Playing in Diversity
Everybody is talking about inclusion and integration. But what do these words imply for us as a manufacturer of playground equipment?
The goal of “playing together” has been one of the most important cornerstones of our company’s philosophy since the beginnings of Richter Spielgeräte in the 1970s. Why can't playing be possible for everyone? Why is playing generally thought of as being only for children?
We want to participate everywhere else. In political decision-making processes for example. Why don't we want to participate in something much more fundamental?
Playing prepares children for life. Through play, children learn in a very simple way all the things that we grown-ups later have to laboriously train for in expensive management seminars and team-building events on high rope courses. I’m not just talking about improving the sense of balance, body awareness and confidence in one’s own abilities. I also refer to social and emotional skills. Children who play together, regardless of their age, their skin colour, their physical, mental or spiritual condition or their religion, quite automatically and in a natural way take action together “correctly”. They communicate. They discuss. They solve conflicts. They come to an agreement. They cooperate. They are role models for the younger ones. And all this because they play together. The aim of the game is to have fun, to assume different roles, to put one’s own courage to the test, to let off steam and dive into a fantasy world.
Doesn’t it sound like a wonderful idea that we adults could do that as well? Exactly! Put your smartphone aside, put the worries of everyday life behind you, take a break and play for a few hours or even minutes. Together. Intergenerational. Integrative. Inclusive. Without being shy of others, the otherness of others.
We at Richter have always had a great respect for healthy social interaction. This is put into practice by our team and is also reflected in the design of our playgrounds. Playing connects. Playing should and must be equally possible for everyone. Playing must not be an exclusionary activity. Playing should be fun. And playing should slow us down.
“Playing with diversity” is the subject of the first issue of our magazine. Enjoy reading!
Text: Dr. Chloé Zirnstein