Beyond Treating Symptoms

May 12, 2018

There is an article that has been going around by Sir Ken Robinson about Orchard Gardens Elementary School in Roxbury Massachusetts. It is an important read, and illustrates the importance of implementing systemic changes in our schools; or as Jeff often says, “transforming the learning culture.”

It is a principle the Play Tectonics team views as self evident, and is the reason I was drawn to Jeff’s vision the first time we met. I don’t think we need to spend much time making the case that there is something wrong with our schools. And I certainly don’t want to dismiss the efforts to address some obvious short term solutions. But our schools are “sick,” and we must get beyond just treating the symptoms. We have to figure out a cure.

There is a great deal of science that shows the importance of Play as the essential element in learning. And there are as many forms of Play as there are creatures on our planet. We support all efforts to bring Play into our children’s lives, and are reaching out to Play partners around the globe to achieve a common mission. We offer a communication system for introducing Play that is Powerful, Affordable, and Easy to implement, using everyday classroom resources. It is a system that can be implemented one classroom at a time, or can be used throughout an entire school district.


Play Tectonics is a system that can be used in an after school program, at a summer camp, or in the home. Most importantly, it is a system that is transformative, and literally puts the power of Play, the power of self-directed creativity, into the hands of children and teachers. Our mission empowers children and teachers, and therein lies the cure.


- Arthur Brill, Educator and Artist



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Image source: KQED/iStock Archv


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Rosalie, 6th grade teacher

The students' reaction was unbelievable. This paper puppet named Worried Willie had become real to them. This paper character relaxed my students more than any kind words I could offer.