Portland Free Play is a 501-C3 non-profit organization that seeks to provide opportunities for self-directed free play to children and communities who do not have access, and to educate parents and institutions on the value of free play.
WE ARE PLAYWORKERS!
The work of Portland Free Play has been made possible by the support and guidance of the folks at POP-UP ADVENTURE PLAY who have paved the way for the international resurgence of Adventure Playgrounds! We have also been inspired and empowered by the folks at CHILDREN'S SCRAP STORE (UK), who pioneered the idea of bringing loose parts and Adventure Play philosophy into the schoolyard!
What is PLAYWORK again?
What is PLAYWORK again?
PORTLAND FREE PLAY is...
Leon has spent his career designing and building natural play environments for preschools, childcare centers, and communities around the country as part of Earthplay He has lead trainings, hands-on workshops, and keynote presentations focusing on how to improve outdoor play spaces by inviting nature into the yard. Through the years, Leon has also served as a volunteer board member and president of the Community Built Association, a national non-profit supporting community involvement in public projects, and a member of the Leadership Committee of the International School Grounds Alliance. He is also involved in the American Adventure Play Association as well as the Oregon Natural Play Initiative.
In 2017 Leon helped to found Portland Free Play and currently serves as a volunteer board member. He also continues his playground work through his company Puddletown Playworks LLC.
Katie is a mom and artist based in Portland. Katie has been fascinated with the Adventure Play movement since her own childhood, and is in the process of getting playworker certification. She is part of the group Portland Free Play, hosting pop-up play events.
Katie’s vision for MUDLAND sprang from a desire to meet other parents, hang out, drink coffee or work, while kids could play in the dirt. This mud-play cafe is the natural outcome, a place where kids can play as they wish, and parents can leave the mess for us to clean up! We hope that the area for changing play installations will be a testing ground for new play design.
Steve Davee is an educator, documentation specialist, consultant, and tinkering evangelist with with over 38 years of adventures in teaching and learning with youth and adults of every age. A former Howard Hughes Medical Institute Biochemist, Steve was the Documentation Specialist and a Math and Science Teacher at Opal School (opalschool.org) for eight years, before serving for five years as the Director of Education and Chief Maker Educator for the national non-profit Maker Ed (MakerEd.org). He founded CoLab Tinkering, LLC in 2008 to support greater tinkering, inventing, and playful opportunities through workshops, consulting, and summer camps. Steve serves on the Governing School Board of the CTE Public High School Center for Advanced Learning, and on the Board of Directors for the non-profit Portland Free Play (pdxfreeplay.org). Among various design/ education consulting and teaching jobs, he currently runs pre-K tinkering workshops and helps train teachers for Portland area public preschools in Parkrose and Gladstone for the non-profit Teaching Preschool Partners (teachingpreschoolpartners.org). Steve’s current tinkering and creative outlets include authoring a book on LEGO and design, skateboarding, bike racing, vintage electronics repair, and making music with a wide variety of customized electronic and acoustic gear.
Peggy Watters is a retired recreation therapy professional with 40+ years experience in both institutional and nature-based therapeutic environments for children and adults, primary school movement education instruction, college level teaching and fieldwork supervision, institutional consultation for therapeutic activity programming, volunteer management and nonprofit leadership. Having had the advantage of living in Yosemite National Park for several years of her youth, she had a head start in clamoring rocks, exploring out of bounds and creating play in nature. As camp director at Easter Seals Camp Daddy Allen in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, adventure play was created on a shoestring budget with the added challenges of wheelchairs and braces and the willingness of youth counselors and eager campers. As Instructor for Dominican College and camp director of Dominican Day Camp, a bare field off campus with fallen eucalyptus limbs and one water spigot, fondly dubbed a ‘dirt camp’, the program initiated integrating children with disabilities into the mainstream creating a full range of programs using the simplest of materials. Teaching K-6 public school classes in Movement Education, creating equipment out of found and scrap material was necessary before commercial catalogs were available. Peggy’s husband, also a recreation therapist, designs game equipment based on the concept of cooperation rather than strength or personal coordination. His game’ Fling It’ has been on the market since the mid 1980’s. Steeped in the concepts of New Games and Adventure Play (1970’s) and using found objects for play drew her to the Portland Free Play organization. Currently involved in two non-profit organizations in West Linn, managing a ramshackle garden, walking and swimming and special playtime with a 3-year old grandson.