Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Our Playworker Development Course

By Morgan

Have you had a project that you loved?

It’s no secret that at Pop-Up Adventure Play, quality playwork training is dear to our hearts. Five years ago, while supporting long-distance organizers of play events we realised they were clamoring for more information on playwork practice! We took some time and carefully created the Playworker Development Course.

This course has now been taken by 150 people, including teachers, parents, children’s museum staff, landscape architects and artists in 15 countries around the world. We’ve also welcomed 5 colleagues aboard as tutors - and they are just the most extraordinary, brilliant and compassionate individuals you could meet.

As for the content…  it’s a little awkward to say nice things about something you helped to create, so I’ll just leave these feedback quotes from students right here:
"The Playworker Development Course was life changing for me. After completing this course, I have a better understanding of what play really is, why play is important, and what I can do to advocate for play. Understanding play has helped me to view children as capable and competent people. The course has connected me to a network of support and encouragement that I haven't been able to find elsewhere." - Chelsey, USA
"This course is very complete, I want to congratulate the team for your hard work and for the happiness you transmit… I have enjoyed so much this course. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.” ~ Maria, Colombia
“This course was an incredible gift for my personal life and for my profession. I gained so much knowledge from the readings, observations, personal reflections and reflections that my tutor helped me to discover from her wonderful feedbacks. I developed a huge amount of respect for the children and their play. I also understood the power of both.” ~ Erika, Costa Rica
This is all wonderfully affirming to hear, of course.  But for us, the greatest sign of this course’s success has been the friendships and conversations its made possible. Students have said that their tutors have been more than that - they’ve become mentors, and even friends.  Tutors have told us that they’ve loved learning about the extraordinary diversity of playwork practice internationally, and hearing the details of people’s lives.  On our private forum, students are reaching out to one another, sharing their experiences bringing these ideas into educational settings, or advocating for play within the local parks department.

Every single story is inspiring.  Every play advocate is remarkable.  Playwork is an approach that requires training, reflection and a community of practitioners.  It’s also a process, of unlearning false information on childhood and making room for faith in children’s capacities, wonder at their experiences, and humility in how we support their explorations.  The greatest testimonials are the most personal, when people say:
“This course has changed my life, my son’s and my family’s lives. I am now able to see childhood from another perspective. I’ve been able to recognize the importance of play in children for it’s own sake and for the additional values it will bring to them as adults.” ~ Mariana, Costa Rica
Does your adventure start here?


Contact Pop-Ups Zan today to enrol on our Playworker Development Course! For more from us, follow us on facebook or visit www.popupadventureplay.org

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Popping Up in Portland - Guest Writer

By Jess Graff

We are excited to be welcoming Jess to write on our blog about her first ever pop-up adventure playground, hosted at her place of work. She is one of our Playworker Development Course students, using the skills from our course to compliment the work she is doing at Portland Children's Museum

The stage was set. We were ready... sort of. It was the day of the Portland Children’s Museum's first pop up adventure playground. We’d done many child-led play events and exhibits but this was to be our very first pop-up adventure playground. I'd done all my homework and was backed by years of intuitively learning to listen and let kids be kids. I'd gathered materials and chosen several staff members to briefly introduce the ideas of playwork to; staff members that I felt would be able to do a great job of being inviting but also able to step back and make room for whatever magical chaos might ensue.


The result was everything I could have wished for. Despite icy wind outside, and a somewhat cramped space inside, children played and parents and caregivers let them. There was creation and destruction, collaboration and independence. And the kids were guiding it all. As they worked on their process of play, staff members did exactly as I had expected. Jeri and Amy gathered additional materials and joyfully welcomed new families who approach tentatively, looking bemused at the building of collaborative forts, cardboard, wood and string placed delicately or flung about seemingly at random. Mike brought out the saw and other tools that I had not even thought to include in my set up list, while making sure kids could use them safely and with limited adult interruption. Liz crawled through the elaborate kid made spaces on her hands and knees snapping photos of the children in action.  And me? I faded away, an observer, sometimes present, sometimes absent or watching from the wings, because they didn't need me. The kids and staff did what they do best, play. And that is exactly what I'd hoped for.



To run your very own pop-up adventure playground, just like Jess, sign up here to become and independent organiser. To be part of our Playworker Development Course, get in touch with us! To find out more about us at Pop-Up Adventure Play, follow our facebook page or visit our website www.popupadventureplay.org.