It is with great sadness that we received the news of the death of Dr. Stuart Lester, a great advocate for play and friend of IPA who passed away suddenly last week. IPA members throughout the world will know Stuart from his writing, teaching and from the many IPA conferences and events where he shared with us his love of play. He had an infectious enthusiasm and sense of fun, which spilled out in everything he did. He also brought new and deep thinking to his study of play, while occasionally baffling us with his more esoteric explorations – always with a twinkle in his eye.
In 2010, Stuart co-authored, with Dr. Wendy Russell, Children’s Right to Play for IPA and the Bernard van Leer Foundation. (http://ipaworld.org/ipa-working-paper-on-childs-right-to-play/) Subtitled An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide, this paper played a significant part in IPA’s goal of a United Nations General Comment on article 31 and in that way made a real difference to the play rights of children around the world. In its final paragraph, Stuart and Wendy wrote of play’s unpredictability, spontaneity and nonsense. It would be nice to think we can uphold these qualities in a difficult world and with every bit of fun and nonsense remember our dear and greatly missed friend Stuart.
IPA Board and Council