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Interview with Playworks' Beth Kimberly

I had the wonderful opportunity to conduct an interview with Beth Kimberly, the social media and blogging manager for Playworks. Playworks is a national non-profit organization that works with schools and communities to provide children with learning, social and physical health opportunities through the power of play.

Q: If you had a statement to make that all children would hear, what would it be? What would your statement be for parents?

A: You are valued. You are loved. Every child needs to know that they matter and their feelings matter. I'm not sure I can pick just one statement for parents! I would want to tell parents to give kids love, attention through conversation and laughter and the freedom to play.

Q: What are the three accomplishments you and Playworks have achieved together that you are most proud of?

A: I am so lucky to be a part of Playworks and work every day to create a place on the playground for kids across the country. I am proud to have worked directly with kids on playgrounds in the San Francisco Bay Area. I still remember Bobbi, Jose, Juan, Daniella and many more kids shining on the playground. I am proud of the hundreds of change makers doing the same thing on their playgrounds -- whether as a Playworks coach, a Playworks-trained educator or a Playworks-inspired parent, educator or even student leader. I am proud to have help establish an online presence as Playworks Social Media Manager over the past four and half years, particularly for developing a robust resource of online games, tips and tools for parents and educators to use on their local playgrounds.

Q: If you had to choose five of the most rewarding benefits of playing outdoors, what would they be?

A: I find play outdoors rewarding on so many levels. For me, I first enjoy the peace of mind gained from being outside breathing fresh air, observing nature. Play outdoors also benefits us through needed physical activity, building physical skills, such as balance and coordinating, connecting with others and developing social skills.

Q: Time for a fun question! If you had to describe your job with a haiku, what would it be?

A: Listening Engage
Make play great for kids, adults
Connecting online

Q: What are three of your favorite learning games for children?

A: This is like picking a favorite kid! I have so many favorite games. One of my favorite recess games is wall ball. I love it when kids start discovering different strategies they can use to add more challenges. A current favorite indoor recess game is Huckle Buckle Beanstalk, in which everyone must find an object hiding in plain sight then discretely call out you've seen it by saying huckle buckle beanstalk while not letting others know where it is. And I love all sorts of board games. One of my favorites is Rush Hour, which is a logic puzzle. I have the original set and three extension packs I enjoy it so much.

Q: If you were to walk into an ideal classroom environment, what would be happening the moment you stepped in?

A: My ideal classroom would have a lot of activity. It would be both indoors and out. Learners would be actively engaged as individuals and in groups of all sizes. Everyone would be sitting, standing and moving in whatever way makes them comfortable -- on the floor, on cushions, on stools, etc. Kids and adults would be equal partners in learning. And we would be able to see the results of learning through creations of all kinds -- gardens, books, inventions, art, structures, blogs, new games, relationships and more. If we trust in our kids, we will create a learning environment where we all would want to go.

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Thanks so much to Beth for providing us with these insightful, uplifting answers and for being such a strong advocate for play. I hope you check out www.playworks.org and follow @Playworks on Twitter. You can also find Beth on Twitter at @eakimberly. All answers provided by Beth Kimberly.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart