October #WePlayChat: Growing Empathy Through Nature-Based Play

Join us on Twitter Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT for the next installment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honored to welcome Daniel W. Hatcher to the main stage to discuss the topic, “Growing Empathy Through Nature-Based Play.”

Daniel

Daniel W. Hatcher is the Director of Community Partnerships at the Alliance For A Healthier Generation where he has served since 2008. At Healthier Generation, Daniel oversees out-of-school time partnerships and manages technical assistance services and resources for before and after school and summer programs as they work to achieve national standards for healthy eating and physical activity. Daniel has a BA in International Relations and a Masters of Public Health, both from Western Kentucky University. You can follow Daniel as he speaks across the country on the topic of healthy communities via Twitter @hatchdw.

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

Q1. How is playing in nature supporting your mental and physical health right now?

Q2. Why is it important to help children have playful experiences in nature?

Q3. Who can we work with to ensure all children have access to safe nature-play experiences?

Q4: As the weather changes, what are your favorite indoor nature-based activities?

How can you participate in #WePlayChat?

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.

Learn more about #WePlayChat online by clicking here.


September #WePlayChat: Finding Clarity In Play

Join us on Twitter Wednesday, September 30 at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT for the next installment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honored to welcome Dr. Angela Novak to the main stage for a conversation on “Finding Clarity in Play.” This #WePlayChat will also shed light on equity, giftedness, creativity, and social/emotional learning within the context of play.

Angela Novak, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and AIG Coordinator at East Carolina University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in education, focusing on assessment practices and gifted education. One of Angela’s research interests in play, in particular, the connections of giftedness, creativity, equity, and play. She has worked in public education in the gifted field as a classroom teacher, resource teacher, and central office support, as well as in the private non-profit sector of gifted education. She is an equity advocate and is a member of the Diversity Scholars Network, part of the National Center for Institutional Diversity.

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

Q1. In what ways do creativity or creative thinking and play overlap, either in research or practice?

Q2. When we think of meeting the needs of gifted students, we often think about challenge, rigor, or acceleration; how does play fit into gifted education, currently, and will this look different in the future?

Q3. As teachers and parents, how does equity influence our opinions of play?

Q4. What does your school, district, or state have for constructs like equity, critical thinking, or SEL and how can these connect with play?

 

How can you participate in #WePlayChat?

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.

Learn more about #WePlayChat online by clicking here.


“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!


VIDEO: Schools Re-Opening? Why it Will be More Important Than Ever to Create a Play-Full Recess

As schools reopen, it is important to remember that recess is an essential component of an educational approach that considers the whole child.  A supportive school recess plan can benefit both students and teachers, back from months of interrupted routines, boredom, loneliness, family stress, anxiety and often a lack of physically active and social play.

As part of the 2020 Online Conference on the Value of Play, some of the founding members of the Global Recess Alliance (detailed below) shared practices and policies to ensure that recess provides a setting where inclusive, meaningful safe play occurs.

“Schools Re-Opening? Why It Will Be More Important Than Ever to Create A Play-Full Recess”

Panelists include:

Watch the full video of the panel presentation recorded live on Zoom, June 24, 2020: “Schools Re-Opening? Why it Will be More Important Than Ever to Create a Play-Full Recess”

 

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


August #WePlayChat: Physically Active Learning With Author Michael Kuczala

Join us on Twitter Tuesday, August 25th at 8:00pm ET, 5:00pm PT for the next installment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honored to welcome Thought Leader, Change-maker, and Corwin Publishing Best-Selling Author, Michael Kuczala to the main stage for a conversation around Physically Active Learning. As schools, teachers, students, administrators, and parents all prepare for school in its various forms this fall, we are excited to have Michael take the main stage as an expert in movement and learning through active Play (AKA – The Kinesthetic Classroom).

Mike Kuczala is a thought leader on using physical activity in teaching, training, and learning. He has delivered keynotes, given presentations, and taught graduate courses on 4 continents. His presentations, courses, books, and videos have reached more than 100,000 teachers, trainers, corporate executives, and parents. He is also the co-author of the Corwin Bestseller and Association of Educational Publishers’ Distinguished Achievement Award-nominated, The Kinesthetic Classroom: Teaching and Learning through Movement, a book and philosophy that has changed the view of teaching and learning around the world.

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

Q1. Why is it critical for all students to be physically active during the school day?

Q2. What are the most effective ways to create a physically active classroom? 

Q3. What challenges might present themselves during physically active learning especially during this time of Covid19?

Q4. How do physically active classrooms look different in an elementary and secondary classroom?


How can you participate?
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 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 comes 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 by clicking here.


US Play Coalition Announces 2020 Action & Research Grant Winners

The U.S. Play Coalition is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of its annual grants program, recognizing exceptional researchers, practitioners and play projects.

Play is important for people of all ages to be physically active, mentally alert, creative, and socially connected. Over the past decade, the US Play Coalition has been proud to have awarded $64,000 in action and research grants to a variety of projects. These investments have helped foster the continued growth of both a body of knowledge and community-focused play experiences that benefit thousands of people of all ages and abilities.

2020 Action Grant Winners

Three $1,000 action grants are providing needed funding for projects that are facilitating play in specific communities and across the country.

Simone Chin, Ph.D., and Susan Caruso of Sunflower Creative Arts received the inaugural Joan Almon Legacy Action Grant, sponsored by Alliance for Childhood.  The action grant funds will support their project “No, They’re Not Too Old to Play! Bringing Loose Parts Play to South Florida Middle Schoolers.”  It is a Build & Play program for adolescents (ages 11-14) from South Florida’s economically challenged, underserved or vulnerable African American, Caribbean- American, and Hispanic population. Build & Play invites children to create, invent and build using their imagination and loose parts.

Ariana Brazier, CEO and co-founder of ATL Parent Like a Boss in Atlanta, was awarded a 2020 Action Grant for a Parent Lab PLAY DAY Series that aims to actively engage Black families and families of color, particularly from poor and low-income communities as well as teachers, school administrators and any individuals and/or groups who serve in their focus community.   The Parent LAB PLAY DAY Series engages participants in interactive games designed to connect the active body to brain development, and thus enhance cognitive learning experiences.  They use physically interactive games in and through our PLAY DAY Series to celebrate and promote opportunities for Black cultural expression.

Angela Kyle, Co-Founder/ Executive Director of PlayBuild in New Orleans, was awarded a 2020 Action Grant for her initiative “Super-Powering Play:  Mobilizing PlayBuild’s Volunteer Community Board as Play Ambassadors.”  The PlayBuild Community Board is a grass-roots volunteer network of committed and passionate community residents who manage the day-to-day operations and programmatic activities of the organization.  Established in the summer of 2019 the Community Board is the connective tissue between the organization and the Central City neighborhood where we work.   The Community Board members have no formal training in child development, education, or design disciplines, however, they have shown enthusiasm and willingness to acquire the skills and training that will make them more effective brand ambassadors for PlayBuild’s work.

2020 Research Seed Grant Award Winner

William Massey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Oregon State University, received this year’s $3,000 Research Seed Grant Award for his project, “The recess initiative: A participatory action approach to increasing physical activity and self-regulation through recess in elementary schools.”

Dr. Massey’s line of research focuses on the intersection of play, physical activity, and child development. His current line of research is dedicated to understanding how recess quality impacts healthy development in elementary school-aged children.

Working through the OSU Psychosocial PhysicaL ActivitY (2PLAY) Lab, Massey says the overall purpose of the proposed study is to test the feasibility of a multi-component recess intervention to increase physical activity and self-regulation in elementary school children. In considering conditions in which recess might promote positive child-level outcomes, they are also examining the quality of the recess environment.


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


Award Winning Play Bracelets Return for 2020!

Our 10th anniversary play swag took home the “2019 Best Merchandise” Excellence Award from the South Carolina Festivals and Events Association earlier this year.

The SCFEA Excellence Awards celebrate the best from South Carolina!  Our “PLAY FOR LIFE” cuff bracelet, featured at our 10th Anniversary Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR LIFE, won the 2019 Best Merchandise award earlier this year.  Seemed only fitting for us to do an encore campaign and add this year’s theme to the mix!!

So order our AWARD WINNING PLAY CUFF BRACELETS through Aug 2 (even if the order form still says July 31)!

Made locally in Clemson, South Carolina. These very popular cuff bracelets are available in three colors – silver, gold and rose gold.

Each color can have one of three phrases:

PLAY FOR ALL

PLAY FOR LIFE

PLAY IS SURVIVAL

Support the US Play Coalition and PLAY by purchasing a PLAYful bracelet!
They make great graduation, birthday, holiday or “just because” gifts, so order as many as you want!
Order yours before time runs out…!!!!

Overview
• Handmade item
• Material: Aluminum, Brass, Copper
• Bracelet length: 6 Inches
• Bracelet width: 1/4 Inches
• Adjustable: Yes
• Style: Minimalist

Please note: Shipping is only available in the US at this time.  Shipping in the US is just $3.50.
OR! Locals can save on shipping with pickup at the US Play Coalition office at Clemson University

 


June 30 #WePlayChat on Why Recess Is Essential When Schools Re-Open

Join us on Twitter Tuesday, June 30 at 6:30pm EST for the next installment of our monthly #WePlayChat.  We are honored to welcome Global Recess Alliance (GRA) to discuss Why Recess Is Essential When Schools Re-Open.

The Global Recess Alliance, a newly formed group of scholars, health professionals, and education leaders, argues that attention to recess during school reopening is essential. Recess is the only unstructured time in the school day that provides space for children’s physical, social and emotional development, which are essential for well-being and learning. When schools reopen, children will need space to heal from their collective trauma.

The GRA founders have combined their expertise to provide answers and concrete strategies for a recess that not only works under the current circumstances but paves the way for a fundamental shift in the ways schools approach recess.

Here are the questions we will be covering during #WePlayChat:
Q1. Why is recess necessary, especially now?
Q2. How can schools implement recess safely?
Q3. What strategies, policies, and practices can be utilized?
Q4. Who do recess advocates need to contact to protect play in schools?

How can you participate?!

  • 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 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 comes 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 by clicking here.


Virtual Poster Session “Happy Hour”

Join our first ever Virtual Poster Session “Happy Hour,” Recorded Live on Zoom

Thirteen distinct play projects were shared live, each presenter giving a 2-3 minute “elevator speech” about the poster.  Posters are available as part of the 2020 Online Play Conference Content.

Check out our lineup:

  • Patty Stine – “Play is Fun: How Play Professionals, Educators, and Other Child Experts Define Play”
  • Sharon Peck – “Reading Play: Making Literacy Learning Playful”
  • Lydia Jagodzinski representing a group of students from Minnesota State University – Mankato – “Playful Practices at a New Early Learning Center: Focus Groups with Parents and Staff”
  • Alexia Metz – “The Influence of The Number of Toys in The Environment on Toddlers’ Play”
  • Tyler Prochnow – “Sport Participation Effects on Adolescent Play Networks at Summer Care Programs”
  • Ilfa Zhulamanova – “Future Early Childhood Teachers’ Perceptions of Play”
  • Stephen Lewis – #natureismyhigherpower: Intersections Between Nature-Based Mindfulness and Social Media
  • Ahren Hoffman for 2019 Action Grant Winner ASTRA – “Make Way for Play: Brilliant Benefits of Toys”
  • Sue Pietrusza – “Physical Education Apps”
  • Brian VanDongen – “The Connections Between Play and Leadership”
  • Delfina Newton – “Sustainability of Self”
  • Farrah Zweig – “Empowered Play: Using Character Strengths and Social/Emotional Support to Spark Joy in Your Students”
  • Kristen Kohm and Fran Blumberg – “Siblings’ Problem-Solving Comments During Co-Play of a Puzzle Video Game” (PDF only)

 


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!

 


May 26 #WePlayChat: Race, Play and Restoration

Join us on Tuesday, May 26 at 7:00pm EST as we welcome moderator Ariana Brazier from ATL Parent Like A Boss, Inc. to discuss the topic, “Race, Play and Restoration.”

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 Moderator

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.

Here are the questions Ariana will be covering during #WePlayChat:

Q1. What is the relationship between race and play?

Q2. How does play reveal racial inequities in our own communities?

Q3. How does play celebrate racial differences in our communities?

Q4. Why should we engage play as a restorative project? 

____________________________________________________________________________________

#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 comes 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 by clicking here.