• Élyse

The Right to play and create

I had the immense privilege to share an interview on Radio-Canada's Saturday morning show with Dr. Bureau (Community Social Pediatrics super-woman) a couple weeks ago (you can find the link on our Facebook page). We talked about the importance of free play for healthy and happy kids and how there is a link between our systems that are not conducive to creating free-scapes, and the worrisome state of our youths mental health. I learned during the interview that Article 31 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to engage in free play, cultural life and the arts.

Knowing this, I'm ready to riot down the streets. Let's make signs and compose chants.

I've read a lot of literature on the benefits of risky outdoor play for children, benefits that actually surpass the risks (a good read, Last Child In The Woods). For example, climbing trees, lifting rocks, pushing tree stumps are all risky activities that have shown to have immense benefits on building skills and confidence. I'm so into this.

I want to make Pique-Pique a risky play area for young artists because I trust that children are full of capacities. Yes, kids can use glue guns, kids can mix paint, kids can use real scissors and kids can play with small parts. As parents/educators, we're there to show, guide, supervise to avoid accidents - we're hands on. This is not SuperFunZone Amusement Park where parents can chill out on the side line, watch their kids play in "safe" plastic structures, while they drink a cup of bad coffee in a styrofoam cup.

I'm seeing that educators are so scared of the risks. This is actually such a healthy reflex, thank you to all the educators that take good care of our children. But I think that many times, we've gone too far, trying to control sterile, and "safe" learning environments for our children. What is dangerous in my opinion, is what we are telling our kids by doing this. We're telling them that we don't trust them, that their creativity is out of control, that it doesn't fit, and that it is not accepted.

In my family, we consider that art happens all the time, and art is many things, but firstly an experience of taking risks and trying new things. Art-making is not exclusive to the studio. Here are pictures of my kids making art. They are mixing together all kinds of recent inspiration, from Primitive Technology, to hieroglyphs, to their love of making cabanes. When I found the "creative mess" I was like "oh my gosh what have you guys done"... but as I spied on them discretely, listening to what they were up to, I'm like these kids are brilliant, and happy.

Coffee is on.

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