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.


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.


Chief Playmaker and Founder of The Life is Good Kids Foundation to Keynote the 2018 Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce that Steve Gross will be the first keynote speaker for the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play, April 8-11, at Clemson University.

Steve Gross is the Founder and Chief Playmaker of the Life is Good Kids Foundation. He is a pioneer in utilizing playful engagement and meaningful relationships to overcome the devastating impact of early childhood trauma.

Steve’s 2018 keynote presentation is titled “Spreading the Power of Optimism through Play.”

Steve is serious about play – and its tremendous benefits for all people. The Life is good Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization that for twenty years has used play to help children overcome life threatening challenges such as poverty, violence and illness. A recognized expert in utilizing, joyful play to promote resiliency in children, he has extended those insights to adults, reconnecting them to the passionate, joyful and playful selves that enable them to be their best in and out of the workplace.

Through research, first-hand lessons learned in his crisis response efforts following Hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake and his uniquely humorous and participatory engagement with audiences, Steve demonstrates how to use playfulness to energize individuals, teams and organizations – especially in challenging, change-filled times – allowing them to reach their full potential.

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The three day event includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

  

Inaugural Researcher and Practitioner Awards Announced at 2017 Play Conference

The U.S. Play Coalition established an awards program recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  This new awards program will honor exceptional individuals each year.  The winners will not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to its namesake – Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  The award recognizes a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

“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.

YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award

The U.S. Play Coalition also teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute to present the first-ever Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

“There are many deserving practitioners across the nation, and our goal is to bring recognition to this field of service,” said Stephen Lance, executive director of the Youth Learning Institute.

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.”


2017 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $47,000 in funding to date.   At the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to a researcher or group of researchers who present empirical research at the play conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

The 2017 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Shan Jiang, PhD, from West Virginia University for her project, “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment.”

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two partners supporting our action grants, IPA-USA and Partners for Parks.  We also had funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

There were three projects that each received a 2017 Action Grant:
– Britt Stetson for Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park, a playground for children of all abilities in in Portland, Ore.

– Debora Wisneski and Miriam Kuhn for “Building a Community of PLAY Through an Interdisciplinary University Collaborative” at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

– Gregory Manley from City of Play in Pittsburgh, Penn., for Ludovia, a weekly class for young professionals and working-class minorities to foster play through physical, emotional and social communication.