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LACIS Lunchtime Lecture: “Play Throughout the Lifespan”
November 1, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Presented in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation.
About the presentation: Creative play is a critical part of childhood and essential for their growth. Play breaks down cultural and language barriers and allows children to be themselves, to explore, create, be curious, to learn and discover the world with all their senses! In this session, we are going to explore the importance of playing in early childhood and how learning through play is essential to a child’s growth, as well as setting the foundation of a creative, joyful and playful adult life!!
About the presenters: Mercedes Gonzalez, creator of “Play for Life”; and Karen Haygood, LACIS alumna, and founder of Creando Little Language Learners.
Mercedes has 30 years of experience working for Ministries of Education and non-governmental organizations in Latin America. She has done extensive work on the formal and non-formal role of play, creativity, and human development. Through this work, she created a methodology called Play for Life which brings in elements of theatre, music, dance, and ritual. This methodology offers guidelines that invite people to deeply reflect on both personal and human development, as well as on the enjoyment of life.
González’s motivation to work in the field of games and play came from being born and raised in the second poorest country in Latin America, and from working in rural schools where students live in extreme poverty. With students, she learned the creative and transforming power of playing with “unstructured, pedagogical objects.” These objects include things from nature and from local contexts. González learned that poverty is not a condition of being, but rather an established state that colonizes our existence due to the context and beliefs in which we are educated.
González believes that it is possible to recapture the human capacity to play and to take advantage of the characteristics that play has to offer such as: liberty, fantasy, and the joyous exploration of all possibilities without being tied to a certain result. Play enables us to be attentive and present in the moment without being lured in to the silence of uncertainty.
González brought the Latin American Game Network to Nicaragua (ReLaJo). In a 10 year time period, she has coordinated four meetings within Mesoamerica on play for 150 youth and professionals interested in learning, reflecting, and systematizing the impact of play in different areas life and society.
She’s published materials on education, games, and play for diverse organizations and Ministries of Education. Approximately 12,000 youth and adults have taken part in Play for Life across 10 countries and has been published by Save the Children in Nicaragua. Mercedes González owns her own business called DESATA (Developing Your Talent) and works on projects across various countries.
Karen is a native Spanish speaker from Lima, Peru, and has over 15 years of experience teaching young children. Karen has published four interactive bilingual children’s books, and is a licensed childcare specialist with a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison. Karen opened Creando Little Language Explorers in 2013 with one main goal, creating the most fun and interactive environment for kids to learn Spanish. Karen wanted to ensure that her students were excited to learn Spanish, and that coming to Creando was one of the most enjoyable parts of their day. She created an interactive 5 senses learning approach that incorporates music, arts & crafts, dancing, STEM activities, cooking, story time, imagination play, sensory actives, and large motor play.
Eight years later, Creando has touched the lives of hundreds of children in Madison through our award winning after-school Spanish immersion program with two locations, and at numerous partnership locations throughout Dane County. Six years ago, Karen was happy to see her dream of a licensed Spanish immersion preschool using Creando’s fun interactive curriculum open in the heart of Monroe St, and now at Hilldale — both located in Madison, WI.