Sometimes it seems we put so much emphasis on preparing children to become successful adults that we forget to give them time to just be kids. In the pressure to prepare children for the future, we lose sight of the present and the opportunities it holds. One of the greatest opportunities for growth seems to be increasingly neglected—play.

The Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (or PAEYC for short) continues to advocate for play within Pittsburgh and the surrounding region. On Saturday, September 17, PAEYC will be holding a Play Summit at the University of Pittsburgh’s University Club.

The event will include a workshop and a panel discussion. The workshop, “Hands, Heart & Mind” will feature Dr. Walter Drew of the Institute for Self Active Education Inc. and will offer training to “strengthen play-based learning and rekindle the play spirit in adults working with and for children.” Adults will learn by participating in play themselves and will be taught techniques for incorporating play philosophy into early learning classrooms.

The panel discussion following the workshop will discuss the importance of raising public awareness and advocating for play, as well as its benefits for children and educators. PAEYC  sums up the conversation as follows:


“Many experts in the field of early child development, anthropology, psychology, pediatrics, and mental health are concerned that play is being lost or severely curtailed. The results of this reduction could affect children’s creativity, thinking processes, problem solving capabilities, and physical and mental health. Unfortunately, the value and meaning of play are poorly understood in our hurried society for many reasons, including educational and societal trends that threaten and marginalize play.”


Experts from the aforementioned fields will debate the many facets of this issue and propose means of restoring play to its rightful place in the lives of children.

We know many of you are advocates of play yourselves, whether through your work with Spark-funded projects, in your classroom, or with your own children. We hope you can make it to the event! Visit to learn more and to register for the event.