Free play is often labeled frivolous - a pastime for leisure activity after the "work" has been finished. Within that, as a society, we totally discount and discard the necessity of unstructured, undirected play - not only for kids but for us all.
Through free play, children have the unbound opportunity to explore the world around them - as well as their internal landscape. Kids who have unlimited time to play know themselves on a profound level. They independently discover how they learn best through experimentation and exploration. This means they know what they like and what makes them cringe and are not afraid to speak up for themselves. And it proves that learning is natural.
These past three weeks, I was thrown back into this absolute reality. Beyond a morning check-in, to remind them of our one rule - respect yourself, each other, and this place - kids were in charge of their day - until cleanup.
I witnessed (and occasionally assisted in) baking, art, clay, painting, and sewing projects - then stood back and watched the nonstop imaginative action: Legos, plastic animals (and bugs, snakes, and spiders), snap circuit sets, matchbox cars, Lincoln Logs, pretend weddings (with music), made-up live-action video games (and I mean LIVE - including running and wrestling), and smashing coal found in the backyard to try to turn into diamonds.
These kids might not be able to articulate what they learned - either about themselves or the world in general - but man, they had a blast and will remember it as an essential part of their childhood.
After years of watching kids play, I would make an educated guess that humans evolved to learn (at least partly) kinesthetically. However, that has been squashed, for the most part, by our system because actively encouraging a bunch of squirmy, loud, active children in their chaotic, exploratory, and experimental pursuits is not conducive to a "sit down and be quiet" learning environment. I am deeply saddened by how much has been lost - not the least of which is the knowledge that learning is an absolute joy.
Weekly Creative Meditation
Summer Program was an absolute hit! We are so excited that two of our summer kids will be joining our "regular" crew. And families are asking if we will have programming during the February, Mid-Winter and April, Spring Breaks. My answer is always, "if we have staffing," (because, I absolutely need those breaks - to rest and catch up!)
DRC East News - There are lots of changes in the works for DRC_East. As I have mentioned (teased), the Center will be moving from North Lawrence to Massena due to unforeseen complications. The new facility is owned by the Massena Housing Authority and is absolutely perfect for our needs. Unfortunately, we can not begin the lease until October 1st.
In other East News, Angie, our lead staff and mentor has decided not to renew her contract. We are grateful for her contributions this past year and wish her the best. The search to fill that position has begun, and should have news soon. In the meantime, to get us over the initial bumps, the Pastor of the church has graciously said the East crew can meet occasionally in that space.
DRC-Canton is starting with a full roster. We are all looking forward to another amazing year of exploring all of the possibilities together.
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