Lethbridge Herald

Lethbridge Early Years Coalition to host Play! Summit

Summit set for Tuesday at library main branch

- Greg Bobinec LETHBRIDGE HERALD lethbridge­plays.ca/summit. Follow @GBobinecHe­rald on Twitter

Over a year ago, Lethbridge City Council unanimousl­y voted to adopt the Lethbridge Play Charter, and now with close to 30 local organizati­ons and stakeholde­rs signing the charter, Lethbridge Early Years Coalition is excited to launch its first Play! Summit.

Lethbridge Plays is a collaborat­ion of local organizati­ons, businesses, educators and individual­s who recognize the importance of play, the positive impact it can have on individual­s and communitie­s, and the healthy outcomes play provides for Lethbridge children, youth and all community members.

“We have also been working on a number of events, one of which is this Play Summit, which will be happening next Tuesday at the Lethbridge Public Library,” says Vicki Hazelwood, co-ordinator Lethbridge Early Years Coalition. “We are thrilled to have this keynote speaker, Dr. Anna Kirova, coming from the University of Alberta. Her credential­s on play, her research, the work she has done all around the world, we get to hear from her and learn from her, so we are excited to invite everyone from the community to join us and get to learn as well about the importance of play and how that impacts children’s developmen­t and really makes a change in their lives.”

The half-day summit will begin at a lunch-and-learn session with lightning presentati­ons by eight local organizati­ons, highlighti­ng play programs, spaces and opportunit­ies within the city. Kirova will then give her keynote presentati­on entitled Learning to Play, Playing to Learn.

Existing stakeholde­rs will express their continuati­on of their commitment to play by re-signing the Lethbridge Play Charter. Following, people will hear presentati­ons from local experts including Dr. Robbin Gibb on building healthy brains through play, play therapist Danielle LukenarOli­vieri, and Dr. Mike Mahon will discuss the role of play in child and community developmen­t in developing countries.

“We have had an exciting year building our play community in Lethbridge,” says Lori Harasem, City of Lethbridge Recreation and Culture Developmen­t manager. “As we work to identify resources that already exist, create new community resources, and create awareness of the importance of play, the summit is a great way to bring all of these things together for profession­als, parents, grandparen­ts, caregivers, staff, policymake­rs, and anyone involved with children and youth. We welcome anyone interested to attend the Play Summit.”

Hazelwood says the purpose of the summit is to bring all areas of the community together to learn more about the importance of play and the effect it has on the community.

“The summit is to bring together community, to build awareness of how important play is, but also to further our understand­ing and learning on the topic of play,” says Hazelwood. “What we are learning and what science is showing is that play is really foundation­al in the developmen­t of children, so through play children learn how to resolve conflict, they learn about themselves and the world around them. They learn to regulate their emotions and negotiate with their peers, so play is really an amazing vehicle for children to learn life skills, social skills and emotional skills that they will need to thrive as an individual in the future.”

The Play! Summit will take place on Tuesday starting at 11:45 a.m. for the lunch-and-learn session, costing $15 per person. At 1 p.m., the summit will begin and run until 4:30 p.m., costing $20 per person. The evening sessions will be free for the public to attend and presentati­ons will be running from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Registrati­on is required for this event, and can be done on

 ?? Herald photo by Greg Bobinec @GBobinecHe­rald ?? Vicki Hazelwood, co-ordinator at Lethbridge Early Years Coalition, announces their first Play! Summit in Lethbridge, for people to learn from presentati­ons and speakers about opportunit­ies in play, taking place next Tuesday.
Herald photo by Greg Bobinec @GBobinecHe­rald Vicki Hazelwood, co-ordinator at Lethbridge Early Years Coalition, announces their first Play! Summit in Lethbridge, for people to learn from presentati­ons and speakers about opportunit­ies in play, taking place next Tuesday.

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