Bright Beginnings / photo: Ben Filio for Trying Together

This course is a four- part series lasting 12 hours
Monday, January 7 – Monday, February 4, 2019

Register by Friday, January 4 at Noon.

Part 1: Is There a Difference? Children’s Authentic Play Experiences vs. Play Based Classroom Activities:
This session will define and discuss the variations of authentic play, playful experiences and play based activities that could potentially be offered within early learning settings. Participants will engage in resourceful discussions as well as complete independent activities that focus on providing more than just “free play” or teacher planned, play-based activities. K1.8 C3

Part 2: Learning to Play, Playing to Learn: Encouraging Play Within Early Childhood Classrooms:
“Play acts as a mechanism into courageous, creative and rigorous thinking in adulthood.” (T. Bruce, London Metro University, 2013). The benefits of children’s play can be life lasting, as long as the experiences are developmentally appropriate, positive and engaging. This course discusses children’s play and the role of play in early learning settings. Participants will take part in varied individual and group discussions and activities that focus on the definitions, developmental mechanics and functions of play as well as become familiar with and brainstorm new strategies for encouraging play within children’s earliest classrooms. K2. 14 C1

Part 3: Loose Parts: Using Everyday Items to Enhance Children’s Creative Play:
Loose parts are open-ended materials found, bought or upcycled (ex: acorns, hardware, stones, aluminum foil, fabric scraps) that children can move, manipulate, control and change within their play. Loose parts are alluring and beautiful. Natural or synthetic, they capture children’s curiosity, give free reign to their imagination and empower creativity. This session discusses the importance of offering experiences and activities that highlight the usage of “loose parts” within the early learning setting. Participants will discuss strategies for stocking, storing and providing loose parts within their settings. Sample activity ideas and learning area implementation strategies will also be brainstormed. K2.8 C2

Part 4: Loose Parts: Inspiring Play with Infants and Toddlers: Infants and toddlers are researchers that are fascinated by the properties of objects and how things work. They explore materials with all of their senses and delight in cause and effect relationships. It is important for teachers and caregivers to provide open-ended materials (loose parts) that allow infants and toddlers to be in control of their inquiries as they gather and learn information about their environment. This session discusses the value of loose parts, the need to meet the safety, feature and functional needs of infants and toddlers and now to relate loose parts to the play-action characteristics of infants and toddlers. K1.7 C2

Meets the following Keystone STARS Performance Standards indicators: (EC. 3.4.1)

For more information and to register for credit, visit

Download the complete list of Trying Together professional development course offerings for October 2018 through February 2019 here.

*These professional development opportunities have been underwritten by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, Office of Child Development and Early Learning and funded by YWCA PD, a program of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh.