Conversations on the value of play in early childhood and early grades education have recently resurfaced, along with growing concern over the negative impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on all areas of child development. In two independent, but related, workshops (one presented in-person, the other online) for highly experienced, currently practicing Waldorf early childhood educators and grades 1-3 teachers, we will re-examine and begin recommitting to the essential role of play in education, helping to inspire you to create therapeutic environments that foster healthy play for children from early childhood up to third grade.
According to the World Health Organization “To grow up healthy, children need to sit less and play more.” As teachers of young children we are the guardians and defenders of their right to play. Through this practical and hands-on in-person experience we will explore the relationship between play, healthy brain development, and the sequential social and cognitive capabilities that form the foundation for higher cognitive functions while connecting teacher observations to learning assessments, developmental milestones, and curriculum development. We will also examine:
- The essential role of teachers in supporting play: lessons from nature-based preschools and kindergartens
- Exploring the continuum of play-based learning from adult-child collaborative play to self-directed free play
- The importance of risk-taking and nurturing resilience
Opportunities for community learning will include facilitator presentations, small group conversations, individual reflections, and artistic activities.
Lisa Miccio provides mentoring and professional development to early childhood educators, including as lead instructor of Sunbridge’s “Introduction to Waldorf Early Childhood Education” Summer Series course. In 2023 she founded The Berry Basket playgroups and family programs in Warwick, NY, where she serves as director and parent & child playgroup teacher. From 2022-23 Lisa served Acorn Waldorf School as the Neighboring Tree Project Specialist, overseeing a grant-funded AWS initiative that aimed to create community partnerships with local early childhood educators, schools, and centers. She taught kindergarten at The Waldorf School of Garden City, where she chaired the DEIJ committee, from 2017-2022, and for a dozen years prior was on the faculty of Green Meadow Waldorf School, where she taught in and served as a co-chair of the early childhood section, directed the early childhood admissions and family programs, and was a member of the Collegium, the Collegium Committee, and the Board of Trustees. Lisa’s teaching experience also includes teaching and mentoring in the Kathmandu (Nepal) Waldorf Kindergarten. A member of the Sunbridge Board since 2013, she holds a BA in English from the College of Charleston, an MS in Elementary Education from CW Post, Long Island University, and an MS in Waldorf Education from Sunbridge College. She is the mother of two Waldorf-educated sons.
Sondi Eugene is an early childhood teacher at the Waldorf School of Atlanta, where she has been on the faculty since 2000; she has also been a guest instructor in Sunbridge’s Early Childhood Teacher Education program. Raised in rural New Jersey, Sondi moved to Atlanta in 1994 and received her certificate in early childhood education from Sunbridge College 10 years later; she also graduated from the Lifeways Early Childhood and Human Development program and is certified as a Simplicity Parenting Group Leader. The parent of two children who went through Waldorf schools, Sondi enjoys traveling, camping, cooking, crafts, and singing.
For the online companion workshop, see also: The Dynamics of Play: Exploring the Current State of Play & What the Pandemic Has Taught Us taking place February 23-24. Registrants signing up for both workshops received a discounted price.
This workshop takes place at Sunbridge Institute.
Friday evening, April 26: Doors open for check-registration at 6:30. Your first session begins promptly at 7:00pm and runs through 8:30pm
Saturday, April 27: Sessions run 9am-5pm, with times for breaks and lunch
Campus housing is reserved directly through Threefold Educational Center. Friday dinner will be available for you to purchase at Threefold Cafe; Saturday breakfast, lunch, and snacks are included in the cost of your workshop.
Read more about local housing and dining options while visiting Sunbridge
$340 includes a $30 non-refundable registration fee
Take 15% off each registration for:
- Schools sending 2 or more participants, or
- Sunbridge teacher education program graduates, or
- Payments made in Canadian dollars.
Discounts may not be combined.
NOTE: If you register for this April 26-27 in-person workshop (list price: $340), as well as for the February 23-24 online companion workshop (list price: $175), there is a discounted two-workshop bundle price of $415, which includes non-refundable registration fees of $30 and $25. If selecting this bundled option, no other discounts apply.
Cost for current Sunbridge program students in good standing:
- April 26-27 in-person workshop only: $40 (includes a $30 non-refundable registration fee)
- February 23-24 online workshop only: Free, with just a $25 non-refundable registration fee
- Both workshops: $65 (includes a total of $55 non-refundable registration fees)
Qualification for discounts will be verified by Sunbridge staff.
Please contact Barbara Vitale, admissions and summer coordinator, at [email protected] or 845-425-0055 x20
Sunbridge reserves the right to make faculty substitutions when necessary.
Sunbridge is a New York State Education Department Approved Sponsor of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (NYSED CTLE), enabling teachers of any background to choose Sunbridge for their CLTE/CEU professional development credits. Check to see if your state honors our status.