In this podcast, we explore the nuances and contours of contemporary play through the lenses of accessibility, digital culture, modern parenting and fitness. Join us as we speak with engaging guests from across the spectrum of play - ranging from academics to practitioners to designers - as we try to understand what it truly means to "play" in the modern world.
In this episode, our guest is Alyson Schafer. Alyson is one of Canada’s leading parenting expert. She promotes a firm but friendly “democratic parenting” style and offers practical solutions backed by extensive evidence based research. Alyson is an Adlerian family counsellor, author and internationally acclaimed expert who empowers families by sharing her principles, rules and tools for raising co-operative and resilient kids. Armed with years of research, clinical and field experience, Alyson provides a new, positive understanding of family dynamics with actionable solutions that will give you the hope and confidence needed to transform your family.
Alyson speaks with us about how best to manage conflict within the family during this time, and provides explanations of why tensions might be increased, as well as a multitude of ways to de-escalate these conflicts and build a healthier family dynamic.
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On this episode, our guest is Rebecca Parlakian. Rebecca Parlakian serves as Senior Director of Programs at ZERO TO THREE, where she directs a portfolio of projects related to child development, parenting, and high quality teaching/caregiving. In her role, Rebecca has developed a variety of parenting resources in various formats (e.g., app, videos, podcasts, web-based resources). She has also co-authored three parenting education curricula and published articles on topics ranging from dual language development to the impact of screens on very young children.
Rebecca holds a Master’s degree in Education and Human Development, with a concentration in infant-toddler special education, from the George Washington University, where she is currently serving as adjunct faculty. Her most important and most satisfying lab work in child development, however, is her two children, Ella and Bennett.
Rebecca talks to us about the importance of going easy on ourselves as parents during this time, and gives us some great tips on how to help cope with some of the challenges we face with young children.
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In this episode, our guest is Dr. Christine McLean. Dr. McLean has been an Assistant Professor with the Department of Child and Youth Study at Mount Saint Vincent University since 2016. Prior to that she worked in the ECE sector in St. John’s, NL for 28 years. She is active in several provincial and national associations relating to early childhood education including Vice President of the Canadian Association of Research in Early Childhood (CAREC), National Director for the Canadian Association for Young Children (CAYC) and member of the provincial board of the Association of Early Childhood Educators of Nova Scotia. Dr. McLean’s expertise is in the field of early childhood education specifically in the areas of play-based learning; reflective practice in the field of ECE; child care policy development and evaluation; and pedagogical documentation in early learning settings.
Dr. McLean talks to us about the importance of free play for children, especially during this time, as well as her hope that this new temporary reality we find ourselves in leads to a return to what she refers to as the Lost Art of Play.
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In this episode, our guest is Natasha McBrearty. Natasha is a registered psychotherapist with over 15 years of experience working in community mental health care and private practice. Natasha holds an MA in Counselling Psychology from McGill University and has extensive post-graduate training in a number of therapeutic approaches, including play therapy, narrative therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapies, the neuro-sequential model of therapeutics, and mindfulness-based approaches. Natasha is a mom of 3 and the current Associate Executive Director at Crossroads Children’s Mental Health Centre in Ottawa, Ontario.
Natasha talks to us about some of the warning signs that your children might be struggling during these times from a mental health perspective and could be feeling anxious about the state of things. She also gives us some practical tips for how to address these potential issues and to help support your children in feeling happy and safe!
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In this episode, our guest is Kate Cray. A Yale journalism school graduate, Kate is an Editorial Fellow at the Atlantic, and has contributed to publications such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Boston Magazine, the Yale Daily News Magazine, the Experiment Publishing, and Bellevue Literary Press.
Kate talks to us about an interesting topic that doesn't seem to have been discussed too often yet, which is how the coronavirus has been affecting the way kids are playing these days. Not only is it fascinating to see kids testing each other for the coronavirus while playing "Doctor", but it's also quite interesting to explore what that might mean about the kids themselves.
Tune in to hear Kate talk to us about this and more!
In this episode, our guest is Dr. Roberta Golinkoff. Dr. Golinkoff is the Unidel H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Education, Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Linguistics and Cognitive Science at the University of Delaware and director of the Child’s Play, Learning, and Development laboratory. She has held the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, the James McKeen Cattell sabbatical award, and the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Service Award as well as the Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the LEGO Foundation.
Dr. Golinkoff talks to us about how to approach parenting while sheltering-in-place in order to keep your kids healthy, happy, active and safe. We talk about the adjustments that we've all had to make during this time, and discuss some optimistic hopes that we'll be able to take some of these positive recent learnings into our routines going forward as things start to go back to "normal".
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In this episode, we speak with Emily Writes. Emily is the editor of The Spinoff Parents. She is a mother of two, the best-selling author of Rants in the Dark - From one tired mama to another, and is an in-demand writer and public speaker. Her second book Is it bedtime yet? is out now in all good bookstores.
We speak with Emily about how things have been for her and her husband during this COVID-19 pandemic given the fact that one of their children is immuno-compromised. Emily tells us about the challenges and ways that they've dealt with this time as a family, and the coping mechanisms she discusses are great tips for all of us to consider.
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In this episode, our guest is Brigitte Pellerin. Brigitte is a writer, film-maker, broadcaster, and multimedia entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience in Canadian media, both in French and English. I have worked as a columnist, reporter, editor and commentator with outlets including the Québécois Libre, CFRA radio, the Montreal Gazette, the Ottawa Citizen, the Sun Media newspaper chain and the Sun News Network.
Brigitte has over a decade of experience homeschooling her three children, so she gives us some homeschooling pro tips of things that she's learned over the years, and shares her experiences of what has worked and what hasn't worked for her and her family.
There are some great suggestions in here, so check it out for more!
In this episode, our guest is Dr. Rebecca English. Dr. English teaches in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership in the Faculty of Education at the Queensland University of Technology. She was a teacher in both the Catholic Education and Education Queensland sectors for seven years, and holds a PhD from Griffith University.
Dr. English talks to us about the concept of "unschooling", and discusses how it works at a high-level, the benefits and positive outcomes that it can lead to and suggests that there are likely elements of unschooling taking place in many homes during this COVID-19 crisis already.
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In this episode, we speak with author / journalist, Greg Toppo. Greg is the author of two books on education, “The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter”, and “The Trust Machine,” co-authored with educator James Tracy, looking at how AI, automation and machine learning are changing the American high school (forthcoming in 2020 from MIT Press). A former senior editor at Inside Higher Ed, he was previously the national education reporter at USA Today from 2002 to 2018, and at The Associated Press from 2000 to 2002. Currently, he is living in Doha, teaching undergraduate journalism at Northwestern University in Qatar.
Greg talks to us about the learning potential that video games provide, and suggests that we rethink some of the preconceived notions that we may have about video games as parents and recognize that they can be a very effective and important part of a balanced approach to play for kids, especially while sheltering-at-home during this COVID-19 outbreak.
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In this episode, we speak with journalist, Gina Rich. Gina is a writer and mother of two in Wisconsin. You can find her work in the Washington Post, Good Housekeeping, Ravishly, and other publications. She enjoys writing about parenthood, mental health, and community-centered stories, and you can find out more about her and her work at lovehopeandcoffee.com or on Instagram @lovehopeandcoffee.
Gina speaks to us about what it's been like for her and her family as they've been adjusting to homeschooling during these new times of sheltering-at-home, and relays some tips to us that she's learned from some veteran homeschoolers on how best to manage your family's time and keep your child's learning on track.
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In this episode, our guest is Terry Nguyen. Terry is a reporter covering technology and transportation at The Goods by Vox, and her work has appeared in Washington Post, Chronicle of Higher Education, Vice, Teen Vogue, and others.
Terry speaks to us from New York City about a trend that's happening amongst a lot of Millennials who are wanting to return back to their parents' homes during this COVID-19 pandemic. This return to multi-generational living situations poses some interesting and new challenging dynamics, but is also potentially troublesome from a safety and curve flattening perspective.
Tune in to learn more about the affect that the coronavirus is having on Millennials in this capacity!
In this episode, we speak with the province of Nova Scotia's Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Robert Strang. Dr. Strang received his medical degree from the University of British Columbia and completed Family Practice and Community Medicine residencies at UBC. He was an Associate Medical Officer of Health in British Columbia from 1997-1999 and in 1999, he moved to Halifax to become Medical Officer of Health for Capital District Health Authority, and was appointed Chief Medical Officer of Health in August 2007.
Dr. Strang talks to us not only about the video Q&A series that he did specifically for kids to help answer any questions they might have about the COVID-10 virus, but he also talks to us about some simple ways in which we can do our part to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus in our communities.
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In this episode, we speak with Jennifer Kolari. One of the nation’s leading parenting experts, Jennifer Kolari is a highly sought-after international speaker and the founder of Connected Parenting. A child and family therapist with a busy practice based in Toronto and San Diego, Kolari is also the author of Connected Parenting: How to Raise A Great Kid and You’re Ruining My Life! (But Not Really) Surviving the Teenage Years with Connected Parenting. Kolari is a frequent guest on Canada AM, CBC, Breakfast Television, CTV News Channel, and Global’s The Morning Show. Her advice can be found in many Canadian and U.S. magazines, such as Today’s Parent, Redbook, Parents Magazine and Canadian Family.
Jennifer talks to us about the importance of staying connected with your children and the motivations behind many of their behaviours, which are as important to understand now as ever while managing these new shelter-at-home circumstances.
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In this episode, we speak to Dr. Shannon Barnett, an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins, with a focus on Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Child Development and Behavioral Health.
Dr. Barnett talks with us about some techniques to help manage and maintain positive mental health for ourselves and our children during this COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of checking in with our families about their anxieties and mental health throughout this process. She also gives us some great tips and things to look out for for when these shelter-in-place guidelines are eventually relaxed.
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In this episode, we speak with Richard Monette (Managing Director & Editor in Chief) and Briana Tomkinson (Managing Editor) from the team at Active for Life. Active for Life is a Canadian not-for-profit social initiative created to help parents give their children the right start in life through the development of physical literacy.
Richard and Briana talk to us about how they've had to pivot their messaging to adapt to these times, and give us a ton of great suggestions of things to do, as well as a number of resources to check out to learn more about how to keep your family active in a safe way during this new temporary "normal".
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In this episode, we speak with Dr. Jennie Weiner PhD, professor of Education Leadership at UConn's Neag School of Education. Dr. Weiner raised quite a few eyebrows earlier on during this COVID-19 pandemic when she Tweeted about how she had no intention of homeschooling her kids while sheltering-at-home, and was going to allow them to enjoy their video games, eat cookies, and play instead. Her Tweet quickly went viral, and she was invited to write an op ed piece in the New York Times to discuss her philosophy and motivations behind taking this approach.
Dr. Weiner talks to us about the circumstances that lead to the article, the response to it, and her reasoning behind it. The conversation is definitely a very interesting one, and is definitely worth a listen, whether you agree with her position or not.
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In this episode, we speak to Erin Shum, the first Chinese woman elected to the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, where she served as a Park Board Commissioner and was subsequently nominated as Vice Chair. In the last 2 years, Erin opened up a licensed multi age child care facility in Renfrew Heights and is enjoying her time with her husband and their 2 year old daughter. Erin continues to serve the community and is currently on the Executive Board for Renfrew Park Community Centre Association, President of the Rotary Club of Fraserview and Board of Directors for South Vancouver Community Policing Centre.
Erin talks to us about the ways that child care providers have been forced to get creative during this COVID-19 pandemic, and gives us some great recommendations for ways to continue to build and connect with communities and parent groups to help share best practices, support each other, and make it through this new temporary normal as successfully as possible while sheltering at home.
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In this episode, we speak with Brianna Bell, a Canadian journalist, wife, and mother to three. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and CBC. Brianna's work typically focuses on parenting, personal finance, and mental health.
Brianna talks to us about some of the cool activities she's come up with for her kids, to keep them engaged, ,learning and having fun as a family. Brianna also gives us some great tips on how to ensure that you aren't getting too overwhelmed as a parent during these times, and the talks about the importance of developing routines early on in order to manage your time appropriately while juggling work and family obligations all at once during this COVID-19 pandemic.
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In this episode, we speak with Dr. Mariana Brussoni, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, a scientist with the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit, a developmental psychologist, MSFHR Scholar, Board member of the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada, and member of Outdoor Play Canada.
Dr. Brussoni goes over the newly released statement from Outdoor Play Canada about the importance of outdoor play at a time like this, and guidelines for how best to stay safe and healthy while being physically active in the outdoors, and gives us some tips about how her and her family are managing to get the outdoor time they need safely during this COVID-19 pandemic.
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In this episode, we explore the topic of inclusive play through conversations with athletes from within the disability sports space to learn about what it was like for them growing with limited access to traditional sports programs and accessible playgrounds, and the ways that they managed to overcome those odds and succeed in inspiring ways despite it all. We will be speaking to Joe Hamilton, a visually-imparied Paralympian silver medalist goalball athlete, Mark Lucas, the Executive Director of the United States Association of Blind Athletes, and with Charlotte, a 17 year old guide for a visually impaired cross-country skier who together won a para-Nordic silver medal at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Listen to the stories and experiences of Joe, Mark, and Charlotte to find out how the struggles and limitations of growing up with a lack of inclusive play spaces were overcome and how they managed to compete and thrive as disability sport athletes through their hard work and dedication.
In this episode, we will be taking a look at accessible playgrounds. We will be exploring the ways that inclusive play has been approached traditionally and the ways that that has and hasn’t worked, as well as learning about a few amazing organizations working hard to bring more accessible play spaces to communities around the country. We will be speaking to Michelle Farrell, a former Olympian and mother of a daughter with a disability and strong accessible play advocate, Jill Asher, the Executive Director and co-Founder of Magical Bridge Playgrounds, an organization dedicated to inclusive playground design and social change, and with Natalie MacKay, the founder of Unlimited Play, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps to plan, design and build fully accessible playgrounds that allow all children to play.
Learn about the work that Michelle, Jill, and Natalie have been doing to make the world a more inclusive place by advocating for and creating truly accessible playgrounds that suit the needs of all people and all communities.
In this episode, we will be looking at inclusive play through the lens of parents with young children with disabilities. We will be talking with Allison Galloway, a registered nurse and mother of two children with visual impairments, Michelle Farrell, a former Olympian and mother of a daughter with a disability and strong accessible play advocate, and with Natalie MacKay, the founder of Unlimited Play, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that helps to plan, design and build fully accessible playgrounds that allow all children to play, and the mother of a son who suffers from a rare genetic central nervous system disease.
Learn about the challenges that Allison, Michelle and Natalie have encountered in terms of raising their differently-abled children in a world that doesn’t always take their needs into consideration, and the ways that they’ve managed to overcome the challenges and thrive in spite of them.