We are thrilled to announce agreements with Sesame Workshop and Beaches Resorts to support child-directed play and learning at all three Beaches Luxury Included Resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos.

By Anna

Temperatures are dropping quickly at home in Boston, but it’s hot on the balcony of my room at the Beaches Resort in Negril, Jamaica. Not too hot – a perfect kind of heat. I am surrounded by a cocktail of sounds: ocean breeze mixed with the tap…tap…tap of a paddle on a ball, laughter, and the heavy bass of the music from the water park near the beach. A symphony best titled “fun”.

I am in Jamaica for work, but the work is to play. Pop-Up Adventure Play is thrilled to have signed agreements with Sesame Workshop and Beaches Resorts to enhance existing Caribbean Adventures with Sesame Street activities with a child-directed approach to a range of experiences for children attending Sesame Camp and Youth Programming activities.

As part of this agreement, Beaches Resorts will also be running weekly Pop-Up Adventure Playgrounds for children and their families at all three of their Luxury Included Caribbean resorts: Turks and Caicos, as well as Negril and Ocho Rios in Jamaica.

Downtime is one of the essential prerequisites to child-directed play and, at Beaches, we have the unique opportunity to support child-directed play when children are already on vacation. Likely leaving behind a rigorous schedule of school, sports, lessons, and homework, children arrive at Beaches to explore the water and the sand, two of the best loose parts (or open-ended materials) of the Earth. The sense of freedom is obvious in the peals of laughter – kids run free along the sand and splash into the sea. They wander the paths that cross this way and that…there isn’t only one right way to go.

My friend and former Sesame Workshop colleague Peter van Roden, currently VP of Themed Entertainment, contacted me last summer about this opportunity to train staff across all camp and youth programming. Peter intuitively understands and wholeheartedly supports the unique importance of child-directed play for all children. He and the Sesame Street Education team have not only made the work possible but also directly supported play at the resorts in hands-on ways. They have been on site for both pieces of training, we’ve run thus far and have been instrumental in gathering loose parts for play (everything from hundreds of rolls of brightly coloured Duct tape to dried palms we collected on the resort grounds).

At all Beaches Resorts training, my Pop-Up colleague Morgan Leichter-Saxby and I have adapted our Pop-Up Adventure Play Training Model for the specific context of the Beaches camps and youth programs. As always, Morgan and I first engage adults in their own process of self-directed play with loose parts and then build towards essential practices staff can use to support child-directed play. Our training merges playwork practices with child-centred approaches to teaching and learning.

This new agreement forms a trifecta: Beaches brings the gift of downtime at natural playgrounds on Caribbean beaches, Sesame brings fun, fur, and learning, and Pop-Up Adventure Play brings years of expertise in play support for children of all ages and their adults.

We are very excited and there is more to come! Stay tuned for further info and more photos of our Pop-Up work in the Caribbean!

Press release at Beaches.com website; Beaches Resorts Celebrating 10 Years with Sesame Workshops