Each year as part of our continuous development as a staff and for our program we take part in either attending a conference or visiting a school. This year some of our team traveled to Urbana-Champaign, Illinois for the Prioritizing Play Conference. In this inaugural year the conference was hosted by KOOP (Kid Owned and Operated Play) Adventure Play and Pop-Up Adventure Play. The staff had the opportunity to attend lectures and interactive conference sessions by several speakers and researchers in the area of prioritizing play for kids of all ages.
Dr. Peter Gray, an evolutionary psychologist, led lectures and shared his research on the power of play and self-directed learning and on adult discomfort with self-directed play. Morgan Leichter-Saxby a trained playworker and co-founder of Pop-Up Adventure shared her knowledge on reflective practice, play-based approaches to challenging behavior, and led us through an open discussion on issues of gender and race. We also had the chance to hear from other trained playworkers and the co-founders of KOOP on topics such as risk and risk-benefit assessments, building community around play for all ages, and loose parts in the classroom.
These opportunities for staff development led to enriching reflective practice of our program. It anchors what we know to be true, that children learn best through play. Through our almost 50 years in practice we continue to focus on the social-emotional development of each child through play. Through our conversations we continue to question and reflect on our goals for how we can best meet the needs of our program. We look forward to continuing our conversations and review of our practices that could lead to an even stronger program.
We wish you a playful summer. If you’re moving on from SYC we hope you will come back to visit and keep in touch. Stay tuned for information on the 50th anniversary celebration!
…Susan Roscigno and Amy Rudawsky, SYC Co-Directors