At The Lion and The Mouse, we’re passionate not only about our work with children and families, but also about sharing our approach with others. We offer a training program designed specifically for educators, teachers, parents, and anyone else interested in deepening their understanding of the principles our work is based on.
By participating in our training program, you will develop a greater understanding of the principles our programs are built on and will learn how to apply them to your own context, whether at home or at work.

The program is composed of four modules:

  1. Introduction:
Objective: To get to know participants’ backgrounds, to offer an introduction to Playwork, and to prime participants on future session topics. Participants will also use this session to reflect on their childhoods and memories of play to better understand their relationship to play today.

Topics covered: Historical precedents (junk/adventure playground movement); Playwork principles; surface-level introduction to risk, loose parts, and nature play; Brief mention of training certifications they can pursue (Playwork, Forest School).

2. Embracing Risk:

Objective: To inform participants about health and safety concerns, to distinguish between “risks” and “hazards,” and to introduce the practice of risk assessments, both generally-speaking and in the context of dynamic, ever-changing spaces.

Topics covered: Health/safety risks in the city, in nature, and with tools; Distinguishing between hazards and risks; Best practices for supporting risky play

  1. Playing with Loose Parts:
Objective: to familiarize participants with the theories underlying loose parts play, discuss the benefits, and to experience these first-hand via an actual pop-up play session. Participants will also learn more practical aspects, such as how to find loose parts and how to store and organize them, depending on needs.

Topics covered: Loose parts play theory; Discussion of loose parts play programs; Age-appropriate play with loose parts (i.e. best practices for 3-5, 5-10, etc.)

4. Experiencing Urban Nature:

Objective: To discuss responsible and healthy interactions with nature and how Forest School approaches can intersect with Playwork. This session concludes with a discussion about best practices for finding and making nature play spaces in the city.

Topics covered: Forest School Approach; Biodiversity; Healthy and responsible interactions with nature; Finding nature in the city, playground, at school, and at home; Making and using play spaces in the city

Each month we will meet for a four-hour, in-person session where we will delve into one of the four modules. During each session, our playworkers will share brief informed presentations on that month’s topic, facilitate group discussions of the reading list and resources, and animate experiential learning activities.

Much of our own work has developed through reflective practice. As such, we encourage trainees to maintain an ongoing dialogue with our staff and each other throughout their training using an online platform. Participants will be expected to use this platform to share reflections, insight, and relevant experiences with playworkers and each other in between sessions.

We feel it is important  to share our learning and experiences with as many people as possible, regardless of language. Being in Montreal, both French and English are prominent languages in our community. That said, while our playworkers are bilingual and the training session will be offered mostly in French, much of the literature on the topics we’ll be discussing is only available in English. For this reason, having a working knowledge of English is recommended to give you full access to the material we’ll be discussing. If you feel your ability to communicate in one language would limit you, please speak with us so we can offer support for translation and accommodate your language needs.

The sessions will be facilitated by our playworkers Megan Cohoe-Kenney and Gabrielle Doiron.