VIDEO Showcases Playful Activities to Support Whole Child Health

This session provides simple and inexpensive strategies to support children’s physical and social-emotional health. It emphasizes inclusive activities and partnerships to help caregivers engage children in PLAYful, language-rich learning opportunities.

“Playful Activities to
Support Whole Child Health”

This featured session explores playful learning resources to help caregivers support the physical and social-emotional health of children. Co-facilitated by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Too Small to Fail, the session begins with a fun, virtual and active icebreaker. After quick introductions to the organizations and the “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model,” Jane and Daniel share a series of playful activities that encourage movement and learning. Pausing for a group reflection and “check-in” with attendees, we’ll spend time discussing cross-sector collaborations to help all children thrive. The presentation will conclude with simple action planning and sharing of a resource list. Q/A will occur throughout the session.


Meet our Experts:

Jane Park is the Director of Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, where she leads national partnerships with corporations, nonprofit organizations, and associations to support children and families across the country. Prior to her role with Too Small to Fail, Jane served as the Associate Director of Content in the Education, Research, and Outreach department at Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street. In that role, she helped develop the whole child curriculum on which the television series is based and worked across the organization, as well as with external partners, to integrate Sesame Street’s educational content across media platforms—including print, video, online, social media, and toy products. Jane also led Sesame Street’s “Healthy Habits for Life” initiative, as well as the development of community outreach resources to support families through challenging situations such military deployment, natural disasters, and economic and food insecurity. Jane holds an M.A. in developmental psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University and a B.A. in communications from the University of California at San Diego.

Daniel Hatcher, MPH, Director of Community Partnerships, oversees Healthier Generation’s cross-sector partnerships with key youth-serving programs and community-based organizations. A nationally renowned collaborator and trainer, Daniel manages technical assistance services and resources for out-of-school and summer programs as they work to achieve optimal healthy eating, physical activity and social emotional health for the children and caregivers they serve. Daniel has a BA in International Relations and a Master of Public Health, both from Western Kentucky University. You can follow Daniel as he speaks across the country on the topic of healthy communities via Twitter @hatchdw.


Below is the full recording of the featured session
“Playful Activities to Support Whole Child Health”


This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL – all recorded live earlier this year.


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development 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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


VIDEO: “Play, Design and Mental Health” with Play Futurist Yesim Kunter

In a world of commercial toys, how can we design resources that support the mental wellness and health of children?

“Play, Design and Mental Health”
with play futurist Yesim Kunter

There is a growing need of resources that are playfully dedicated to the wellbeing of children. There is no question that there is a huge decline in children’s mental health. The risks are huge but resources are limited.

By playing we can learn to adapt and gain insights on how we can navigate in certain situations. Therefore it is crucial to be able to create the resources that children can experiment and learn through.

In order to design products that aim to deliver these insights one must understand children’s inner worlds and the attempt to translate them into a design language.  Collaborating with a diverse group of experts in a variety of fields is key. 

In this featured session, Yesim Kunter explores important design principles and shares relevant case studies.

This session was recorded live on April 13, 2021.  The recording is included below!  This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL .


Meet our Expert:

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

Yesim is an independent consultant; developing play experiences for various customers for product development, applying Play Philosophy to spaces, environments, communities, culture creation as well as market research with future scoping. She has been training organizations with diverse backgrounds from kids to professionals for leveraging Creativity and Innovation through Play Workshops.

Yesim worked more than a decade for industry leaders in various countries like Toys R Us, Lego and Hasbro. Her training as a toy designer and her passion to unravel the future to identify and define new experiences transformed her carrier to become a play-futurist.

Yesim was brought up in Turkey and lived in New York, Denmark, Billund and now in London, which gave her a multi-cultural perspective that helps her to become a keen observer in human behavior.


Below is the full recording of the featured session
“Play, Design and Mental Health”


This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL – all recorded live earlier this year.


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development 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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


VIDEO: Power PLAYer Panel Discusses “PLAY IS SURVIVAL” through lens of
Diversity, Access, Equity and Inclusion

For our 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL keynote kickoff on April 2, we brought together three incredible thought leaders for our annual “Power PLAYer Panel.” Our three panelists tackle the 2021 theme, particularly as it relates to issues of diversity, access, equity and inclusion. The dialogue is rich and honest and thoughtful.  THIS IS A MUST SEE!

Power PLAYer Panel:
PLAY IS SURVIVAL

Meet the Panelists:

  • Laura Huerta Migus (moderator) is the now-former Executive Director of the Association of Children’s Museums in Arlington, Virginia, the world’s largest professional society promoting and advocating on behalf of children’s museums and children’s museum professionals. Throughout her career, Laura has been devoted to the growth and education of children, particularly those from underserved and under-resourced communities. Under her leadership, ACM pursues innovative and effective partnerships to leverage the power of children’s museums worldwide.  As of July 19, Laura is the new Deputy Director of the Office of Museum Services for the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • Lysa Ratliff, CEO of KABOOM!  In early 2021, Lysa M. Ratliff became the newest CEO of KABOOM!, the national non-profit that works to end playspace inequity. For good. Throughout her career, Ratliff has served as a champion for kids and their resilience, leading efforts to connect partners and make change for communities and kids across the country, and around the world. She was the Vice President of Partnership Development at KABOOM!, has held senior leadership roles at Habitat for Humanity International, Save the Children, and spent more than a decade in international marketing communications at several large corporations. Lysa has led both public and private fundraising teams, cause marketing and communications campaigns with large global corporations.
  • Dr. Christine Sims, Associate Professor of Educational Linguistics/ American Indian Education at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.  Dr. Sims specializes in indigenous language revitalization and maintenance issues, provides technical assistance to indigenous nations in language program planning, and trains American Indian language teachers. She established the American Indian Language Policy Research and Teacher Training Center at UNM in 2008. The Center engages in public advocacy and training support to Indigenous language maintenance and revitalization initiatives in New Mexico and has sponsored several international language symposia with funding support from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Sims is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Acoma and resides with her family on the Acoma Pueblo reservation in northwest New Mexico.

Below is the full recording of the keynote session
Power PLAYer Panel: PLAY IS SURVIVAL

 

This is one of the 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations from the 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL – all recorded live earlier this year. Want to see more great online professional development content like this?!

Register for the REBOOT of the 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference by August 31 — this will give you ON DEMAND access through December 31, 2021.

 

 


The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual professional development 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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features 80+ headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations, networking and much more – all online from April 1 through December 31, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


#BlackGirlMagic Monday Series Available ON DEMAND through Dec 31

Exploring the shared living experiences of Black girls and women through play is vital.  The hashtag #BlackGirlMagic is used to express not only excellence and brilliance of black women but has led young girls and women to inspire one another, activate contextual awareness and grow in power together.

#BlackGirlMagic Mondays

Join host Corliss Outley, PhD, for a series of presentations and conversations that explore the magic of Black Girls play, highlighting spaces where Black girls can experience freedom, autonomy, and joy and validate their experiences in today’s society.

Each presentation was recorded live and is available ON DEMAND through December 31.  Registration is required (details below).

Monday May 3 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Empowerment, Play & Black Girlhood through History”
Corliss Outley, PhD, Professor, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Mgmt
with Anitra Alexander, MS, Clemson University
From backyards to schoolyards to community parks, play has been intertwined with racial and sexual violence against Black girl’s bodies throughout American history. This discussion will provide a glimpse into the lived experiences of Black girls and the significance of play as sources of hope, healing, agency, and justice across US history. This introduction discussion serves as the jump off point for a deeper understanding of the series.

Monday, May 10 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Black Girlhood, Agency & Play in the Outdoors”
Aby Sene-Harper, PhD, Assistant Professor, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Mgmt, Clemson University
The outdoors has historically been viewed as beneficial to both our mental, physical, and spiritual development. At the same time, for many Black girls and women, the outdoors have also been spaces where sexualized and racialized violence was heaped upon their womanhood to enact and enforce a white supremacist social order. Yet, through it all Black girls and women have also reclaimed outdoor spaces to conjure up innovative Black diasporic cultural practices of resistance, survival and self-determination. This presentation will discuss how PLAY in the outdoors for Black girls can be rooted in this long legacy of cultural of resistance and self-determination.

Monday, May 17 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Raising Strong Daughters: The Impact of Daughter-Father Relationships in Play”
Daphne Harris, PhD, Senior Lecturer, Educational Psychology, University of North Texas
Given the vital role of Black fathers in the lives of Black girls, this talk will interrogate the daughter-father relationship in play and how it is used as a mechanism for bonding, socialization, and empowerment. Special attention will be given to Black fathers’ conceptualization of play and shared activities and how they use this time to create space for Black girls to freely explore and make sense of the world around them.

Monday, June 7 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Afro-centric Dance & Intergenerational Play”
Sharon McKenzie, PhD, Asst. Professor, Recreation Therapy & Gerontology, Kean University
Historically in the African Diaspora, dance has played an intricate role in the cultural nuances and expressions of its people. From a cultural lens, general movements, ritualistic movements, and dance performances have been a catalyst for intergenerational exchange particularly between young girls and mature women. We will facilitate a discourse of the multiple realms and vital roles of dance in the lives of young girls and women.

Monday, June 14 at 12:00 noon (ET)/9:00 am (PT)
“Black Girlhood and Play: Where do we go from here?”
Aishia Brown, PhD, Asst Professor, School of Public Health & Information Sciences, University of Louisville
Play spaces and activities have been recognized for their significance in combating oppression by serving as spaces for resistance as well as healing for Black girls and women. These issues are not just historical but contemporary and relevant as illustrated in the hashtag #BlackGirlMagic. Representing the last discussion in the series, this workshop concludes with an overview of the role race, gender, and age play in the lived experiences of Black girls within play spaces. It will finalize by presenting strategies in order to better serve this population through the development of new policies and practices that are viewed as vital to the future of the field of play.


#BlackGirlMagic Mondays is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring dozens of recorded headliners, workshops, educational and research presentations – available ON DEMAND through December 31, 2021.

Register for the full Virtual Play Conference or choose the #BlackGirlMagic Mondays ONLY option.

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education

How does play fit within the higher education mission? And what prevents academia from realizing its benefits?

“Professors at Play: Bringing Fun and Joy into Higher Education”
with Lisa K. Forbes & David Thomas
Friday, April 23
2:00pm ET/11:00am PT

While play and elementary education have a long and positive history, post-secondary education has largely remained an ivory tower of serious contemplation and humorless work.

The Professors at Play community represents a movement in post-secondary instruction to encourage the utilization of play in teaching and learning.

This session covers student perceptions and outcomes, faculty approaches and barriers to play, a review of current research and a select inventory of playful approaches at various levels of scale–from single activities through whole course play. This session will sketch out the current landscape of play across higher ed and conclude with possible future directions and a call to action for participants to enact change.


Lisa K. Forbes, PhD, is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Counseling Program at the University of Colorado Denver. Lisa is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is training to become a Play Therapist. Lisa’s research centers around intensive mothering practices, gender conformity, and mental health and…you guessed it, play and fun in teaching and learning!

David Thomas PhD, is the Executive Director of Online Programs at the University of Denver and Assistant Professor Attendant in the Department of Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver. David’s research centers around fun, fun objects (like buildings!) and the meaning of play.


This session is part of the 2021 VIRTUAL Conference on the Value of Play, featuring weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online through June 30, 2021.  Registered 2021 Virtual Play Conference attendees will access the session in the Attendee Hub.

This presentation will be recorded and included in our 2021 VIRTUAL Play Conference content, so don’t fret if you miss the live session!

 

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, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, park and recreation professionals, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The 2021 Virtual Conference on the Value of Play: PLAY IS SURVIVAL explores play across the lifespan, play in the workplace, play in the classroom and address universal issues of access, equity, inclusion and more.  The conference features weekly live headliners and networking events, dozens of recorded educational and research presentations and much more – all online from April 1 through June 30, 2021.  We hope you will engage with us virtually in the interest of public health, wellness, safety and education!!!


VIDEO: Panel Discusses Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook is a joint effort of the Children and Nature Network, the Meridian Institute, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, Outdoor Alliance for Kids and North American Association of Environmental Education.

As part of the 2020 Online Conference on the Value of Play, representatives of each organization (detailed below) discussed the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook, a tool to empower grassroots and grasstops leaders and educate state legislators on the value of outdoor engagement and play – with an aim to work together to pass legislation to give more youth and families more outdoor opportunities.

Panelists include:

Watch the full video of the panel presentation recorded live on Zoom, April 24, 2020: “Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play: Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook”
Want to see more great online professional development content like this?!
Join the 2020 Online Conference on the Value of Play through December 15.
 

The Conference on the VALUE of Play
The Play Conference, as it is commonly known, is an annual educational conference presented by the US Play Coalition. The latest research and practices in the field of play are presented at the conference, which brings together play researchers, park and recreation professionals, educators, health scientists, architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, business and community leaders, psychologists, physicians and parents from across the U.S. and beyond. The three day event has been moved ONLINE for 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  It is our first-ever online Play Conference! Learn more at usplaycoalition.org/playconference2020


VIDEO: A conversation about “The Relationship between Play and Relationships”

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.

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.

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


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!


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!


Panel Discusses Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play for Next “Play Hour”

The Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook is a joint effort of the Children and Nature Network, the Meridian Institute, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, Outdoor Alliance for Kids and North American Association of Environmental Education.

Join us Friday, April 24, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT for “Engaging State Policymakers with Outdoor Play: Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook.”

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

With representatives of each organization (detailed below), this session will highlight the Youth Outdoor Policy Playbook, a tool to empower grassroots and grasstops leaders and educate state legislators on the value of outdoor engagement and play – with an aim to work together to pass legislation to give more youth and families more outdoor opportunities.

Panelists include:

Martin LeBlanc (moderator)
Martin LeBlanc is a strategic planning, public policy, and fundraising specialist with two decades of experience helping organizations expand their impact and Principal at LBC Action a Strategic Advisory Firm. He is co-founder and vice-president emeritus for the board of the Children & Nature Network. Martin is also a member of the US Play Coalition’s steering committee.

Robyn Paulekas, Meridian Institute
Robyn Paulekas is a Senior Mediator and Program Manager in Meridian’s Dillon, CO office. She has led and supported both domestic and international projects on water, conservation, outdoor recreation, agriculture, and climate change—often working at the nexus of more than one of these issues.  Robyn has extensive experience finding and catalyzing collaborative solutions.

Sarah Bodor, North American Association of Environmental Education
NAAEE’s Director of Policy & Affiliate Relations, Sarah Bodor comes from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where she worked closely with state education agencies in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia to develop and pilot standards-based curricula and provide teacher professional development.  From 2008-2012, Sarah coordinated the national No Child Left Inside grassroots coalition and in 2008, she served as the writer of Maryland’s Children in Nature Plan, which resulted in passage of Maryland’s environmental high school graduation requirement.

Dylan McDowell, National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)
Dylan McDowell serves as the Deputy Director for NCEL. Dylan is a science communicator with a passion for environmental issues. He specializes in making complex science accessible for a general audience, and his background includes developing education and outreach programs for the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Hatfield Marine Science Center. He is an active science writer and regularly contributes to Oregon Sea Grant publications.

Jayni Rasmussen, Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK)
Jayni is a Senior Campaign Manager for the Outdoors Alliance for Kids (OAK) & Youth for the Sierra Club. Previously, she served as NRPA’s Advocacy and Outreach Manager, where she designed, implemented and managed the Park Champion initiative, a national grassroots advocacy program training park and recreation professionals and park advocates to invite their members of Congress to see their parks and programs first-hand at site visits and events.

James E. King Jr.
James E. King Jr., MAED is an African American researcher, environmental activist, and cultural responsiveness facilitator based in Seattle, Washington originally from Atlanta, Georgia. He currently works on multiple projects, facilitating the growth of awareness within multicultural environmental education alongside conferences, industries, communities, schools and now the filming industry. He calls it J.E.D.I. Training. Outside of his work you can find James outdoors connecting to nature with family and friends.

 

 

“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 on 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!


“Play Hour” Heads Under the Big Top to Consider Circus as a Teaching Tool

Expect to learn a skill to amaze your family at the next LIVE Zoom presentation!

“Ta Dah! Circus as a Teaching Tool”
with Jessica Hentoff, Artistic/Executive Director, Circus Harmony
Monday, April 20, 10:30am EDT/7:30am PDT. (Registered conference attendees will receive Zoom details by email.)

The best way to educate is to be entertaining and the best way to entertain is to be educational! For many children, sitting still while learning is difficult. Experiential and fun learning has been proven to be more effective. Circus arts works across ages, backgrounds, and school subjects!  You do not have to be an acrobat or a tightrope walker yourself to apply this fun, fantastic, flexible art form!

Circus arts are an amazing activity that can be used to teach physical education, science, math, language, history and more! It is also perfect for teaching character education. Circus helps children learn concepts in a new and fun way that they will remember and apply. This holistic approach to learning not only teaches academic or character concepts, but, at the same time, helps children develop their physical literacy, strength, flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and spatial awareness. In addition, students can learn how to present themselves in public, an all-around useful life skill! Circus is most obvious to use as an alternative approach to physical education. It is non-competitive and is comprised of several genres so there literally is something for everyone.

Our “Play Hour” presenter is Jessica Hentoff, the artistic/executive director of Circus Harmony, a social circus based in St. Louis, Missouri. Circus Harmony is a non-profit social circus organization that uses 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.

 

 

 

“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 on 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!