Back to School with Pop-up Adventure Play

While my kids are on summer break, I’m getting ready to hit the books after a couple of decades at recess. There’s no doubt that I’ll have to cut back on my lollygagging and skylarking but I’m confident that the sacrifice will pay huge dividends. The last time I felt like this was 25 years ago when I enrolled in an International Development Studies program. This time at bats it’s going to be all about play.

Wait, maybe lollygagging, skylarking and a little self-directed tomfoolery will end up being part of the curriculum. There’s sure to be some heavy lifting too. I’ll be swotting about theory, wrestling with assignments focused on practical applications and learning about the tradition of playwork as pioneered, developed and practiced in the UK.

Playworker course

This is heady stuff for me and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Over the past four years I’ve been acquiring a layperson’s perspective on the fascinating world of play. My initial entry point was hanging out with my kids and visiting playgrounds in our local community of Halifax, Nova Scotia. We mapped the playgrounds, took lots of photos and did little write ups that we shared online.

Shortly after getting the Halifax Plays project up and running, I started finding great people all over the world – designers, sculptors, architects, social enterprise leaders, academics, landscape architects, psychologists – all focused on enabling quality play experiences for kids. The wonderweb was working its magic and before I knew it, PlayGroundology was born.

My interest in play continues to grow. This Playworker Development Course by Pop-up Adventure Play is providing me with the opportunity to deepen my knowledge and learn from respected practitioners and peers. I hope too that it will provide me with tools to help make the transition from author/blogger to active local participant in the development and implementation of play strategies and happenings at the community level.

robot kidsRobot photo – taken at a Block Party Pop-Up Adventure Playground in Fairport, NY

Back in my more youthful days I was frequently a reluctant student. It resulted in me spending an additional year in the classroom before I could graduate. Way back then, I loved to hear Alice’s power chords torquing the teen anthem, School’s Out and dream about the summer fun ahead.

I’m pinching myself now and reviewing my email correspondence to ensure that this is all actually taking place. Well it is and many thanks to the Pop-up Adventure Play team for making it all possible. I’m coming full circle in a way back to my educational roots in the UK. I started my scholarly career at the age of 5 at Larkfield Primary School in Greenock, Scotland. I was the wee Canadian boy who couldn’t stand the winter cold in shorts and had to get special dispensation to wear long pants.

I will be writing here occasionally about the course and will be happy to share my perspectives with anyone who’s interested.

Well Alice, I gotta tell you, school’s in and it’s looking like an awesome session.

3 responses to “Back to School with Pop-up Adventure Play

  1. love the references to Captain Najork!

  2. So excited for you, Alex! It’s great to see you dive in to the play world beyond writing about it! Best of luck! You will be a GREAT playworker!

    • Thanks Rita, I’m looking forward to the course and to meeting others form different parts of the world who have similar interests. It’s a great concept to spread the good news about play. Cheers, Alex

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