Building a Community that Values Free Play in Nature
REGISTRATION IS LIMITED: Call 502-955-8512 to register for one or both days.
Friday, October 4th: 9:00-5:00 – Conference Sessions
Saturday, October 5th: 10:00-4:00 – Day of Play
- Dress for the weather both days-
Featuring keynote addresses by:
Register by calling Bernheim at 502-955-8512
Direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Children at Play Conference is a gathering of people interested in exploring free-play in nature. The purpose of the conference is to build a collective vision and specific strategies that value play as a way toward a healthier community and future.
CEUs and Professional Development
The Kentucky Landscape Architect Board has pre-approved 4.5 hours of continuing education credit for attending the Friday portion of the conference.
Bernheim is glad to work with educators and others to self-report attendance for professional credit.
Anyone with an interest in exploring the value of play:
Parents, Teachers, Playground Designers, Landscape Architects, Community Planners, Childcare Providers, Children, Artists, Activists…people that enjoy and value play.
WHERE? At Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest. (Directions HERE)
- Friday’s programs will take place in a tented area near the Education Center. Lunch will be provided. Registration required.
- Saturday’s programs will take place at the Bernheim Children’s Play Garden (in Guerilla Hollow). Bring a picnic lunch. Snacks will be available. Registration suggested but aspects of the day will also be open to drop-in participation.
SCHEDULE AT A GLANCE
Friday, October 4th – Bernheim Education Center – Registration Required
8:30 – 9:00 Registration and Coffee
9:00 – 9:10 Welcoming Remarks
9:10 – 10:10 Keynote Address – Rusty Keeler “Natural Playscapes and Adventure Play”
10:10 – 10:20 Break
10:20 – 11:15 Keynote Address – Morgan Leichter-Saxby “Playwork and Communities”
11:15 – 11:20 Break
11:20 – 12:00 Research Address – Michele Hemenway “Unforgetable Learning: The Science Behind Play”
12:00 – 1:00 Local Foods Lunch (included with registration)
1:00 – 2:00 Pecha Kucha – Local Visions for Play (Eight 4oo-second presentations)
2:00 – 2:10 Break
2:10 – 3:25 Small Group Brainstorming, Building a Shared Vision
3:25 – 3:45 Break and Travel to Children’s Play Garden
3:45 – 5:00 Play Charrette – Generating Ideas for Outdoor Places
Saturday, October 5th – Bernheim Children’s Play Garden – Registration Suggested (*)
The schedule for Saturday is flexible. The day will include:
- Guided play activities by regional play workers
- Learning through Play – curriculum based play
- Build it Sessions – installation of outdoor play structures
- Build it Sessions – willow structures
- Loose Parts Play – learn how to create dynamic play anywhere
- Nature Play – How to incorporate nature into play
- Play Activities – modeling outdoor play options
- Rolling, swinging, climbing, skipping, digging, mud pies, straw forts, more
(*) Some aspects of the Saturday program are only available to registered participants.
Register by calling Bernheim: 502-955-8512
Both Days: Suggested $50 – $100 (includes lunch on Friday only)
Friday Only: Suggested $40 to $85 (includes lunch)
Saturday Only: Suggested $20 to $40 (snacks provided, bring a picnic lunch)
- Sliding Scale – Pay what you can afford
- Since lunch is provided a minimum of $20 is highly encouraged
- Nobody will be turned away for an inability to pay
- Group rates available
Rusty Keeler – Natural Playscapes and Adventure Play Over the past 20 years, Rusty Keeler has worked with hundreds of community, school, parks, university, and childcare leaders to dream, design, and construct beautiful outdoor environments for children in more than 30 states, and throughout Canada, Europe, China, Australia, and New Zealand. Keeler is one of the pioneers in the movement to reconnect children to nature and his designs reflect his sincere desire to create a more beautiful world in which to grow and explore. Keeler is the author of the book, Natural Playscapes: Creating Outdoor Play Environments for the Soul (Exchange Press: 2008) and is a frequent keynote speaker and presenter at conferences, communities, and colleges worldwide. He is now helping to lead what he calls the “adventure play renaissance.” When not designing natural playscapes he can be found barefoot in his garden outside of Ithaca, NY.
Morgan Leichter-Saxby M.A. - Playwork and Communities Morgan is a playwork trainer, writer and consultant, educated at Vassar College and University College London. She began working as an inclusive playworker with Penny Wilson and Bob Hughes, providing front-line services in some of London’s most underprivileged neighborhoods. She is a cofounder and a Director of Pop-Up Adventure Play, an organization which works internationally to support children’s play in the neighborhoods where they live. With them and independently, she has provided training and services for clients including Sarah Lawrence College, the Alliance for Childhood, Demos Think Tank, Providence Children’s Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art (NYC). She has also traveled to support play in the Gambia, Istanbul, Cairo and Bogota, presented at over a dozen international conferences, was the 2012 Playwork Writer of the Year, and blogs at www.playeverything.wordpress.com
Michele Hemenway M.A. – Unforgetable Learning: The Science Behind Play
Michele is an educator with more than thirty years experience in the classroom and in parent and teacher training. She has a Masters degree in both Waldorf Education and Learning and Behavior Disorders. She has written curricula for numerous local and national organizations and currently teaches courses in education for JCTCS, Ivy Techincal Community College /Indiana, Bellarmine University and Kentucky School of Art at Spalding University. She has conducted award winning programming in Louisville schools engaging students in civic engagement. Her presentation will focus on research that supports the role sensory input plays in “unforgettable learning” and how outdoor play supports educational objectives.
Visions of Play – Pecha Kucha style presentations – Part of Friday Conference
1) Rob Lanier – The Waldorf School of Louisville - The Art of Play
2) Christa Weidner – Jefferson Memorial Forest - Creating a Nature Explore Classroom
3) Valerie Magnuson – Portland Plays – Kick-starting a Play Space
4) Hannah Helm – The Fantasy Forest
5) Claude Stephens – Bernheim – Learning to Navigate Risk through Play
6) David Dornick and Renee Hennessy – St. Francis School - Natural Play Project
In addition to Rusty Keeler and Morgan Leichter-Saxby, a number of regional play facilitators will engage participants in various activities and experiences that help illustrate how play spaces can be activated. This is a hands-on day of fun. Bring on the kids of all ages.
James Moody – Creating Willow Structures
In addition to being a horticulturist at Bernheim, James is a willow sculptor. He has extensive experience building sculptural environments from willow and other woody cuttings. In 2011, James was special assistant to internationally acclaimed stick artist Patrick Dougherty. During the Day of Play, James will invite participants to join him in creating a willow structure.
Christa Weidner – Nature Explore in a Playground
Christa Weidner is a naturalist at Jefferson Memorial Forest, part of Louisville Metro Parks. She has been an environmental educator for almost 20 years and a naturalist at heart since childhood. Christa completed the first certified Nature Explore Classroom in Kentucky, with a lot of help from boy scouts, staff and volunteers. During the Day-of-Play Christa will invite children and adults to see what can be created using the natural materials around you. Be creative and spend quality time with your children as you re-visit the childhood you had playing outdoors.
Bart Galloway – Feeding Imaginations
Bart is a Louisville based fine artist and educator who stays busy as an illustrator, portrait painter, percussionist and an artist in residence. Bart grew up in a family steeped in music, literature, visual arts and physical activity. He has an MFA in painting from the University of Mississippi. He has taught Art to students from age 4 to 90 in a variety of settings, including 12 plus years in undergraduate and graduate school programs. Bart is currently in his fifth year of employment in the mental health community as an arts facilitator where creative play is crucial to self-worth, recovery and quality of life. During the Day-of-Play Bart will help participants learn to explore improvisation and exercise their imaginations through movement, sonic exploration and character driven, fantasy play.
Portland Plays Group – Involving Children in Visioning
Leaders with the Portland Plays Project will show participants how they created a project planning board that they used with children during a playground design and play day. Use of the board helped the group get buy-in from children that will help them in the next step planning to build a nature based play ground in the Portland Neighborhood of Louisville. This project is supported in part by a mini-grant provided through the Children at Play Initiative. It’s a group effort of Portland Plays, Louisville Grows and Bernheim.
Maria Whitley – Music and Movement Play
Maria has taught movement & music to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, elementary school children, tweens, teens and adults of every decade for more than 12 years. She holds a Certification Level Two in Teaching from the Center for Music and Young Children and has taught thousands of families using the Music Together® Curriculum which is based largely on the idea that children learn best through play. During the Day-of-Play Maria will offer movement play experiences to mixed age groupings with parents or without for older kids.
Gregory Acker – Group Ensemble Play
Gregory Acker provides community-building world music workshops and related arts activities for groups of all ages and abilities. Mr. Acker holds an MA in Ethnomusicology and is a former Peace Corps volunteer in two countries in Africa, with extended study experience in India and Indonesia. He teaches college-level world music courses and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Southern Arts Federation, Greater Louisville Fund for the Arts, and the City of Louisville. During the Day-of-Play Gregory will involve participants in music activities that encourage group play.
Rob Lanier - Prepositions at Play
Rob has a Master’s in Education from Antioch New England Graduate School in New Hampshire and is a teacher at the Waldorf School of Louisville. His professional background includes leadership, directing, and teaching positions with Louisville Youth Choir and Walden Theatre. He has also served as a music and anthroposophical studies teacher at the Kentahten Waldorf Teacher Training Institute at Bellarmine University. During the Day-of-Play, Waldorf faculty and parents, led by Rob Lanier, design, build and explain the workings of a play environment that is geared towards elementary school-aged children. The form will be subtle, noninvasive, and easily maintained and replicated. For our purposes, we will create a play space that, through its use, elicits from children language, specifically the prepositions that convey our location in physical space.
Sara Caldwell – Creating a Play Space Planning Map
Sara Caldwell is a volunteer at the Shippingport Community Garden and is working alongside many other parents in the Portland Community to create a natural play space for children. Sara is a mother of four and for 20 years has strived to integrate creative play and art in her children’s lives. During the Day-of-Play Sara will show how she created a planning map used to play around with playground configurations on paper before the heavy lifting begins.
Joe Autry – Sculpting a Place for Play
Joe Autry is a multi-disciplined sculptor and Yoga instructor. He has worked extensively in stone, metal, wood, ice, sand and salt. In addition, Joe has worked artisan trades including furniture making, blacksmithing, sand casting metals, masonry and home remodeling. During the Day-of-Play Joe will continue work on chainsaw carved wooden sculptural elements that were initiated at Bernheim’s CONNECT event. He specializes in turning standing dead trees into artistic creations that invite exploration.