2015 Workshop Descriptions
Designing Play Spaces for Creativity and Imagination
Designing places that are flexible, welcoming, aesthetically pleasing, and engaging can be accomplished indoors and outdoors. Designing with nature can create especially successful environments for play and imagination. With forethought and the right environmental and program planning, play advocacy can be built into a place as part of its intrinsic character. We will look at examples of how this sort of design and advocacy has been accomplished and can be used as models in other settings.
Introduction to the DIR/Floortime Model: Fostering Early Stages of Engagement and Purposeful Communication
This session introduces the basic concepts of "Developmental, Individual Differences, and Relationship Based" (DIR) model of assessment and intervention and illustrates how to encourage affect-based developmentally appropriate interactions for children with special needs. The aim of this presentation is to provide a general overview of this model, its theoretical base, how it is implemented, and how it incorporates various therapeutic modalities to support the health and wellbeing of children with developmental difficulties. Video clips of clinical material will be used to illustrate the application of the model in the context of a private practice, school, and home settings, and take into account developmental, spatial, and cultural considerations.
Looking at Children's Play
This session introduces participants to the field observation process which takes place at the Sarah Lawrence Early Childhood Center. Drawing on what we have seen and discussed so far, we will provide a template for observing and recording observations which will serve as the basis for discussion on such topics as: What functions do different forms of play serve for the child? What is the shape of a “play episode”? How do children collaborate in play? Are there different kinds of imaginative activities that serve differing functions? Can we identify the sources of themes revealed in the children’s play?
The Meanings of Play: Developmental Perspectives
This session begins with an introduction and viewing of the film When a Child Pretends, made for public television by Jonathan Diamond Associates in association with the Child Development Institute. We will then consider the kinds of activities that are called “play” and their differing roles in the lives of children. Using the film as a basis for discussion, this session focuses primarily on imaginative or pretend play. An introduction to psychological theories of play highlights social, emotional, imaginative and cognitive aspects of play and serves as a foundation for understanding the importance of play for the child’s development.
Non-Directive Play Therapy
This session discusses the basic principles of non-directive play therapy, including the therapist's role in the play session and the multiple reasons for treatment. An in-depth look at particular case studies will provide further insight into the therapeutic power of play and how children use play as a way to emotionally recalibrate and heal.
Play in Cultural Context
This session will address the intersection of play and culture, focusing on the ways that contexts (defined broadly as family, cultural norms, social expectations) influence the nature of play and attitudes that adults hold toward the meaning and uses of play. We will think particularly about play in Southern and Eastern Africa, focusing on examples from South Africa, Malawi, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. We will also discuss the implementation of community adventure play experiences (CAPEs) in Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Play Memories, Playwork and Setting the Stage for "Loose Parts" Play
This workshop will explore the phenomenon of adventure playgrounds and the profession of playwork, which developed in the UK after World War II. Adventure playgrounds use loose parts— materials such as wood, sand, water, cardboard boxes, string, fabric, and other recycled materials. We will consider how these materials and the site itself contribute to the children's play. This session will lay the groundwork for the afternoon event of setting up and carrying out a Community Adventure Play Experience (CAPE) in Yonkers.
Play Therapy -- A Jamaican Experience
In the summer of 2007, Marie Reynolds introduced play therapy to the Child Abuse Mitigation Project in Jamaica, and since her return to Jamaica she has continued to expand awareness of and advocate for the value of play and play therapy through her clinical practice, lecturing a graduate course in play and art therapy, and conducting workshops for teachers and parents. With the support of anecdotal and case references, from her Jamaican experience, Marie will discuss play therapy within a cultural context, including how this is shaped by child socialization and patterns of parent-child interaction.
Playing and Learning with Blocks
This session offers an exploration of blocks as a central medium for young children's play. Block play allows children explorations in math, science, social studies, and language arts and involves problem solving, experimentation, negotiation, and other abilities crucial in child development. Focusing on unit blocks, but also including other building materials, we will examine through both discussion and experience how blocks play into these areas and abilities.
Reflecting on Our Own Play Spaces
We will gather in small groups to share the drawings of play spaces with which we are very familiar, either from our work or our own play experiences. What kinds of affordances do these spaces provide--in terms of space, materials, access? In light of our experiences together this week, how might we now think they could be altered or improved upon? This workshop will serve as preparation for Designing Play Spaces for Creativity and Imagination, immediately following.
When Playing is Therapeutic: An Overview
This session will serve as an introduction to the varied clinical presentations today by offering an overview of the many ways play processes are used in therapeutic interventions with children. Central questions to consider include the definition and scope of play in a given therapy, the functions play is seen as serving for the child in therapy, the special nature of playing in the therapeutic context, and the role(s) the therapist may play in working with the child. All of these factors vary depending on theoretical orientation, goals of the therapeutic intervention, and pragmatic aspects of the situation. The rich and often simultaneous multiple functions of play in therapy will be highlighted.