Learning from playing children with Tjeko in Uganda

Tjeko is a young social-profit organization that offers sport, play and relaxation to children who have limited free time in Uganda. Tjeko LIVE is a programme where play and creativity are encouraged and is performed in partnership with primary schools, community centres and NGOs. The programme is divided in four 2-hour sessions that are performed within one school year. Those 2-hour sessions take place at schools and community centres for both in-school and out-of-school children and youth. A large number of children can participate in one session, which often happens after official school time has ended on the school playground. 

At the end of 2018, with the help of Nele Blommestein, they conducted a baseline study of their Tjeko LIVE programme by collecting stories from children about their play experiences, using Sprockler. The Tjeko baseline Sprockler report can be found here.

It turns out that that many adults are present during playtime of children, according to the children’s stories, which was quite unexpected. Apparently, adults provide a safe environment for children to play. However, their behaviour is not always encouraging and they can have an indifferent attitude towards play. Large differences in play behaviour between girls and boys were found, as girls play in smaller groups and are more often supervised and boys more often play football outside on playgrounds. Differences between younger and older children were also found: older children are more inclined to do what others do, instead of following their own ideas. This leaves us with the question: what happens to their creativity as they grow older? 

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