Physician and Author to give PLAYtalk on “Playful Intelligence”

Anthony T. DeBenedet, MD, will be a PLAYtalk presenter at the  2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

DeBenedet is a practicing physician and behavioral-science enthusiast. His interviews and writings have run in various media outlets, including the New York Times, the Today show, the Washington Post, and TIME Ideas. He is also author of Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World (Santa Monica Press, 2018), a book about the hidden ways that playfulness influences adulthood, and co-authored The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It (Quirk Books, 2011), a parenting book about the importance of parent–child physical play.

DeBenedet’s 2018 PLAYtalk presentation is titled “Playful Intelligence.” Blending counterintuitive observations, anecdotes, and research across a range of disciplines―notably medicine, psychology, sociology, history, neuroscience, and economics—DeBenedet’s PLAYtalk will explore how playfulness impacts everyday life in profound and unexpected ways.

In adulthood, stress has a monopolizing effect on much of what we do. Interestingly, in response to this, the amount of time we spend playing doesn’t change. But the playful part of our personalities does—and often to the detriment of our well-being. Playful Intelligence offers a framework for counteracting this change and keeping the power of living lightly within reach.

 

Thankful for Our Longtime Supporters

As we close out our month of thanksgiving, we want to give thanks for our four platinum sponsors.  Since our founding in 2009, these four have been at our side.  They are truly are leaders in advancing play. Their support comes from their deep belief in our work, our message, and our network.

Please click on their logos to learn more about each.


Research Project on Pediatric Therapy Garden Another Beneficiary of Giving TuesPLAY Funds

Giving TuesPLAY is TODAY! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you will be helping to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

 

Supported by our 2017 Research Seed Grant, Dr. Shan Jiang, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture/Environmental Design at West Virginia University, has led her research team on two research projects related to “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment.”

Jointly supported by Landscape Architecture Foundation 2017 Case Study Investigation Fellowship, Dr. Jiang conducted a diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation study on a pediatric therapy garden at Virtua Voorhees Hospital, New Jersey. Dr. Jiang and her research assistant, Sofija Kaljevic, visited the hospital, evaluated the restorative design features of the garden using site survey tools. Users’ opinions on the garden design as positive distractions were also explored through two focus group discussions onsite. 

 

Another study is a systematic literature review that examines the effect of positive distractions on hospital occupants in pediatric healthcare facilities.  In this review, twenty-five studies were collected for analysis from architectural and medicine databases. Findings highlighted the importance of incorporating positive design elements, such as interactive play devices, multi-sensory installations, and replications of the natural environment. This study has been developed to conference abstracts that are under review by Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture 2018 Conference (CELA2018) and West Virginia University Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.

Dr Jiang will also present an update on her research projects at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to the US Play Coalition TODAY! Time is ticking for #GivingTuesPLAY!

 

 


Grand Opening of Play Lab at UNO supported by Giving TuesPLAY Funds

Giving TuesPLAY is just around the corner! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you help to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

One of the 2017 Action Grants supported a PLAY Day to mark the official grand opening of the Play Lab at University of Nebraska Omaha. The Play Lab is an interactive, hands-on classroom specially designed to prepare aspiring teachers in the theory, science and application of play as an educational technique. Up-and-running as a classroom since August, the space encourages teacher candidates in Early Childhood Education programs to collaborate and explore in a space that reflects a real-world early childhood setting.

Play Lab is the brainchild of Associate Professor of Early Childhood Dr. Debora Wisneski and Peggy Pawloski, a play environment designer and former kindergarten teacher. The non-traditional classroom features beautifully-designed furniture units, a puppet theater, comfy soft seating, and a communal workspace, all designed by Pawloski with the intent to bring “joy and playfulness to the work and school environment.”

The PLAY Day grand opening event brought together College of Education faculty, staff, and teacher candidates; early childhood community partners; preschoolers and parents; and UNO early childhood donors. During the day-long open house, participants enjoyed presentations, free play time, and storybook readings by Bruce Arant, followed by a gratitude ceremony and reception.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to #GivingTuesPLAY on November 28!

Photos Courtesy of the University of Nebraska at Omaha

 

 


Giving TuesPLAY supports programs like Ludovia in Pittsburgh

Giving TuesPLAY is almost here! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you will be helping to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

Greg Manley and his team at City of Play in Pittsburgh were 2017 Action Grant Recipients for their program Ludovia. “Ludovia” is derived from the Latin, meaning “Playful way.”

Funded with support of a US Play Coalition Action Grant, Ludovia is City of Play’s public class for adults that focuses on social fitness.  It is a weekly group class that builds physical social skills and dynamic imagination.  Greg explains, “We start with an assortment of physical warm-ups from martial arts, dance & sports, and then progress into vocal warm-ups and drama exercises. During the second part of class, students practice a wide array of physical communication techniques that improve their social/playful skills.”

“The US Play Coalition’s grant allowed City of Play to invest in its most introspective program to date,” Manley continues.  “Because of the grant, we were able to learn about the nature of our own training and how we turn our own physical perspective of the world into professional practice.”

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to Giving TuesPLAY on November 28!

 


Support Play Trailblazers Like These When You Support Giving TuesPLAY!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. It is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the US Play Coalition will be a part of #GivingTuesday, encouraging YOU to support PLAY by donating to our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement. We call it Giving TuesPLAY! (Get it?!) Big or small, your gift MATTERS!!

One of our 2017 Action Grant winners was Harper’s Playground, the first fully-inclusive, nature-based community playground in Portland, OR.   Harper’s Playground aims to increase awareness about and widespread replication of their inclusive playground model. To further this work, they have an annual “Community Play Day” that brings diverse people, families and community partners together to raise awareness, to elevate conversations and, most importantly, to make more play for more people.

According to Britt Stetson, Development Director for Harper’s Playground, “the 2017 Action Grant Award lead to significantly increased engagement in and impact of this event. In the past, given a small staff, the event was community-organized and informally promoted with no financial resources. This award meant we were able to give a small stipend to volunteer event organizer, allowing her to dedicate considerable time to event planning and promotion. We were also able to fund promotion and day-of activities for participants. The result: our most robust Community Play Day to-date with well-organized and elevated participation from local partner organizations and greater attendance by children and families all across the Portland Metro Area. Because of our 2017 Action Grant Award, significantly more families have experienced the power of inclusive play at Harper’s Playground, turning them into active, year-round playground goers and advocates and ambassadors of our work.”

We are thrilled that our Action Grant was so meaningful for Harper’s Playground!  Our action grants are $1,000 grants to facilitate play in communities. These grants support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. Check out all of the play trailblazers whose projects received Action Grants over the years.

To support great projects like this, please consider a Giving TuesPLAY gift!  Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 28! Your gift matters!  We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


Here is YOUR chance to GIVE the gift of PLAY on Giving TuesPLAY!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. It is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the US Play Coalition will be a part of #GivingTuesday, encouraging YOU to support PLAY by donating to our Action and Research Grants  for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement. We call it Giving TuesPLAY! (Get it?!) Big or small, your gift MATTERS!!

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $47,000 in funding to date.   Check out the projects our grants have supported over the years – https://usplaycoalition.org/action-research-grants

Our 2017 Giving TuesPLAY goal is to fund at least one Research Grant and one Action Grant, for a total of $4,000. We are on our way, thanks to a jump start challenge from our amazing steering committee. Now we challenge you!

YOU can help us provide action and research grants in 2018 with your Giving TuesPLAY gift!  Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 28! Big or small, your gift MATTERS!! We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


Now Accepting Nominations for the 2018 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The US Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its second annual Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  This award is given annually in recognition of a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play. The 2018 award winner will be named at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, SC.

The inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to its namesake – Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  “Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play,” said Stephanie Garst, executive director of the U.S. Play Coalition. “The creation of this award is a fitting tribute.”

Frost is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is known across the world for his more than 30 years of work on early childhood and children’s play environments. Past president of both the Association for Childhood Education International and International Play Association/USA, he is the author or co-author of 18 books and numerous publications and has also served as a consultant for playgrounds worldwide.

Frost was influential in the creation of the U.S. Play Coalition, serving as a steering committee member since the coalition’s beginning in 2009. He served as a keynote speaker that year at the coalition’s first conference – then called the Summit on the Value of Play –and has been an honorary chair for each successive conference.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research.  Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2017. The 2018 winner will be notified in mid-January and recognized at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play at Clemson University, April 8-11, 2018.  The winner will have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

Purpose:
This is to be awarded annually in recognition of an individual’s body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

Evaluation Criteria:
The basis for selection will be the degree to which the nominee has achieved an exceptional research contribution as evidenced by publications, patents, citations, or other criteria deemed important by experts in the field. Outstanding research contributions can take a variety of forms including, but not limited to, theoretical advances, experimental results, development of programs and tools.


2018 Youth Development Practitioner Award Apps Now Open

The US Playli-large-logoy Coalition is pleased to partner with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for their second annual Youth Development Practitioner Award.  The purpose of this award is to recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. The YLI award winner will be named at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play in Clemson, SC.

According to Stephen Lance, Executive Director of Youth Learning Institute, “There are many deserving practitioners across the nation and our goal is to bring recognition to this field of service.”  The inaugural award went to Dan Mathews, chief operating officer at Camp Twin Lakes, a Georgia-based organization that provides camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.  According to his nomination, Dan is “a champion for all youth using play as the center of his outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in furthering development, access, and professionalism of the field of youth-development…He is an excellent standard bearer for the inaugural Youth Development Practitioner Award.”

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Youth Development Practitioner Award.  Deadline for nominations is December 15, 2017. The winner of the 2018 Youth Development Practitioner Award will be notified in mid-January and recognized at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play at Clemson University, April 8-11, 2018.  The winner will have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

2018 Youth Development Practitioner Award Application Process

Purpose:
To recognize outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

Eligibility:
Must have operated a youth development program or service within the United States for at least 10 or more years.

Evaluation Criteria:
Applicants should show evidence of as many of met criteria in their submitted statement.

  • Accomplishments serve as an example for other youth serving programs.
  • Program/service demonstrates best practices and a nurturing culture that supports inclusivity and human resilience.
  • Outreach efforts promote youth development programs and encourage support and participation from the community at-large.
  • Equips young people to lead and serve, through direct work with youth and by training other practitioners.
  • Demonstrates positive impact on lives of young people and leads by example.
  • Demonstrates high level of leadership, professionalism and integrity in the field of youth development.
  • Strengthens the field of youth work by providing quality training opportunities for youth workers to maximize their investment in young people.
  • Focuses on attempts to improve the quality of youth services by providing training standards and improving program function.
  • Shares best practices with other youth practitioners or serves as a liaison in the community to create a network of participation and sharing of ideas/knowledge.
  • Program/service demonstrates exceptional commitment to public service and/or educational leadership.

If you have any questions, please contact Melanie Bargar at 864-787-2893.


Nature Fix Author Florence Williams to Speak October 31

The US Play Coalition is proud to partner with the Clemson University Institute for Parks for a special presentation by author Florence Williams.

2017 George B. Hartzog, Jr. Lecture

“Does Nature Make Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative?”

Tuesday, October 31 @ 2:00pm
Brooks Center, Clemson University

This lecture is free and open to the public.  A book signing reception will follow the lecture.

Florence Williams is a contributing editor at Outside Magazine and a freelance writer for the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, The New York Review of Books, Slate, Mother Jones, High Country News, O-Oprah, W., Bicycling and numerous other publications.

A fellow at the Center for Humans and Nature and a visiting scholar at George Washington University, her work focuses on the environment, health and science.

Williams’ book The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier and More Creative has been described as “an intrepid investigation into nature’s restorative benefits by a prize-winning author.”

For her Hartzog Lecture, Williams will discuss emerging science regarding the benefits of nature to human development and how it is instrumental to our physical and mental well-being. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas and her conclusions are more urgent than ever.

Florence Williams’ lecture is sponsored by the Clemson University Institute for Parks and the US Play Coalition. The Hartzog Lecture Series in Park and Conservation Area Management was developed to feature leading figures in the field of conservation.