VIDEO: Panel Discusses Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook is a joint effort of the Children and Nature Network, the Meridian Institute, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, Outdoor Alliance for Kids and North American Association of Environmental Education.

As part of the 2020 Online Conference on the Value of Play, representatives of each organization (detailed below) discussed the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook, a tool to empower grassroots and grasstops leaders and educate state legislators on the value of outdoor engagement and play – with an aim to work together to pass legislation to give more youth and families more outdoor opportunities.

Panelists include:

Watch the full video of the panel presentation recorded live on Zoom, April 24, 2020: “Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play: Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook”
Want to see more great online professional development content like this?!
Join the 2020 Online Conference on the Value of Play through December 15.
 

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! Learn more at usplaycoalition.org/playconference2020


“PLAY and Early Childhood” ONLINE Institute Scheduled for October 3

“PLAY and Early Childhood” ONLINE Institute

Saturday, October 3, 2020
from 8:45am-4:45pm (Eastern)
Presented LIVE on Zoom

The US Play Coalition and the Institute for Child Success are thrilled to present the “PLAY and Early Childhood” ONLINE Institute, a unique early childhood professional development program.  The institute includes 6 workshops in one amazing, full-day training aimed at early childhood educators and caregivers.

Chaired and moderated by Dee Stegelin, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Clemson University, the “PLAY and Early Childhood” Institute highlights a variety of topics for the early childhood community (detailed below).

Special note to SOUTH CAROLINA professionals – Successful completion of the LIVE on Zoom workshops will provide up to six (6) hours of SC Endeavors professional development training credits in the Curriculum Category. 
Special note to MARYLAND professionals – Successful completion of the LIVE on Zoom workshops will provide up to six (6) core of knowledge hours in curriculum from the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Early Childhood.

 

Presentations included with this 6-hour institute:

ALL TIMES LISTED ARE EASTERN STANDARD TIME.

8:45am–10:10am (Eastern) –  Welcome and Workshop One
“Voices for Play: Advocating for Active Play”

Amity Buckner, M. Ed., Director, Pickens County Office of First Steps

10:20am–11:20am (Eastern) – Workshop Two
“Integrating Play and STEAM Teaching into Early Childhood Classrooms”

Amanda Bennett, M.Ed., ABD, Lecturer in Child Development, College of Education, Clemson University

11:30am–12:30pm (Eastern) – Workshop Three
“Strategies for Supporting Preschool Children Who Have Experienced Trauma”

Jill C. Shelnut, Ph.D., Lecturer in Early Childhood Education, Clemson University
Jennifer Geddes Hall, Ph.D., LPC, ACS, RPT, Assistant Clinical Professor, College of Education, Clemson University

——————————Lunch Break: 12:30pm to 1:10pm——————————

1:10pm–2:10pm (Eastern)  –  Workshop Four
“Play and the Reggio Emilia Approach”

Dee Stegelin, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, Clemson University & Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success

2:20pm–3:20pm (Eastern) – Workshop Five
“Children Think Better on Their Feet Than in Their Seat”

Mary Mackenzie, M.Ed., United Kingdom, Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success

3:30pm–4:45pm (Eastern)  –  Workshop Six and Wrap Up
“Playing with Vivian Paley’s Storytelling and Storyacting Approach”

Debora Wisneski, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Omaha


Registration Fee for the PLAY and Early Childhood ONLINE Institute

$45.00/person
$200 for groups of 5-10 from the same school or center*
*Please email us to get this rate or inquire about rates for groups larger than 10.

 

REGISTRATION TO ACCESS THE RECORDINGS OF THE PLAY & EARLY CHILDHOOD INSTITUTE WILL BE COMING SOON!


A conversation about “The Relationship between Play and Relationships”

The US Play Coalition and IPA-USA invite you to join us for “The Relationship between Play and Relationships” with Rusty Keeler, Claude Stephens and Megan Dickerson.

Holding space for play in our communities is built upon developing relationships and then continuously working to improve them. That isn’t always straight forward work and it doesn’t always go as planned.

This session will explore how the concept of emergent strategies supports relationship development and what might spring from that. Plan on being part of the conversation.

NOTE: This recorded presentation is included in our 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL content.


Rusty Keeler
Rusty Keeler is a natural playscape designer and author who for nearly 30 years has traveled the world designing outdoor play environments and speaking about the benefits and beauty of saying “yes” to children’s play. Described as a blend of Mister Rogers and Jerry Garcia, Rusty is the author of multiple books on play and playscapes including the upcoming book Adventures in Risky Play: what is your yes? He is the co-founder of the social justice initiative the “Just Play Project” in Ithaca, NY which works to support all children’s right to play. With Rusty’s help the city of Ithaca declared itself America’s first “Free Range Kid” city to support children’s rights and initiate community conversation about children’s play, equity, and mobility.

Megan Dickerson
Megan Dickerson is an exhibition experience developer, playworker and community organizer. Her twenty-year museum career has included work at contemporary art museums, historic sites, and children’s museums. At Boston Children’s Museum for over a decade, Megan oversaw museum-community partnerships. Bringing pop-up museums to public housing, community centers, libraries and parking lots. In her current role as Director of Exhibitions at San Diego’s The New Children’s Museum, Megan collaborates with artists to develop emergent, site-specific artworks for a family audience.

Megan is one of the first Americans to earn a Masters in Play and Playwork, a practice that originated on adventure playgrounds in the United Kingdom and in Scandinavia. Her research work has recently been published in the book Practice-Based Research in Children’s Play, and a new project, Occuplay Museums, seeks to continue the work of her mentor, the late Stuart Lester, in exploring possibilities for playfulness in museum settings.

Claude Stephens
Claude Stephens is the Facilitator of Outreach and Regenerative Design at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky and the director of the Children at Play Network which is an ongoing project of Bernheim focused on working regionally to ensure equitable access to landscapes for play. The CAPN values play as part of healthy child development and as a means to reconnect children with nature in order to foster the next generation of environmental stewards. Claude has more than 34 years of experience working in museums and environmentally focused organizations. His academic background is in evolutionary ecology and biology which continues to frame his approach to how humans might build deeper and healthier relationships with the natural world.

 


This session is part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play, launching on May 1 and featuring more than 50 recorded headliners, educational sessions and research symposium presentations. All “live” headliner presentations leading up to the official launch are open to registered online conference attendees. All live sessions are recorded and included in our online conference content (so don’t fret if you miss any!). There is still time to join some of the live sessions leading up to the online conference launch!

 

 

 

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!


Discover the Magic of Play and Play Workshops with Yesim Kunter

What is the state of Play? Explore the worldwide changes that are shaping the Future of Play and ‘Play Workshops’ that create a lens into the understanding of our playful minds.

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

(Registered 2020 Online Play Conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

According to Yesim Kunter, “As designers, developers, and practitioners, anything we design has a fundamental power, power of creating versions of ourselves and societies. We are the magicians of play! And we should be mindful of using that power!”

So if we are the developers of the Magic of Play, what is the state of play?

In order to predict upcoming dynamics, behaviors, needs and desires of children and adults, designers, developers, practitioners have used the methodology of play.

There are many dynamics that are shaping the Future of Play – from trends that are shaping children’s intellectual, cognitive and physical development to parenting styles that are impacting their risk taking abilities and macro trends that are technologically, socially, politically and environmentally impacting all generations.

In this “Play Hour” session, Yesim Kunter provides secure settings and inspiring materials for the participant to feel comfortable enough to examine variety of possibilities through unknown perspectives and create new connections in order to form new meanings. The experience of these settings are like time capsules.


Yesim Kunter is a recognized play expert and a creative strategist understanding behavior of people to create new experiences and define new opportunities.

As a consultant; develops “playful” experiences for Fortune 500 Companies, Universities, Communities by applying ‘Play Philosophy’ to products, environments, communities, culture creation as well as market research with future scoping; She has facilitated numerous successful ‘PlaytoInnovate® Workshops’ in training organizations with diverse backgrounds from kids to professionals for leveraging Creative Thinking and held talks at prestigious conferences.

Previous to her consultancy she had worked for Toys R Us, Lego and Hasbro as a play futurist.


This session is part of the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play, launching on May 1 and featuring more than 50 recorded educational and research symposium sessions. All “live” headliner presentations leading up to the official launch are open to registered online conference attendees. All live sessions are recorded and included in our online conference content (so don’t fret if you miss any!). There is still time to join some of the live sessions leading up to the online conference launch!

 

 

 

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 Discusses Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play for Next “Play Hour”

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook is a joint effort of the Children and Nature Network, the Meridian Institute, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, Outdoor Alliance for Kids and North American Association of Environmental Education.

Join us Friday, April 24, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT for “Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play: Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook.”

(Registered 2020 Online Play Conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

With representatives of each organization (detailed below), this session will highlight the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook, a tool to empower grassroots and grasstops leaders and educate state legislators on the value of outdoor engagement and play – with an aim to work together to pass legislation to give more youth and families more outdoor opportunities.

Panelists include:

Martin LeBlanc (moderator)
Martin LeBlanc is a strategic planning, public policy, and fundraising specialist with two decades of experience helping organizations expand their impact and Principal at LBC Action a Strategic Advisory Firm. He is co-founder and vice-president emeritus for the board of the Children & Nature Network. Martin is also a member of the US Play Coalition’s steering committee.

Robyn Paulekas, Meridian Institute
Robyn Paulekas is a Senior Mediator and Program Manager in Meridian’s Dillon, CO office. She has led and supported both domestic and international projects on water, conservation, outdoor recreation, agriculture, and climate change—often working at the nexus of more than one of these issues.  Robyn has extensive experience finding and catalyzing collaborative solutions.

Sarah Bodor, North American Association of Environmental Education
NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations, Sarah Bodor comes from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where she worked closely with state education agencies in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to develop and pilot standards-based curricula and provide teacher professional development.  From 2008-2012, Sarah coordinated the national No Child Left Inside grassroots coalition and in 2008, she served as the writer of Maryland’s Children in Nature Plan, which resulted in passage of Maryland’s environmental high school graduation requirement.

Dylan McDowell, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)
Dylan McDowell serves as the Deputy Director for NCEL. Dylan is a science communicator with a passion for environmental issues. He specializes in making complex science accessible for a general audience, and his background includes developing education and outreach programs for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. He is an active science writer and regularly contributes to Oregon Sea Grant publications.

Jayni Rasmussen, Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK)
Jayni is a Senior Campaign Manager for the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) & Youth for the Sierra Club. Previously, she served as NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager, where she designed, implemented and managed the Park Champion initiative, a national grassroots advocacy program training park and recreation professionals and park advocates to invite their members of Congress to see their parks and programs first-hand at site visits and events.

James E. King Jr.
James E. King Jr., MAED is an African American researcher, environmental activist, and cultural responsiveness facilitator based in Seattle, Washington originally from Atlanta, Georgia. He currently works on multiple projects, facilitating the growth of awareness within multicultural environmental education alongside conferences, industries, communities, schools and now the filming industry. He calls it J.E.D.I. Training. Outside of his work you can find James outdoors connecting to nature with family and friends.

 

 

“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” 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!


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