DANCEPL3Y For Life: Tracy Lockwood

This is the second in a series that our Play Ambassador Coordinator Ryan Fahey is doing to highlight people and businesses doing what we love…PLAY!  Since Ryan lives in Canada, many of his features will be on our neighbors to the north, broadening the global reach of our Play Coalition. Recently, Ryan sat down with DANCEPL3Y Educator Tracy Lockwood from Alberta, Canada to discuss what fuels her passion as an Educator and play expert. Here is what Tracy had to say:

 Outdoor Bio Pic1-TL 2015DANCEPL3Y Bio Pic-Tracy

1. Why do you think Play is so important?
Play is vital for so many reasons and it’s not just for children’s sake.  When people play, they use their creativity and at the same time develop their physical, emotional, social and cognitive capabilities. Specifically, play improves learning, communication skills, and allows for self-expression. Most of all, play is fun!
2. You are an educator and play advocate, what made you decide to get in to DANCEPL3Y?
My first DANCEPL3Y experience was extremely memorable.  I remember feeling so happy, energized and full of joy and confidence after just one DANCEPL3Y session.  Afterwards, I just knew that I had to bring this program to schools, athletic teams and recreation centres. In fact, in my first year with the program, I became an Instructor, then a Master Trainer!  I’ve never had any dance training as a kid, but I did play team sports my entire life. As a physical education teacher, exposing my students to a variety of activities is very important for not only a well-rounded program, but to make sure they were learning skills in many areas and dance is one of those important activities.  DANCEPL3Y is truly the best way I have taught dance in my 20+ years being a teacher. 
3. As a DANCEPL3Y Instructor and Master Trainer, what things do you like the most when teaching to others?
In my DANCEPL3Y instruction with kids and teens, I love seeing the change in their attitude from the beginning of class to the end.  I feel like I leave them better than when we started.  They are smiling and sweating and it feels great to have played a part in that.  In DANCEPL3Y, participants feel comfortable and confident in their abilities.  This is true for children, teens and adults.  As a Master Trainer, I have the opportunity to host DANCEPL3Y Kids Instructor Courses.  I find that even when I work with adults, the feelings that come from participating in DANCEPL3Y are the same. The comments are always overwhelmingly positive and that motivates me to continue. 
4. What forms of Play do you include in your day to day life? Why? (ex: creative play, water play, etc..)
I was drawn to and grew up playing every team sport in school.  To this day, I still enjoy “social/team play”.  I love going to fitness classes at my local gym.  In this way, being in a group setting is very motivating and I am able to challenge myself (while secretly competing with others 🙂 ).  Outdoor/nature play is a part of my life.  Hiking in the mountains, for example, is one way I enjoy the outdoors.  Lastly, I am so fortunate to be a DANCEPL3Y Instructor and Trainer where I can practice my play skills (creativity, social and physical play) at the same time that I’m “working”.  
5. If you could change one thing in the world that was Play related, what would you change and why?
Changing one thing is tough 🙂  My first “world changer” would be that I would expose and introduce every child and adult to DANCEPL3Y!  It has added so much to my life and those around me that I want everyone to participate in it.  My other “world changer” would be that every child has equal opportunities to play with access to nature play activities and safe outdoor play structures/experiences that will improve their creativity, socialization and overall physical, emotional, and cognitive development.
Thank you Tracy! You continue to do so much to add value to play in Canada and around the world. Your passion for movement and play in contagious. Keep up the good work!