It’s been a few weeks travelling for me, going around the world to help local groups advocate for children’s play. First up was Il Foro de Desarrollo Infantil, or for my fellow English-speakers the Child Development Forum, in Bogota.
Apart from the interviews with TV, print and radio, it was wonderful to have the chance to talk also with some of the incredibly dedicated and enthusiastic front-line professionals who came to the Forum. Many of them combine different agendas – such as mixing play support with food banks or supporting whole families in crisis.
After that, it was time to come home and repack before heading out to Cairo, where the Canadian International School of Egypt was hosting Egypt’s first Pop-Up Adventure Playground! This was organised locally by the amazing Lola Bradford, who brought together a team of incredibly dedicated teachers – and got us all custom uniforms!
After the day’s play, we gathered up the houses that had survived to bring them to an exhibition space in the school’s lobby. For the last children, it left a beautifully strange “children’s city” of cardboard and paint.
I feel even luckier than usual to be part of Pop-Up Adventure Play, to have the chance for all this fun travel and to meet people all over the world who care about children’s play. Everywhere I went people talked about fear of public space, the rigours of academic over-scheduling, the collapse of social networks as people increasingly relocate for work. While so much is different in every community, it seems that we share so many problems internationally.
Play is a universal instinct, it’s central to our humanity and essential to our happiness. When we come together in support of children’s play, whether locally or across huge distances, we feel less alone, we are inspired by the new friends we meet and the ideas they share with us.
All of this contributes to my next exciting news, that we are proud to launch our very first online training opportunity, called the Playworker Development Course! We’ve designed it for people of all backgrounds who are interested in supporting children’s play, and over the course of 12 modules it addresses such key issues as:
- improving any environment for play;
- essential theory and practice;
- risk/benefit assessments;
- developing communities around play
Of course, there’s much more to it than that! Every student gets key readings and assignments, and access to a private online discussion forum. Students can sign up independently, or be part of a group. All of our course tutors are experienced, trained UK playworkers, dedicated to inspiring and supporting playworkers in settings all over the world.
If you’re interested in learning more about the course, email us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send you more info!