Be Present: Mount Vernon Plays to Connect #SXSWedu Session & Creative Mornings Atlanta on #Childhood

How are you being present – being in the present – and playing to connect?

On Tuesday, March 4, thanks to Mary Cantwell, Trey Boden, a number of folks @MVPSchool, and the organizers of SXSWedu, I enjoyed a fabulous opportunity to facilitate a Playground Session at SXSWedu, in the “Hands On” category.

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Our game plan for the session can be found on Scribd and Google Docs. And Mary (@scitechyedu) captured much of the fun, in pictures, with her post “Mount Vernon Plays to Connect @ #SXSWedu.”

By playing, we were not preparing for anything in particular or readying ourselves for the future. We were playing to be present – to be in the present – and to connect with our fellow playmates, or learners. We were playing to connect with our inner child, our beginner’s mind, and our innate storyteller. We were playing to #HaveFun and thread connections among ourselves and others.

We were playing to…play.

Like kids on a playground.

Like we did when we were immersed in our own childhoods.

At the end of January, Shelley Clifford and I attended a Creative Mornings Atlanta. The theme was “Childhood,” and we heard Aretta Baumgartner and Patty Dees speak about puppetry arts as a way of reconnecting with our childhood — being fully present and playing to connect. As Aretta captivated us all, she strung us together in a game that put us in the role of puppets. And our biggest challenge was to BE PRESENT. To let go of our egos and to simply enjoy playing.



During the #SXSWedu Playground session “Mount Vernon Plays to Connect,” we reiterated this point about the power of play — there is great energy and fun in being present and being in the present. Amidst the joy of doing so, we connect to a great many things, and, more importantly, to a great many other people.

When we play, we are like children embracing their childhood — playing to learn, playing to connect, and playing to…play.

Be present. Be in the present. Embrace your childhood. Connect. Go play.

3 thoughts on “Be Present: Mount Vernon Plays to Connect #SXSWedu Session & Creative Mornings Atlanta on #Childhood

  1. Bo,
    What a fun session! You bring up an excellent point in that we don’t allow ourselves to play enough as we feel so driven to move forward. As adults in school (and parents at home), how many times have we said something to the effect of “oh, that would be so fun to do- I wish we had time for that, but we must move on.” Perhaps this is one of the reasons why learners report a loss in their views of creativity as they age through school. How might we utilize play (the original teacher) to propel our learners along their journey? Early Childhood teachers would be all over this and talk about how they do this, and most of them would be right! Perhaps we should seek opportunities for teachers of older students (and just as learners themselves) to spend time with young children in play, observe how they work in any classroom setting (indoor or outdoor) and then begin to make connections to how this might happen in older grades. I think we would certainly open some doors that we should walk through!

    • Angél,

      Thanks for the comment. As usual, you are spot on, and I appreciate your additions and extensions to the thinking. For sure, play is learning. And, powerfully, it is simultaneously present oriented and future preparing BECAUSE it is so focused on being in the present and concentrating on connection – to purpose and to people (as we play).

      I definitely agree that play is a key foundation and a fundamental component to creativity, engagement, flow, persistence, etc.


  2. Pingback: My Learning Journey at #SXSWedu 2014 | it's about learning

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