PLAY Chapter


Welcome Message

Young children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize heathy development and manage stress. Research confirms developmentally appropriate play with peers, parents and teachers is a vital way to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play strengthens resilience and nurtures safe, stable, positive relationships that young children need to thrive. 

The FLAEYC Play Chapter is just getting started! If you are a member of FLAEYC and interested in helping us achieve our mission, consider being an active participant in the Play Chapter. We would love to have you join us!

Do you want to become part of a statewide professional organization that promotes quality in early education in Florida and provides its members with a strong, united VOICE? If so, then look no further than the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC)! Your FLAEYC membership demonstrates your commitment to professional growth and early childhood program quality.

Becoming a FLAEYC member is easy! You can join in just three short steps: Step One: Choose the association in which you would like to be a member. FLAEYC is a proud affiliate of both the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), the NAEYC Play, Policy and Practice Interest Forum, and Southern Early Childhood Association (SECA).

To Join NAEYC and FLAEYC visit:


What is the FLAEYC PLAY Chapter?

The PLAY Chapter is part of the infrastructure of the Florida Association for the Education of Young Children. It is a statewide community of practice designed to help teachers and parents strengthen play as the essential element of developmentally appropriate, high quality early education programs that connect play with Approaches to Early Learning Standards and Child Development. 



To host a PLAY Space for conference participants to experience the benefits of play first-hand and to get ideas to take back to their own classrooms, centers and schools.

The PLAY Chapter offers information, resources, and hands-on play education experiences needed to promote and sustain play in as a “best practice” in the early years of learning. At a time when early childhood programs are pressured to add more didactic prescriptive teaching and less playful learning, the PLAY Chapter serves an important role in emphasizing a balanced curriculum that includes quality playful hands-on learning for the promotion of healthy child development. Play was always intended to serve a healing function whether for children or adults, making it more worthwhile to defy the depressing and dangerous aspects of life. * Play generates optimism and hope as a natural way of relaxing pressure points and relieving toxic stress.



Respect and safeguard the child’s right to play through Play Education, Leadership, Advocacy, and Professional Development.



Communicate and network with teachers, parents and the broader community the critical importance of quality play experiences for young children in all areas of development, social-emotional, cognitive, physical and spiritual with emphasis on resilience.


PLAY Space at Conferences

Our PLAY Chapter will host the “PLAY Space” during the FLAEYC Annual Conference to highlight the fundamental importance of play. For two full days, conference participants are free to drop-in, hang-out, engage and enjoy a range of unique and exciting hands-on play activities set up within a ballroom. As a hands-on professional development strategy, the PLAY Space is a fun “makers space”, an oasis of open-ended, hands-on play experiences facilitated by experienced early childhood play coach volunteers.


Provide Open-ended Materials

Let your creativity flow! The informal, relaxed environment invites tinkering, doing and making, exploring and discovering. Using a variety of open-ended materials, you are free to challenge yourself and engage in the same developmentally appropriate practices encouraged with young children. 


Allow Freedom and Choice

Art making and creativity come alive! Science, mathematics, and engineering happen naturally using a variety of exciting resources. Participants play, create and discover…the Wind Tunnel, Circuit Playground, Light and Shadows, Loose Parts and Reusable Resources, Dr. Drew’s Discovery Blocks, Cardboard Boxes, Bolts of Fabric, Yarn and Bamboo, Paints, Collage, Social Dramatic Dress-up Materials, and more!

Using an array if intriguing materials and equipment participants play, create and discover with the Wind Tunnel, Circuit Playground, Light and Shadows, Loose Parts and Reusable Resources, Dr. Drew’s Blocks, Cardboard, Rolls of Fabric, Yarn and Bamboo, Paints, Collage Materials and Social Dramatic Play Materials 


Encourage Story Making

Storytelling and literacy unfold as participants collaborate and share their play narratives.

Just as with children, participants engage in spontaneous story making as they play, improvise, and discover new possibilities. Play helps to generate new insight and ways of teaching young children.

Participants experience the benefits of play first hand and leave with new concrete strategies that inspire richer play learning in professional practice. An added benefit is the option of earning CEU’s after completing a series of questions focused on classroom application.

In play we generate new possibilities and ways of looking at things. We are empowered as we direct learning and express thoughts and feelings flowing freely from the intuitive source within us. 

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, those forces that prevent children in poverty and the working class from benefitting fully from play deserve full, even urgent attention.


Teachers comments from the Play Space

I explored the batteries, circuits, and motors. I hooked them together, so they connect. I used a toy to move arms. I used a bell that made a loud noise. Then used a sound speaker to connect. I loved them all so much fun. I will have this part of my stations on how to make electricity and circuits.

The light and shadow theater play are fun, then adding colors and shapes make it even more fun! I think I’m going to’ get something like that for my kids. 

Everyone’s structures were different. You can create patterns and practice basic engineering principles. I also really like that pieces can be reused many times over. 

I will let the kids take things apart, so they can learn what is inside then see what they can make from it


Chapter Events

Save the date for the 63rd Annual FLAEYC Conference from October 13-18, 2020! Our PLAY Space will run October 16-17, 2020


PLAY Chapter Address

The Florida Association for the Education of Young Children (FLAEYC)
2807 Remington Green Circle, Tallahassee, Florida 32308


Chapter Leaders and Contact Information:

Walter F. Drew, Ed.D.
Co-Founder & Director
Institute for Self-Active Education/Dr. Drew’s Blocks

Jacqueline Moreno, Ph.D.
Director-REM Learning Center, South Inc.
Co-Founder – Play Make Share

Juelie Perry, PLAY Chapter Facilitator & Chapter Advisory Council Representative

Ryan Moreno, PLAY Chapter Facilitator

Paola Lopez, PLAY Chapter Facilitator

Julia Kroeker, PLAY Chapter Facilitator 

Tami Spidle, PLAY Chapter Facilitator



American Academy of Pediatrics Clinical Report, (2018), The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children, Volume 132/Issue 3

Sutton-Smith, B. (2008) Play Theory: A personal Journal and New Thoughts. American Journal of Play, 1 (1). p80-123