I was lucky enough to grow up in a wonderfully large family. I was one of four children, and my father one of eleven (so I have lots of cousins!). As a child I was often looked after by various family members. I still can remember the games I would play with my Granny, who was the Sand-witch, and all of my cousin Greg’s adventures we would go on in the local parks. My father, a special education teacher, taught me my times tables through song at the ripe age of four and I can still recite them by tune to this day! I was never talked down to because of my age and my thoughts and feelings were always respected. I look back and realize how special my own childhood was because of how my family used play and humor to teach and engage the children in our family. As a childcare professional for the last 10 year, it amazing to be able to engage children of all ages in this same way. Children need this play to learn and grow, and it is an incredible experience to be a part of it.
In college I studied Creative Arts Therapy, which has given me context for a lot experiences that children go through in different developmental stages. My college experience was truly life-changing, to study and see firsthand the transformations and healing that the arts can have on a person or community. After I graduated, I was fortunate to be able to travel to a small village in Colombia with a theatre group and participate with the community in a Theatre of the Oppressed workshop and performance. I specifically worked with the younger children (4-6-year-olds) of the village. It was a fun and hilarious experience as I didn’t speak very good Spanish and they didn’t speak any English—my clearest communication with the kids was through facial expression and physicality. We had an absolute blast playing theatre games and acting out scenes in two different languages. The language obstacle taught me that isn’t so much as what is being said or done, but rather what the intention is behind the activity.