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Little Chairs Big Differences Conference 

April 30th, 2015
Brooklyn Children's Museum

New Ideas for Play Structures: Play is Not a Luxury

(Inspired by Audre Lorde’s essay “Poetry is not a Luxury” in Sister Outsider. 1984)

Play is essential to the lives of young children and a vehicle for agency and activism in our lives. Because of bias issues including racism, sexism,  homophobia, classism, ableism and other forms of individual and intersecting discrimination, children are not given equal chances to fully develop themselves to be who they are and to pursue their natural rights to safety, nurturing, education, creativity and joy. Through access to deep, meaningful play and a culture that supports this; children will be able to thrive academically, and families, caregivers, educators, and policy makers will have access to the innovation and creativity needed to create a world better than the one we were born into.

This year’s conference will invite attendees to:

Connect:

Who has access to play?  What is play, who gets to participate, when and how is play negotiated? These issues can be explored through the lens of physical safety, green space, curriculum and assessment, how the day is structured, materials, technology and more.  We will connect with each other and have complex and fruitful conversations about safety, play, and every child’s birthright to play.

Create:

What is creativity and how can we nurture it in ourselves and the children we serve? These hands-on thinking and feeling workshops will give you a chance to settle into your creativity and to understand on a deep level, its importance in early childhood and all of our lives.

Interact:

We will dare to create new structures for play-both metaphorical and physical- that allow, promote and nurture access, connection, creativity, and play for all young children.

We will explore the idea of interactivism where we interact with children, families, caregivers, educators, policy makers and all who impact young children to strengthen leadership in early childhood and to insist that play and creativity are fundamental for every child at home, at school and in our world.

Our children cannot dream unless they live, they cannot live unless they are nourished, and who else will feed them the real food without which their dreams will be no different than ours? “If you want us to change the world someday, we at least need to live long enough to grow up!” Shouts the child. -Audre Lorde


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