Original Play is a method of emotional education activity based on the innate human need for playful and safe contact with others. Play is a natural mechanism of motor, sensory, cognitive and emotional learning that promotes a sense of belonging and safety in the group.
The idea of Original Play was described by Fred Donaldson and is based on observation of behavior of children and young animals. Within a few decades of “playing” Fred Donaldson observed that the framework of play as safe environment for exploring social interaction and establishing safe relationships is inherent in the societies of many animal species. Also human cubs instinctively learn social skills and communication through play. Every child is born with the instinct to play and the skill to read and send signals encouraging others to play. In the conditions of contemporary life children quite often lose the possibility to “play” freely and invent improvised games according to own rules. Children are often presented with games with given rules, moreover, these are often games promoting rivalry, competition or comparison. Original Play builds on children’s innate ability to play safely and gently and it offers them space for this original game, which is not about winning or confronting, but about physically experienced relationship with others.
What matters to me is the experience of spontaneous, playful and creative communication with each other, whatever the communication channel. Since 2014, I have worked in institutions providing social care to people with mental disabilities and psychical illness, then I worked with children from a socially disadvantaged community. Practice has brought me to the subject of physical and emotional closeness and safety as the cornerstone of each person’s self-esteem. Since 2016 and the discovery of intuitive approach of Original Play, I have been learning the most from Fred Donaldson, who is for me a model of the embodied sense of acceptance, security and immediate enjoyment of belonging to others.I am grateful to share my life and values with my wife Kateřina (www.somatichealing.cz), with whom I also cooperate on our program Healing Game.
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