The Children at Play Network was honored to provide a valuable presence at the International Play Association USA Conference in early October 2022. Claude Stephens, Director of the CAPN, provided a keynote address titled True to Nature: A Case for Saving Humanity Through Play. His talk took an epic look at play that challenged the audience of play professionals to travel back in time 50,000 years to consider the importance of play in the formation of who we are as humans (Homo sapien – “wise man”). Then he shifted gears and asked everyone to consider the role of play 50,000 years into the future. He asked each person to distill into single words the qualities of play they hoped would survive into the future. The non-negotiables of play for deep future generations. Words like joyful, creative, free, wild, exploratory, outdoor, gritty, challenging, honest were tossed out by the audience. He concluded his exploration of the value of play by imagining a future where Homo sapien might evolve into a new kind of human – Homo ludens “playing man” and asked those gathered to consider their role in a playful future. He described our collective work in play as both small work – the work of protecting the liminal spaces of childhood for children to make of their world as they please, and large work – the work of collective practice to create play environments, value play in education, and network globally to insure people of all ages enjoy play across their lifespans.
On the closing day of the conference the entire CAPN team including Claude, CAPN Coordinator – Melissa Rue, and CAPN training specialist – Kim Tabler, hosted the closing conference event titled the Unconference which focused on playful ways to capture the essence of the conference in ways that allow people to commit to taking the best ideas of the conference home for further action.
The CAPN team made great new connections at IPA USA that are already creating new opportunities. To date those opportunities include:
- An invitation to be featured as a participant on PuddlePatter which is a video blog series created by Cameron Sprague of Stramash. Stramash is the largest provider of outdoor nursery schools in Scotland. We hope to include Cameron in a future State of Play. We will be sure and let you know about the Puddle Patter interview with Claude Stephens when it goes live.
- Lots of new contacts for future CAPN State of Play conversations. State of Play gatherings are one benefit of membership in CAPN.
- Networking opportunities with other organizations focused on providing high quality outdoor play environments.
This gathering of the USA chapter of IPA has us excited about the possibility of joining the IPA World Conference which will be in Glasgow, Scotland from June 6-9 in 2023.