Deschooling and free play


Free play is precious, it is obvious – but how and why did we, the adults, lose it? And in what way do we know it, when we find it again? A peek into our lives and reflections on the subject.

Is free play the manifestation of the healthy spirit?

“Finally, they are playing”.

Imagine, that´s what I actually thought. My children play every day; with each other, with friends, alone, with the dogs. But there is something special about the play today, something new. Or old.

Something, I have not seen for a while.

Recently, we have been traveling for five weeks and after that, lying sick, while there is an entire story about the kitchen we had to change (water leak) and the thereby following chaos. The children played a lot of board games and read a lot of stories, and I did not see them play as much. So, now they are “finally” playing. It is a relief, in a way, a high vibration – as a mother, I just know how important this is: it is precious. The last two days, they have been playing a permaculture-style game with the small animals and the houses, pieces of cloth and glass marbles, things we found at the beach, creating a whole world with a time machine back to the dinosaurs and an economy build on eggs and veggies.

Normally, I would ask them to join me in the kitchen, doing the chores in the house, and ask them to brush their teeth and their hair.

But now, they are so deep into the play, there is no way I will disturb them.

The importance of play for children has been studied, documented, and agitated throughout the years. I find it peculiar, that we forget the adults, making this (often unnecessary) distinction between children and adults – again. I believe that we all need to play, and the resistance to play most adults experience is part of the schooling.

We were trained to believe, that all of the time has to be spent with a reasonable purpose – this makes us feel important, lovable, mature, and responsible.

Part of deschooling is to regain the ability to play, to let go, and to do whatever feels right. The connection to ourselves and the feeling of what is right, I believe, is lost in schooled life.

At the moment, I personally feel a bit blown away by the bus conversion project we just invested in – but I do know, I am a playing being, and my hunger for traveling and my ideas about building a home in a veteran bus are a way of adult playing. I also know, my deschooling is perfect, the day, I can “just” play.

I want to move on with my projects, I want to do my chores, I want to study – free play seems too …. Goal-less, ineffective. But is it true? For adults? For the children, it is obviously important, and I know deep in my heart that they should not be disturbed. But is the right way for me to move in this direction of free play, or is it more true, that adult play is the time spent on new possibilities, new languages, art, traveling, blogging, knitting, and writing?

I will have to think about that, and I would love to know, what you think.

With love

Cecilie Conrad

Comments from my old website

Barbara Blanchette
I agree with your view on the importance of free play and the beautiful simplicity of creating worlds with bits and bobs being a universal joy for children
Revisiting unschooling - If I had known
Pulse of life - unschooling unfolding


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