Stretching potential

Posts tagged ‘development’

What’s it all about?

With the imminent launch of our first book on the horizon, we have taken some time to think about what exactly it is that we do here at Straight Zigzag and whether the general public, parents, teachers, au pairs, aunties and uncles, grandparents, and anyone involved with children, are ready for the message that the book brings.

When the play company was an undercurrent for many of our plans for the future but not yet a reality, we felt like the ideas we wanted to share with the world were straight forward and original.  We had one aim: to make people realise the value of spontaneous play before this skill and activity was lost to a world of busy-ness.  Now that it’s all written down, I have come to see that even those who are advocates for play might not all be on the same side.  We have the pro-play in all its forms team, who will schedule activities in each of the following categories: gross motor, fine motor, construction, creativity, role play and imaginative play.  Then we have the spontaneous play team, who promote leaving kids to their own devices and stopping just short of anarchy.  We have the no-tech hippies who believe technology is robbing children of real life, and the gadget freaks who insist on buying every interactive screen to ensure that their children are not left behind.

In all this to and fro of who’s right and who’s children will turn out best, it’s important to remember why we argue for one side or the other.  What is it that motivated you to chose a side?  Was it a knee-jerk reaction to something the Jones’s bought or said, or did you come from a place of searching for a better sense of balance in your own life.  Before anyone stands on a soap box it’s good to acknowledge that the world as we know it is changing at such a rapid rate that we all clutch at the straws of certainty.  We want to be assured that our method is best, and that our children will turn out okay.

The comforting message of the book is this: children are resilient, and if left to their own devices, will figure out a way.  They will learn what they need to know and they will meet their basic needs.  Give them space, an imagination and gravity, and relax.  EGBOK.

[For more information on Playvolution: The Ultimate Guide to Developing Valuable Experiences Through Play please visit www.playvolutionbook.com]

Madiba loved the children

In the light of Thursday’s sad news of the passing of our much-loved and respected Tata Nelson Mandela, I thought it only appropriate to ponder for a moment on this great man’s life before we launch into the chaos of the festive season.

Firstly, I’d like to welcome all our new readers.  When I’d blogged previously, Straight Zigzag was more of an ideal, a philosophy about play, a notion of how we’d like to see children develop.  Now I can honestly say that Straight Zigzag has launched into the atmosphere, become a name that people ask us about and is developing the momentum to really change the way that us adults see the “work of play” that children understand so well. You’re all so welcome and we’re happy to know that you’re along for the ride!

So back to our former president and the father of the nation we call home.  So many tributes have been playing non-stop on our tvs and radios for the last 4 days, and in so many of them we read and watch how Madiba treated the little ones.  There have been videos of children singing happy birthday to him, Mandela stopping to greet the sick, stories of how he acknowledged the children of those who worked for him.  One overarching value – compassion.

Maybe in the last few days you’ve received an email from us regarding Bilibos and Plui’s, but let’s not forget that Straight Zigzag is so much more than a toy shop.  Our real aim is to reach those who are missing out on play opportunities for whatever reason.  We’d like to attribute the Toy Sharing aspect of our vision to Madiba – a vision of sharing a generosity of spirit with everyone. So if you have reasonable looking toys that are no longer loved by your children, log onto www.straightzigzag.com and connect with us on the Toy Share page – we’ll make sure that some play experts (i.e. occupational therapists) match them to children who will love them.  Also use the opportunity to explain to your children where the toys are going – and that perhaps for every new toy they get this year, they could share one with someone else.  Compassion is a big word but it can be understood by the little ones when we show them how it’s done.

Wishing you and your families a happy, playful holiday season!

 

Quote

“PLAY will be …

“PLAY will be to the 21st century what WORK was to the industrial age – our dominant way of KNOWING, DOING and CREATING VALUE” – Pat Kane (2004)

What an exciting thought!  This quote was posted up on one of the walls at the Century of the Child exhibit at MoMA in NYC, which we were fotunate to visit in August 2012.  All the best designs for children, from toys to furniture were showcased on the top floor.  Play is most definitely the way in which children begin to identify with their world, learn basic and complex concepts and test the laws of their environment.