August 15, 2021
Seedlings’ kids above the age of five know what it means when I say, “we are going to ‘Stickland!’” The outsider (or in this case parents) might say “huh?” “What is Stickland?”
Recently, parents have been calling or writing to me saying, my kid wanted to take me to Stickland, but we couldn’t find it. Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret, Stickland doesn’t look like much. It’s an open area with, well…. lots of sticks!
As I said to a parent recently; “So funny you are searching for something which is always changing and not recognizable. The secret is that Stickland is a place you can only go with me. It is off trail. We do not encourage people who come into the park to build. Therefore all of Stickland is returned to just sticks when our play is over! So there is a good reason why you couldn’t find it. It is more a place where imaginations soar and kids are kids. “
Ah yes, it makes sense that adults search and search and don’t see this fantastical space. It lives in the minds of the children who’ve inhabited it.
If you think about it, Stickland is transportable. It can even be in your backyard! It is the gifts of childhood which allow it to be the living breathing place in children’s minds, cleverly camouflaged by lots of sticks. Creation, risk, challenges, fun, construction, destruction, physics, problem solving and uninterrupted play are the keys to Stickland, the magical elusive space.