CRECE welcomed its first consultant and speaker of the year in February 2020. Angela Pyle conducted a podcast, an academic talk, and a community talk.

Angela Pyle is a former classroom teacher and current Assistant Professor at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. Her research examines how young children develop personal, social, and academic skills through play-based learning. This research uses a continuum-based conception of play and explores the connection between the learning goals and the resulting play implementations in kindergarten classrooms. Her lab, the Play Learning Lab, posts educator resources, research highlights, and publications on their website. Be sure to check them out!



Angela Pyle and Beth Graue, CRECE Director, conducted a podcast on her last day in Madison about play in early childhood. The questions were generated by undergraduate students in Beth Graue’s class.


Kicking it off – what is play?


Transcript (Word)


Events & News Coverage

Early Learning Community Get Together:Expanding the Notions of Play

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 • Educational Science Building -1025 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI

Attendees took part in an interactive discussion with other early learning teachers, 4K teachers, 5K teachers and professionals around play, play-based learning, and their developmental benefits for children. We used classroom-based examples and engaged participants in play. This event was covered by WCER’s communications team.

Dr. Graue was happy to offer access to a researcher doing work of great interest to educators and help build a supportive community for early childhood teachers. It’s the Wisconsin Idea in action, she noted. A full write up can be found here.

Academic Talk:
Connecting play and learning in the kindergarten classroom

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 • 12:00–1:00 pm
Educational Science Building – 1025 West Johnson Street

Play has been widely acknowledged as beneficial to children’s learning and development, resulting in policies mandating the inclusion of play-based learning in classrooms around the world. However, how to implement play in classrooms has been widely debated, with researchers and educators alike questioning the role adults should assume in children’s play and whether a play-based pedagogical approach can truly support academic learning. The extant research addressing these issues is largely dichotomous in nature, recommending differing approaches depending on the focal learning, resulting in the presentation of contradictory messages to educators who work with our youngest learners. This talk will address these contradictory recommendations using classroom-based data to describe the current state of play in classrooms and the possibilities for children’s learning and development when educators integrate these dichotomous recommendations.

Angela spoke to packed room of UW Education undergraduate students, graduate students, academic staff, and faculty.