HELP US – Bring Free Play to More Children
New Dates for Volunteer Training Coming Soon!
Bernheim’s Children at Play Network hosts free play events both at Bernheim and in the region. From the perspective of the families that join us for those events the day looks pretty simple. Children create box forts, construct all manner of inventions, climb upon trees, and make mountains of loose parts conform to their will. New friends get made, new games get invented and imaginations get stretched. Behind the scenes a lot of work goes into a successful free play day. We call the people that work hard to make everything come together successfully – Free Play Facilitators. We would love for YOU to become a volunteer free play facilitator. Here are the details…
What is required to become a free play facilitator?
To work with children participating in our free play events you must first register as a Bernheim volunteer. Contact Bernheim’s volunteer coordinator, Renee Hutchison, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will gather your contact information and set up an orientation. Volunteers working with children must also agree to a background check.
The next step will be to complete 2 two-hour free play facilitator training sessions. Training is offered at Bernheim and at partner locations in surrounding communities.
Part 1: The Spectrum of Play for Free Play Facilitators covers the theory behind free play, how free play differs from other types of play, the role of the free play facilitator during events, and why play is a valuable part of child development. Cost is $20. Scholarships available
Part 2: Facilitator Skills for Free Play Days dives into the nuts and bolts of what specific things you will be doing during a free play event as a volunteer play facilitator. Cost is $20. Scholarships available.
Both parts are required to begin volunteering during play events, but they can be taken in any order and at any location they are offered. We typically offer both on a single day, but you make the trainings on separate days.
I’ve registered as a volunteer, passed a background check and completed both training workshops- what next?
You are now ready to volunteer for free play days as an apprentice volunteer free play facilitator and you will receive a certificate for your training. You will be given a contact point to schedule dates and times to assist with free play events and you will be on an email list for us to reach out to you. This is where it gets really fun.
Suppose I really get into helping with free play events and want to learn more. Is there a next phase to training?
There is. After becoming an apprentice free play facilitator you can become a master level free play facilitator. That will require volunteering for a minimum of two free play events and taking additional training sessions that focus on: risk and play, loose parts theory, and natural materials/natural environments. We can cross that bridge when we get to it, but we are glad to provide you with more information if that becomes an interest.
What if I still have questions?
No worries. We will be glad to get you more information. Contact Melissa Rue, the Children at Play Network coordinator at email@example.com
Can I take these training programs without volunteering to help with a free play event?
You can, but they are primarily for people interested in volunteering. Scholarships are not available if you don’t plan to volunteer and that’s on the honor system. If space is limited, priority will be given to people interested in volunteering.
I’m an early learning professional working in a licensed child care facility. Is professional development credit available?
Yes. Our training programs provide ECE-TRIS credit. Each of the two training programs provides two hours of credit. If you want to receive ECE-TRIS credit the full training cost applies regardless of whether or not you plan to volunteer.