“One of the most basic underpinnings of the craft
of the playworker is to understand that the play of
children within the boundaries of a play setting must
remain unadulterated by external agendas. This
means that playworkers do not try to educate, train,
tame, or therapeutically treat children in their time and space for play.
They do not coach sports or teach art, drama, or dance, or even circus
skills. They do not do “activities.”
A good playworker will have resources as readily available as a first
aid kit so that if and when children come and ask for face painting or a
deck of cards these materials or their approximations can be furnished
to them. What a playworker does not do is schedule events and say,
“This afternoon we will be face painting and playing canasta. Then
you will do 30 minutes of ‘keep-fit’ and then have a healthy snack.”
This contaminates the play frame and corrupts the freely chosen,
personally directed, and intrinsically motivated playing that children
A playworker is apparently what they call a staffer of an “adventure playground”.
This is somewhat similar to the role of staff at a Sudbury School (of course minus a LARGE role Sudbury staff have in running the school) but a bit too “ready”. I would never expect a Sudbury staffer to have items available as quick “as a first-aid kit”. Really? That feels way way too artificial, personally.
And I guess when I read thru items in the Primer some of it feels condescending ultimately because if you imagine interacting in this way with a teenager or adult rather than a younger kid, it becomes obviously condescending. So guess what… it probably is for the younger kids too.