As one of the examples in the series of articles on good practices in the field of social inclusion, Slovenian team would like to present the International Festival “Play with me”, which is organized by the Special Education Centre Janez Levec Ljubljana and the Association of Inclusive Culture. The activities include a large number of participating schools, institutions, non-governmental organizations and individuals, as well as all other people who find themselves in connection with an individual event by chance. The crowd is large because the events take place in prestigious and very “frequent” places, such as Kongresni trg in Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom, Tivoli Park and similar avenues.
Connecting through play is also one of the guiding principles of the events of the International Festival “Play with me”, which with their activities promote social integration or inclusion among children, adolescents, adults with special needs and the majority population of all generations. But above all the main aim is active participation amongst children and youngsters with special needs and their peers with typical development, also the events are mainly dedicated to them.
Most people distance themselves from people with special needs and thus preventing them from social interactions. The purpose of the International Festival “Play with me” is to enable active inclusion and social interaction in the central social event.
The central event of the festival is traditionally held at the end of May at the Congress Square in Ljubljana. Its events take place for 4 days and are held on two stages. Janez’s stage is filled with dance, musical and other performances, and Anica’s stage with theatrical and puppet ones. Alongside the stage activities, a number of diverse workshops are also taking place on the spot. Alongside the Festival »Play with me« smaller festivals are taking place in other cities around Slovenia. In 2019, they were held in Radlje ob Dravi, Semič and Krško. In the past, events have been organised, not only in Slovenia, but in Croatia, Serbia, Monte Negro, Italy, Austria, Poland and Norway as well.
We invite you to visit their webpage for more information: http://en.igrajsezmano.eu/
Due to lacking knowledge our society is still full of prejudices and belief that people with special needs are incompetent and different, instead of getting to know their qualities and the similarities that are shared between us and festival is doing exactly that«