Berlin and Brandenburg have banned the use of the so-called original game in all day care centers in the two countries. The spokesman of the authorities confirmed starPreviously, the RBB had talked about it. This was preceded by a critical report from the ARD magazine "Contrasts" last week, in which the "original play" methods were examined. Unknown people can come to the asylum, pamper themselves and go wild with the little ones. In Hamburg and Berlin, parents subsequently raised allegations of sexual abuse. Prosecutors from both countries found out, but interrupted the proceedings due to lack of evidence as a spokesman star confirmed.
Who and what is behind the concept?
"Original Play" is the American invention of the 76-year-old Fred Donaldson, who sometimes pretends to be a former university professor and implies a psychological background. In fact – according to a research by Plagiatsgutachten.de and Good king News.at – the man once successfully studied geography, but he never worked as a professor and did not enjoy any psychological or comparable education. He is the author of books and publicizes his concept throughout the world.
It is a kind of body contact ritual in which people – mostly small children with adults – play and play together. This should be "original" because the children set the tone. You shouldn't teach them games because they could do it from birth. Donaldson criticizes the adults for allegedly taming the children of the original game by creating contests. His method would be played without pressure just for the sake of playing.
On its website, it sounds like this: "Original Play seeks to improve the relationships between individuals and groups by replacing aggression and violence among people with kindness and love and making every child feel safe and loved."
The method is often described on the portal only indirectly. The alleged benefits that are not covered by scientific research are mentioned. For example, he says that applications "have turned negative behavior patterns deeply rooted in new habits" or "have created a basis for optimal conditions for learning, creativity and personal development". It is not possible to explain exactly how and why these objectives are achieved. Experts criticize the whole concept as unscientific and esoteric.
How is the foundation organized?
The International Foundation for Original Play operates in several countries around the world, including the United States and South Africa. In Europe especially from Poland and an association registered in Austria. The business model works this way: for a course fee of around 250 euros, people can "train" to "apprentices". These in turn go to kindergartens in Germany and organize lessons and cuddles with people who are not familiar with children.
According to information from "Contraste", this has happened for years in German day care centers, particularly in Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden, Regensburg and Munich. Courses were often offered in Protestant day centers. Hamburg and the Bavarian authorities had already clearly positioned themselves against the program before the television program. Now Berlin and Brandenburg moved with obvious prohibitions.
What do experts criticize?
Many experts, who criticize the practice in German kindergartens, expressed their opinion in the ARD "Contrasts" program. "For me, this is an invitation to over-control children," said trauma expert Manuela Huber. The child psychiatrist and director of the Medical University of Salzburg, Karl-Heinz Brisch, states: "This association should be immediately banned because it seeks physical contact in a protected situation in a highly critical and undifferentiated manner, asylum, with children and in a perfect one uncontrolled way ".
Even independent of suspected abuses practice many real experts for child psychology that criticizes the concept of "original game". Therefore, the positive effects advertised on children's psyche are unproven claims of an untrained man in this field. Furthermore, the underlying business model is repeatedly criticized. In "Original Play" there are sect-like structures, hence the charge.
What does the foundation say about the TV program accusations?
In an opinion on the homepage of the association it is said that one knows "of no case of abuse in relation to the original game". In two German institutions the parents had expressed the suspicion that the police had verified him and had not seen any reason for an accusation. "Adults who have been trained in the original game always treat children in full respect and respect for their integrity and their boundaries," he continues. According to reports, there was "a lot of hatred and aggression against us". The documentary also featured the inventor Donaldson. The American vehemently denied, on request, that his method would make pedophiles approach children more easily. After all, according to the age of 76, parents raised risks for that too.
What happened to the allegations of sexual abuse?
In Hamburg and Berlin, parents had raised allegations of sexual abuse against the organizers after peak hours in their children's day centers. All proceedings were closed because the suspicion did not increase. The case in Hamburg concerned the declaration of a three-year-old girl, from which – so the prosecutor's office star – ultimately "did not raise any suspicion" because the information was not concrete enough. It was similar to Berlin. The parents of some of the children speak anonymously in the post "Contrasts" of how their children told them of unequivocal attacks. It is said that a girl abruptly told her parents that during these hours of play "a man put his penis in his ass".
Why is "Original Play" now banned in several countries?
The letter of the Berlin school authority to all day care centers in the country prohibits the application of child protection laws. Otherwise it cannot be excluded that it would lead to "border crossings or border violations, as well as to endanger the well-being of the child". It also states that all persons working with children in institutions should present an extended certificate of good conduct. According to the ARD research, this was not the case repeatedly in the courses in Hamburg, Berlin and elsewhere.
sources: Department of the Berlin Senate for Education, Youth and the Family / Ministry of Education of the Brandenburg / Public Prosecutor's Office of Hamburg / Public Prosecutor's Office of Berlin / www.originalplay.de / ARD-Magazin "Kontraste "/ Plagiatsgutachten.de / Good king News.at