2018 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $52,000 in funding to date.   At the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to a researcher or group of researchers who present empirical research at the play conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

The 2018 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Muntazar Monsur, Ph.D., Nilda Cosco, Ph.D., and Robin Moore from NC State for their project entitled “Transitional play: Exploring the Play Value of Classroom Indoor-Outdoor Relationship of Space.”  The team plans to research transitional play and investigate the play value of transitional semi-covered space in an early childhood classroom to find out if it increases outdoor play time for children and increase children’s diversity in play.

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two action grants, supported by funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative as well as from action grant partner the Foundation for Sustainable Parks and Recreation.

There were two projects that each received a 2018 Action Grant:

– “Loose Parts Play Builds Tight Communities” – Patty Stine and Cheryl Simpson, Co-Founders of Pure Play Every Day, Inc.

– “Unequal Playing Field – A Panel Discussion on the Importance of Accessing Equal Play for Girls and Girls of Color” – Starr Jordan & Nichole Myles from Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry


Outstanding Play Researcher and Practitioner Awards Announced at 2018 Play Conference

The U.S. Play Coalition is proud to introduce its 2018 PLAY award recipients, announced at the Celebration Gala of the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play.  Established in 2017, the awards program recognizes outstanding play researchers and youth practitioners.  The winners not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The 2018 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to Dr. Olga Jarrett is Professor Emerita of early childhood/science education at Georgia State University, evaluator of an NSF project in Belize, and a past president of The Association for the Study of Play and the American Association for the Child’s Right to Play.

The award, named for Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy, recognizes a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play. 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.

When Joe Frost himself learned of the selection committee’s choice, he wrote, “The committee has made a GREAT CHOICE. Olga is a great teacher, researcher and friend.”

Dr. Jarrett’s nominator said this in his nomination:

Dr. Jarrett has a 25-year career devoted to play advocacy and play research.  Much of her research has focused on play deprivation and its effect on economically deprived and minority children.  Using her research as support, she initiated and helped to draft legislation in Georgia that would make playtime and recess mandatory for all school children.  Her research has shown that poor and minority children are more likely to be play deprived than more advantaged children.  Dr. Jarrett has supervised many doctoral students who have conducted play research and who also have been involved in play advocacy.  Dr. Jarrett has also extended her advocacy internationally.

YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award

The U.S. Play Coalition also teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute to present the Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

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

The 2018 YLI Youth Development Practitioner Award recipient is Pat Rumbaugh, a play advocate and co-founder of Let’s Play America. She is known as “The Play Lady”, has for more than 10 years, been an advocate, author, and participant in play activities for youth and the young at heart. Pat has made youth development and play her life’s work, from the time she began her career as a physical education teacher to now as she provides multiple avenues for youth to grow in their play lives, but also, hone valuable business skills, learning advocacy and community involvement from one of the best.  She also wrote a children’s book called, “Let’s Play at the Playground,” which encourages children to choose outdoor play and sparks their imagination while looking at the full page photographs.


Research Project on Pediatric Therapy Garden Another Beneficiary of Giving TuesPLAY Funds

Giving TuesPLAY is TODAY! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you will be helping to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

 

Supported by our 2017 Research Seed Grant, Dr. Shan Jiang, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture/Environmental Design at West Virginia University, has led her research team on two research projects related to “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment.”

Jointly supported by Landscape Architecture Foundation 2017 Case Study Investigation Fellowship, Dr. Jiang conducted a diagnostic post-occupancy evaluation study on a pediatric therapy garden at Virtua Voorhees Hospital, New Jersey. Dr. Jiang and her research assistant, Sofija Kaljevic, visited the hospital, evaluated the restorative design features of the garden using site survey tools. Users’ opinions on the garden design as positive distractions were also explored through two focus group discussions onsite. 

 

Another study is a systematic literature review that examines the effect of positive distractions on hospital occupants in pediatric healthcare facilities.  In this review, twenty-five studies were collected for analysis from architectural and medicine databases. Findings highlighted the importance of incorporating positive design elements, such as interactive play devices, multi-sensory installations, and replications of the natural environment. This study has been developed to conference abstracts that are under review by Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture 2018 Conference (CELA2018) and West Virginia University Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol.

Dr Jiang will also present an update on her research projects at the 2018 Conference on the Value of Play: The Many Faces of Play.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to the US Play Coalition TODAY! Time is ticking for #GivingTuesPLAY!

 

 


Grand Opening of Play Lab at UNO supported by Giving TuesPLAY Funds

Giving TuesPLAY is just around the corner! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you help to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

One of the 2017 Action Grants supported a PLAY Day to mark the official grand opening of the Play Lab at University of Nebraska Omaha. The Play Lab is an interactive, hands-on classroom specially designed to prepare aspiring teachers in the theory, science and application of play as an educational technique. Up-and-running as a classroom since August, the space encourages teacher candidates in Early Childhood Education programs to collaborate and explore in a space that reflects a real-world early childhood setting.

Play Lab is the brainchild of Associate Professor of Early Childhood Dr. Debora Wisneski and Peggy Pawloski, a play environment designer and former kindergarten teacher. The non-traditional classroom features beautifully-designed furniture units, a puppet theater, comfy soft seating, and a communal workspace, all designed by Pawloski with the intent to bring “joy and playfulness to the work and school environment.”

The PLAY Day grand opening event brought together College of Education faculty, staff, and teacher candidates; early childhood community partners; preschoolers and parents; and UNO early childhood donors. During the day-long open house, participants enjoyed presentations, free play time, and storybook readings by Bruce Arant, followed by a gratitude ceremony and reception.

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to #GivingTuesPLAY on November 28!

Photos Courtesy of the University of Nebraska at Omaha

 

 


Giving TuesPLAY supports programs like Ludovia in Pittsburgh

Giving TuesPLAY is almost here! When you donate to the US Play Coalition, you will be helping to fund our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement.

Greg Manley and his team at City of Play in Pittsburgh were 2017 Action Grant Recipients for their program Ludovia. “Ludovia” is derived from the Latin, meaning “Playful way.”

Funded with support of a US Play Coalition Action Grant, Ludovia is City of Play’s public class for adults that focuses on social fitness.  It is a weekly group class that builds physical social skills and dynamic imagination.  Greg explains, “We start with an assortment of physical warm-ups from martial arts, dance & sports, and then progress into vocal warm-ups and drama exercises. During the second part of class, students practice a wide array of physical communication techniques that improve their social/playful skills.”

“The US Play Coalition’s grant allowed City of Play to invest in its most introspective program to date,” Manley continues.  “Because of the grant, we were able to learn about the nature of our own training and how we turn our own physical perspective of the world into professional practice.”

To support great projects like this, make sure to donate to Giving TuesPLAY on November 28!

 


Support Play Trailblazers Like These When You Support Giving TuesPLAY!

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday is #GivingTuesday. It is a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, November 28, 2017, the US Play Coalition will be a part of #GivingTuesday, encouraging YOU to support PLAY by donating to our Action and Research Grants for playmakers and researchers whose work has the potential to improve and expand the Play Movement. We call it Giving TuesPLAY! (Get it?!) Big or small, your gift MATTERS!!

One of our 2017 Action Grant winners was Harper’s Playground, the first fully-inclusive, nature-based community playground in Portland, OR.   Harper’s Playground aims to increase awareness about and widespread replication of their inclusive playground model. To further this work, they have an annual “Community Play Day” that brings diverse people, families and community partners together to raise awareness, to elevate conversations and, most importantly, to make more play for more people.

According to Britt Stetson, Development Director for Harper’s Playground, “the 2017 Action Grant Award lead to significantly increased engagement in and impact of this event. In the past, given a small staff, the event was community-organized and informally promoted with no financial resources. This award meant we were able to give a small stipend to volunteer event organizer, allowing her to dedicate considerable time to event planning and promotion. We were also able to fund promotion and day-of activities for participants. The result: our most robust Community Play Day to-date with well-organized and elevated participation from local partner organizations and greater attendance by children and families all across the Portland Metro Area. Because of our 2017 Action Grant Award, significantly more families have experienced the power of inclusive play at Harper’s Playground, turning them into active, year-round playground goers and advocates and ambassadors of our work.”

We are thrilled that our Action Grant was so meaningful for Harper’s Playground!  Our action grants are $1,000 grants to facilitate play in communities. These grants support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. Check out all of the play trailblazers whose projects received Action Grants over the years.

To support great projects like this, please consider a Giving TuesPLAY gift!  Join the global movement and donate on Tuesday, November 28! Your gift matters!  We can’t wait to share the future of play with you!


Inaugural Researcher and Practitioner Awards Announced at 2017 Play Conference

The U.S. Play Coalition established an awards program recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners at the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play.  This new awards program will honor exceptional individuals each year.  The winners will not only receive a physical award, but also have conference fees paid, hotel accommodations and up to $500 in travel to attend the Play Conference.

Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research

The inaugural Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research was presented to its namesake – Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy.  The award recognizes a body of exceptional research that has enhanced and expanded the study of play.

“Joe Frost has been an influencer for our organization’s work as well as for the world of play,” said Stephanie Garst, executive director of the U.S. Play Coalition. “The creation of this award is a fitting tribute.”

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 also teamed with Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute to present the first-ever Youth Development Practitioner Award. The award recognizes outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

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

The inaugural award went to Dan Mathews, chief operating officer at Camp Twin Lakes, a Georgia-based organization that provides camp experiences for children with serious illnesses, disabilities and other life challenges.  According to his nomination, Dan is “a champion for all youth using play as the center of his outstanding leadership and tireless efforts in furthering development, access, and professionalism of the field of youth-development…He is an excellent standard bearer for the inaugural Youth Development Practitioner Award.”


2017 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $47,000 in funding to date.   At the 2017 Conference on the Value of Play: Where Design Meets Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to a researcher or group of researchers who present empirical research at the play conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

The 2017 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Shan Jiang, PhD, from West Virginia University for her project, “Healing through Play: Play Opportunities as Positive Distractions at Pediatric Healthcare Environment.”

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two partners supporting our action grants, IPA-USA and Partners for Parks.  We also had funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

There were three projects that each received a 2017 Action Grant:
– Britt Stetson for Harper’s Playground at Arbor Lodge Park, a playground for children of all abilities in in Portland, Ore.

– Debora Wisneski and Miriam Kuhn for “Building a Community of PLAY Through an Interdisciplinary University Collaborative” at the University of Nebraska Omaha.

– Gregory Manley from City of Play in Pittsburgh, Penn., for Ludovia, a weekly class for young professionals and working-class minorities to foster play through physical, emotional and social communication. 


2016 Grant Winners Announced

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Play Conference, and we are proud to have awarded $41,000 in funding to date.   At The Play Conference 2016: Rebooting Play the new grant winners were announced.  The review process was challenging as we had a record number of outstanding submissions this year.

Each year a $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to researchers who present empirical research at The Play Conference to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the valreserach grant winners 2016ue of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.  This year, much of the funding for the research seed grant came from our first ever Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

The 2016 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Debbie Rhea and Alexander Rivchun from Texas Christian University for their project, “The effects of play and character development on classroom behaviors and attentional fatigue in public school grades K & 1.”

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. This year we had two partners supporting our action grants, Genius of Play and IPA-USA.  We also had funding from our Giving TuesPLAY initiative.

There were three projects that each received a 2016 Action Grant:
– The Playworker Project, Megan Dickerson from The New Children’s Museum
Seniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Megan Dickerson, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainella– Using an Outdoor Classroom to Extend Learning through Play, Kristine Jenkins from First Steps South Carolinakristine-jenkins_124x140
– Playing for a Change in Elementary Schools, Sondra Smith-Adcock from University of FloridaSeniz Yargici Lennes, IPA-USA Outgoing President Dorothy Sluss, 2016 Action Grant Winner Sondra Smith-Adcock, Genius of Play's Anna Yudina, and Fran Mainella


GRANT WINNERS ANNOUNCED

Grant funding is a distinctive feature of our annual Conference on the Value of Play, and we are proud to have awarded $35,000 in funding to date.   At the 2015 Conference on the Value of Play: Advancing Play, the new grant winners were announced.  A $3,000 research seed grant is awarded to researchers who present empirical research at the Conference on the Value of Play to support new, innovative and thoughtful work on the value of play.  This is seed funding in support of longitudinal or future research in diverse topics related to play, and grant recipients’ work reflects great potential for expanding knowledge in the field.

The 2015 Research Seed Grant was awarded to Richard Christiana, Joy James and Rebecca Battista for their project, “Creating Community Awareness through Prescribing Outdoor Play for Children.”

Research Seed Grant Winners Richard Christiana and Joy James with US Play Coalition Co-Chair Brett Wright

In addition to the research grant, $1000 action grants are awarded to support creative and innovative proposals to engage groups in play or to educate about the value of play. Ideas include hosting a play day, engaging more people in preexisting programs, or a whole new idea.

There were two projects that each received a 2015 Action Grant:

  • Play at the Core: the Importance of Play-Based Practices in Early Education, a Mixed-Methods Approach — Emily Rea, Jared Carroll, Jacob Gomez, and Sanam Jain
  • Providing Appropriate Play Experiences for Children with Autism — Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt
Seniz Yargici Lennes, 2015 Action Grant Winner Sanam Jain, Fran Mainella, 2015 Action Grant Winner Emily Rea, and Doug Youngblood
Seniz Yargici Lennes, Fran Mainella, 2015 Action Grant Winners Rebecca Woodard and Zach Burt, and Doug Youngblood