PLAYPARCH. Playground for Community Architets
January 2020. A primary school in the suburb of Palermo. A group of forty children between the ages of ten and eleven from socially disadvantaged families. An intensive six days workshop working with multi sensorial and self building activities together with two sets of modular wooden laths and boards and some remnants of other natural materials.
Every day children were asked to pick up all the working materials from the storage, to carry them to the working site and to put them in order. Their first response was propulsive, being even aggressive within each other. They adopted their daily life usual defensive behaviour. We therefore decided to arrange a well defined working site ensuring mutual safety and encouraging mutual caring behaviours. We limited the available playground area and we introduced new materials and techniques a bit at a time. The working groups have been formed carefully balancing and distributing the children’s different energies. We decided to ritualize certain activities, like the arrangements of the working materials.
We introduced body and sensory activation activities to help children connect with their own capacities, to make them aware of the features and the characteristics of the surroundings. These exercises fostered them to relax, to improve their attention, empathy, creativity and cooperation attitude. The wood elements were first introduced as playable material in body driven activities. They progressively became the main resource to give a material shape to their ideas. We started assembling simple and familiar forms such as domestic animals. We tried subsequently to set up some spots of the school courtyard to host daily activities such as resting, taking shelter and chatting. Finally we assembled some basic geometric frameworks starting from a given set of wood laths. Children combined natural materials picked up from the surroundings together with other raw materials we provided to fine tune their frameworks. They created their own playable landscapes to enjoy in freedom. Day after day they discovered silence, patience, focusing and cooperation.
MULTI SENSORIAL ACTIVITIES, ATB GAMES, SELF BUILDING.
- Children discovered new ways to relax, to improve their attention, empathy, creativity and cooperation attitude.
- Children had all a chance to express themselves, to be an active part in the process, to tell something, to show and share their feelings.
- No one had been excluded because his/her peculiar or limited capacities.
- Children had been given, probably for the first time, a possibility to transform their own spaces starting from their own ideas, feelings and desires. This possibility empowered them.
- The observation that an aggressive or defensive attitude can deeply evolve if people are offered a caring environment, where everyone feels embraced and listened.
- The proposal of a set of tools and ways to experiment independently, not to be educated.
- The discovery that a place transformation can be the opportunity for a personal transformation, for all of the participants: children, teachers and facilitators.
AT A GLANCE
PLACE: Istituto Comprensivo Statale Giuliana Saladino, Palermo (IT)
PEOPLE INVOLVED: Istituto Comprensivo Statale Giuliana Saladino (Host), Farm Cultural Park (Client), Noemi Talluto (Assistant) Davide Lo Bue (Film maker)
DURATION: 6 DAYS
IMPLEMENTATION LEVEL: 4/4