Come Play the Way we Learn

Billboard on Hooker Avenue – designed by Ray Schwartz

Come play the way we learn – it’s an invitation and it’s on a billboard right there on Hooker Avenue*.

The invitation is to the big event we have coming up on Saturday – Fall Festival  Reimagined.

I love that invitation because it strikes right at the heart of the negative stereotype that I heard so much about when I arrived at PDS (aka Poughkeepsie Play School).

FFR is all about imagination, ingenuity, innovation invention. It’s all build, hack, hammer, glue, make, design, tweak, tinker and play.

If you listen to FFR vision and concept coordinator Catherine Harris she can give you the big picture but the truth is in the tag line: “It’s what we already do”.   Because at  its best PDS is all about play. And play is something we are deadly serious about because play is not just for toddlers and athletes.

I’ve written about play many times on this blog because learning is all about play. To learn we think, make, do, team and tinker – with ideas and with things.

Switch on the capacity to play

  • Play happens in the space between where we are – and  – where we can be.
  • Play is the bridge that connects what we know and do now, with what we can know and do next.
  • Play makes the leap to growth and learning possible and makes it memorable and enduring.
  • Play is a deadly serious intellectual activity.

Building the labyrinth in math class

Scientific research is all playing. Invention is the result of logically organized idle curiosity.**

At PDS we do a lot of playing because it’s in the play of ideas, in the play of working together, in the flex  that we find the sweetspot where  we expand our knowledge and understanding. That’s where we build the capacity for the future.

So Poughkeepsie Play School?  Whatever.

As if education is only valuable when it’s akin to grinding of teeth on steel bolts.  If it doesn’t hurt, taste bad and make you miserable it can’t be any good. Where did those ideas ever come from other than our own less than joyful schooling?

Don’t get me wrong – learning can be hard work, and struggling and effort matter. And the disappointment of trying and failing can be tough.  But pain is not the purpose.

So: Come play the way we learn and learn the way we play. See you on Saturday November 19th.

And – for all of you who want FFR to last forever – Saul Griffith’s  A Curriculum of Toys

Checking out the ramps for Saturday

Giant monster eating a person

* Close to the site of the original house purchased in 1934 as the first home of Poughkeepsie Day School. Now the Georgetown Square apartments on the corner of Hooker and South Grand.

** Chris Holford, my brother the retired physics prof and tinkerer par excellence.

 

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