Created by educarer and artist Dr. Diana Suskind, Stonework Play is a form of creative learning. It engages the senses and animates imagination across ages and backgrounds, allowing each person to tell a story. The weight, form, and texture of each stone suggest artistic choices that result in original work.
Richard Louv says “Every child needs nature. Not just the ones with parents who appreciate nature...every child.” He warns of the negative impact of a “nature-deprived society.” Stonework Play responds to the idea of nature's power to enrich the imagination. Stonework Play helps the artist, no matter how young, to explore and express emotions, thoughts and feelings through stone arrangements and the stories they elicit. Stones are a kinesthetic medium, never fixed in their place or meaning, the ground an endless canvas, and small hands the brushes that move them.
I see a strong and lasting impact on children and adults when they do Stonework Play. Diana Suskind and her amazing Stonework Play have such a powerful and magical reach and impact wherever they go… Every time I do this simple but incredibly powerful work it leaves a deep and positive impact on those I share it with - and on me too.
Tania Moloney, Founder of Nurture In Nature, Australia
Humans have used stones to educate the next generation since before recorded history. Bas-relief and three-dimensional sculptures are examples of early stonework play for children. In Nepal, where the lead author of this research has consulted and taught, children have few playthings that are not created at home. Their education tends to take place in groups through repetitive speaking by their teachers and parents.
Several years ago, Diana Suskind was invited to the HEMS School in Kathmandu, Nepal, to introduce the physical, emotional, and psychological benefits of free play to young children. “At the school, I saw no toys, no games, nothing to stimulate creative play. My goal was to make learning come alive. One day, I gathered the children around me.
I enjoyed the process of extending the Stonework Play into written language and having the time to really select materials.
Claire Helen Warden, Trustee at International Association of Nature Pedagogy.