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Prioritizing Play Conference - About our Key Note Speakers

Prioritizing Play Conference, hosted by KOOP and in collaboration with Pop Up Adventure Play are happy to have two fabulous keynote speakers. Peter Gray and Morgan Leichter-Saxby will talk about play each through their comprehensive research and experience. Look out for details about Early Bird Registration and more speakers information.

Key Note- Peter Gray

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College who has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. He earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and Ph.D. in biological sciences, many years ago, at the Rockefeller University. His own current play includes kayaking, long distance bicycling, cross-country skiing, and vegetable gardening.

Key Note- Morgan Leichter-Saxby

Morgan trained as a Playworker and Mobile Play Ranger in London following her MA in Anthropology, first with Penny Wilson and then Bob Hughes. In 2010, she co-founded Pop-Up Adventure Play US to address the lack of playwork knowledge in her home country. Since then she has presented at over a dozen conferences, including the keynote at the Children’s Development Forum in Bogota, and trained frontline staff at new and established sites. She has published numerous articles, and been named Playwork Writer of the Year (2013). She blogs at, and at Pop-Up Adventure Play leads on training. Together, Morgan and Suzanna created the Pop-Up Play Shop and Toolkit, designed and delivered the Playworker Development Course and produced The New American Adventure Playground Movement: How Communities Across the USA are Returning Risk and Freedom to Childhood. In 2015 they went on a World Tour, running workshops and public play events in the US, Costa Rica, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the UK.

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