Helena Kling – Defender of the Playful

I only met Helena Kling a few years ago, though we’ve been corresponding for what seems to be at least a lifetime. Each time we’ve managed to get together (she’s in Tel Aviv), I’ve been astounded at her energy, her vision, her generosity, her passion for play.

There’s very little about her work on the Internet. That makes a lot of sense, given that Helen is so completely focused on participating in the experience of play. Not just writing about it or teaching it, but living it. Luckily, someone thought to write a Internet-accessible article about her. Which, at last, gave me this opportunity to learn more about her work, and a very good excuse to sing her praises, at last.

The article, written by Mel Bezalel for the Jerusalem Post, must have been a real challenge to put together. Helena is so vibrant, so enthusiastic, has such a wealth of knowledge, and is so completely playful that it’s almost impossible to convey the breadth and depth of her delightful gifts.

The reporter notes: “Kling’s mantra is that ‘play is important for families’ and increasingly, this goes well and beyond childhood.” All the way to grandparenting. The reporter notes: “‘Buy something you like that you’d like to play with” is her recommendation, as parents and grandparents should be a part of the child’s play. This idea of a shared experience motivated Kling’s introduction of English storytelling at the center five years ago for grandparents and their grandchildren.”

Kling is outspoken and unafraid. Especially when it comes to educational games. “If it’s got ‘educational’ on the box,” she says, “don’t buy it…There is so much other stuff you can buy and have fun with, why have a piece of cardboard where a child throws dice and goes round a board and doesn’t get anywhere? Besides…’educational’ games are the first to be ejected from game collections.”

Helena Kling. Defender of the Playful.

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