Those of us operating in relation to Park and Rec facilites with ample outdoor features are often lucky enough to get to see how kids thrive and grow through playful interaction with nature and each other.
Though, as we know only too well, most children aren’t getting outdoors enough, and that is creating a “play (as well as nature) deficit.”
Next week, a couple of hundred experts gather at Clemson University to explore the distinctive value of play.
The Conference on the Value of Play is being held Feb. 6-9 at Clemson’s Madren Conference Center.
The 2011 event follows last year’s Summit on the Value of Play, which led to the creation of the US Play Coalition.
A fundamental precept from that conference guides this year's effort and is summed up this way:
“We believe play is a basic human need and the foundation of strong intellectual, physical and emotional development. Play is essential to a person reaching his or her full potential,”
Fran Mainella, Co-Chair the US Play Coalition.
“This conference provides a venue for people and organizations to learn from each other and coordinate efforts to bring back play in the lives of all people,” adds Mainella. “And not just children.”
My emphasis ;-)
"We’re attracting a broad spectrum of people who share concerns about the play deficit in our children," concluded Mainella.
Conference speakers will cover topics such as how to recapture recess and how the medical profession views play. Education sessions will range from women’s perspective on hunting to advocating for play on the local level to inspiring play spaces for everyone.