Objects of Play, Summer Course ’15

| April 26, 2015

Play Flyer

In his seminal 1939 book, Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture, Johan Huizinga places play as the central element in any flourishing society. In an increasingly gamified, but also risk adverse, educational environment and culture, how are we to think the role of play today? This course will take up both the objects and objectives of play, the multiple way in which it takes form. We will engage with philosophies and practices of play through toys, games, classrooms, bodies and play environments.

This course aims to destabilize, or play, with our habitual conceptions of play in education. This theoretical questioning will also be taken up through observations of the pedagogic approach of Anji Play, developed in rural China. Developed over the last sixteen years in Anji, China—isolated even from Urban Chinese educational influences—Anji Play evolved as a unique form of educational play, based on a philosophy of observing “true”, i.e. child developed, play, and incorporating large scale toys and environments. What are we to make of the cross-cultural resonances and differences between Anji Play and Montessori, Reggio, and other play based curriculums? Can we play across and with different forms of play themselves?

In June 2015, an interdisciplinary group of Educators, Architects, Toy Designers, and Policy Makers will meet for the first time in Anji, to observe and collaborate around the future of play in Education. This course is designed to include students in these discussions as a cross-cultural learning experience, in the early moments of this pedagogy’s starting to spread throughout China, and to the West.

The first six sessions will meet at Teachers College. For the second half of the course, students will participate online, observing and discussing Anji Play with this interdisciplinary group as it meets in China.

Objects of Play

Theory & Practice of Toys & Play

from Reggio Emilia, Italy
to Anji, China

A&H 5199 03

May 21–June 1, M–Th 7-9pm
June 8–16, Online
Chris Moffett