HOME-GROWN PLAYGROUNDS

As a whanau unit, we are trying to keep a balance with work and family life even more so now that we are in an isolation situation.  I work two part-time roles, my partner is an essential worker, and we have our two children at home. This modern world means we are all still very accessible online so work feels even busier.  It is hard to keep up at times. But we do remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have our health, our whanau and work to do.

We understand that people are in different situations facing different challenges. As a whanau we encourage mindful appreciation of where we are as a community and as a nation. We often reflect on how others may be coping.  It is important to us that we maintain positive engagement with our neighbouring community through a friendly wave, a happy smile, check-in conversations or a bit of banter. We are also staying in touch with our wider whanau through online video chats via messenger.

We understand that people are in different situations facing different challenges. As a whanau we encourage mindful appreciation of where we are as a community and as a nation. We often reflect on how others may be coping.  It is important to us that we maintain positive engagement with our neighbouring community through a friendly wave, a happy smile, check-in conversations or a bit of banter. We are also staying in touch with our wider whanau through online video chats via messenger.

All in all, we are really enjoying this quiet, low-fuss time together. Our children are particularly loving lockdown bubble life.  They miss whanau and mates but enjoy being home-based and have all the simple essentials they need at hand. In my earlier career I was a teacher and value learning and education as a holistic approach not limited to a classroom setting. To ensure they keep a balance we have a rather sporadic routine but it must include some form of outdoor physical activity, a school-based task, and lots of play. In fact play is incorporated in all that we do, it also means we hide the devices when the ‘I’m just checking something’ goes beyond a joke.

We love our family bike rides, we let each child take turns to lead, helping out around the house is enjoyed with music and an array of dance moves, cooking and baking in the kitchen is steered by the kids with alot of playful experimentation. Play should be fun and child-led with limited or no adult involvement.

My Sport Gissy colleagues and national play team have been sharing what we are observing in our communities. It is truly admirable to see how people are using their time and energy to create play in their homes, backyards and local areas. Play really is the life blood of childhood development and the foundation of learning. It is a tool for life and fosters thinking, creativity, emotional, social and physical skills.  Play is about wellbeing, it is about being in the moment – being present. Play can happen anywhere and anytime and right now we have an abundance of these factors which create the perfect playground for life. I think the value of play can be undermined as we can easily get caught up in the mindset that learning and development is limited to the confines of school. I love this quote:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”

George Bernard Shaw. 

Words by Lena Bevan

Photos shared courtesy of Nga Manu e Rehua at GisInt and Sport Gissy whanau.

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