Before I walked into 1E to begin my internship with Floricane, and even before I walked the hollowed grounds of Vanderbilt’s Peabody College as a graduatestudent, I walked the colorful halls of a children’s hospital. I was given the privilege and honor of working with patients and volunteers. In my department in the children’s hospital, we lived in a world that played.
Yes, I was paid to play.
We played to build relationships with patients. We played with toy medical equipment to help patients learn about the new things they would see and experience. We played to help kids express themselves. We played to help reduce the stress of the hospital.
And sometimes we played to, well, play.
A catch phrase we often used was “Play is the language of children.”
So imagine my surprise and delight when this familiar language reappeared at Floricane.
In graduate school, we rarely talk about play, and I surely didn’t expect it in my internship. But sure enough, when talking with John about my goals for the summer, he invited me to “play in this space.”
This may have been the first time, but I doubt will be the last time, I hear this language used. I don’t have to look much further than the brightly colored walls, the Legos sitting as desk ornaments, the chalkboard painted flower vases, or sharpies or colored pencils galore to know that this is environment that supports play.
What a great opportunity I’ve been given to learn, explore, take risks, and try new things all in this safe and positive space.
Play may be the language of children, but I think while I explore this new world of Floricane, I’m going to speak that language too.