I could not have asked for a more thoughtful welcome to the Czech Republic. Disembarking the plane in Prague after my overnight journey, I was greeted by the Královec family bearing an American flag and sweet smelling purple flowers from their garden in Malejovice.
Jiri and Markéta Královec, the founders and directors of the Kliček Foundation, generously sponsored my visit to teach play techniques to hospital workers at several locations in their lovely country. I had the honor of teaching one seminar at Charles University in Prague. Founded in 1348, it is the oldest and largest university in the Czech Republic and Central Europe. I was also welcomed at the Mendelova nursing school in Nový Jičin. My students ranged from a mixed group of working hospital play specialists, nurses, teachers and social workers at the university, to young students at the nursing school (our equivalent of high school students). All of the students were bright and enthusiastic learners.
Work felt like play as we all rolled up our sleeves for some interactive lessons. I demonstrated loose parts work as well as activities to share with angry or withdrawn children, such as making volcanos and oobleck, as well as toilet paper targets. Continue reading