Behind extraordinary ideas, there are extraordinary people. Dumbo Feather is a magazine about these people.
Marcus Veerman is a hands-on inventor. He’s also a passionate educator and a playground builder. He stumbled into building playgrounds while traveling South East Asia, doing not a great deal, and now, over 10 years later, has provided 1 million plus children with a safe place to play. A playground isn’t just a patch of grass with a slide and some monkey bars. A playground is one of the only spaces in a community that is created just for children. In the developing world, in many communities, no such space exists. Children play in interstitial spaces – the in between places like the side of the road or the edge of a rubbish tip.
Marcus believes that a stimulating space to play is a fundamental element to a good education. Longitudinal studies from around the world agree with him, or rather, he agrees with them, doesn’t matter – providing time and space for children to play freely is about the most important thing a parent, school or community can do for its kids. That’s why Marcus and his team at Playground Ideas provide open source guidebooks, resources and support to local playground builders around the world. The Global Play Alliance is a network of community groups, NGOs and other organisations dedicated to providing safe and stimulating playgrounds to the next generation.
Marcus isn’t done. His latest invention is Nüdel Kart; a loose-parts play wagon that offers students a million different ways to play, together or alone, and it’s self-directed and incredibly stimulating. As he says, and I agree, school is a trap that does a disservice to about two thirds of students. Education is in trouble but Marcus is trying to make sure we harness the most powerful learning tool we have, play.