“What got you interested in music and play?”
“Was it something you studied in college that led you to this?”
If you “play” for a living, folks are bound to ask questions like this. And they do. No answer would be complete without beginning here:
I began this “work” while in college. But the most influential experience I had during my college years did not occur in a college lecture hall…….or in elementary school classrooms where I carried out my student teaching.
My interest in play – and my advocacy for recognizing all that children learn while playing – began when I was asked, at age 20, to lead weekly music play groups at a program called Lekotek. Lekotek is a support program, of Swedish origin, serving families with children with special needs. The word translates as “play library. ”
Lekotek programs (there are currently 19 of them across the United States) all feature a toy lending library, but I learned early on that the focus of the program was on play, not toys. In fact, the reason why I was asked to lead the music play sessions, according to the Director of Family Services, was to help clarify the mission of the program: play is an activity that is, by nature, inclusive for all children. And while toys are sometimes a great vehicle for play, play has very little to do with toys.
In fact, my instructions were to create music play opportunities. No toys, just family play.
I led weekly music play groups at Lekotek for many years and brought the same model of programming to a number of different therapy and family support programs in the Chicago area. I led weekly family music play sessions, at one site or another, for 20 years.
After graduating from college I worked at the Lekotek program as a staff member leading individual family play sessions. My college studies prepared me to be a classroom teacher, but my experiences with the play groups led me to pursue work where I could, on a daily basis, be involved in play…..in both a joyful and a serious way. Many of the ideas that I will be addressing in my blog - such as the inclusive nature of play and the “language” of play - first inspired me, many years ago, as a staff member at Lekotek.
As I mentioned, there are 19 Lekotek sites across the United States and even more programs with affiliation to the “play library.” You can learn more about Lekotek at