Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. – Pablo Picasso
Playeum’s goal is to provide opportunities for Singaporean children to engage in free and creative play nurturing the artist within.
A visit to PLAYEUM in Gillman Barracks is a visit to the world of child’s play. To the founder and keepers of Playeum, play is a serious issue. ‘In order to establish a culture of meaningful and impactful play, and with a formal research agenda, Playeum is developing a dedicated creative space for children and families.‘ In an interview with Vanessa Anne, Assistant Manager, Communications & Events of Playeum she stressed that the concept of play as an important, indeed, necessary part of early childhood development and a keystone of the philosophy underlying the space and its staff.
Too often, Ms Vanesa Anne thinks, youngsters are streamed into “make or break” patterns of study, tests, and academic pursuits. Recent studies show that simple playtime is an vital part of socialization and knowledge acquisition. This is Playeum’s raison d’etre. Conscious of the artistic aspects of kids’ playing, Playeum offers an open, sunlit, inviting space for kids to, well, PLAY! The “Dark Room,” magnetic boards, drawing materials, mobiles, provides interactive and colorful invitations to creativity. The “Dark Room,” magnetic boards, drawing materials, mobiles, multi-shaped cushions, and colorful wall hangings invite collaboration and exploration.
The Saturday afternoon when I visited with my 9-month-old son, the place was buzzing with activity – kids having fun amid a kaleidoscope of fun-filled opportunities. OK, maybe Christopher was a wee bit young for the artistic challenges. Nonetheless, his eyes darted around the room especially intrigued by the ‘old kids’ engaged laughter.
Juggling net-cloths, manipulating crystal balls, twirling silver hoops, balancing peacock feathers, the French entertainer for the afternoon, Mickael Bellemene , provided hands-on fun for the youngsters. Eye-catching and simple, his “tricks” were simple enough for kids to try, yet visually appealing. Even Christopher’s eyes were glued to the balls, hoops, and feathers. I can’t wait to return when he can join the more mature gang.
Available online, ‘Children As Creators: An Urgent Need to Re-imagine and Re-define Play in Singapore’ by Sumitra Pasupathy, Jennifer Loh Nee Sian, and Sirene Lim, offers an in-depth look at the learning base supporting Playeum. From the article:
“Founded by Sumitra and Jennifer, Playeum is Singapore’s first charitable centre for creativity and culture to nurture the next generation of creators, innovators and thinkers. Playeum inspires creativity and collaboration in children and families through innovative and playful experiences. Over the past 6 years, Playeum has engaged over 50,000 children and families in over 150 programmes and novel experiences through collaborations with other museums, public institutions and creative practitioners. Playeum has been the recipient of four international awards from the UK based Campaign for Drawing for innovative work on community engagement in The Big Draw, and has been named a Pacesetter by the Lego Foundation through the global ReZImagine Learning Challenge.’
Photos by Playeum