducive to
small group interaction
4. Room Set Up:
Developmental
Appropriatenes
s
(or playrooms) that
address various
developmental stages
(infant, toddler,
preschooler, school-age,
adolescent)
o Infant area/room has mat
for tummy time play,
mirrors at ground level,
safe structures/padded
bolsters that allow for
climbing and exploration,
and accessible toys on low
shelves
o The organization of the
room shows widespread
insight into developmental
needs for gross and fine
motor activity
o Toys and activities are
accessible without adult
assistance
o The organization of the
room shows some insight
into developmental needs
for gross or fine motor
activity
o There are distinct areas
that address some of the
various developmental
stages (infant, toddler,
preschooler, school-age,
adolescent)
o Many toys & activities are
accessible without adult
assistance
o The organization of the
room shows little or no
insight into
developmental needs for
gross or fine motor
activity
o There are no distinct areas
that address some of the
various developmental
stages (infant, toddler,
preschooler, school-age,
adolescent)
o Most toys are inaccessible
without adult assistance
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 5
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5. Hours &
Staffing
o The playroom is open and
staffed daily for a
significant portion of the
day and evening
o Children are able to access
playroom easily and all are
welcome with and without
caregivers
o There are playrooms or
times for both inpatient
and outpatient access
o The playroom is open and
staffed daily for a portion
of the day
o Children are welcome
with and without
caregivers
o There is either inpatient or
outpatient access
o The playroom is not open
daily
o It is not staffed often
when it is open
o Children are not welcome
without caregivers
6. Staff Training
volunteers have had skills-
based and theoretical
training in the value of
play and a variety of play
techniques
o These include but are not
limited to child-centered
play, the Greenspan
Floortime© approach,
loose parts, medical play,
and filial play.
o Playroom staff have
received theoretical
training in the value of
play and at least one play
technique
o These include but are not
limited to child-centered
play, the Greenspan
Floortime© approach,
medical play, loose parts,
and filial play
o Playroom staff have
received no formal
training in the value of
play, play theory, or play
techniques
7. Family
Centered Care
o All family members are
welcome at all times
o There is programming for
siblings
o Siblings are welcome with
or without caregivers
o Family members are
welcome
o There are certain times or
spaces for siblings to play
o Siblings need to be
accompanied by a
caregiver
o Siblings are not permitted
playroom access due to
infection control
8. Cultural
Competency
s/he sees him/herself and
culture represented in
o Language (labeling of
toys and materials)
o cor
o Toys
o Found objects in
nature
o Books (books in
various languages
and with illustrations
that represent many
cultures)
o There are several signs of
multiculturalism
represented in décor,
books or toys
o When a child enters, they
might encounter a staff
member/volunteer who
looks like them.
o When a child enters, they
might encounter a staff
member or volunteer who
speaks their language
o Some staff
members/volunteers have
o There are few or no signs
of diversity in the décor
o Diverse toys, art materials
or books are not available
o When a child enters, they
won’t encounter a staff
member/volunteer who
looks like them.
o When a child enters, they
won’t encounter a staff
member or volunteer who
speaks their language
o No staff
members/volunteers have
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 6
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o There are familiar items
representing the child and
his/her community
o When a child enters, they
will encounter a staff
member/volunteer who
looks like them.
o When a child enters, they
will encounter a staff
member or volunteer who
speaks their language
o All staff
members/volunteers have
received racial literacy
training and cultural
competence training
received racial literacy
training or cultural
competence training
received racial literacy
training or cultural
competence training
9. Gender
Sensitivity
o The room offers décor
that is gender-neutral
(play kitchens and doll
houses are not bright
pink)
o There are toys that are
gender-neutral
o Children are encouraged
to play with all toys and
not deterred from
crossing gender
boundaries (eg: Girls can
play with trucks, boys can
play with dolls and dress
up clothes)
o Toys and materials are not
categorized or labeled by
gender
o There are some gender-
neutral toys available
o The toys and décor are
gender specific and
promote gender
stereotypical play
o Toys are categorized or
labelled by gender
10. Non-
Medical Zone
Policy
that invasive medical care
and assessment are not
permitted in the room
o The policy is consistently
enforced and respected
o There is a policy stating
that invasive medical care
and assessment are not
permitted in the room
o It is not always enforced
or respected
o There is no policy stating
that invasive medical care
and assessment are not
permitted in the room
11. Technology
Access & Policy
o Up-to-date technology
(video games, internet
o Some technology is
available
o There is no technology
available or there are no
policies governing its use
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 7
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access) is available to
appropriate age set
o There are policies
governing the
developmentally
appropriate use of
technology, including
following AAP guidelines
for screen time limits
o Playroom is a TV free zone
except for video game
playing and movie events.
The policy is consistently
enforced and respected
o There are informal policies
governing its use
o The policy is not always
enforced or respected
o Room is not a TV free
zone
12. Toy Cleaning
Policy
regarding toy cleaning
that is adhered to
o There are clearly marked
bins for dirty toys in a safe
place
o There is an informal policy
regarding toy cleaning
that is adhered to
o Toy cleaning is haphazard
13. Theft
Deterrence
Policy
o There is a written policy
regarding how to deter
theft and loss of toys,
including:
o A lending policy
o Toys being clearly
marked a property of
the playroom
o Appropriate signage
o Locked storage space
o Toys being routinely
picked up and returned
to playroom by staff or
volunteers
o There is no need for an
anti-theft policy
o There is a written policy
regarding how to deter
theft and loss of toys,
including some of these
components:
o A lending policy
o Toys being clearly
marked a property of
the playroom
o Appropriate signage
o Locked storage space
o Or toys being routinely
picked up and returned
to playroom by staff or
volunteers
o There is no theft
deterrence policy
14. Types of
Toys
open-ended,
developmentally
appropriate toys that
encourage symbolic and
expressive play:
o Loose parts and
sensory play (blocks,
o There are some open-
ended, developmentally
appropriate toys that
encourage symbolic and
expressive play:
o Loose parts and
sensory play (blocks,
water and sand tables)
o There are hardly any
open-ended,
developmentally
appropriate toys that
encourage symbolic and
expressive play:
o Loose parts and
sensory play (blocks,
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 8
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dolls, playhouse
materials, miniatures,
animals, dress up
materials, rescue toys,
art materials)
o Infant & toddler toys
(noisemakers, nesting
blocks, large pop-
beads, cause & effect
toys)
o School-aged toys (table
games, puzzles and
open- ended art
materials & crafts
o Adolescent activities
(pool table, ping pong
table, air hockey)
o Infant & toddler toys
(noisemakers, nesting
blocks, large pop-
beads, cause & effect
toys)
o Preschool toys (dolls,
playhouse materials,
miniatures, animals,
dress up materials,
rescue toys, art
materials)
o School-aged toys (table
games, puzzles and
open- ended art
materials & crafts)
o Adolescent activities
(pool table, ping pong
table, air hockey)
o Gross motor toys and
vehicles for climbing,
rolling, pedaling and
rocking
water and sand tables,
dolls, play-house
materials, miniatures,
animals, dress up
materials, rescue toys,
art materials)
o Infant & toddler toys
(noisemakers, nesting
blocks, large pop-
beads, cause & effect
toys)
o School-aged toys (table
games, puzzles and
open- ended art
materials & crafts
o Adolescent activities
(pool table, ping pong
table, air hockey)
15. Condition of
Toys
o All toys have all of their
components
o Clear labeling, signage and
policies for infection
control make clean toys
accessible for playroom
and in room use
o Staff, volunteers and
family members can easily
follow the policies
o Many toys have all of
their components
o Clear labeling, signage and
policies for infection
control make clean toys
accessible for playroom
and in room use in most
instances
o Staff, volunteers and
family members can
follow the policies
o Many toys have missing
components
o Signage and infection
control policies are
missing or are not clear to
staff, volunteers or family
members
16. Activities
regarding play is clearly
stated and advocated for
by the staff.
o Children are not required
to participate in any
activity, but are gently
encouraged to make
themselves at home and
choose their toys and
activities.
o Freedom of choice
regarding play is implicit
o Children are not required
to participate in any
activity.
o Every child has a right and
necessity to play. The
playroom and its
programs/toys are never
o Freedom of choice
regarding play is not
implicit, stated clearly, or
encouraged.
o Children are required to
participate in some
activities if they enter the
playroom.
o The playroom and its
programs/toys are at
times held up as a reward
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 9
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necessity to play. The
playroom and its
programs/toys are never
held up as a reward or
withheld as a punishment.
o There are daily scheduled,
staff led therapeutic
activities. These include
expressive arts, some
close-ended crafts,
(projects that have only
one way of making them),
more open-ended crafts
(lanyard, beading, worry
dolls), directive and non-
directive medical play
activities such as:
o hospital bingo
o volcanoes
o open medical play
o directive medical play
o medical art
o Children may participate
or not as they please
o There is organized and
proactive advertisement
(overhead
announcements,
schedules, flyers and one-
one invitations) to
encourage participation
o There is always enough
staffing and resources for
bedside play activities for
children who cannot leave
their rooms
held up as a reward or
withheld as a punishment.
o There are weekly
scheduled, staff led
activities. These include
expressive arts, some
close-ended crafts,
(projects that have only
one way of making them),
more open-ended crafts
(lanyard, beading, worry
dolls), directive and non-
directive medical play
activities such as:
o hospital bingo
o volcanoes
o open medical play
o directive medical play
o medical art
o Organization is informal
and may or may not be
advertised
o There is often enough
staffing and resources for
bedside play activities for
children who cannot leave
their rooms
or withheld as a
punishment.
o There are no scheduled,
staff led activities
o If such activities occur,
they are rarely
therapeutic and tend to
be close-ended
o There is no organization to
promote attendance
o There is rarely enough
staffing or resources for
bedside play activities for
children who cannot leave
their rooms
17. Medical Play
o There is a well-stocked
medical play area in the
room. Items include:
o Doll bed
o Dolls representing
various skin colors
o Real and play medical
equipment
o There are some medical
play materials accessible
to all children
o There are no medical play
toys visible or accessible
Vilas Playroom Assessment Rubric (VIPAR) ©
Deborah B. Vilas, MS, CCLS, LSMW ©2018 10
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o Pencils
o Paper
o Play phone
o Toy microscope
o Bandaids©
o Tape
o Gauze
o Syringes (safely
deactivated)
o Tubing
o Alcohol preps
o X-ray
o
IV pole
18. Books &
Literacy
signage and labeling of
toys and materials in the
children’s native language
o There is a developmental
range of accessible
reading material, including
therapeutic books that
address hospitalization,
self- esteem and body
issues
o The books represent a
wide range of cultural
diversity i ncontent and
illustrations
o Some signs of literacy are
present through labeling
or artwork
o There is some accessible
reading material across
the developmental range
o The books represent some
range of cultural diversity
o There are few if any books
available
o Artwork, toys and areas
are not labeled
TOTAL
0