“Play Hour” Heads Under the Big Top to Consider Circus as a Teaching Tool

Expect to learn a skill to amaze your family at the next LIVE Zoom presentation!

“Ta Dah! Circus as a Teaching Tool”
with Jessica Hentoff, Artistic/Executive Director, Circus Harmony
Monday, April 20, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

The best way to educate is to be entertaining and the best way to entertain is to be educational! For many children, sitting still while learning is difficult. Experiential and fun learning has been proven to be more effective. Circus arts works across ages, backgrounds, and school subjects!  You do not have to be an acrobat or a tightrope walker yourself to apply this fun, fantastic, flexible art form!

Circus arts are an amazing activity that can be used to teach physical education, science, math, language, history and more! It is also perfect for teaching character education. Circus helps children learn concepts in a new and fun way that they will remember and apply. This holistic approach to learning not only teaches academic or character concepts, but, at the same time, helps children develop their physical literacy, strength, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. In addition, students can learn how to present themselves in public, an all-around useful life skill! Circus is most obvious to use as an alternative approach to physical education. It is non-competitive and is comprised of several genres so there literally is something for everyone.

Our “Play Hour” presenter is Jessica Hentoff, the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony, a social circus based in St. Louis, Missouri. Circus Harmony is a non-profit social circus organization that uses circus arts to motivate social change. It is both an arts education and a youth development organization. They believe that circus teaches the art of life- while children are learning circus arts, they are also learning life skills like focus, persistence, teamwork.

 

 

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch on May 1, so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


“Play Hour” Continues Conversations of Social Justice and Play, Highlighting How Racism and Poverty Affect Black Children at Play

Join our next LIVE Zoom presentation,“A Community Within: Black Child Play as Response and Protest,” with Ariana Brazier, and Julia Brazier, Friday, April 17, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

This informative and interactive session explores the different ways that play contributes to childhood growth, focusing on the ways that Black children living in poverty play. Participants will learn to  identify and analyze the racialized and classed ways in which play is deprived as Black children age and grow.

Ariana and Julia Brazier will guide participants through dialogue, physical play, and multimedia presentations to analyze the ages and stages of play necessary for holistic child development.  They will lead play breaks in the form of physically active games, so have plenty of room for movement and activity (Note: Participants are encouraged to play to according to their personal abilities).

 

Ariana Brazier is a play-driven community-organizer and educator. She is an English, Critical & Cultural Studies, Doctoral Candidate at the University of Pittsburgh. Ari conducts community-based ethnographic research with Black students and families living in poverty in the southeast United States in order to document how Black child play functions as a grassroots praxis. She is the Founder and CEO of the 501(c)3 nonprofit, ATL Parent Like A Boss, Inc. (Parent LAB). Parent LAB’s mission is to enhance generational literacies through PLAY in underserved African American communities.

Julia Brazier is a mentor for Auburn University Family Child Care Partnerships and has served in this capacity for 9 years. She has 30+ years of experience as an early care/education professional, 2 of which were spent as a family child care provider. Julia has 14 years of experience in administrative positions serving, training, and mentoring family child care providers. She also served as the director of child care programs at the Bessemer YMCA for 5 years. Julia is the ATL Parent Like A Boss, Inc. (Parent LAB) Board Chairwoman.

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch on May 1, so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Take Your Classroom Outside! Teachable Moments on a Playful Walkabout with Jed and Julie

“The Playful Classroom: Teachable Moments on a Playful Walkabout,” with Julie P. Jones, PhD, Associate Professor of Education, Converse College and Jed Dearybury, Director of Creativity at www.mrdearybury.com

Learning must be meaningful. Learning must be relevant. Learning must be fun. We believe play is the key to making magic happen regardless of the setting, regardless of the student, regardless of the content. Play constantly teaches us life skills, so why not bring that same experience into every area of learning?!

In this session (now given through Zoom rather than in-person), Jed and Julie will take you on a playful walkabout outside to show how you can find unstructured playful LEARNING experiences all around us that can be used in your own classroom.  The will also give an overview of their work, “The Playful Classroom: The Power of Play for ALL Ages.”

Jed Dearybury began his education career in 2001. During his 13-year early childhood classroom tenure, Jed received numerous awards. He was featured in GQ Magazine as Male Leader of the Year, met President Obama as the SC winner of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and was named as a top 5 finalist for South Carolina Teacher of the Year because of his passion, love, and success in education. Since 2015, he has become an educational leader by providing quality, hands-on, engaging learning experiences for students and teachers across the country. Jed is also a Play Ambassador for the US Play Coalition.

Julie Jones, PhD, is Associate Professor of Education and the Director for Student Teaching in Converse College’s School of Education and Graduate Studies. She maintains an active research agenda with interests including instructional technology and pedagogy, always with a mix of creativity and play. She is a Google Certified Educator, providing regular training for K12 educators on technology integration, and she serves as the Executive Editor for the Teacher Education Journal of South Carolina, a South Carolina Association of Teacher Educators (SCATE) publication.  Julie is also a Play Ambassador for the US Play Coalition.

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch (May 1), so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Co-Founders of Global School Play Day to Lead Upcoming “Play Hour”

Join our next LIVE Zoom presentation,“Bringing Play to the World of Education,” with Scott Bedley and Eric Saibel, Co-Founders of Global School Play Day, Friday, April 10, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

Play is often seen as a “reward” or as a break from real learning. Research on child development paints a different picture: play is a fundamental, biologically hard-wired part of our species – so how can we integrate unstructured play into the contexts of school and society-at-large?

In the fall of 2014, a small, dedicated group of educators took inspiration from Dr. Peter Gray’s TED Talk “The Decline of Play.” In his talk, Dr. Gray discusses how play is essential to the healthy development of all children – yet in the last 40-50 years our society has seen a steep decline in free, unstructured play for children, with serious social, emotional, educational and physical consequences.

Scott Bedley and Eric Saibel, along with Tim Bedley, launched Global School Play Day (GSPD) in ad-hoc fashion and in February, 2015, 65,000 students participated on six continents. In February 2020, the number of participants grew to over 530,000 in 75 nations. Despite this incredible growth, they believe we are still not at our “tipping point” of asserting the role of play in the context of school.

Join Scott Bedley and Eric Saibel for a glimpse into the history of GSPD and engage in myth-busting around play as a central tenet to dynamic, rigorous learning for all children – not to mention adults too!!

Scott Bedley is a 5th Grade teacher from Orange County, CA. He is an Orange County Teacher of the Year (TOY) and California TOY Finalist.

Eric Saibel is a middle school principal from Marin County, California. He is also an EdWeek and Edutopia contributor and proponent of standards-based grading.

 

 

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch (May 1), so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Hands-On Panel “Play Hour” – Playing through Metaphor and Storytelling

Join a hands-on LIVE Zoom presentation,“Playing through Metaphor and Storytelling,” with Megan Oteri, founder and CEO of Brick Scholars, Monday, April 6, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

In this hands-on, minds-on playful learning STEAM workshop, participants will experience the power of using metaphors and storytelling. Participants will create models of playful learning and what it means to them, tell the story of the model they created, and connect and discuss connections between other models in the group.

Join us to gain new insights into your own understanding of playful learning as you engage in a meaningful meeting with other attendees and listen to each other’s insights about playful learning and the value it holds using metaphors and storytelling as a vehicle for discussion.

Megan Oteri is the founder and CEO of Brick Scholars, a mobile STEAM lab offering programs for people of all ages to create and learn. As an advocate for playful learning, she believes people learn best through play and when they are in a state of flow and optimally challenged in meaningful and purposeful work. She is passionate about education and stays astride of the shifting paradigms of what makes children, teens and adults engaged learners. She believes this can be accomplished through Best Practices teaching and learning methods founded on research-based and brain-based educational theory, including Constructionism educational theory. Oteri is a certified LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® workshop facilitator and works with businesses, schools, and organizations nationally and internationally.

 

 

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch (May 1), so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


“Play Hour” LIVE Zoom Sessions for 2020 Online Play Conference

Exclusive for our registered 2020 ONLINE Play Conference attendees…

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT

“Play Hour” is part of the live content  delivered via Zoom for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.  Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.

All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch on Friday, May 1, so don’t fret if you miss any!

Checkout our lineup for April 2020:

Friday, April 3, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Do They Even Know About Play?: Ways to Help Young Adults Reconnect with Play”
Heather Von Bank, PhD, Associate Professor, Child Development Family Studies, Minnesota State University Mankato
Pam Davis, Director of Campus Activities & Events, Clemson University
Brad Putman, PhD, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies, College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences, Clemson University
Erica Walker, PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Communications, Clemson University

Monday, April 6, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Playing through Metaphor and Storytelling”
Megan Oteri, Founder/CEO, Brick Scholars

Friday, April 10, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Bringing Play to the World of Education”
Scott Bedley and Eric Saibel, Co-Founders, Global School Play Day

WEDNESDAY, April 15, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“The Power of Play for ALL Ages”
Julie P. Jones, PhD, Associate Professor of Education, Converse College
Jed Dearybury, Director of Creativity at www.mrdearybury.com

Friday, April 17, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“A Community Within: Black Child Play as Response and Protest”
Ariana Brazier, PhD Candidate and Julia Brazier, Auburn University Family Child Care Partnerships

Monday, April 20, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Ta Dah! Circus as a Teaching Tool”
Jessica Hentoff, Artistic/Executive Director, Circus Harmony

Friday, April 24, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play: Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook”
Martin LeBlanc, LBC Action and Children & Nature Network
Robyn Paulekas, Meridian Institute
Sarah Bodor, North American Assoc of Environmental Education
Dylan McDowell, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators
Jayni Rasmussen with Outdoor Alliance for Kids (OAK)
James E. King Jr., researcher, environmental activist, and cultural responsiveness facilitator

Monday, April 27, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT
“Magic of Play and Play Workshops”
Yesim Kunter, play expert and futurist

THURSDAY, April 30, 1:00pm EDT/10:00am PDT
“The Relationship between Play and Relationships”
Rusty Keeler, natural playscape designer and author at Earthplay
Claude Stephens, Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky
Megan Dickerson, Director of Exhibitions at San Diego’s The New Children’s Museum

 

Recordings of all “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom sessions will be included in the Online Play Conference content launching May 1.  Register TODAY to join all the live sessions and gain access to the 50+ online conference sessions launching soon!

 

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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Panel on Play in Higher Ed to be First Installment of “Play Hour Live”

A panel of university educators will discuss play in higher education in a LIVE Zoom presentation, “Do They Even Know About Play? Ways to Help Young Adults Reconnect with Play,” Friday, April 3, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (The session will be recorded and included in our official 2020 ONLINE Play Conference content.)

The panel discussion is the first installment of our “Play Hour”  LIVE Zoom sessions, scheduled weekly in April as part of the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference: PLAY FOR ALL. Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.

Our modern day university classrooms look, sound, and feel very different as compared to even 10 or 15 years ago. Professors are taking greater strides to engage students in course content through conversation, project based learning, and critical inquiry.

By creating inventive and playful systems of pedagogies, students can develop a deeper understanding of theories, educational pedagogies, and effective ways to work with others.

The benefits of learning and exploring new content through play let students explore new ideas through playful experiences, develop intrinsic motivation, focus more on process than product and have fun. Playful classrooms and opportunities for spontaneous learning can promote students’ development of creativity and imagination (Lieberman, 1977).

But do young adults even know how to play, or how to define play in a classroom, or if play is even acceptable?

In this panel discussion, five university educators will discuss ways they help their students playfully explore course content in a university classroom. Panelists will address the following areas through the lens of play: arts education, graphic communication, engineering, construction, and recreational activities.

Heather Von Bank, PhD (panel moderator) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Consumer Science in the area of Child Development Family Studies at Minnesota State University Mankato. For the past 11 years, she has taught a class to undergraduate students about the importance of play in the lives and development of children. The students create a play day for the community and in turn learn a lot about themselves and their own play histories.

Pam Davis works in Student Affairs at Clemson as the Director of Campus Activities & Events. They manage several indoor/outdoor venues on campus and coordinate events. Prior to her current position, she worked with the City of Greenville (SC) Parks and Recreation to implement youth and adult fitness, athletic and community programs and events, as well as coordinate the Mobi-Rec vehicle, which takes “play” all over the city, especially to lower-income areas.

Erica Walker, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Graphic Communications at Clemson. Her recent research focuses on working with adjunct professors, in highly specified areas of visual and graphic communications, to translate their work experiences into fast-paced, game-based activities. Prior to that, her dissertation focused on the impact on that a senior design project had on students and instructors as they transitioned from a from lecture-based course to physical, interactive games.

Brad Putman, PhD, is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences and is an Associate Professor of Civil Engineering. He has incorporated a playful mindset into his courses, including Pavement Design and Construction where he challenges students to address real problems that engineers face using “loose parts” to create a prototype of their solution.

 

 

“Play Hour” is a series of LIVE Zoom sessions every Monday and Friday in April at 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT as part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.  All “Play Hour” LIVE Zoom presentations will be recorded and included in our online conference launch (May 1), so don’t fret if you miss any!


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Outdoor Industry Asssociation’s Lise Aangeenbrug Kicks Off 2020 ONLINE Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce Lise Aangeenbrug, Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, will kickoff the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL with a LIVE Zoom keynote presentation, “Promoting the Power of Play.”

For the last 30 years, Lise’s career has been in service of protecting land and wildlife habitat, building parks and trails, and connecting communities to the outdoors.  Lise currently serves as the Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, a membership-driven trade organization for the outdoor industry. They are a force for the industry in recreation and trade policy, sustainable business innovation and increasing outdoor participation.

Until a few weeks ago, Lise was the executive director of the OIA’s charitable arm, the Outdoor Foundation (and she continues to serve as its president).  The Foundation is on a mission to get everyone to thrive outside.  Prior to joining the Foundation, she served as the executive vice president for the National Park Foundation and the executive director of the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund.

Upon taking the helm of the Outdoor Foundation in 2018, Lise said that she looked forward to working with her stakeholders “to collectively inspire the next generation to PLAY in and love the outdoors.”  In her new role with the Outdoor Industry Association, her focus broadens to “build thriving businesses, thriving people and a thriving planet.”

“Lise is a leader in the outdoor industry with experience in conservation and connecting people to the outdoors through the Thrive Outside Community Initiative and similar efforts. We are honored that Lise is still able to share her valuable insights with us, after we had to cancel our in-person conference.  Play is a valuable tool people can use to help address anxious times, and a necessary release when isolated at home,” says Stephanie Garst, executive director of the US Play Coalition.

In early March, the US Play Coalition announced they would shift their 2020 Play Conference to an online format in response to the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak. Most of the ONLINE conference will be recorded educational and research sessions originally slated for that in-person conference – more than 50 presentations to date.  “Live” presentations like this one by Lise Aangeenbrug are only available to registered conference attendees.  The presentations will be recorded and included in the ONLINE conference content for those who cannot join in real time.

SPECIAL NOTE: Given that Colorado (Lise’s home state) is now under a stay-at-home order, this presentation will be low tech.  There is no production team or marketing experts creating a flashy video.  This will be Lise and a laptop…and we are grateful she will share her expertise with us.

 

 

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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be our first-ever online Play Conference!


Play Conference Planners Respond to COVID-19 Pandemic by Moving Conference ONLINE

With the rapid pace of the COVID-19 outbreak, the US Play Coalition is officially moving its annual Conference on the Value of Play to an online format.

“We feel it’s the right and responsible thing to do,” says executive director Stephanie Garst.  “The US Play Coalition leadership feels strongly that our conference takes on a new importance at times like these. Play is a valuable tool people can use to help address anxious times, and a necessary release when isolated at home.”

The conference planning team moved quickly to get the conference moved online.  This will be the FIRST EVER ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play.

“We hope you will engage with us virtually, in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!” Garst said.


ONLINE Play Conference Registration includes
:

  • Access to all “live” online presentations by many of our headliners as well as other interactive live opportunities in April. The headliner presentations will also be recorded and included in the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference content.
  • Access to view 50+ recorded educational and research symposium sessions to watch and learn at your own pace from May 1 through June 30, 2020.
  • Invitation to join closed LinkedIn and Facebook groups for 2020 ONLINE Play Conference attendees to connect with PLAY colleagues, share resources and engage around the VALUE of play year-round!

The annual Conference on the Value of Play, now in its eleventh year, brings together leading 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 globe.  “PLAY FOR ALL” will explore play across the lifespan and address universal issues of health, education, access, equity, inclusion, design and more.


The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce the current slate of headliners for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.

Lise Aangeenbrug is Executive Director of the Outdoor Industry Association, a membership-driven trade organization for the outdoor industry.  For the last 30 years, Lise’s career has been in service of protecting land and wildlife habitat, building parks and trails, and connecting communities to the outdoors.

Aangeenbrug will address efforts her organization is spearheading to get kids, families and entire communities PLAYING outside.  Learn more…

 

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., is an educator, scholar, and thought leader. A superintendent of public schools on Long Island, New York, Hynes has also published numerous articles and featured in numerous podcasts on school leadership.  His article on “Play, Recess and Mental Health”  was #1 for 2018 in EDUCATION WEEK.

Hynes’ presentation will be “Creating a School Vision of Play and Wellness: The Importance of a Balanced Approach to Education.”   More details...

 

There are dozens more Research Symposium and Educational Sessions at our 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.  Stay tuned for more details.


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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be our first-ever online Play Conference!


March 24 #WePlayChat – The Growing Need For Equitable Unstructured Play In Schools

Join us on Tuesday, March 24 at 9:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderators Eric Saibel and Scott Bedley from California to discuss the topic, “The growing need for equitable unstructured play in schools.”

New this year, #WePlayChat has a new look at feel. We are changing the flow of these professional learning opportunities to cover the what, how and why during chat. We look forward to the enriching dialogue this will create each month.

About The Moderators

Scott Bedley is a 5th Grade teacher from Orange County, CA. He is an Orange County Teacher of the Year (TOY) and California TOY Finalist. Eric Saibel is a middle school principal from Marin County, California. He is also an EdWeek and Edutopia contributor and proponent of standards-based grading. Along with Tim Bedley, they co-founded Global School Play Day in 2015. The first year saw 65,000 children participate; this past February, over 560,000 children from 75 nations participated. This growth is due to their collaborative leadership in providing a strong voice to the value of play through their collective networks.

Here are the questions Eric an Scott will be covering during the #WePlayChat dialogue as well as some additional context to guide this topic:

Dr. Peter Gray’s research demonstrates the adverse effects of the decline of play in children of this generation. We can combat the epidemic of anxiety and depression in American youth by embracing unstructured play. Benefits include physical and emotional wellness, collaboration, pro-social skill development, conflict resolution, creativity. It is also an equity issue – many communities don’t have adequate open space or play facilities for kids, or are unsafe for children.

Q1. What are specific ways you are helping students/parents incorporate play during this time of social isolation?

Q2. What obstacles are you facing in adopting more play-based strategies in the classroom? At home?

Q3. Why is it so important that we talk about equity when talking about unstructured play in schools?

Q4. What are next steps we can take NOW to promote unstructured play and inspire more schools to participate in the 7th Global School Play Day on 2.3.21?____________________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the wide open field of play. Launched in 2016, it is the longest running monthly play based chat in the world. Our #WePlayChat participants come from 9 countries, spanning 5 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.

Join us and contribute to the global conversation around the value of play!  When the time come for our chat, jump on 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!

Learn more about #WePlayChat online at https://usplaycoalition.org/weplaychat-on-twitter