|The tree where I played as a child|
|What games did this site once host?|
A school Principal and a researcher on play made an interesting discovery at a Melbourne school recently. As part of the development of a new masterplan for the school playground the researcher discovered that an unusual structure near the front gate of Princes Hill Primary School had special significance. It is made of steel and timber, and looks like a long disused bike stand. But while the structure was inconsequential (and probably ready to be removed), at lunchtime it would be the site of an unusual game. A group of pupils would gather around it to begin a ritual that it would seem has been going on in this school, at this place, using this object, for generations.
As I said in a post on the imagination some months ago, imagination and creativity are fundamental to human advancement and are qualities to be valued and nurtured. It is important not to constantly constrain and conform our children with a resultant loss of originality, innovation and discovery. The example at Princes Hill Primary School is a good reminder of why we need to remember this.
I have quoted John Holt before, but I want to do it again, because he expresses this point so well:
What children need is not new and better curricula but access to more and more of the real world; plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them; and advice, road maps, guidebooks, to make it easier for them to get where they want to go (not where we think they ought to go), and to find out what they want to find out. (John Holt, 1981)
Other links and posts
You can read the newspaper report on Princes Hill Primary HERE
'Stimulating Children's Imaginations' HERE
Story on June Factor and the Australian Children's Folklore Collection HERE
'Australian Children's Folklore Collection' HERE
Dr Ken Ginsburg & Dr Marilyn Benoit Speaking on Play