Archive for play

Spread the Word: Feb 4 is Global School Play Day

The Bedley brothers (Tim and Scott), who are both teachers in California, have started a movement, and it seems to be taking off. They have declared Feb. 4, 2015, to be the first annual Global School Play Day. Let's do everything we can to support it!

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Sonnet to a Playful God

One of my secret pleasures (well, it was secret up until now) is writing sonnets. I love to play within the boundaries of the classic Shakespearian sonnet. Here's one I wrote about the value of play.

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Playing with Children: Should You, and If So, How?

Parent-child play is ruined when either the parent or the child dominates. Fun occurs when there is no domination in either direction. Parent-child play is not as natural, nor as crucial for the child's development, as child-child play, but it can still be fun.

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A Playful Path, and DeKoven’s Advice for Getting Back on It

We are born to be playful. We are, as Johan Huizinga put it long ago, Homo Ludens (the playful human) even more than we are Homo Sapiens (the wise human). But many of lose our playfulness. Why do we lose it, and how can we recover it? Here’s why, and here, especially, is how to recover it—from a new book by Bernard DeKoven.

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Clearwater Profiles – Mara

This is the first in a series of profiles of Clearwater students. Clearwater students range in age from three to eighteen, and include kids who've attended since they were three and others who've enrolled later in their schooling. by Shawna Lee, Clearwater staff member Mara and I arranged to meet at 1:00 PM and talk about her life at Clearwater. When I tracked her down she was deep in a game

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Clearwater Hosts Weekly Play Days

The Clearwater School's Play Days program provides an opportunity for toddlers, preschoolers and their families to experience our ground breaking model of education. Join us for open-ended play and parent education every Friday, from 9:30am to 12noon. No reservations are required and the program is free. At The Clearwater School learning happens through active exploration. Play Days allow young

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Free Play Is Essential for Normal Emotional Development

When young monkeys or rats are deprived of play, they fail to develop normal abilities to regulate their emotions. There is good reason to believe that the same is true of young humans.

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How Hunter-Gatherers Maintained Their Egalitarian Ways: Three Complementary Theories

If we truly believe in the values of equality and peace and want them to reign once again as the norm for human beings, then we need to (a) find ways to deflate the egos, rather than support the egos, of the despots, bullies, and braggarts among us; (b) make our ways of life more playful; and (c) raise our children in kindly, trusting ways.

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Tales of Warcraft, Chapter 2

Last month the first chapter of Meghan's original story set in the Warcraft world appeared on this blog. She has written five chapters so far. If you'd like to re-read the first chapter, click on the link above, then enjoy Chapter 2, below. The story is told from the point of view of Salith, a female half-elf, half-troll rogue.

Tales of Warcraft
Chapter 2
A Terrible Reunion

Salith’s consciousness returned only when she was shoved roughly up against a stone wall and was surprised to find her hood intact and upon her head. “And so we meet again, my slippery little friend!” said a cold voice from above her. Salith opened her eyes. Before her were the shin-high boots of a human she had met only once before and she did not plan on repeating the encounter, though she felt this would be entirely different.

Salith discovered there were at least two more armored humans behind her; one of them took hold of her tattered hood and ripped it off her cloak entirely, revealing red-orange dreadlocks that fell just past her shoulders and a face much less like what the human’s thought she was. Her face was bluish with a tint of lavender and her eyes were glowing orbs, a ghostly ivory.


The human before her reached out a gloved hand and took hold of her dreadlocks. Not wishing to have her hair pulled out, Salith was forced to look up into the face of the human she had dreaded ever meeting again.
“Where be dah true king!?” she demanded, and the man tightened his grip on her dreadlocks.
“I am the king, Half-breed!”
Salith bared her yellowish teeth. “You are no king!”

Before she knew what was happening, the man had let go of her dreadlocks and waved his hand to the man to her left, who took hold of her arm and wrenched. Salith screamed and fell to the floor; she lay face down, her arm sticking out at a weird angle. She bit her lip so hard to keep from whimpering it bled.

The man who claimed to be king knelt down and took hold of her dreadlocks once more, pulling her head up so that she had to look him in the face. “I am the rightful king. Question my rule again and the pain will be much, much worse” he whispered. His voice was cold as ice and his eyes burned with blue flame. Salith bared her teeth, but didn’t have the strength to retaliate, nor did she want more pain; she was almost overwhelmed by it already. “Remember Cerader*,” was the last thing Salith heard.

Thump thump thump. What was that sound? She didn’t care. Why was the ground swaying? She didn’t know. Salith opened her eyes to find a metal roof above her head and bars all around and discovered the sound was her heartbeat. Sitting up slowly she looked around. She was in a hanging cage attached to the side of the main castle of the city of Dunatar. Below was a large courtyard filled with bustling villagers. A fountain sat in the middle of the busy courtyard, the water sparkling with coins that had been tossed in.

A group of young villagers stood beneath her cage, glaring up at her and occasionally throwing small rocks up at her.
“Demonspawn!” one of them called, a tall man clad in leather garments.
“Half-breed!” called another, a shorter man in violet robes.
“Lay off guys!” cried a young women wearing a dress with a white top and blue bottom. reaching out to put a hand on the leather-clad man’s shoulder.
He turned and pushed her roughly aside. “C’mon, let’s leave it to rot.”

Salith wasn’t stung at all by any of the insults, for all of them she had heard many a time before. Instead she turned her attention to the rising sun which turned the clouds pink and showered the surrounding forest with golden rays of light. Salith sighed, rubbing her broken arm gingerly. "What does Cerader want with me?" she wondered, shuddering at his name. It seemed as if it had been burned into her memory. Her mind whirled and her arm throbbed. "If I survive this, it’ll be a miracle," Salith thought miserably. She lay on her back and stared up at the roof of her prison and soon blackness consumed her.

*Pronunciation guide: Cerader (Seer-a-dar)

End of post.

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Creek Village Rises Again

Fat alder buds (Alnus rubra)

As early tree and shrub buds were swelling and opening last week, signs of human habitation suddenly appeared on the west side of North Creek.

Indian plum (Oemleria cerasiformis)--one of the earliest blooming native shrubs

I spotted this mysterious structure on the far side of the foot bridge and crossed over to look more closely.


After I crossed the bridge it became obvious there was more to the lonely structure than what I could see from the other side of the creek.


Soon I spotted another structure with a little pile of firewood in front. (Fire is not allowed on campus, but firewood is essential for authenticity.)


One group constructed a long house of sorts and were inside refining the structure and enjoying each other's company.


This hamlet is the latest incarnation of Creek Village, which for the past four years has arisen and flourished for about a month, in early or late spring.

During the first year, four Clearwater students created homes within the natural structure of shrubs, trees and underbrush across the creek. Matt, the only staff member in the village, acted as lodge keeper. Creek Village residents paid him in salmonberries for the opportunity to sleep at the lodge, located at Second Beach. (There are three accessible beaches along Clearwater School's stretch of North Creek. Starting with the most northern beach, they are consecutively named First, Second and Third Beach.) Every day residents trooped to their village. Someone yelled "Breakfast!"; five minutes later, "Lunch!"; after five more minutes, "Dinner!"; then "Night time!"; and finally, "Morning!". They shared food from their lunches and ate salmonberries at meal time.



A year later the four original village founders were joined by two more people. In addition to the daily schedule, they added picnics at Third Beach and hikes to First Beach, where they foraged and explored. The third year of Creek Village was much the same, with the addition of four more residents.


By most accounts, Creek Village this year is a lot more fun than the previous three years combined. For one thing, around 16 people are involved so far, although they're not always all in residence at the same time. No staff members are regular residents of this year's village. The group abandoned the tree and shrub dwellings from previous years (which they call "Abandoned Creek Village"), although some continue to poke around the old digs in the same manner as anyone who is fascinated by abandoned townsites.


More after the jump...
This year residents scavenged sturdy downed tree branches to shape conical and oblong skeletons, and then covered them with blankets and tarps. Inside the structures residents placed sleeping pads, blankets and lunches. At the end of each day, they leave the building skeletons standing and pack out all the tarps, blankets and pads.


This year villagers divide the day into four segments: breakfast, dinner, night and morning. A day is 30 minutes long. Residents who have cell phones keep track of the time and announce when each segment begins. Residents have created currency to pay for stick weapons and food. Currency is mined in the sandbar at Third Beach, although some people also bring trinkets from home to serve as currency. There is also a lot of item trading.


With the influx of new residents this year, conflict was inevitable. One group of people wanted everyone to have imaginary pets that followed people around, but another group was firmly opposed. One resident described the conflict as a civil war that involved the destruction of some homes and different factions yelling "Pets" or "No pets". Everyone agreed to put the matter to a vote. A majority voted against a requirement that everyone have pets, while allowing people who wanted pets to have them.

Soon after this issue was resolved and homes were restored, residents decided to practice stick fighting for fun and everything was peaceful.






Peace continued even as Outcast Village was created by three students nearby as an alternate place to hang out and to have fun good-naturedly bugging Creek village residents.


A new person joined Creek Village and decided to start his own town near First Beach, which he called Riverside Village. He recruited so many Creek Village residents for his town that half the population left. The remaining Creek Village inhabitants felt abandoned and declared war on Riverside Village. Stick fighting ensued; no one was hurt and no one destroyed people's homes.

By this time, each village had a mayor--Lily for Creek Village and Stephen for Riverside Village. The two mayors met and decided the fighting was pointless. They convinced the residents of each of their villages to stop fighting and everyone agreed to be residents of Creek Village. The town retains the two locations as distinct and cooperative neighborhoods. The two mayors agreed to be co-mayors of greater Creek Village.

The residents of Creek Village last week included Lily, Justin (aka Boombox), Arlo, Nikos, Tommie, Jackie, Vera, Mara, Jesse, Chiara, Zoe, J.R., Jackie, Stephen (aka Crazy Uncle Steve), Tarka and Caden.



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