The Importance of Play Past Childhood: Engaging in Civic Spaces

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Taylor Middleton


As I stepped into my leadership studies class for the first time, I was immediately presented with two large circles of chairs. I chose a seat, and we all settled into the two groups. Our instructor began by posing a question: “When was a time you observed or participated in an experience that helped to make progress on an issue or problem facing the community?” We each took turns sharing our experiences. After every student had a chance to speak, we analyzed what patterns or themes surfaced in the stories we shared, which included those of encouragement, helping others, safety, and establishing a sense of belonging. Then we were asked: “If you had to physically represent what we have talked about today, how would you do that?” Blank stares ensued. It was the last thing any of us had expected to hear. Initially, I could not comprehend what I was being asked to do, though it was a clear request. Our professor repeated the prompt as eleven college students tried to figure out how to enact what we discussed.

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Middleton, T. (2016). The Importance of Play Past Childhood: Engaging in Civic Spaces. Undergraduate Journal of Service Learning & Community-Based Research, 5, 1–5.
Reflective Essays