Learning and Playing at the Library during Early Childhood

Summer Blog Series – Libraries & PLAY #1

“Learning and Playing at the Library during Early Childhood”

Since 2000, public librarians across the United States have dramatically increased the number of programs they offer in support of early childhood. The Public Library Association states this new focus on Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR) transforms a pre-conception people may have about library programming: This new approach started not with reading, but with play: “We start with singing, talking, reading, writing and playing and then help [parents] see the connection to later reading.”

A team of researchers led by Susan B. Neuman, Professor of Early Childhood and Literacy Education at New York University, determined that public librarians trained in this ECRR curriculum “are much more likely [than those not trained] to include music and large- and small-motor movement [in their programs]—all contributing to a fun atmosphere that encourages parents and children to play together.”

As ECRR and related training programs, such as Stories, Songs, and Stretches and Mother Goose on the Loose, sweep the country, play has become central to how public librarians support early childhood.

Play spaces at libraries: Indoors and outside

This transformation effects not only public library programs, but also public library spaces. In Nashville, Tennessee, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, public libraries now have kid-sized climbing walls, with Studio Ludo working with the Free Library of Philadelphia to create what they call a “Playbrary: A new vision of the neighborhood library.

Nashville Public Library’s Crawl Wall in the context of its interactive children’s play area.
Image courtesy Nashville Public Library.

 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, public library spaces closed to the public, but public library support for play as a core component of early childhood did not end. In my research, I found public librarians increasingly utilizing outdoor spaces during Summer 2020 to continue supporting play. In “Reimagining public library programming during a pandemic” my colleague Christine D’Arpa and I found that about one quarter of U.S. small and rural public libraries created temporary outdoor play spaces and programs that could be experienced in a socially distant during the pandemic, including things like sidewalk obstacle courses and life-sized Candy Land games.

Based on this research, with public health colleagues from Baylor University and Johns Hopkins University, we presented at the 2020 virtual meeting of the Association for Rural & Small Libraries on how public librarians can and do support Play Streets initiatives, place-based interventions that involve temporarily closing streets to create safe places and free opportunities for physical activity.

The focus of public librarians on fostering outdoor play during the COVID-19 pandemic builds on a long tradition of public librarians as placemaking gurus, as documented and supported since 2000 by the Project for Public Spaces.

Prior to the pandemic, in 2015 Jenn Beideman of Healthi Kids teamed up with Patty Uttaro, the director of the Rochester [NY] Public Library, and the Strong National Museum of Play for a series of projects focused on infusing play into the built environment of this city. These efforts culminated in a Play Walk that connects the library and the museum. The soaring success of this and other library collaborations led Beideman to write for the Brookings Institution on June 10, 2021 that “resident-led advocacy in Rochester, N.Y. is creating a more playful city … [by] partnering with the Rochester Public Library system to pilot playful infrastructure and other play initiatives.”

How can you get involved?

As the above example suggests, public librarians do not do this work by themselves. Instead they are looking for help wherever they can find it! A study in Ontario led by a team of kinesiologists found that public librarians can be successfully trained to lead a Move 2 Learn program focused on play-based physical literacy skills among young children: “The results of this study demonstrated the feasibility of teaching staff without specialized training in physical education to implement Move 2 Learn.

More and more researchers, advocates, and policy makers are coming to the same conclusion: Namely that public librarians are the perfect partners in efforts to increase playful learning during early childhood.

What stands in the way of these partnerships? One factor is the rapid nature of this transformation. Although public librarians have supported playful learning for decades – think of the idea of getting out your wiggles after a storytime program — what is new is that now play is increasingly the central focus of library programs and spaces.

Many in the Play Community who have not been paying attention to this shift may need to start their involvement by educating themselves about the work public librarians now do to support early childhood. The easiest way to get started is to simply go to the website or social media of your local public library.

In preparing this blog post, out of curiosity I went to my local library’s website and clicked on the link for services for Children & Parents. This image was what I found:

Children’s librarian Pete Turner leads a play-based storytime at Greensboro Public Library.
Image courtesy: Greensboro Public Library.

 

Get started by simply seeing how your library describes its services in support of early childhood. You may find play allies you had never considered.

If you’re looking for collaborators look for librarians with titles like children’s librarian, early literacy librarian, or youth services librarian. I went to the About Us page for the Greensboro Public Library and easily found the contact information for Tanika Martin, the library’s Youth Services Coordinator. Find your community’s Tanika, set up a time to chat, and structure the conversation around the following: “Here’s what we’re trying to do. Does that sound similar to your goals? Where can we work together?”

If you’d like to learn more, check out my article on Rules of the road: Partnering with public libraries for collective impact.

In future blog posts, we’ll look at how similar transformations are taking place in public librarianship around library services for teenagers/emerging adults and for older adults. Stay tuned to learn more and to find ways to get involved!


About the Author: Noah Lenstra, PhD, is Director of Let’s Move in Libraries and assistant professor of Library & Information Science at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.  Learn more about Noah at noahlenstra.com and follow him on Twitter at @NoahLenstra

 

This summer we are featuring some great PLAY resources with our 2021 Summer PLAY Blog Series, starring two invited play partners as our content experts.  PLAY is important no matter what season it is…so NO SUMMER LEARNING LOSS here!  In July, Noah Lenstra, Director of Let’s Move in Libraries, will highlight public library play initiatives for several key demographics.  In August, Daniel Hatcher, Director of Community Partnerships for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, will blog on “PLAY for Healthier Communities.”


Health & PLAY Online Institute Available ON DEMAND through Dec 31

The inaugural Health & PLAY Online Institute is a webinar series featuring leading healthcare professionals and researchers from across the country.  Recorded sessions are available ON DEMAND through December 31.

Eligible for up to (6) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
Registration details below.

The institute is a highlight of the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL.  Each panel presentations examine the synergies between play and health through five distinct pillars and a bonus opportunity for our attendees:

  • The Science of Play: What We Know
  • Healthcare Professionals’ Wellbeing: Burnout, Compassion Fatigue and Play
  • The Role of Play in Society
  • Using Play as Bridge Between Technologies
  • Play and the Ecosystem of Health
  • Bonus Session: A Conversation with some of the “stars” of the documentary Playing for Keeps

Speaker details and Registration information is below.


Meet Our Experts

MODERATOR

Michael Suk, MD, is a leading advocate on health and nature, outdoor recreation as a gateway to better health, and play for life champion as our Moderator for the Health and Play Institute. Dr. Suk is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Professor and Chair of the Musculoskeletal Institute at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. In his role as a Steering Committee Member for the US Play Coalition, Dr. Suk helped to create the Health and PLAY Consortium that aims to build momentum in exploring and promoting the VALUE of play as a tool for improving health.   Dr. Suk also serves on numerous Boards including the American Medical Association, Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Associations and SHIFT at the Center for Jackson Hole. Previously he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior and Senior Advisor on Health and Recreation to the National Park Service.

 

The Science of Play: What We Know

Examining the history of play science and its relationship to human interaction, brain development and as a potential medical intervention

Stuart Brown, MD, is Founder of the National Institute for Play.  His background in psychiatry, the evolution of human and animal play, as well as his clinical research into the causes and prevention of violence, have shown him that authentic play is a state of being which can be accessed and used by everyone, and that play is as important to humans as vitamins or sleep.

Jessica M. Black, PhD, is pioneering and directing advancement of cognitive, educational and social neuroscience into social work research, education and training. Dr. Black is an Educational Neuroscientist and an Associate Professor at the Boston College School of Social Work. She is Chair of Children, Youth and Families Concentration and is the Chair of Teaching Excellence.

Jenny Radesky, MD, is a Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician whose research focuses on family digital media use, child social-emotional development, and parent-child interaction.  She uses a combination of observational, qualitative, and passive sensing methods to examine how parents and young children use mobile media throughout daily routines.  She authored the 2016 American Academy of Pediatrics digital media guidelines for young children.

Anthony T. DeBenedet, MD, is a practicing physician (gastroenterology) and wellness officer at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is the author of Playful Intelligence: The Power of Living Lightly in a Serious World and coauthor of The Art of Roughhousing: Good Old-Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It. His interviews and writings have run in various media outlets, including the New York Times, Psychology Today, the Today Show, the Washington Post, and TIME Ideas.

 

Healthcare Professionals’ Wellbeing: Burnout, Compassion Fatigue & Play

Pulling back the curtain on the widely recognized and growing epidemic of healthcare professionals’ “burnout” and compassion fatigue with an eye toward using Play as a tool combat “moral injury.”

Marie Brown, MD, MACP, is a practicing internist, an associate professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush Medical College, the director of practice redesign for the American Medical Association, and the immediate past governor of the American College of Physicians (ACP). Dr. Brown is a frequent guest lecturer at academic, national and international health care conferences. Her areas of expertise include: practice transformation, joy in medicine, adult immunizations, medication adherence and diabetes.

Brooke Buckley, MD, FACS, is Chief Medical Officer at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital. She is a board-certified general surgeon and national expert on physician well-being. Dr. Buckley has dedicated a significant portion of her training and professional life to organized medicine and taking a broader look at medical care delivery, with specific interests in emergency surgical care, health-care delivery to rural communities, and physician wellbeing.

Caroline P. Cárdenas, MSN, MA, RN, CBCN, is a doctoral candidate in psychology researching the effects play has on helping professionals experiencing compassion fatigue. She has served as an oncology and hospice nurse for over 15 years. She is the creator of The Hula Hoop Girl where she guides helping professional through the experiential process of play to evoke joy and restore well-being. Caroline is featured in the documentary film, “PLAYING FOR KEEPS,” where she is highlighted as a high performing healthcare professional, who prioritizes play as essential to a more joyous life.

 

The Role of Play in Society

Exploring the role of play from a population viewpoint and the role of nonprofit advocacy groups.

Erwin Tan, MD, is Director of Thought Leadership – Health at AARP and a board-certified internist and geriatrician. He previously served as the director of Senior Corps at the Corporation for National and Community Service, where he oversaw the RSVP, Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs.

Sarah Griffin, PhD, professor of Public Health Science at Clemson University, has over twenty years of experience in public health with a specific interest in eliminating health disparities. Dr. Griffin serves as Principal Investigator of the Greenville Health System (GHS) School-Based Health Center implementation study for OnTrack Greenville. She is also Co-Principal Investigator for a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obesity prevention initiative with rural health extension

Michael Suk, MD, is a leading advocate on health and nature, outdoor recreation as a gateway to better health, and play for life champion as our Chair and Moderator for the Health and Play Institute. Dr. Suk is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, Professor and Chair of the Musculoskeletal Institute at Geisinger Health System in Pennsylvania. In addition to his role as a Steering Committee Member for the US Play Coalition, Dr. Suk also serves on numerous Boards including the American Medical Association, Joint Commission for the Accreditation of Healthcare Associations and SHIFT at the Center for Jackson Hole. Previously he served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior and Senior Advisor on Health and Recreation to the National Park Service.

 

Using Play as Bridge Between Technologies

Looking at health technology platforms and discussing how aspects of “Play” can be a bridge to consumer engagement and/or better health outcomes.

Amy Babington is Vice President of Client Success & Strategy at Force Therapeutics, a digital health platform dedicated to helping patients recover from musculoskeletal injuries and surgeries. By creating an intuitive user experience to engage a patient population with an average age of 66, the tool helps get patients back to doing the things they love – including play.

Brittne Nelson-Kakulla, PhD, is a Senior Research Advisor- Consumer Insights at AARP, and Research Lead for the cross-enterprise Technology Impact area. In these roles, Brittne engages with clients around issues related to social connections and technology in order to support AARP, the marketplace, and policy and decision-makers in understanding, engaging with, and innovating for the 50+ consumer and their families.

Meaghan Praznik, is Head of Communications & Partnerships for AllTrails, an app that provides over 100,000 hand-curated trail maps with crowdsourced photos and reviews from millions of hikers, mountain bikers and trail runners. Meaghan is a health, wellness and social media expert.  She is also a 13-time IRONMAN finisher and qualifier for the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships.

 

Play and the Ecosystem of Health

Considering the role of play in addressing the social determinants of health and the role of non-profit advocacy groups and health foundations.

Garth Graham, MD, MPH, is cardiologist, researcher and public health expert who recently joined Google as Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health at Google/YouTube and Google Health. He previously served in two US administrations as US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and was Assistant Dean for Health Policy and Chief of Health Services Research in the department of medicine at the University of Florida School of Medicine, President of the Aetna Foundation as well as Vice President & Chief Community Health Officer at CVS Health. He currently serves on several boards, including the National Heart Lung, and Blood Institute Advisory Council; the Institute of Medicine Board on Population Health and the board of the National Quality Forum.

Nancy Katz is Senior Director of Content and Partnerships at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, where she oversees technical assistance services and resources for schools and out-of-school time sites as they work to achieve healthy and supportive environments for students and staff. Nancy oversees a team of subject matter experts in physical education and physical activity, nutrition, tobacco/vaping prevention, school and out-of-school time policy, and food systems and food access. 

Alex Maiersperger is a Health Care Strategic Advisor in SAS’ Health and Life Sciences Industry Solutions team where he advises SAS health care clients on how to best leverage data for better outcomes, lower costs, and improved experiences.  He is also co-founder of the Advancement League, a social movement and membership organization helping healthcare leaders put “Health, Everywhere” through community causes and career development.

 

 

Bonus Session: A Conversation with some of the “stars” of the documentary Playing for Keeps

In 2020, filmmaker Jamie Redford released a documentary about adults and play, shortly before passing away from cancer.  Redford said, “At first glance, a film about the physical, emotional and social benefits of play might seem a little lightweight, but a deep look at the power of play reveals a uniquely effective way to reduce stress, improve health and bolster community connections. As it turns out, adults who engage in enjoyable pastimes, hobbies, and various forms of play are effectively inoculating themselves against the dark side of the modern era.”

Join “film stars” Stuart Brown, Caroline Cárdenas and Peter Gray as they banter and debrief about the documentary – from health implications to access and equity challenges, PLAY is at the heart of many of today’s vital issues.  (NOTE: Screening of the documentary is not part of the recorded session.  Check the film company’s social media and website for options if desired.)

Stuart Brown, MD, is Founder of the National Institute for Play.  His background in psychiatry, the evolution of human and animal play, as well as his clinical research into the causes and prevention of violence, have shown him that authentic play is a state of being which can be accessed and used by everyone, and that play is as important to humans as vitamins or sleep.

Caroline P. Cárdenas, MSN, MA, RN, CBCN, is a doctoral candidate in psychology researching the effects play has on helping professionals experiencing compassion fatigue. She has served as an oncology and hospice nurse for over 15 years. She is the creator of The Hula Hoop Girl where she guides helping professional through the experiential process of play to evoke joy and restore well-being.

Peter Gray, PhD, is a research professor of psychology at Boston College. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called “Freedom to Learn,” for Psychology Today magazine.


Disclosure Statement

  • The planners and presenters for this activity have reported no relevant financial relationships to disclose.
  • No presenters will be discussing off-label uses for products and devices.

AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

  • The Health and PLAY Online Institute has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of MedChi, The Maryland State Medical Society and the US Play Coalition. MedChi is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • MedChi designates this web-based educational activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Registration Information for the Health and PLAY Online Institute

  • The Health and PLAY Online Institute is part of the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL
  • Health & PLAY Institute ONLY — $75/person
    This will give access to the Health & PLAY Institute sessions. CMEs are NOT included with this fee.
  • Health & PLAY Institute ONLY plus CMEs — $200/person
    Includes access to Health & PLAY Institute sessions PLUS up to (6) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits with the successful completion of the related Activity Evaluation Forms.

Thanks to our Leading 2021 Virtual Play Conference Supporters

 

 



 


 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


Children’s Museums Mobilize with transformative programs to ensure that PLAY continues in the Isolation of COVID-19

One year ago, most children and families were thrown into sudden isolation – from the people and places they relied on for connection. Children’s museums were immediately impacted by COVID-related shutdowns but took adversity as an opportunity to ensure access for children and families most in need of the supports that play provides.

Wednesday, June 9, 11:00pm ET/10:00am PT
“Playing through Isolation: Children’s Museums Activating through a Pandemic”

This session features three museum leaders sharing their organization’s transformative programs:

Laura Huerta Migus (moderator) is Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Virginia, the  world’s largest professional society promoting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums and children’s museum professionals. Throughout her career, Laura has been devoted to the growth and education of children, particularly those from underserved and under-resourced communities. Under her leadership, ACM pursues innovative and effective partnerships to leverage the power of children’s museums worldwide.

Dene Mosier, Kansas Children’s Discovery Museum in Topeka – Transformed their Free to Play program that connects incarcerated mothers with their children for play-based visitation to a kit-based program.

 

Kathy Parham, The Children’s Playhouse in Boone, NC – Play Kit project partners with social service agencies and schools to delivery kits to families in very rural environments with low connectivity and in financial distress.

 

Deb Gilpin, Madison Children’s Museum in Madison, WI – Sidewalk Surprises program turned public spaces that families could access while facilities like playgrounds and museums are still closed into multicultural playscapes.

 

Learn the impact and reach of each initiative and their respective wellbeing motivations and outcomes. These exemplars are important innovations to help expand our thinking about the when and where play takes place. As we face future situations, due to climate, politics, or another public health crisis, these organizations now have important lessons to carry with them into the future to ensure children and families have access to play.


This session is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through December 31, 2021.  Registered 2021 Virtual Play Conference attendees will access the session in the Attendee Hub.

This presentation will be recorded and included in our 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference content, so don’t fret if you miss the live session!

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


2021 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research Winner – Robin C. Moore

The U.S. Play Coalition is proud to announce the 2021 recipient of its 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.

Robin C. Moore

Director, Natural Learning Initiative, NC State University

Robin C. Moore is an urban designer and design researcher, specializing in child and family urban environments that support healthy human development, informal play, and non-formal education. He is professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning and director of the Natural Learning Initiative at North Carolina State University.

Moore is author of numerous articles and several books, including Childhood’s Domain, Natural Learning, The Life History of an Environmental Schoolyard, and Plants for Play.  He has been recognized internationally for his contributions to the field of design, especially that of outdoor play facilities for children and families. Most recently, Moore received the Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence, the highest honor bestowed by NC State and the university’s Board of Trustees.

Robin Moore was nominated and ultimately selected for “his relentless efforts to promote design and research as driving forces for enhancing children’s environments by creating diverse opportunities of nature play and learning.”

Upon learning he had won this year’s award, Robin said, “What an incredible, wonderful surprise! Such an honor in Joe’s name and to be joining the company of Olga, Lynn, and Stuart. And the first designer so recognized, to boot—nice icing!”

His many nominations are a testament to Robin as a practitioner, educator, mentor and colleague:

“… his enthusiasm and energy to learn new things and share his knowledge with everyone involved and his passion to work tirelessly every day to transform mundane child environments into engaging and playful places to promote play, learning, health, and wellbeing.”

“… [his] international authority and excellent leadership in research and outreach for naturalizing children’s environments…inspiring ideas about how our common research goals could make the world a better place for children.”

“His innovative concepts have been implemented and embraced by parks and recreation professionals, landscape architects, and educators across the world.”

“What a gift he has been to the industry and countless numbers of children, families and communities that have been positively impacted by his collective body of work and research.”

 


Founded in 2009, the U.S. Play Coalition is an international network of individuals and organizations that promote the value of play throughout life. The coalition is housed in Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department, part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.  Our membership comes from a cross-section of industries and professions – play researchers, educators, park and recreation professionals, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians, parents and more.  Learn more at usplaycoalition.org


May 25 #WePlayChat: How to Get Students Hours of Free Play at School Without Funding, Prep Work, or Effort

Join us on Twitter Tuesday, May 25 at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT for the next instalment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honoured to welcome Kevin Steinhart from the Central Academy of the Arts to discuss the topic, “How to Get Students Hours of Free Play at School Without Funding, Prep Work, or Effort”.

Kevin teaches 4th grade at Central Academy of the Arts in Central, SC. He has his Masters of Arts in Teaching from Anderson University. He founded South Carolina’s first Play Club – an after school club for unstructured free play. Kevin’s classroom is a vibrant place where arts integration, play, and nature-based learning have propelled his students to new heights. His teaching methods have garnered attention from multiple universities who are now studying the results he’s finding, helped him achieve status as a South Carolina state teacher of the year candidate this year, and helped his school gain an international following.

Here are the questions we will be covering during this #WePlayChat:

Q1. Why should educators see free play as crucial?

Q2. How can schools help provide free play for their students?

Q3. What does starting a Play Club involve and what does it look like week to week?

Q4. Who should start a Play Club?

Want to join the global conversation around the value of play!?  When it is time for the chat, login to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #WePlayChat and follow along on the “Latest” tab.  Feel free to like, reply, and retweet. Just be sure to include the hashtag #WePlayChat so your input is part of the feed!
________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the field of play. Launched in 2016, it is the longest-running monthly play-based chat in the world. Our monthly chats constantly land in the top 10% of all Twitter chats happening globally.

Our #WePlayChat participants come from 33 countries, spanning multiple continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers, and experts from across the globe.


Play Therapy Miniseries Presented at the 2021 Virtual Play Conference

A special pair of presentations from Licensed Play Therapists to shed light on the therapeutic power of play.

Play Therapy Miniseries
Thursday, May 20

Registration is required (details below).
*Participants in the LIVE sessions may earn South Carolina LPC Continuing Education credits. (Recordings are not eligible for CE credits.)

Thursday, May 20, 12:00-1:30pm ET/9:00-10:30am PT
Part 1: Using Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) to Heal from Complex Trauma
Jennifer Geddes Hall, PhD, LPC

Exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACES) which are traumatizing can cause serious detrimental effects to children. Therefore, it is imperative that professionals working with children are adequately trained to understand impacts of trauma on behavior and best practices for supporting resiliency. Attendees of this presentation will learn about trauma and its impacts on the brain and behavior of children (Liberman, Van Horn, & Ozer, 2005; Terr, 2013) as well as how to promote resiliency. Play therapy has been proven to be a statistically effective means of treating externalizing and internalizing problems in children across issues and settings (Bratton, et. al, 2005; Ray, 2011). Additionally, applying basic principles of Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT) and the benefits of utilizing CCPT to heal trauma will be reviewed (Green, Crenshaw, & Lolos, 2010; Hall, 2019; Kot, Landreth, & Giordano, 1998; Landreth, 2002). Attendees will be able to learn more about the research, rationale, and theory of play therapy as well as trauma and how play heals. The presentation will consist of didactic and group discussion components. Application of skills to various settings will be discussed.

 

Thursday, May 20, 4:00-5:30pm ET/1:00-2:30pm PT
Part 2: Play and Expressive Therapy Interventions for Enhancing Emotion Regulation
Christa Butler, LPC

The purpose of this training is to learn how to integrate play therapy interventions into the treatment of emotion dysregulation. In treating youth who have experienced trauma, skills for emotion regulation often becomes one of the primary needs of the treatment plan. We will define emotion regulation and the signs or symptoms that present as a result. Attendees will enhance understanding of the different states of arousal and the window of tolerance. This training will help therapists identify play-based interventions for enhancing emotion regulation.  Emotion regulation skills that incorporate play are fun, engaging, provide mind-body movement, sensory stimulation, and creative expression.  This training will review treatment interventions to be used with clients, parents, and family for systemically addressing emotion regulation.

 

NOTE: South Carolina LPC Continuing Education credits provided through SC Board Examiners for Licensure of Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psychoeducational Specialists; Permanent CE Sponsor Approval #22.  These credits are only available to participants in the LIVE session detailed above. The recordings of the sessions are not eligible for LPC CEs.


This Play Therapy Miniseries is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through June 30, 2021.

Registered attendees will access the sessions in the Attendee Hub.  Each presentation will be recorded, so don’t fret if you miss the live session!

Register for the full Virtual Play Conference or choose the Play Therapy Miniseries ONLY option.

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


#BlackGirlMagic Monday Series Available ON DEMAND through Dec 31

Exploring the shared living experiences of Black girls and women through play is vital.  The hashtag #BlackGirlMagic is used to express not only excellence and brilliance of black women but has led young girls and women to inspire one another, activate contextual awareness and grow in power together.

#BlackGirlMagic Mondays

Join host Corliss Outley, PhD, for a series of presentations and conversations that explore the magic of Black Girls play, highlighting spaces where Black girls can experience freedom, autonomy, and joy and validate their experiences in today’s society.

Each presentation was recorded live and is available ON DEMAND through December 31.  Registration is required (details below).

Monday May 3 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Empowerment, Play & Black Girlhood through History”
Corliss Outley, PhD, Professor, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Mgmt
with Anitra Alexander, MS, Clemson University
From backyards to schoolyards to community parks, play has been intertwined with racial and sexual violence against Black girl’s bodies throughout American history. This discussion will provide a glimpse into the lived experiences of Black girls and the significance of play as sources of hope, healing, agency, and justice across US history. This introduction discussion serves as the jump off point for a deeper understanding of the series.

Monday, May 10 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Black Girlhood, Agency & Play in the Outdoors”
Aby Sene-Harper, PhD, Assistant Professor, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Mgmt, Clemson University
The outdoors has historically been viewed as beneficial to both our mental, physical, and spiritual development. At the same time, for many Black girls and women, the outdoors have also been spaces where sexualized and racialized violence was heaped upon their womanhood to enact and enforce a white supremacist social order. Yet, through it all Black girls and women have also reclaimed outdoor spaces to conjure up innovative Black diasporic cultural practices of resistance, survival and self-determination. This presentation will discuss how PLAY in the outdoors for Black girls can be rooted in this long legacy of cultural of resistance and self-determination.

Monday, May 17 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Raising Strong Daughters: The Impact of Daughter-Father Relationships in Play”
Daphne Harris, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Educational Psychology, University of North Texas
Given the vital role of Black fathers in the lives of Black girls, this talk will interrogate the daughter-father relationship in play and how it is used as a mechanism for bonding, socialization, and empowerment. Special attention will be given to Black fathers’ conceptualization of play and shared activities and how they use this time to create space for Black girls to freely explore and make sense of the world around them.

Monday, June 7 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Afro-centric Dance & Intergenerational Play”
Sharon McKenzie, PhD, Asst. Professor, Recreation Therapy & Gerontology, Kean University
Historically in the African Diaspora, dance has played an intricate role in the cultural nuances and expressions of its people. From a cultural lens, general movements, ritualistic movements, and dance performances have been a catalyst for intergenerational exchange particularly between young girls and mature women. We will facilitate a discourse of the multiple realms and vital roles of dance in the lives of young girls and women.

Monday, June 14 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Black Girlhood and Play: Where do we go from here?”
Aishia Brown, PhD, Asst Professor, School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville
Play spaces and activities have been recognized for their significance in combating oppression by serving as spaces for resistance as well as healing for Black girls and women. These issues are not just historical but contemporary and relevant as illustrated in the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic. Representing the last discussion in the series, this workshop concludes with an overview of the role race, gender, and age play in the lived experiences of Black girls within play spaces. It will finalize by presenting strategies in order to better serve this population through the development of new policies and practices that are viewed as vital to the future of the field of play.


#BlackGirlMagic Mondays is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring dozens of recorded headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations – available ON DEMAND through December 31, 2021.

Register for the full Virtual Play Conference or choose the #BlackGirlMagic Mondays ONLY option.

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


April 27 #WePlayChat: Making Space for Play in Community

Join us on Twitter Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT for the next instalment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honoured to welcome Shimira Williams from The Beauty of S.T.E.M to the main stage to discuss the topic, “Making Space for Play in Community”.

Shimira Williams is an authentic change agent that builds digital citizens through play and productivity. She integrates digital media literacy, tools, and learning materials to harness the power of technology, extending learning opportunities, and retooling business operations in early learning environments. ​Her vision for technology seeks to improve people’s ability to communicate and collaborate and to allow people to focus on the human-to-human connection.

Here are the questions we will be covering during this #WePlayChat:

Q1. How can play help children and the grown-up in their life build trust for long-lasting relationships?

Q2. What are ways play helps build a trusting relationship amongst peers (in school and at work)?

Q3. Who do you play with in your own community and why?

Q4. Where and when do you make time for play in your community? 

Want to join the global conversation around the value of play!?  When it is time for the chat, login to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #WePlayChat and follow along on the “Latest” tab.  Feel free to like, reply, and retweet. Just be sure to include the hashtag #WePlayChat so your input is part of the feed!
________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the field of play. Launched in 2016, it is the longest-running monthly play-based chat in the world. Our monthly chats constantly land in the top 10% of all Twitter chats happening globally.

Our #WePlayChat participants come from 33 countries, spanning multiple continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers, and experts from across the globe.


Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education

How does play fit within the higher education mission? And what prevents academia from realizing its benefits?

“Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education”
with Lisa K. Forbes & David Thomas
Friday, April 23
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

While play and elementary education have a long and positive history, post-secondary education has largely remained an ivory tower of serious contemplation and humorless work.

The Professors at Play community represents a movement in post-secondary instruction to encourage the utilization of play in teaching and learning.

This session covers student perceptions and outcomes, faculty approaches and barriers to play, a review of current research and a select inventory of playful approaches at various levels of scale–from single activities through whole course play. This session will sketch out the current landscape of play across higher ed and conclude with possible future directions and a call to action for participants to enact change.


Lisa K. Forbes, PhD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Counseling Program at the University of Colorado Denver. Lisa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is training to become a Play Therapist. Lisa’s research centers around intensive mothering practices, gender conformity, and mental health and…you guessed it, play and fun in teaching and learning!

David Thomas PhD, is the Executive Director of Online Programs at the University of Denver and Assistant Professor Attendant in the Department of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. David’s research centers around fun, fun objects (like buildings!) and the meaning of play.


This session is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through June 30, 2021.  Registered 2021 Virtual Play Conference attendees will access the session in the Attendee Hub.

This presentation will be recorded and included in our 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference content, so don’t fret if you miss the live session!

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


March 29th #WePlayChat: Play and Public Librarianship

Join us on Twitter Monday, March 29 at 7:00pm EST/4:00pm PST for the next instalment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honoured to welcome Dr. Noah Lenstra from Let’s Move in Libraries to the main stage to discuss the topic, “Play and Public Librarianship”.

Dr. Noah Lenstra started Let’s Move in Libraries in 2016 at the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s School of Education, where he is an assistant professor of library and information science, and an affiliated faculty member in the Gerontology program. His research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed publications, and in June 2020, his book Healthy Living at the Library was published by Libraries Unlimited. He served on the American Heart Association’s Voices for Healthy Kids Activating Rural America Advisory Group, and he is an active member of the Public Library Association and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Here are the questions we will be covering during this #WePlayChat:

Q1. What is playful lifelong learning, and how do public libraries support it, including during COVID-19?

Q2. What examples of playful learning have you seen public libraries support? What forms of community play could you see public libraries help support?

Q3. What are the obstacles to taking a more playful approach to public librarianship?

Q4. Do we see public librarians as supports for community play, and how do we change this attitude if not?

Want to join the global conversation around the value of play!?  When it is time for the chat, login to Twitter, and search for the hashtag #WePlayChat and follow along on the “Latest” tab.  Feel free to like, reply, and retweet. Just be sure to include the hashtag #WePlayChat so your input is part of the feed!
________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the field of play. Launched in 2016, it is the longest-running monthly play-based chat in the world.

Our #WePlayChat participants come from 33 countries, spanning multiple continents – all tuning in to connect around PLAY.  This FREE professional learning opportunity is a great way to connect with fellow play enthusiasts, teachers, and experts from across the globe.