The first-ever Sacramento Play Summit will take place on September 7. Not only is this the first time a conference of this nature will be held in Sacramento, it is also the first time we have held such a program off-campus, the first time we have partnered with the Sacramento Public Library on a stand-alone event, and – after 54 years of planning playful and educational programs for children – the first time we have planned a full-day program for adults.
I was motivated to develop a play conference by my sabbatical two years ago. The play professionals I met abroad were incredibly inspiring, and the research I saw and seminars I attended were extremely compelling and powerful.
I was delighted to find allies for play in the Sacramento Public Library and ScholarShare College Savings Plan. A public library and a college savings plan are not the most natural partners for promoting play, but Rivkah Sass and Zeny Agullana, the leaders of these organizations respectively, recognize how important play is to healthy child development, raising readers, and, as a result, to future success.
We brainstormed about a conference last year, and our first formal meeting about the conference was held on February 14 – an auspicious date for a new partnership! We identified our goals and set out to design a meaningful conference for our community. And, nearly one year after our initial conversation and many months of planning we are ready to roll!
The conference features three keynote speakers. Our morning keynote, Dr. Melissa Arca, will discuss play and health. Our noontime speaker, author Barney Saltzberg will talk about the importance of play to the creative process. Our closing presenter, Myla Marks of Playworks, will address the need for meaningful play in schools and community settings. In between the keynotes there are nine workshops focused on four different tracks: play and literacy, play and the arts, play in parks and recreation, and adventure play. The workshop presenters include university professors, elementary teachers, parks and recreation professionals and literacy experts.
There will be more than ‘talk’ about play, though! We will share morning coffee, lunch and afternoon snacks; take time to play in-between sessions; and, perhaps, end the day by setting up a coalition of people who want to promote play in our community. Play is as important to community development as it is to child development. In fact, play is the foundation for all learning and development – something that will be driven home when you attend the first-ever Sacramento Play Summit on September 7.
I hope to see you there!