The entire staff of Second Presbyterian Weekday School (Louisville KY) visited Playcosystem recently to take part in a six-hour teacher training program led by ace Children at Play Network trainer Kim Tabler. Second Presbyterian is really doing great things with play. In response to Covid-19 the CAPN team visited their campus in June of 2020 to help envision the creation of outdoor play/learning nodes that circumnavigated their urban campus. It was amazing to see how their dedicated team used the limited amount of outdoor space available to them to create engaging opportunities for their children. The CAPN followed up with additional ECE-TRIS trainings including the one at Bernheim’s Playcosystem.
During part of their training the teachers observed fourth grade children from a visiting school explore Playcosystem. Children come into the world fully ready to explore and learn through play and you can glean a great deal simply from observing them as they play. Here’s what one of the teachers observed during the workshop:
“It is really interesting watching how the children are interacting with the milk crates. At first there was just a lot of walking around them, looking at them, and then a couple of times they just picked one up and put it back down where it was – just unsure about what to do with them. And now slowly, after about 30 minutes, they have walked over and used both hands, they are standing on them, still a little unsure but they keep revisiting it. It looks like they want to go deeper but they are just not sure how to do that. Or what they exactly want to do with them. I love that they just keep going and trying to figure it out, use their imagination and feel successful with them.” Karla Wright – Assistant Director at Second Presbyterian
Here are some additional reflections:
“It challenges me to think about how I can improve what I’m already doing in school. We learned that play is a spectrum and we aren’t being asked to jump to one end of that spectrum right away. But how can we move toward a future goal – baby steps – and it makes it so much more achievable. I can jump from here to here even if I can’t jump too far all at once. It’s encouraging, it’s thought provoking, and it makes me think I can accomplish this when I go back to school.” – Meg Demuth
“I’m the art teacher. It has made me think about freedom of choice for the children so the workshop has helped me think about how I might set up my room. Maybe ways that I can let the materials speak to the child instead of me deciding what the child can do.” – Priss Hovious
“This workshop is going to reaffirm everything that we are already doing. It’s also going to give our new teachers more formal information about what we are doing as a school. When they go back to school they will be able to identify certain areas of play and build on their skills. We are a Reggio inspired school and have been on this journey for about 15 years. We have slowly developed our outdoor learning areas and have gotten teachers and parents to buy into our journey. We are learning more about what is going on for our children in the outdoors and how to make those connections to nature as well as how powerful those connections are both inside the classroom and outside.” Karla Wright – Assistant Director