Jun 15, 2016

Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

This summer, I'm trying something a little different. Every year for the past [many] years, during the summer, I've hired a series of performers (jugglers, magicians, storytellers, etc.) to come to the library and perform for an audience of library families.  This past spring, I attended a presentation about a new educational movement (think: on par with Montessori or Reggio) that's coming out of China.  It's called AnjiPlay and I left the presentation completely inspired. You can read more about AnjiPlay (and get inspired!) on their website, but the short version is that it's all about TRUE PLAY and self-determination and the inherent learning that takes place when kids reflect on their play.  I knew that it would take a long time for any public schools in the U.S. to even begin to embrace this amazing philosophy, so... I decided to bring at least some form of AnjiPlay to my library this summer (and the folks of AnjiPlay have graciously agreed to help shape this endeavor -- their feedback has strengthened this event so much!).  And so, instead of asking kids to sit still in a stuffy meeting room, this summer, everyone is invited to join us at a nearby park to play. I'm calling it "A Wild Rumpus."  This past Tuesday was our first Rumpus.  It was a blast!  Here are some photos (this week's play was a little shortened due to our summer kick-off presentation by local Frisbee expert, Brad Wendt) after the jump:

 a chair!
 a wooden fort!
 a bed!
  I'm not sure what this is, but I love it!

 a crane!
 A tea party, complete with table and chairs you can actually sit at, tea cups and plates and a centerpiece!
 Rolling is fun!

 Building is fun!

One of the key components of AnjiPlay is reflecting on the play you've just engaged in.  I'm asking all of the kids who attend to draw or write a "Play Story" for each time that they participate. I created 8 page booklets for each child to use so that by the end of the summer they should have a full booklet of pictures. 

Here are a few of the Play Stories from this week:
Some focused on the Frisbee presentation

 I love how this one subdivided the page to allow for multiple "stories"
 Some focused on the things they built:

Some chose to just tell their own story about another fun and exciting day:
This participant created a long story that took up her whole booklet:

I'm also asking parents to create a "Play Memory" in which they answer simple prompts that are designed to encourage them to reflect upon the play that they engaged in when they were children.  Some drew pictures, most just wrote text, but I really loved how specific they got with their reflections!

All in all, it was a lot of fun.  I can't wait for next week when they'll have more time to play and I'll hopefully have the benefit of a few lessons learned under my belt to make things run even more smoothly.  Come out to the park and join us!  Haen Family Park, 7702 Tree Lane from 2:00-4:00 every Tuesday through the end of July.

HUGE thanks to the Madison Parks Division for sharing their space with us--what a great partnership!

Please note: "Anji Play,” refers to a specific philosophy and comprehensive approach to early education developed by Ms. Cheng Xueqin in Anji County, China. I use the term "Anji Play" to describe my programming and throughout this blog with the explicit permission of Ms. Cheng because our programming has been developed as part of a close collaborative relationship with her and her team of Anji Play educators. If you are interested in learning more about how you can bring Anji Play to your community, please visit www.anjiplay.com

1 comment:

  1. Hooray! I've been thinking about you and rejoicing that the rain held off! Fun to see some of my old sheets get a new life (and I have one more for you!)


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