Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Let's Turn The World Around: Teacher Tom's Play Summit

We heard it from Mandela,
"Turn this world around,
For the children" - turn this world around.
He's done it once before, and now we hear his call
For the children, turn this world around.
Turn, turn, turn,
Turn this world around
For the children, turn this world around.
Turn, turn, turn, 
Turn this world around
For the children
Turn this world around.

It's an urgent message, one that's part of almost every conversation I have these days. The principle project of every society has always been to care for the children, yet in so many ways, we are failing in this fundamental task. I myself have been going along for years, feeling like I was doing enough: that if I just tended my little corner of the world where children are free to enjoy an authentic childhood, where they are respected, where their needs are met in a community that strives to let them grow up as free people . . . but I know now that this is not enough.

These last 12 months have been transformative in so many ways, not all bad. Indeed, many of us have expressed our hopes that the legacy of the pandemic might be exactly the catalyst we need to turn this world around, not just for children, but for all of us. At least as many are expressing fears, because transformation doesn't always naturally happen the way we want it to. No, the only way the world has ever "turned around" has been when we make it happen.

This is the inspiration behind Teacher Tom's Play Summit, a free online gathering of early childhood educators and parents taking place June 21-25. Please join us. Together we will turn this world around. 

We've managed to pull together some of the most progressive and thoughtful people in ECE, from Peter Gray, Lisa Murphy, and Maggie Dent to the beloved children's troubadour Raffi whose message of "child honouring" comes directly from the Dali Lama. We have cast a wide net to assemble a line-up of both established experts as well as less often heard voices from marginalized communities. The fate of young children is one of the few issues that can truly unite all of us, and it starts with listening to children, to one another, and sharing our perspectives from around the globe. 

Maori educator Brenda Souter says, "It's a journey. It's not a destination . . . And we certainly have not reached it if it is." Ojibwe teacher Hopi Martin warns, "There is a real need to repair what is lost. We've got to work together or we're in big trouble." And Denisha Jones, co-founder of Black Lives Matters in Schools, tells us that first "we have to liberate ourselves" which is, I think, the most logical next step in this journey that may not reach its destination in our lifetimes.

But that's okay. As Defending Early Childhood board member and Play Empowers founder Kisha Reid said to me when last we spoke, "Let's take over the world!" which is her way of saying "Turn this world around." 

As we hopefully try to emerge from a pandemic, from political and social turmoil, and as we are finally opening our eyes and ears to the voices of those less often heard, the time is ripe for transformation, for children, for all of us, and we are the ones to make it happen.

Please, please join us. Please share with others. Now is the right time and you are the right person. Click here to learn more about our presenters and get on the waitlist. Let's turn this world around.


Teacher Tom's Play Summit is online, free, and takes place June 21-25. To learn more and to get on the waitlist, click here!

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