Public Perceptions of Play
Building on the Kindergarten Research Project carried out by a group of CDI faculty between 2006 and 2008 with funding from the Alliance for Childhood, in 2010 the Institute initiated a new study (in collaboration with our partner at Yale University) about public perceptions of play. Specifically, we are investigating what these perceptions are; how they connect to familiar ideas and images (e.g., play as recreation, play as trivial, play as learning); and how messages about the importance of play can be developed and honed based on these public perceptions for maximal policy impact. This research was initiated, along with evaluation-related work we were asked to undertake, at the inaugural event of the “Ultimate Block Party” initiative. This event, which took place in Central Park in October 2010, was itself designed to emphasize the importance of play to parents, policy-makers and the general public. The principal investigators on this project participated in a National Science Foundation debriefing on the Ultimate Block Party initiative immediately after the inaugural event.