We Did Our Homework

By Claude Stephens

Adaptable – Adoptable – Applicable

Playcosystem has been ten years in the planning stage. Why so long? Glad you asked.

Bernheim wanted to create a new play environment where families could enjoy time together during their visits. But as an institution that puts great emphasis on thought leadership and actions beyond our borders we also wanted to create a tool that would help inspire positive community change. We believe there is a need and an opportunity to advocate for more diversity in how we provision the places where children play. In nature, biodiversity is a positive thing. Applying that thinking to the human landscape, play diversity is also a positive.

How can Bernheim advocate for play diversity in the same way that we advocate for biodiversity?

The Children at Play Network is one way Bernheim has encouraged play diversity – not just at Bernheim but within the entire community. For the past ten years the CAPN has been digging into the research behind play, the barriers to best practices in play at the regional level, international models for play environments and the many strategies that all come together to make better play environments a reality in any community.

With help from our funders the Children at Play Network has conducted state approved teacher trainings and we have interacted with and advised a number of organizations as they made changes to their playgrounds or built new ones. All of that background work helped us design Playcosystem as a place where people will be able to see play strategies in action. Think of it as a menu of options.

Working with others, in the real play world, is helping Bernheim make sure that Playcosystem will be a place that directly applies to others while encouraging diversity in play landscapes. Our aim is to be adaptable, adoptable, applicable.

These are photos of Bernheim’s Children at Play Network team working with other amazing play advocates in the region and beyond. This was all formative work for the Playcosystem project.


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