Cooperative play consists of games and activities that the participants play together, rather than against one another, just for the fun of it. Through this kind of play, we learn teamwork, trust, and group unity. The emphasis is on total participation, spontaneity, sharing, the joy of play, acceptance of all players, playing our best, changing rules and boundaries to suit the players, and recognizing that every player is important. We don’t compare our differing abilities and past performances, we don’t emphasize winning and losing, or results and standings.
Competitive games have their place, and before joining our centers most of our students had only been exposed to this type of play. Competitive games often result in ignoring or minimizing the contributions of some players in favor of creating stars. In cooperative play, the teams are for the moment, and sides are changed often throughout this type of play. All of the players in a cooperative game really represent one team. This kind of activity conveys an important message: you are okay just the way you are; we accept you. No one is ever singled out as being the best or the worst. The players are more important than the game, and care about each other.