Now that I no longer live 30 minutes away from the British Library I’ve finally realized how much I took for granted, in terms of access to rare and wonderful books! Luckily last time I was there I visited some of my favorite texts, and took copious notes.
There are lots of gaps, in terms of playwork stuff available online, and posting some quotes from these fabulous texts seems a potentially useful thing to do.
The first had to be John Bertelsen, the first play leader at Emdrup. What follows is as perfect an explanation of a playworker’s role as I’ve found anywhere.
“I am of course employed as a leader, but on an adventure playground this is hardly the same as the accepted idea of a leader and organizer who works, as it were, from the outside. Rather, mine is a function which arises within the actual framework of the playground where I am in a position to give the children every opportunity of putting their plans into practice. This initiative must come from the children themselves and when the necessary materials are to be had these give the children the inspiration for play. I cannot, and indeed will not, teach the children anything. I am able to give them my support in their creative play and work, and thus help them in developing those talents and abilities which are often suppressed at home and at school. I consider it most important that the leader not appear too clever but that he remain at the same experimental stage as the children. In this way the initiative is left, to a great extent, with the children themselves and it is thus far easier to avoid serious intrusion into their fantasy world.”
John Bertelsen’s “Early Experience from Emdrup” in Adventure Playgrounds, p.20-1.
This might be a regular feature, so please send along any favorite quotes or requests!