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Chris Lawrence "Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn."

O. Fred Donaldson
(American martial arts master)

Chris Lawrence – Director

Qualifications

Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Commerce

My background

My early years were spent up in the bush around Kalamunda and later down on the foreshore of the Swan River and Heirisson Island. Growing up included lots of freedom to roam and play – I’m aware that this kind of childhood is a distant memory for most people today. I know it’s easy to be nostalgic about our own childhood, but the advent of ‘screen time’ has definitely changed the way kids of today spend their leisure time. The other change has been around our attitudes to child safety and protection. I concur with the sentiment of Claire Warden, who said (and I paraphrase):

“As a society we look at physical risk, such as broken bones, cuts, etc but nobody talks about the intellectual risk of boredom from being in environments that are not stimulating or challenging, or the emotional risk to kids who do not push their own personal boundaries, who aren’t developing that inner resilience that comes through pushing some of those elements of physical risk. One of the reasons for this is that physical risk is measurable and observable, so steps can be taken to minimise physical risk, however intellectual and emotional risks are not easily observed or measured.”

The challenge is to get the right balance between protecting kids from harm and providing genuine opportunities to explore, take risks, solve problems and grow.

In terms of professional experience, I have a background in business consultancy with an MBA and extensive experience in project control, management, group facilitation and innovation leadership. I’ve worked overseas for a number of years, including a stint in Moscow, and I take a hands-on approach to facilitate the performance of the Nature Play team to deliver consistent and high quality projects.

Memberships

Play Australia, Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI)