Developmentally Appropriate Learning: Play is the Way!
March 2019 in Madison, WI

CRECE Director Beth Graue and colleagues presented cutting-edge research and play-based education strategies to teachers and administrators, about 250 in all, from rural and urban areas throughout Wisconsin. Attendees came to the annual DPI-sponsored conference to learn about new policy initiatives and research-based practices they might use in their early childhood programs. CRECE presented two special sessions at the meeting.

Nicholas Mitchell, Moonjoo Woo (UW-Madison), Beth Graue (CRECE), Renae De Barbieri, Heidi Schultz (MMSD-4K), and Luanne Rohde (Kenosha Unified School District) led a session titled Education and Supporting Teachers to Engage in Play-Based Teaching and Learning. With attendees, they discussed their efforts to ensure that Wisconsin’s children engage in high-quality, play-based learning. Discussion focused on (a) an NSF-funded professional development program for 4K teachers that focuses on culturally and developmentally responsive early math through play, (b) the Wisconsin Readiness Equity Network (WREN), and (c) how the UW teacher education program promotes skillful play-based teaching.

Renae DeBarbieri, Heidi Schultz (MMSD-4K), Katie Maguire (MMSD- K), and Molly Wilmsen (One City Schools) led a session titled Keeping Play at the Center of the Curriculum in Preschool and Kindergarten. The four teachers shared (a) how they create playful learning in their classrooms, (b) how they connect learning content to play contexts, (c) their role in playful teacher-child interactions, (d) how they document learning, and (e) the challenges and joys of play pedagogy.

Every year the DPI conference brings researchers and educators together to advance early childhood education practice throughout Wisconsin.