- China’s Anji Play Creator, Cheng Xueqin, from China presented a talk on Pre-School Education on August 15 at Hacker Lab Powered by Sierra College
- Large-scale play materials designed for Anji Play at the Sierra College Child Development Center were built by a Hacker Lab member at the makerspace.
- The college is participating in a pilot project that is a community collaborative partnership
Cheng Xueqin, Director of the Office of Pre-Primary Education, Anji County Department of Education, Zhejiang Province, China presented “Doing/Seeing/Thinking/Making: The Ecology of Anji Play,” on Tuesday, August 15 to educators in the community and the talk was broadcast to thousands in China.
Xueqin described her role leading the development of the Anji Play philosophy and social ecology over the past 16 years, explained Mary Anne Kreshka, Part-time Instructor, Human Development/Early Childhood Education, Sierra College. “This event provided rare insight directly from the founder into the design and development of the practices, materials, environments and technology that define the Anji Play ecology,” said Kreshka.
Kreshka explained that Anji Play is the focus of a unique pilot program at the Sierra College Child Development Center (CDC), administered by a collaborative partnership that includes the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office, Placer Community Action Council-Kidz Kount, Inc., Early Head Start/Head Start, Sierra College, and the California State Preschool Program. “Through the partnership, we are seeking to develop a model for local, interconnected and scalable educational change in close collaboration with Ms. Cheng and her team of Anji educators.”
As a result of Sierra College’s partnership with Hacker Lab, the large-scale play materials were built at the mid-town Sacramento makerspace. “The system was designed in Anji and standardized by Grass Valley native and renowned designer Cas Holman, Faculty Department of Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design,” said Kreshk. “Hacker Lab member, Brannon Harris fabricated the play equipment for Sierra College.”
Philosophically, makerspaces and Anji Play are very compatible so it was an amazing opportunity to build the play equipment for Sierra College in our space.
Eric Ullrich, Co-Founder, Hacker Lab, believes that this is the first collaboration between a makerspace and the Anji Play collaborative system of play. “Philosophically, makerspaces and Anji Play are very compatible so it was an amazing opportunity to build the play equipment for Sierra College in our space,” said Ullrich. “It was an honor to host a world renowned educator whose innovative approach encourages creating and making.”
Brannon Harris spent four weeks collaborating with the design team, developing prototypes and producing the final equipment. “Working on this project, designed to provide a rich learning experience for young children, has actually provided me the richest learning opportunity I have had here at the Hacker Lab,” said Brannon. “It involved risk, reflection and real joy.”
The design of Anji Play practices, materials, environments and technology develops from a primary respect for the child’s interests, thinking, experience and voice, for the connection between the child and the local community and for the complexity, depth and non-linearity of the child’s learning and development. The Anji Play approach is the focus of pilot programs at Sierra College Child Development Center, Sierra College, Grass Valley CA; Madison Public Library, Madison, WI; One City Early Learning Centers, Madison, WI and Contra Costa College, San Pablo, CA to develop a model for local, interconnected and scalable educational change.