The 2019 Play in Education Conference took place in November at Navy Pier in Chicago and offered educators from Illinois, Wisconsin and surrounding states the opportunity to learn from fellow teachers, experts and passionate play advocates.
The conference was kicked off my Tim Walsh, game designer and filmmaker, and Mary Kay Morrison, the author of Using Humor to Maximize Learning.
Tim presented five tips to hack the creativity curve while sharing real world examples that inspired everyone to boost their creative output.
Mary Kay presented a predictably hilarious take on the potential and power of humor to engage and help facilitate comprehension and retention. Additional topics explored included how play relates to child trauma and mental illness, the benefits of laughter as a therapeutic intervention in the classroom, ways to create a positive school culture, and tips to cope with stress.
Immediately after our lunch, which included numerous hands-on play opportunities, teacher and educational leader, Jed Dearybury shared some unique ways to bring creativity and the arts into the classroom. Jed's breakouts had attendees designing games, cooperating and learning. He promised, "You will leave the workshop ready to try out new playful ideas that will keep your learners engaged and curious as they experience true arts integration." Boy did he deliver.
Peter Dargatz presented next and as a founding member of the Wisconsin Nature-Based Early Childhood Association (WINBECA), he was able to delivery awesome take-aways for teachers and attendees wanting to document play and assess current curricular standards and age-appropriate developmental milestones. His unique Play Profiles system perfectly illustrated the early childhood skills that can be observed through play.
Our enthusiastic closing session speaker was Joyce Hemphill, a veteran teacher with 30 years of college classroom experience teaching infant-child development, cognition, and learning. Her session showcased simple educational games and activities that can be made using common everyday items and the various cognitive, physical, and social benefits received from playing with each.
Every attendee had the opportunity to earn continuing education credits from the Continuing Education Institute of Illinois. As a part of that process, attendees were encouraged to take part in a rigorous review of the conference, each presenter and the overall benefit of their participation. We were thrilled to receive such great reviews!
Without our awesome sponsors we could not have produced such an impactful and memorable PIE CON. Please consider joining us in 2020!