VIDEO: A Tale of Two School Superintendents – A Conversation with Michael Hynes & Danny Merck

Keynote speaker Michael Hynes treated a small group of school administrators and leaders to a witness an honest conversation with fellow school superintended Danny Merck.  While Dr. Hynes oversees an urban New York school district of close to 6,000 students, Dr. Merck is superintendent in rural Pickens County, South Carolina, serving more than 16,000 students.

School Administrators Round Table:
A Conversation with Michael Hynes & Danny Merck

Both passionate play and recess advocates influenced by their respective experiences in Finland, these two superintendents pulled back the curtain on the challenges they are grappling with to ensure our children will still have play and recess when they return to school. They talked about their philosophies and discuss nuts and bolts about what they HOPE can happen while being realistic with their plans and considerations. It was an organic dialogue with aimed to “workshop ideas” that will help other school administrators and leaders struggling with the pressures of the pandemic slide and the desire to support the basic needs of our children.

Danny Merck, Ed. D., has 28 years of experience as an educator in South Carolina public schools. He is a former member of the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee and is in his fifth year as superintendent of the School District of Pickens County.  Dr. Merck returned from Finland in Fall 2018 and began implementing increased play and recess opportunities in several elementary schools in the district with impressive results in the classroom.  Wanting to give that professional experience to as many as he could in his district, Dr. Merck then hosted 14 Finnish educators from the Oulu University Teacher Training School, who offered professional learning to more than 700 teachers and administrators in his district over the course of 9 days.

Michael Hynes, Ed. D., 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 author of the newly released best-selling book “Staying Grounded: 12 Principles to Transform School Leader Effectiveness.”

Watch the full video of the conversation:
“School Administrators Round Table: A Conversation with Michael Hynes & Danny Merck”

 

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


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 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

 


10th Anniversary PLAY FOR LIFE Shirt Available thru July 31

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND!  Order your limited edition 10th Anniversary play shirt through July 31!  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 July 31!!

(There is one campaign ending on July 10 and another restarting right after through July 31.)

 


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.

Join us for a special panel presentation by some of the founding members of the new Global Recess Alliance.

Wednesday, June 24, 6:30pm Eastern/3:30pm Pacific
“Schools Re-Opening? Why It Will Be More Important Than Ever to Create A Play-Full Recess.”

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

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 presentation will be recorded and included in our 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL content, so don’t fret if you miss it!

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


Virtual Poster Session “Happy Hour” LIVE on Zoom June 17

Join us for our first ever Virtual Poster Session “Happy Hour” Live on Zoom, Wednesday, June 17 at 8:00pm Eastern/5:00pm Pacific. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

Just because we aren’t convening in person does not mean we can’t have a poster presentation reception!   So grab a beverage and a snack and make your way to our “happy hour” on Zoom.  We have 13 distinct play projects that will be shared live, each presenter giving a 2-3 minute “elevator speech” about the poster.  Posters will be available after the session 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!

 


2020 ONLINE Play Conference PROGRAM

Check out the full program for the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference!


Innovative Public School Advocate Speaks on Play and Wellness in Education

Michael J. Hynes, Ed.D., rounds out the headliner lineup for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.  Hynes speaks 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!


Join our conversation about “The Relationship between Play and Relationships” for our final “Play Hour” Live on Zoom

The US Play Coalition and IPA-USA invite you to join us for “The Relationship between Play and Relationships” with Rusty Keeler, Claude Stephens and Megan Dickerson, THURSDAY, April 30, 1:00pm EDT/10:00am PDT

 

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

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

This free session is open to members and fans of the US Play Coalition and IPA-USA.  If you are NOT already registered for the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference, RSVP online BY NOON EASTERN ON APRIL 30 by clicking the orange box. (Zoom details will be sent via email).

REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED FOR THIS SESSION.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST.


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

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

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

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

 


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

 

 

 

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


The ABCs of the 2020 ONLINE Play Conference Educational Sessions
and Research Symposium

The full detailed schedule is coming soon…but until then, below is an alphabetical list of the Educational Sessions and Research Symposium Sessions that have been recorded for the 2020 ONLINE Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY FOR ALL.

          

  • Adapting Play for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities
  • Advocating for Risky Play
  • The All New Voice of Play Website: How to Maximize This Exciting New Resource
  • The American Association for Promoting the Child’s Right to Play – IPA USA Information Session
  • Applying a Task-Person-Environment Approach to Designing Play Studies
  • “As a parent, if I can…”: Parents’ Perception and Design of Children’s Out of School Time
  • Building an Outdoor Classroom Anywhere
  • Child play network influences on physical literacy in Mexican-heritage Colonias
  • Creativity and Outdoor Play – The recipe for all children
  • Designing Successful Play Partnerships:  PlayBuild + Tulane University
  • Determining obesity rates in children with multiple play breaks in schools daily
  • Documenting Children’s Play: Including the Child’s Voice
  • Empowering LGBTQ+ Youth Through Meaningful Play and Recreation Opportunities
  • Encouraging Time Outdoors in Naturalized Learning Environments in S. Carolina Childcare Facilities
  • Examining the link between recess quality and classroom behavior in elementary school children
  • Free Aquatic Play in a Controlled World
  • Furnishing for Adult Play: Developing a social play space for a multidisciplinary research community
  • Green Schoolyards : Neighborhood Amenity to National Necessity
  • Guide to Implementing Play Streets in Rural Communities: A Tool to Increase Active Play
  • How Principles in Play Connect to Pedagogy in Gifted Education and Talent Development
  • The Influence of Preschool Educators’ Beliefs About Play-Based Learning on Instructional Delivery
  • Is Your Recess Toolbelt Equipped?
  • Joining In: Parent Perspectives on Specially Designed Inclusive Play
  • Keeping the Recess in Indoor Recess: Creating Playable Spaces Anywhere!
  • Leisure & Late Adulthood: Examining the Benefits of Participation during Retirement
  • Local Sources for Play Space Materials and Labour – Its the Design that Counts
  • Lost Opportunities: How Teaching Interferes with Learning
  • Messy, Muddy, and Marvelous: Forest Schools, Education and Play
  • Movement & Learning: What’s the Connection?
  • Movement in Middle School – Application of the Transtheoretical Model for Physical Activity
  • Pedaling to Safe Play: Factors Related to Youth Self-Efficacy for Injury Prevention Bicycle Skills
  • Play and Family
  • Play ranging with the Hidden Children: Notes from the field
  • Play, Dementia & Alzheimers: Life and Fun Following Diagnosis
  • Playing the Eduspeak Speak Game: Tips on Aligning Lessons with Play Principles
  • PlaySchool:  How to Infuse Play into K12 Education
  • Raptors & Ruderals: What do we mean by ‘nature play’ in an urban environment?
  • Same Game, Different Play
  • Seniors and preschoolers design toys together: An intergenerational play project in Finland
  • Unstructured play in schools is linked to positive health benefits for teachers
  • #WePlayChat: How to Use Social Media to Drive the Value of Play in a Virtual World
  • Wilding nature play for children and families
  • Yes, And: The Power of Teaching With Improvisational 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 has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference!


Discover the Magic of Play and Play Workshops with Yesim Kunter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

 

 

 

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