We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
The Little Ripples program has taught me play-based learning is not just fun and games. It is about giving children the space and freedom to choose what and how they play. This not only makes them laugh and smile but also helps them gain a variety of social and developmental skills. Children actually learn differently when their right to play is upheld. As I reflect back on my own life, I can see examples of free play and child-directed learning shaping the person I am today.
According to our amazing Expert Teacher Advisors Olga Winebush, ReGena Booze, Ijuuma Jordan and Tim Sundeen of Pacific Oaks College and Children’s School, there are five characteristics of play. By facilitating play for our Little Ripples students, we are not only allowing them the room to be children but also are teaching them to be a connected community. Moreover, the joy and happiness experienced by the teachers allows them the opportunity to reflect and heal from the trauma of their personal experiences. It is not simply fun and games; it involves the building blocks for a better future for the Darfuri community.
In a few short weeks the i-ACT team will once again be in refugee camp Goz Amer. They will be joined by University of Wisconsin Survey Center’s Senior Project Director Nathan Jones. The i-ACT team and the local assessment team Nathan has trained will see the impact the Little Ripples program and play-based learning have had on hundreds of students, the Little Ripples teachers, their families and the community.
You can follow the i-ACT team’s full journey on our Tools4Peace page here.
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