US Play Coalition Announces 2020 Award Winners

The U.S. Play Coalition is proud to announce the 2020 recipients of its annual awards program, recognizing outstanding play research and youth practitioners.

First awarded in 2017, our awards program honors exceptional play researchers that have made significant contributions to the knowledge of play and practitioners that help further play in their communities and beyond.

 

2020 Joe L. Frost Award for Distinguished Research Winner – Stuart Brown, MD
The US Play Coalition recognizes a play researcher each year for exceptional research in the field of play.  The award honors its namesake, Joe L. Frost, the contemporary father of play advocacy. Frost was influential in the creation of the U.S. Play Coalition, serving as a steering committee member since the organization’s beginning in 2009.

Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony drunken drivers. He is founder and president of the National Institute for Play. Dr. Brown’s book: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages.

Dr. Brown’s years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle.

His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play. The mission of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life.

Dr. Brown co-teaches “From Play to Innovation” at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the “Key Strategist” for the Nevada Medical Center’s Global Play Science Institute.  He continues to produce regular creative scholarly contributions and enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being.  As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity.  Our species, Brown says, “is built for play, and built by play.”

 

2020 Youth Learning Institute’s Youth Development Practitioner Award Winner – Jessica Hentoff
Jessica Hentoff was recognized by the U.S. Play Coalition and Clemson University’s Youth Learning Institute for outstanding performance in the creation and implementation of youth development programs or services.

Jessica Hentoff is artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony in St. Louis. Jessica has been teaching and performing circus arts for over 40 years, using 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.

Since its inception in 2001, Circus Harmony has gone from ten students to over 1300 students and from presenting 40 shows a year to over 500 shows a year. They have developed youth circus troupes which consist of Jewish, Christian, Caucasian, Hispanic, African American and Asian children from inner city and suburban areas throughout St. Louis. In 2007, they started their first Peace Through Pyramids partnership with the Galilee Circus— a Jewish/Arab youth circus from Israel! In 2015, they brought their Peace Through Pyramids program to Ferguson and have now expanded to five other communities and Puerto Rico!

Circus Harmony serves as a model social circus for programs around the world. They were part of a national study by the Weikart Center that found their impact on the development of social and emotional skills exemplary. They believe this is due to the powerful role peer mentoring plays in their program.

Jessica had been named both St. Louis Arts Innovator of the Year and Outstanding Arts Educator of the Year. She was honored to be the first person to receive the American Youth Circus Organization/ American Circus Educators’ Excellence in Circus Education Award. In 2019, Circus Harmony was the recipient of the Missouri Arts Award for Arts Education.


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


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

The Global Recess Alliance (GRA) is a newly-formed international collective of health and educational leaders that has provided evidence to suggest a quality recess is an essential component of an educational approach that considers the whole child. Given this, the GRA is urging school administrators to consider recess a critical priority as schools begin to reopen.

As schools reopen, a supportive school recess can guide 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:
“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 July 31.
 

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


10th Anniversary PLAY FOR LIFE Shirt Available thru Aug 1

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  Order your limited edition 10th Anniversary play shirt through August 1!  Proceeds support our action and research grants!

Just in time for your summer PLAY days!  You can PLAY in style!!  There are 5 color options in unisex short or long sleeve AND youth short sleeve styles.

Go Up the Slide
Rough & Tumble
Jump in the Puddles
Take Risks
Play Outside
Make Believe
Roll in the Dirt
Run Your Fastest
Slide, Swing, Leap
Adapt, Imagine
Play for All
PLAY FOR LIFE

Order online before the campaign ends at 11:59pm EST on August 1!!

 


Panel of Experts to Discuss Why Recess Is Essential When Schools Re-Open

The Global Recess Alliance (GRA) is a newly-formed international collective of health and educational leaders that has provided evidence to suggest a quality recess is an essential component of an educational approach that considers the whole child. Given this, the GRA is urging school administrators to consider recess a critical priority as schools begin to reopen.

Hear from a special panel presentation by some of the founding members of the new Global Recess Alliance.

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

Recorded with a live Zoom audience on June 24, 2020.

As schools reopen, a supportive school recess can guide 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. With voices from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia, the Global Recess Alliance panel (detailed below) will highlight practices and policies to ensure that recess provides a setting where inclusive, meaningful safe play occurs.

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

Panelists include:

Catherine Ramstetter, Ph.D.

Successful Healthy Children, Cincinnati, OH

Lead author of American Academy of Pediatrics’ Policy on Recess


William V. Massey, Ph.D.

Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR

Lead researcher on the Great Recess Framework

Debbie Rhea, Ph.D.

Professor and The LiiNK Project Director, Texas Christian University, Ft. Worth, TX

Author of Wrong Turns, Right Moves in Education

 

Olga Jarrett, Ph.D.

Professor Emerita, Georgia State University, Atlanta

Author of A research-based case for recess: Position paper (2019)

Brendon Hyndman, Ph.D.

Charles Sturt University, Australia

Author of Contemporary School Playground Strategies for Healthy Students

Anna Beresin, Ph.D.

University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA

Author of Recess Battles: Playing, Fighting, and Storytelling

 

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

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

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

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

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


ONLINE Play Conference Registration includes
:

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

The annual Conference on the Value of Play, now in its eleventh year, brings together leading play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the globe.  “PLAY FOR ALL” will explore play across the lifespan and address universal issues of health, education, access, equity, inclusion, design and more.


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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The three day event has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It will be our first-ever online Play Conference!


Headliners Announced for the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce the current slate of headliners for the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL, March 29-April 1, at Clemson University.

John Whyte, MD, MPH is a popular physician and writer who has been communicating to the public about health issues for nearly two decades.  He is currently the Chief Medical Officer, WebMD.  In this role, Dr. Whyte leads efforts to develop and expand strategic partnerships that create meaningful change around important and timely public health issues.

Whyte will share insights on social media, consumerism, health and the connection to play.  Read more…

 

Lise Aangeenbrug is Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation, the charitable arm of the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA).  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.  In March, Aangeenbrug will take up the mantle of Executive Director of Outdoor Industry Association and continue serving as president of the Outdoor Foundation.

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

 

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

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

 

In addition to these headliners, there will be dozens more amazing presenters!  Click here to see a list of the education and research symposium sessions.

 

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 includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

  

Chief Medical Officer of WebMD to Headline the 2020 Play Conference

The US Play Coalition is thrilled to announce that John Whyte, MD, MPH, will be a keynote panelist for the 2020 Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL, March 29-April 1, at Clemson University.

Dr. John Whyte is a popular physician and writer who has been communicating to the public about health issues for nearly two decades.

He is currently the Chief Medical Officer, WebMD.  In this role, Dr. Whyte leads efforts to develop and expand strategic partnerships that create meaningful change around important and timely public health issues.

Dr. Whyte is a board-certified internist and continues to see patients.  He has written extensively in the medical and lay press, including two best-selling books, “Is This Normal:  The Essential Guide to Middle Age and Beyond” and “AARP New American Diet:  Lose Weight, Live Longer.”  He is passionate about changing how we think about health.

Having spent time in government, academia, and the private sector, Dr. Whyte brings a unique perspective to the annual Power PLAYer Panel that will address the theme of “PLAY FOR ALL.”  Whyte will share insights on social media, consumerism, health and the connection to play.

 

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 includes keynote and featured speakers, round tables on critical issues and trends, research symposium for academics, educational sessions for practitioners, action and research grant opportunities, PLAYtalks and PLAYinstitutes, networking, EPIC play breaks and more.

  

New, Updated “A Research-Based Case for Recess” is Now Available

A new, updated position paper “A Research-Based Case for Recess” is now available as a free download.  This paper made its first appearance in 2013 as something of a review of literature by Olga Jarrett, Ph.D.  Since then the paper has been used by play advocates across the country to support recess in schools and recess legislation at the state level. Six years later, a new version was needed to reflect the changing landscape of recess.

Dr. Jarrett said she “discovered hundreds of new articles on recess, many of them empirical studies showing the benefits of recess. Also, since 2013, more organizations have developed policies in support of recess and several states have mandated recess.”

The 2019 position paper was produced by the US Play Coalition in collaboration with American Association for the Child’s Right to Play (IPA/USA) and the Alliance for Childhood.

According to Stephanie Garst, executive director of the US Play Coalition and editor of the 2019 update, “Things are changing so rapidly that we had to just stop looking so that this latest edition could go to print in time for the new school year! It is as comprehensive as it can be and will surely be a great resource for educators, school administrators, childcare providers, parents and many others in our play community!

Collateral resources are coming soon. Until then, check out the full paper for FREE online at http://bit.ly/recess-paper


July #WePlayChat On The Value of Recess

Join us on Tuesday, July 30 at 1:00pm EST as we welcome co-moderator Lynn Campanella, CEO of Playocracy to discuss the topic, “The Value of Recess.” 

For over a decade Lynn has led workshops on Play, Recess and Physical Literacy. As an advocate for child development and creativity, she has mapped out an educational platform that utilizes play as the conduit to help increase the physical, mental and social well-being of children. Lynn has developed a comprehensive recess leadership program called L.E.A.D. Recess and has lead a school board in Canada be the first to create a board-wide recess policy and supporting action plan to assist schools in establishing a quality recess experience for all. Playocracy Inc. is a Canadian social innovation company.

Here are the questions Lynn will be covering during the #WePlayChat dialogue:

Q1. What are some strategies we can use to create a positive recess experience for school administrators & teachers?
Q2. What are some of the tools you could use to teach good social skills at recess?
Q3. How do you maximize the benefits of recess to help children come back into class ready to focus and learn?
Q4. What are some best practices for sharing information about recess with parents and getting them engaged in creating a quality recess?

#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 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.

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.


Heather Von Bank Joins the
US Play Coalition Steering Committee

We are pleased to announce that Heather Von Bank, Ph.D., recently joined the US Play Coalition Steering Committee.  Our steering committee consists of 24 leaders from across industry, education and health, all committed to its mission to promote the value of play throughout life. Steering committee members contribute their expertise and insights for the current and future work of the US Play Coalition.

Heather is Chair of the Department of Family Consumer Science at Minnesota State University-Mankato, a longtime educational partner of the US Play Coalition.  Her specialty areas include research on parent–child relations during the stage of adolescence and family life issues. She is also co-author of the book The Power of Playful Learning.

US Play Coalition Executive Director Stephanie Garst said she is proud to welcome Von Bank to the committee.

“Heather is already a very active member and ambassador for the Play Coalition,” Garst said, adding that her “greatest contribution to the Play Coalition to date is having created the Midwest Play Conference, our first regional play conference.”

 

The U.S. Play Coalition
The U.S. Play Coalition is an international network of individuals and organizations that promotes the value of play throughout life. Formed in 2009, the coalition is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The coalition is housed in Clemson University’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management department, part of the College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.