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? 

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#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.


Innovative Public School Advocate to Speak on Play and Wellness in Education

The US Play Coalition is proud to announce that Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., will round out the headliner lineup for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL with a LIVE Zoom keynote presentation on Friday, May 1 at 1:00pm EDT.  Hynes will speak on “Creating a School Vision of Play and Wellness: The Importance of a Balanced Approach to Education,” addressing how do schools can create a vision and mission that embody a balanced approach to education with play and wellness as its main driver.

Michael Hynes is an educator, scholar, and thought leader. As a superintendent of public schools on Long Island, New York,  it is his mission to spread the importance of a holistic approach to educating children. Dr. Hynes is also an Associate Professor at Long Island University/Post and Stony Brook University, teaching courses in School Law, Curriculum and Instruction and School Leadership and has published numerous articles and podcasts on school leadership and his belief in public education.  His article “Kids Need Play and Recess: Their Mental Health Depends on It” was #1 for 2018 in EDUCATION WEEK.

Dr. Hynes is proud to be a Fulbright Specialist, TEDx speaker and author of the newly released best-selling book “Staying Grounded: 12 Principles to Transform School Leader Effectiveness.”

Special Note: Dr. Hynes will also be leading a virtual roundtable for school administrators registered for the 2020 Online Play Conference (details to come!).


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!


“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!


Early Childhood Professional Development Day to help kickoff
2020 Play Conference POSTPONED!

“Play and Early Childhood” Institute

POSTPONED – TO BE RESCHEDULED IN LATE SUMMER/EARLY FALL

Pre-registration is required, and participants are expected to participate for the entire institute.

This unique Early Childhood Professional Development Day is one of our 2020 PLAYinstitutes.  It is essentially 6 workshops in one amazing full day training aimed at early childhood educators and caregivers.

Chaired and moderated by Dee Stegelin, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Clemson University, the “Play and Early Childhood” Institute featured sessions presented by early childhood education experts from across the country.

SPECIAL NOTE – This institute has been approved for 6 hours of SC Endeavors/SC-CCCCD state-approved training credits in the Curriculum Category.  

Presentations included with this 6-hour institute are:

Integrating Play and STEAM Teaching into Early Childhood Classrooms
Amanda Bennett, M.Ed., ABD, PhD Student, Clemson University

Strategies for Supporting Preschool Children Who Have Experienced Trauma
Jill C. Shelnut, M.Ed., ABD, Lecturer, Clemson University

Children Think Better on Their Feet Than Their Seat
Mary Mackenzie, M.Ed., United Kingdom, Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success

Reggio Inspired Indoor and Outdoor Play
Dee Stegelin, Ph. D., Professor Emerita, Clemson University & Senior Fellow, Institute for Child Success
and
Jill C. Shelnut, M. Ed. , ABD, Lecturer, Clemson University

Voices for Play: Advocating for Active Play
Amity Buckner, M. Ed., Director, Pickens County Office of First Steps

Playing with Vivian Paley’s Storytelling and Storyacting Approach
Debora Wisneski, Ph. D., Associate Professor, University of Omaha


The cost of this PLAYinstitute is  just $45/person.


Thankful for Our
Longtime Top Supporters

With Valentine’s Day behind us, we want to give some special love to four longtime, top supporters.

Since our founding MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO (in 2009!), these four sponsors have been at our side, giving top level financial support to insure that the US Play Coalition could not only grow, but also evolve and expand its reach to spread the importance of the VALUE of PLAY.

They are truly are leaders in advancing the play movement. Their support comes from their deep belief in our work, our message, and our network.

 

Please click on their logos to learn more about each.


February 24 #WePlayChat on Recess and Play in School with Dr. Michael Hynes

Join us on Monday, February 24 at 6:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Dr. Michael Hynes from Long Island, New York to discuss the topic, “The Importance of Recess and Play in School.

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

Dr. Michael Hynes works as a public school superintendent of schools for the Port Washington School District, Fulbright Specialist and an associate professor of education and leadership on Long Island, NY. His mission is to spread the message of the importance of a holistic approach to educating children. He emphasizes the importance of play, recess in schools, mental health and yoga and mindfulness in the classroom. Dr. Hynes is a former assistant superintendent, principal and teacher. Hynes is also a public school advocate, TEDx and keynote speaker and has published numerous articles and featured on several podcasts and articles on school leadership. Hynes has focused his work on transforming schools by tapping into Potential Based Education, which focuses on the significance of social, emotional, physical and cognitive development for students as well as developing strategic plans for school buildings and school districts. Dr. Hynes educates the masses on global school initiatives and universal best practices. He has studied and worked with the Finnish school system. Hynes received his undergraduate degree in psychology from Bethany College and his doctorate in educational administration from Dowling College. He has undergone professional training to integrate organizational learning and school leadership into programs at New York University, Stony Brook University and Harvard University. Dr. Hynes has been awarded the “Friend of Education Award” and the “Distinguished Leadership Award” by Phi Delta Kappa as well as numerous other awards related to leadership.

Here are the questions Dr. Hynes will be covering during the #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1. What can you do to make sure all children receive the proper amount of recess every day in school?

Q2. How can we foster more mix-aged play in school?

Q3. How much recess do you feel all elementary children should have every day and why?

Q4. Knowing that self-directed play is critical for child development, what is one thing an educator can do to make that happen in school?____________________________________________________________________________________

#WePlayChat is our monthly Twitter chat for anyone seeking to gain knowledge around the wide open field of play. Launched in 2016, our #WePlayChat participants come from 9 countries, spanning 4 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.

We love sharing the voice of play on Twitter through our #WePlayChat.  We have our chats at different times on different days to get the most involvement across our membership.  You will not want to miss them! Tune in and to join in and contribute to the conversation around the value of play.


Reflecting on Play
from Back in the Day

As a kid your imagination is filled with toys, video games, monsters, sports and a room full of blank canvases to allow your brain to explore. When I was a kid growing up in inner-city New Jersey, most of my afternoons and weekends were surrounded by family members and friends.

The first thing I can vividly remember doing as a kid was learning how to play football from my mother and father, who in his past was a 2x all-state high school selection. Early on, I would be out in the neighborhood with my cousins and friends playing street football with my mother watching nervously from the side, praying I didn’t get hurt playing with teenagers three times my size and 10 years older than me. Football remained a love of mine until 7th grade.

My grandmother bought me a mongoose bike, black and orange interior design with black rims and wheels with orange handlebars and pedals. Riding that bike was my favorite thing to do after school, besides throwing the football. You could bet your top dollar I was gonna be riding down the biggest hills, curviest roads, and most dangerous turns every single day.

I once had a bad experience in my playful childhood. I had sandals on, and I was about 6 years old, speeding down the hill on my bike. I noticed I was going too fast and tried to use my brakes, but the speed was overwhelming. I ended up using my sandals and scraped all of my toes and blood was everywhere. I remember sitting in the middle of the street crying and my grandmother picking me up, cleaning me off, and giving me a lollipop. Once I recovered from my gruesome injuries, I did not ride my bike for weeks.

On weekends, I would play video games with my friends and cousins, but my favorite thing we did was play hide and go seek and tag until the street lights came on.

Playing outside and being away from my room was the cool thing to do when I was a kid, and I took every advantage of being active, free, and young as much as I could. Being outside taught me my love for sports and what it meant to be full of life and imagination.

 

 

 

Aamir Simms is a junior at Clemson University and an intern for the US Play Coalition.

 


Now Accepting Nominations for 2020 Outstanding Researcher and Youth Practitioner Awards

The U.S. Play Coalition is now accepting nominations for its 2020 awards program, recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners.

First awarded at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play, our awards program honors exceptional individuals each year.  The 2020 winners not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.  Deadline for nominations is 11:59pm EST on December 15, 2019.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research is given annually in recognition of a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

Frost is the Parker Centennial Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. He is known across the world for his more than 30 years of work on early childhood and children’s play environments. Past president of both the Association for Childhood Education International and International Play Association/USA, he is the author or co-author of 18 books and numerous publications and has also served as a consultant for playgrounds worldwide.

Frost was influential in the creation of the U.S. Play Coalition, serving as a steering committee member since the coalition’s beginning in 2009. He served as a keynote speaker that year at the coalition’s first conference – then called the Summit on the Value of Play –and has been an honorary chair for each successive conference.

YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award

The U.S. Play Coalition teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for the Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services. (The nominee does NOT have to be affiliated with Clemson University.)

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

NOMINATIONS FOR THE YOUTH PRACTITIONER AWARD ARE NOW CLOSED