By Zan

Pop-Up Adventure Play has recently created its very own Playworker Development Course. It’s a course where student playworkers have the space to nurture their instincts for playwork and learn more about the theory behind the practice. We encourage discussion, do observations, find answers for quizzical minds, and reflect on our own playful practice.

Here is a reflective story from a playworker in the first cohort:

“On the way to adventure playground at The Parish School one afternoon, the kids found a dragonfly on the sidewalk that had died. One of the kids carefully picked it up and asked what happened. We told them that dragonflies have a relatively short life span and that it looked like it was just an old dragonfly that died. They immediately decided that we needed to have a funeral. They gently took the dragonfly into a structure they called the clubhouse.

“The kids found a little box and placed the dragonfly in it. They said some beautiful words about the dragonfly, said a prayer, and closed the box. They could so eloquently figure out a way that all of their feelings and needs could be met. Their ability to be tolerant and understanding of each other made me envious. The kids left the clubhouse and dug a hole in the ground. They placed the little box in the hole and covered it with dirt. Someone decided it needed a stone to mark the gravesite. Just as quickly as a dragonfly flies, the kids scattered and went to climb, run, or dig. It was over.” ~ Kelly Blessing, Assignment 1, PDC

The Dragonfly Funeral
Photo of the gravesite courtesy of Jill Wood who works with Kelly Blessing.

This is a touching account of a playful moment that literally speaks of life and death. To me, it shows just how capable children are of dealing with situations that we as adults often struggle with. It also reminds me of how through play, you can learn to navigate your way through tough times and afterwards it all seems to be okay.

This account also reminds us playworkers to share our stories with one another. We grow by reflecting upon our own stories and the stories of others. To improve our own practice we have to share our reflections so that we may have new insights that can make our advocacy more effective, and our practice more child-centric.

To hear more from Zan, please visit her blog.