FAQ: AnjiPlay

What is AnjiPlay?
AnjiPlay is an educational philosophy centered on self-determined play, created in Anji County, China. This approach is based on five pillars: Love, Joy, Risk, Engagement and Reflection. You can hear more about how I discovered AnjiPlay and started creating AnjiPlay programs at Madison Public Library in this archived webinar presentation.

Why is a Library doing AnjiPlay?
The five practices of early literacy are Read, Write, Talk, Sing and Play.  I believe that most libraries have fully integrated the first four successfully into their early literacy programming, but most of the library programs that I've heard of that incorporate "play" (including my own in the past) are actually describing playful but rather adult-directed activities. The deepest intrinsic learning processes that play affords come most authentically during play that the child has chosen to engage in.  As a librarian, I also have a deep appreciation for the "reflection" component of AnjiPlay in which children create a "Play Story" after they are done playing.  Whether they create drawings, write paragraphs or simply scribble, kids are getting an excellent opportunity to express themselves on paper (yay early writing skills!).

How much does doing this program cost?
To truly see the benefits of AnjiPlay, I do recommend acquiring some of the official AnjiPlay materials, but that can be a big investment if you're just at the first stages of wanting to try out the program in your service area.  I am still in the process of developing (in cooperation with the AnjiPlay professionals) my list of recommended "starter" materials and if you're interested, please e-mail me at cchristner@madisonpubliclibrary.org and I'd be happy to talk to you about it further.

Can I just put out some wooden blocks and cardboard boxes and call my program AnjiPlay Inspired?
Please don't do this.  The phrase "AnjiPlay Inspired" makes me shudder because it usually indicates a  "watering down" of this incredibly meticulously designed educational approach.  If you are drawn to AnjiPlay, contact me or the U.S. AnjiPlay professionals (see their contact information at www.anjiplay.com) to talk about how to best create AnjiPlay programming at your library.

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