The second part of our Edmonton stop was a combined workshop and Pop-Up Adventure Playground spread across two days. The workshop was held at the University of Alberta and was brought together by the great people of Play Around the World with a helping hand from Child Friendly Edmonton.
There were a few technical hiccups and some last minute room shuffling for our workshop, but we quickly got back on track after some entertaining improvisation and crowd participation (Thanks Anthony!). The room was filled with parents, students and professionals from a variety of backgrounds. We had people from recreation, city planning, childcare and occupational therapist, amongst others.
An interesting part of the workshop was in response to our question “Who here has heard of playwork?” Hands flew up in the air, more yes than no, which was a first on our Canadian tour so far! During a conversation in the break, a participant stopped me in my flow. “Fraser Brown?!”, “Yes”, I replied. “Oh, I know Fraser. He visited here about ten years ago. He is fantastic and inspired some of the work that we do”. What a small world I thought. But then on second thought, it was a stark reminder just how small the playwork field was on a global scale.
People on route of this Canadian tour have referred to us as the Evangelicals of playwork, and to some extent that is true, spreading the message about playwork as far and wide as possible, but through sparking right conversations and reopening up dialogue about play and playwork we have uncovered that people have been here before us, and traces of a Canadian adventure play movement keep on being uncovered.
The following day we set up for a Pop-Up at Edmonton Zoo. We were nestled between the beavers and the Takin and had our loose parts delivered by safari jeep (aka golf buggy). The weather was hot and the numbers were small, but the play that proceeded was as beautiful and unpredictable as always. Slides and skirts were made. Adults reminisced and the foundations were laid for further work.
There is some great things happening in Edmonton: a recent masters graduate from Leeds Beckett University specialising in play and playwork and a whole host of projects built upon the embers of a previous playwork movement. Keep going Edmonton – we look forward to hearing about your playful adventures.
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