The cover of "The Powerful Role of Play in Early Education"

Exploring the 2021 Publication from the California Department of Education (CDE): The Powerful Role of Play in Early Education

The California Department of Social Services, Child Care and Development Division (CDSS-CCDD), in partnership with WestEd’s Program for Infant/Toddler Care (PITC), is providing the webinar series: Exploring Themes from the 2021 CDE publication, Best Practices for Planning Curriculum for Young Children: The Powerful Role of Play in Early Education.  

This free webinar series explores the importance of play as a right of childhood and the roles of teachers, providers, and administrators to support authentic play as the foundation for learning in early care and education programs. In addition to highlighting research and policy, practical examples for providers and teachers are included to develop a deeper understanding of the importance of play in supporting optimal learning and development.

The CDE publication is linked below:

Faculty joining PITC for this event include: Mary Jane Maguire-Fong, Professor Emeritus and Author, Denisha Jones of Sarah Lawrence College, Marie Jones of American River College, and Elizabeth Crocker of WestEd's PITC. The panelists bring the perspectives of work with young children, mentoring and teaching of early childhood professionals, and research on play and early learning creating strong connections between research, policy, and practice. Their voices both challenge and support us to embrace play as the center of learning and curriculum. 


Wednesday, June 8, 2022
6:30–7:30 P.M. (PT)
PART 1: Play Matters

Moderator: Mary Jane Maguire-Fong
Panelists: Denisha Jones and Elizabeth Crocker 

All children are born hardwired to play. Through play, children notice what goes on around them and experiment with, and joyfully investigate, objects and people.

In play, they seek to discover new things and to figure things out. Play is essential for young children’s learning; yet despite this, play is disappearing from childhood and early learning settings. This session introduces, The Powerful Role of Play in Early Education, an exciting new CDE publication that invites us to reflect on what is needed to reverse this alarming trend. Join us as panelists discuss why play is so important to children’s learning and what each of us can do to re-center play as the primary context for early learning. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022
6:30–7:30 P.M. (PT)
PART 2: Play at the Center of the Curriculum 

Moderator: Mary Jane Maguire-Fong
Panelists: Marie Jones and Elizabeth Crocker

Within everyday experiences in play, young children build concepts that are foundational in providing a strong base for all future learning. This session explores how teachers and providers place play at the center of early childhood curriculum. We will explore how to: design play spaces as environments for learning; invite children’s playful participation during the daily routines; and support children’s play with others, especially when conflicts arise. Teaching and learning through play require time for reflection, collaboration, and thoughtful planning. This session invites us to explore the time, resources, and support teachers and providers need to thoughtfully observe, document, and interpret children’s play. 

Please contact if you have any questions.

Note: This event has passed. Please visit this webpage for information for the spring 2023 PITC Webinar Series.

For previous webinars, please visit our Past PITC Webinar Events page.