Background and Development of PLAYSPACE

PLAYSPACE was founded in 1996 to address mental health needs of families with infants and young children.  The groups were developed to provide support for parents and an engaging play experience for infants and young children.

An eight room 2-floor renovated carriage house, connected by a courtyard to Dr. Kurzweil's home was refurnished in accordance with the above vision in the fall of 1995 and the winter of 1996. The first floor contains the waiting rooms, a bathroom and a video area. The second floor contains a library for parents and children, a comfortable sitting area for adults, a 2nd bathroom and a state of the art playspace. This playspace is divided into an infant corner, and several interest areas which correspond to developmental domains. These include the gross motor area in which there is a climbing structure and imaginative and dress-up play areas. There is a sensory motor and cognitive room with a sand table, an area for arts and crafts, small manipulatives, board games, a marker board and a computer with educational software. There is also an outdoor yard with sandbox, swings and climbing structures.



The various play materials and equipment of PLAYSPACE were largely modeled after the child development component of the American Psychological Association traveling exhibit: Psychology: Understanding Ourselves, Understanding Each Other. This exhibit also contained a "PlaySpace" with brief descriptions of cornerstone child development research studies, literature for parents and an interpreter to discuss the panels and the literature. Dr. Kurzweil worked as an interpreter in this exhibit which was enthusiastically received at the Boston Museum of Science in the Spring of 1995. The exhibit was very engaging for the children, due to the variety of appealing and appropriate activities it offered. The "PlaySpace" was also very appealing to caregivers who found that it was a relaxing, informative and supportive place to interact.



Dr. Kurzweil sought out professionals in the community with an interest in the PLAYSPACE vision in the winter of 1995. Their input helped to shape the initial focus and mission of the project. Ms. Mehta joined the program in 1996. Ms. Phillibert joined the staff in 2001. Dr. Nikki Fedele was chief consultant between 1997 and 2002. Dr. Beth Harrington began her consultation role in 2002. In October 2000, the group and individual services became incorprated as a nonprofit organization. In the fall of 2002, the nonprofit was redesignated as the , offering the PLAYSPACE Program, consultations and psychotherapy. (See for details regarding the latter).






Photographs reprinted with permission, not of actual participants, but of individuals who have helped to develop the program.