Tuesday, July 05, 2022

Teacher Tom's Play Summit Is Open!

It's time to do more than just mark your calendar. I'm giddy to announce that registration for Teacher Tom's Play Summit 2022 is officially open!

You probably haven't been counting down to this day like I have, but if you've been awaiting this moment, you can click through right now to get signed up

I can't tell you how proud I am to offer this online conference, August 13-17, entirely for free. It means a lot to me to be able to bring you 23 early childhood and parenting experts and thought-leaders from around the world -- from New Zealand to Sweden, from Canada to India, from Rwanda to Australia -- to share an incredibly wide variety of perspectives on education, parenting, and the current state of childhood.

There are several names you're sure to recognize, like Ooey Gooey Lady Lisa Murphy, champion of childhood Lenore Skenazy, play-based educator extraordinaire Kisha Reid, renowned parenting experts Maggie Dent and Dr. Vanessa LaPointe, and the magnificent and profound Indigenous author Monique Gray Smith. And while I'm grateful and honored that these amazing presenters have joined us, I might be even more excited about this opportunity to introduce you to some less well-known people who have been my teachers over the months and years. Please click through to the registration page if only to take a look at our diverse line-up, guaranteed to make you think, and likely to transform your life and the lives of the children who count on you.

You don't need me to tell you that the last couple years have been tough; tough for everyone, but especially our profession. And I'm not just talking about the pandemic. Our whole profession, the whole world in fact, has gotten a little off track. The idea of this year's summit is to be an antidote to that. The idea for this summit is to re-energize and inspire, to help us all reconnect with what it was that drew us to early childhood in the first place, what presenter Lisa Murphy calls our "Why." 

As Scottish outdoor learning pioneer Juliet Robertson reminds us: "You are the creator of your space. You have the power. You have the capacity. You just have to absolutely believe that you can do it and that it's worth it."

One of the first casualties of challenging times is enthusiasm. I agree with journalist and author Mónica Guzmán when she tells us that there is no better way to re-ignite our passion than to re-ignite our own curiosity by "turning our assumptions into questions," and to approach life with the same sort of "radical curiosity" we see in the children around us. Since speaking with her I've been trying out her approach and the world, quite literally, has re-opened for me in wonderful and unexpected ways.

Indian educator Sonya Philip reminds us that when we're doing it right, life is "like a laboratory where we ourselves are earning as we are doing." Valora Washington, one of the pioneers in examining the intersection between play and race tells us, "We have go to know our own worth and not be apologetic about it." And as Italian educator and play therapist Roberta Pucci reminds us, "We have to keep children at the center."

When we are at our best as caretakers, educators, and parents, it is when we take the time to be reflective, to think deeply about the children in our lives and our relationships with them. It was Socrates who is quoted as having said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." Theater educator Caitlyn McCain evokes the ancient philosopher when she tells us, "If we don't reflect on it, it's lost information." And that is, at the bottom, what this summit is really all about. It's a chance to refresh and renew our relationship with our work and ourselves, not to mention the children.

In creating this summit, my wife Jennifer and I have intentionally gone out of our way to create a multi-perspective event. We have failed, of course, to provide every perspective, that would require eight billion presenters, but we intend it to be the start of an effort to break up the prevailing single perspective too often found in gatherings of early childhood educators and parents.

Jesse Hagopian, editor of the best-selling Black Lives Matter at Schools (among his other accomplishments), takes us inside the fight against high stakes standardized testing and the movement restore recess in our schools.

Our indigenous speakers like Nick Terrones and Monique Gray Smith share insights into their cultures that reveal a deeper understanding of perspective. 

Tiersa McQueen explains why and how her family has stepped outside of the mainstream to unschool, while author and cognitive psychologist Naomi Fishershows us the science behind how children learn outside the confines of standard schools. 

As we've put together this summit, I've become a changed person. I still have a long way to go, and in spite of being the product of my culture, I'm starting to see that what has sometimes appeared to me as a breaking apart of the world is really a process of the world coming back together around the traditional, multiple-perspective complete truth. 

I'm inviting your open heart and mind to this free event. Click here to learn more and register. See you there!


Please join us August 13-17 for Teacher Tom's Play Summit. Click here to get your free pass to all 20 of our incredible sessions. Professional development certificates are available and you can upgrade to unlimited access. Please share this far and wide. It's time to remember who we are and why we do this!

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