Prioritizing Play Conference

Relating to Play

In this 7-week conference experience, professionals from across disciplines will gather together to help us all better relate to play. Each week focuses on another aspect of relating to play with content available for 7 days each week. We'll build a community of practitioners online with discussions, Live Q&A's and we'll dig deep into our own practice and play ourselves using a custom created Playbook Reflection Guide, built in collaboration with all the speakers & playworkers. If you're looking to transform your practice in manageable chunks that allow time for application and reflection, this is the conference experience for you. 

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KOOP Adventure Play

with Pop-Up Adventure Play &

The Playwork Collective present:

Prioritizing Play Conference:

"Relating to Play..."

Play may be one of the most universally relatable experiences while simultaneously being deeply personal to the player. As humans approaching play for the younger people in our care, it's imperative that we broaden our relationship to play... meaning that we make it personal to ourselves, that we listen and seek to understand other professions and that we gather all these truths in our hearts and mind before bringing these newfound understandings back to our work. 

Whether you're a librarian, play therapist, park district official, teacher, playworker, occupational therapist or anything relating to sharing space with children, there is content here for you. There are tools and applicable knowledge waiting for you here to transform your practice. 

In this now fully online gathering, we'll explore varying perspectives on play and examine our own. We'll build a community of thoughtful practitioners ready to create "more play" in their settings. We'll grow together and by the end, we'll better relate to play.

A transformative 7-week experience that invites practitioners to investigate ways they can better relate to play for themselves and for children in their care.

Prioritizing Play Conference:

"Relating to Play..."

Sept. 19- Oct. 31

Click each week for a full description and speaker list!

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Weekly Content

You'll get 7 weeks of content, each available for 1 week

Community

You'll get access to our private community to network and learn together

Live Q&A's

Each week we'll gather for a live Q&A with varying speakers

Invitation to Reflective Practice

You'll receive a digital copy of our Playbook each week

 
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Morgan Leichter- Saxby

Pop-Up Adventure Play

Morgan first worked as a playworker and play ranger in London and Cardiff, with Bob Hughes and Penny Wilson, while pursuing an MA in Material and Visual Culture (Anthropology) at the University College of London. In 2010, Morgan co-founded Pop-Up Adventure Play and has worked since to help establish the playwork field in the USA.  Morgan now leads on resource content and training, and is working towards a PhD in Playwork at Leeds Beckett University, with Prof. Fraser Brown.

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Lisa Murphy

Ooey Gooey Inc.

More Soon!

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Dr. Carla Gull

Loose Parts Nature Play

Dr. Carla Gull teaches beginning college classes online with the University of Phoenix, hosts the podcast Loose Parts Nature Play, leads nature programming in her local area, facilitates professional development in early childhood, shares insights on Loose Parts Play on social media, and enjoys finding frogs and salamanders with her 4 boys. She researches tree climbing, outdoor classrooms, and the theory of loose parts. Find her at www.loosepartsnatureplay.com.

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Wendy Russell

Playworker, Trainer, Researcher

Wendy Russell started working on adventure playgrounds in the UK in the mid-1970s and has worked in play and playwork since then. She is currently an independent researcher and a Visiting Fellow at the University of Gloucestershire, UK. She’s worked in playwork, training and education, development and research with local, national and international organisations in the public, community and private sectors. She is a passionate advocate for spatial justice for children, which is an unashamedly political stance.

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Harrison Pinckney IV

Clemson University

An Assistant Professor at Clemson University, Harrison Pinckney is committed to improving the lives of Black youth through recreation, leisure and play. Through his research, he examines the institutions, programs, and services that promote and hinder the development of Black teens. In the classroom, Harrison challenges future recreation professionals to consider how they will utilize their careers to create equitable recreation, leisure and play experiences for all.

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Alex Cote

Playworker

Alex Cote is a US-based playworker currently making space for play at Riverdale Country School. Alex has previously playworked at the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone in Ithaca, NY and Eureka Villa Adventure Playground in Val Verde, CA. Hear more at Alex's blog Playbound or on this fabulous first episode of Erin Davis' Playwork Podcast.

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Erica Larsen- Dockray

SCV Adventure Play, Calibraska Arts Initiative

Erica Larsen-Dockray is a media artist, teaching artist, playworker, entrepreneur and activist in North Los Angeles County. She is a co-founder and board member at SCV Adventure Play Foundation and Founding Director of the Calibraska Arts Initiative where she runs a teaching artist residency and now online programming for folx of all ages. Her art practice includes hybrid installations consisting of varying elements such as painting, moving image, performance, interactivity, and experimental projection all heavily influenced by her colliding experiences as a woman, playworker, mother, activist, and educator. In 2012, Erica received her MFA from CalArts in Experimental Animation and Integrated Media and is also an occasional special faculty for the institute.

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Suzanna Law

Pop-Up Adventure Play

Suzanna began as a mobile playworker, or playranger, in socio-economically deprived neighborhoods in Manchester, UK. She then pursued a second BA, graduated in 2012 with a First-Class Honours Degree in Playwork. At the same time, she helped to found Pop-Up Adventure Play in both the UK and US, was Lead Playworker during a 2 month residency on Governors Island in NYC. She is currently working towards her PhD in Playwork at Leeds Beckett University, works closely with projects in Hong Kong and Malaysia, and is a gifted artist! At Pop-Up Adventure Play, she leads on project coordination and online communications.

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Ann Clare

University Primary School

More soon!

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Beth Hogan

Teacher, Board President, KOOP

As a former high school teacher and current middle school teacher at Campus Middle School in Urbana, I am always searching for ways to maximize students’ agency through student independence, choice, and creativity in the classes in which I teach and learn. After working for twenty-five years with teens, I’ve learned that some of the best moments in the classroom come from students’ playfulness and their genuine sense of inquiry.

 

 My own children, twin boys, taught me the importance of child-led play and reminded me how crucial outdoor play is to their well-being. As a KOOP board member, I see how child-directed play provides an opportunity for children to develop creativity, negotiate play, and gain confidence. Overall, the joy I’ve seen in my children is unmatched by other structured activities.

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Robyn Gobin

PhD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Robyn L. Gobin is a wife, dog mom, licensed clinical psychologist, author, educator, and meditation teacher who is passionate about helping women love and care for themselves fully and unconditionally. She is a nationally recognized expert on interpersonal trauma and women's mental health. She has several years of experience as a trauma therapist, supporting survivors reclaim their mental health. Her latest book, "The Self-Care Prescription: Powerful Solutions to Manage Stress, Reduce Anxiety, and Enhance Well-Being" aims to teach people how to take better care of themselves—mind, body, and spirit. In her free time she enjoys trying new recipes, sipping on peppermint tea, watching movies with her hubby, and snuggling with her four-legged son.

 

To learn more about Dr. Gobin, visit her website at www.robyngobin.com or connect with her on Instagram or Facebook (@drrobyngobin). 

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Kisha Reid

Discovery Early Learning Center

More soon!

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Jill Wood

Bayou City Play

Jill Wood founded Adventure Play at The Parish School, one of only a handful of site-based adventure playgrounds in the US, in 2008 and has served as director since. In 2014, she co-founded Bayou City Play, a group of playworkers, therapists, and artists who provide child-directed play opportunities in city parks, children's hospitals, libraries, shelters, and schools. She is also a children's librarian and finds many useful intersections between the two professions, the most important of which is that children are inherently capable and completely whole exactly as they are.

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Angela Hanscom

Timbernook

Angela J. Hanscom is a pediatric occupational therapist and founder of TimberNook—an award-winning developmental and nature-based program that has gained international popularity. She is also the author of Balanced and Barefoot: How Unrestricted Outdoor Play Makes for Strong, Confident, and Capable Children.Awarded a “Hometown Hero” by Glamour magazine for her innovative work with TimberNook, Hanscom has also been a frequent contributor to The Washington Post, and was featured on the NPR education blog, Children & Nature Network, Edutopia, and Johnson & Johnson TEDx Talks. 

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Ali Wood

Meriden Adventure Playground

More soon!

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Ijumaa Jordan

Ijumaa Jordan ECE Consulting

More Soon!

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Olivia Gray

Play Therapist, LCPC

Olivia Gray is a licensed therapist who has been providing play therapy services to children (and adults!) since 2013. I have a strong passion for play!

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Yoni Kallai

Lead Playworker, play:ground NYC, performer at The Muse

Yoni stumbled across playwork and understood what was the thing he was looking for. He is one of the founders and the head playworker of play:groundNYC. Yoni finds that his background of circus, military service, peer counseling, rigging, peace activism and most of all, being a child, help inform his practice as a playworker.

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Jeremiah Dockray

SCV Adventure Play

More Soon!

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Ali Lewis

University Primary School

Ali is an avid proponent for playful learning and children's deep competence. As director of The College of Education's preschool-5th grade Reggio Emilia inspired lab school at the University of Illinois she is immersed in the good work schools and school communities promote. She is thrilled to join the Play Conference and looks forward to sharing glimpses into learning through play.

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Mischelle Brown

Humans2Nature

Humans2Nature INC, founded in 2013 is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit launched by Mischelle Brown, #kNOwMADLife/Chief PlayMaker & Treasure Hunter of Humans2Nature (H2N) INC. The H2N mission is to get kids outside adventure playing in nature. H2N hosts POP UP Adventure Playgrounds and Summer Adventure Play Camps to introduce the 8 characteristics of Adventure Play to schools, neighborhoods and communities as a most creative and adventurous option and/or alternative to Physical Education and Recess for school aged kids.

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Jeremiah Dockray

SCV Adventure Play

More Soon!

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Ali Lewis

University Primary School

Ali is an avid proponent for playful learning and children's deep competence. As director of The College of Education's preschool-5th grade Reggio Emilia inspired lab school at the University of Illinois she is immersed in the good work schools and school communities promote. She is thrilled to join the Play Conference and looks forward to sharing glimpses into learning through play.

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Mischelle Brown

Humans2Nature

Humans2Nature INC, founded in 2013 is a 501c3 tax exempt nonprofit launched by Mischelle Brown, #kNOwMADLife/Chief PlayMaker & Treasure Hunter of Humans2Nature (H2N) INC. The H2N mission is to get kids outside adventure playing in nature. H2N hosts POP UP Adventure Playgrounds and Summer Adventure Play Camps to introduce the 8 characteristics of Adventure Play to schools, neighborhoods and communities as a most creative and adventurous option and/or alternative to Physical Education and Recess for school aged kids.

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Susan Bane

Occupational Therapist, Yoga & Zumba instructor, KOOP board member

Susan Bane holds degrees in Recreational and Occupational Therapy. She is a practicing pediatric school
Occupational Therapist, registered yoga teacher and certified Zumba instructor and partners with her
husband on an organic farm, running a seasonal program which allows children and their families to
experience a taste of life on a midwest organic farm, along with a sampling of yoga for kids and various
nature-based play activities. She utilizes trauma informed practice in her work at a residential
facility/school for children with trauma history and resulting emotional regulation challenges. Besides
what is described above, some of her favorite pastimes include: taking walks in nature, especially on
spring days, when the woods is exploding with color, fragrant scents, and renewed life of all types-plant,
insect and mammals, vacationing with her husband and family to Lake Superior and watching her
grandchildren

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Kelsey Langley

Founding Director, Playworker

KOOP Adventure Play

More soon!

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Laura Walsh

Head of Play at Great Ormond Street Hospital

More soon!

A bit of background on the:

Prioritizing Play Conference:

"Relating to Play..."

When we held our first Prioritizing Play Conference in 2018, one thing we believed to be true was confirmed: there are an ever-growing number of folks all around the US (+beyond) who are hungry for resources on how to prioritize play in their settings.  

Teachers, Landscape Architects, Mayors, Early Childhood care providers and people from park districts, nature programs, libraries and museums attended in 2018... all with a vision-- that play is important and worthy of intentional and thoughtful provision-- and they left with inspiration to bring play to their setting or with ideas and connections on improving what they already offer. Some folks even started their own adventure play projects after the conference!

KOOP Adventure Play, Pop-Up Adventure Play and the newly formed Playwork Collective are 3 organizations grounded in playwork: a unique and long-established field of study and approach to working with children in which the child is in charge of their play and the adult supports the child's pursuits with a light touch and no judgement. Put very simply: playworkers prioritize play while they support and trust children. Playwork is growing in the United States and an answer to what so many professionals and parents feel to be true for children today: that their play is undervalued, inadequately provided for and generally an after-thought.

 

Gatherings like ours are bringing resources, opportunities for connection with play-minded professionals and support to folks working on better provision in their settings. This is the spot for you to recharge, network and prepare to move forward playfully in 2020! This is where you can learn more about playwork principles and gain real tools to apply to your work. This is the place for play!

We're choosing to see the limitations on in-person gatherings due to Covid-19 as a positive opportunity for this gathering... one that means even more people can access the amazing content we've created and even more presenters will be able to take part! We're absolutely thrilled with the vision we've cast for this conference on "Relating to Play..." and can't wait to begin this journey with you-- online! 

The cost is $160 and the content will be released each Saturday morning (CST) between September 19 and October 31 and available for you for the whole week. We're also building in opportunities to network and discuss your setting via live Q&A's with presenters and a private group to help us all better relate to one another and to play. 

More info on Speakers and weekly focuses coming soon!

 

We can't wait to spend these 7 weeks with you!  Click here to register!

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