Monday, 22 July 2013

Time to play

Following my recent trip to Malaysia, and an opportunity to go into deep jungle, it was again time for reflection on the Temiar people.  How much they can contribute to our way of thinking about both children and older people.

The Temiars are child-centred, and children are encouraged to develop their spontaneous play, and dancing and singing.  It was noticeable that the further away from outside contact, the greater the playfulness.  Although all the tribal groups in Malaysia, including the Temiars, have cause to be anxious with the encroachment on their land and the destruction of the rain forest, there was variation.  It was possible to observe greater child focus and attachment in the more remote settings, and greater irritability in the accessible communities.

Older Temiars are respected because they have lived longer!  They hold the stories, and traditional crafts that are demonstrated to the younger generation.  Older people are listened to, and the views are heard and shared.

For the Temiars, both the very young and the very old, carry the wisdom for health and healing.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Community Creativity

I am really inspired by the bursts of creativity I am encountering at the moment.  From the Hip Hop class taking place at Gabriela's dance school in Karpenisi, Greece, to the wonderful murals at the Robert Cole Centre for children with special needs in Comanesti, Romania.  The Hip Hop class integrates children of all ages and stages, some with developmental needs, and parents can join in too.  I heard one boy say that he loved Hip Hop because it wasn't sissy like ballet!

The Robert Cole Centre is truly inspirational and caters for children and teenagers with complex and multiple needs.  They encourage all the arts in their educational and therapeutic programmes.  And this recent mural is just one example of their dedicated work, (and play!).

I have just given a talk on Radio Karpenisi about the importance of creativity and the development of the brain, and it's significance even during pregnancy.  If we had more creativity and the arts in schools and communities, there would be less need for Dramatherapists and Play Therapists.  It gives examples of creative approaches to therapy with many  different populations, and institutions.  You can hear the hour long broadcast on your computer from Sue Jennings Facebook page.

Encourage your playful brain and do something creative today!