With free-agent superstar quarterback Peyton Manning headed to Denver and Tim Tebow to New York, I’m left wondering at the residue that fleeting celebrity leaves behind and how kids at play take in fame and make of it something of their own. And here I turn to my sister-in-law Lynn, who puts the “fanatic” in Broncos fandom. She lives in Boulder and teaches in grade school there, where she’s well-positioned to follow and observe kindergarten kids playing at recess.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences found themselves in a historicizing mood this year as two films (one showily silent and in black in white, the other in lavish 3D) harked back to the early days of French filmmaking. Between them, The Artist and Hugo, walked away with 10 Oscars.
Studying play yields crucial insight into fields such as history, psychology, anthropology, biology, dance, ecology, education, ethology, folklore, leisure and recreation studies, musicology, philosophy, psychiatry, developmental psychology, neuroscience, sociology, mathematics, and the arts. There are others, too. In short, play is important. Yet you’ll find no Department of Play Studies at your local university. In fact, no such department exists anywhere. There should be such a thing, of course.
As an educator, I’m curious about how childhood play and learning experiences shape individuals at the top of their creative fields. Recently I asked Garth Fagan, Tony Award winning choreographer of the Lion King, just that question.
“As a child,” Fagan began, “I loved anything that got me moving.”