The Place of Play at RRCEE’s Summer Fellowship Programme

The Regional Resource Centre for Elementary Education runs a wonderful 2 week-long residential fellowship programme for teachers. Designed to introduce the participants to all kinds of ideas by a diverse group of academics and practitioners from across disciplines, the SFP emphasises that Education has to be looked at through multiple lenses. I have been part of the Core Team and have learnt so much from the process of collaborating with people from other disciplines. The SFP began on June 1 and finishes at the end of this week.

Last week, we played with the idea of Play at RRCEE’s Summer Fellowship Programme. We asked this diverse group of teachers a question: when was the last time you played and what was it you did? The list mainly comprised games – badminton, dumb charades, cards – structured, with rules. But some examples of spontaneous play did sneak in – playing with a pencil, a lock of hair, a tube of toothpaste, a jump over the stairs. We spoke of what those spontaneous acts of play represent for us and for children, how play helps us to understand ourselves and the world and what play means to the creative process – whether we can create anything without playing. Then I shared two stories with the group – one of my favourite films, The Red Balloon and the Crossword Children’s Book Award winner, Timmi in Tangles – that not only show the centrality of play in the lives of children but also point towards how losing play can bog adults down, turn us into Grinches, drain all the sunshine and music away and make it impossible for us to look at the world in a new way. The session ended with the participants sharing a Memory of Play and why they think it stuck with them.

In the words of Jay Griffiths, champion of childhood, it is time for “A Ludic Revolution (and a doodle)”!

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