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Play is Powerful: Playing with Everyday Materials

Play is Powerful: Playing with Everyday Materials

Date of the Event: June 18, 2020 | Patty Stine, Dr. Seth Shaffer, Dr. Karmen Rouland, and Mariela Puentes
Indian mother drawing with her son and father playing with the daughter in the background Show Notes:

In this webinar we were joined by Patty Stine from Pure Play Every Day, a nonprofit organization that helps families cultivate unstructured, undirected free play as a way to develop problem-solving and emotional regulation skills. We accessed our inner children through a free play demo with instructive commentary from Patty Stine. Participants came away from the webinar with tools to provide the time, space, materials, and supportive language to foster productive play in your child.

This webinar also featured the Question Corner with child psychologist, Dr. Seth Shaffer, and education experts from the CAFE team, Dr. Karmen Rouland, Program Manager and Mariela Puentes, Program Associate.

Jen: Awesome. Welcome everyone to the Family Room. I see people are starting to trickle in. As you are joining. Please go ahead and chat your name in the chat box and say where you’re coming from. And maybe one thing, one way that you liked to play as a child, maybe a make believe game you liked to play as a child.

[00:00:23] So go ahead and introduce yourself. See people are starting to come in, so welcome, welcome. And welcome to everybody on video as well. And...

Jen: Awesome. Welcome everyone to the Family Room. I see people are starting to trickle in. As you are joining. Please go ahead and chat your name in the chat box and say where you’re coming from. And maybe one thing, one way that you liked to play as a child, maybe a make believe game you liked to play as a child.

[00:00:23] So go ahead and introduce yourself. See people are starting to come in, so welcome, welcome. And welcome to everybody on video as well. And we’ll just get started in one second.

[00:00:35] So as I said, if you are just coming in, please go ahead and write your name in the chat box, let us know you are here and what your, where you’re from, and maybe one thing that you liked to do, with imaginary play as a child. I loved playing dress up and that was where all my mom’s cool clothes from the seventies. So I’m sort of dating myself here and, I would pretend I was going to very fancy places. So let us know what you liked to do.

[00:00:59] Alright, so it looks like we have a good crowd in the room, so we will get started. Welcome to the Family Room, my name is Jen Morris. I’m the Director of Programs here at Turning the Page Chicago and the Family Room is a collaborative seminar series with the Mid-Atlantic equity  consortium, MAEC.

[00:01:15] And, we’re glad to be here again. We are thrilled that we have a wonderful guest today, Ms. Patty Stine from Pure Play Every Day. Welcome Patty.

[00:01:25] Patty: Well, thank you very much, Jen.

[00:01:27] Jen: Who is going to give a wonderful segment today on the power of play and how to play with everyday materials. How easy it is, how important it is to have your kids do you imaginative, unstructured play and all the incredible cognitive, emotional, and other benefits that that can offer.

[00:01:43] So it’s going to be a great, session today. So welcome.

[00:01:48]Before we dive in, though, we want to also just continue to be aware of the moment that we are in. That not only are we still here because there is a pandemic still happening and quarantine, but also that we are in the middle of a really intense historical moments, with the killings of black and brown people across this country at the hands of police officers. And so as we have done in weeks past, we’re actually going to start with just a moment of silence. We know that even since the killing of George Floyd and all the uprising and attention poured into that recently since then, unfortunately tons of other black and brown people have been killed at the hands of the police, notably one that made it into the news and they don’t all, was Rayshard Brooks. Who was killed last Friday, June 12th.

[00:02:33] So, in honor of that life cut short and those families affected by those losses and the whole community affected by the ongoing legacy of systemic racism and racist violence in this country. We are just going to begin today with a quick moment of silence to acknowledge all of that.

[00:02:50] So please join us in that moment of silence which will start now.

[00:02:55] [silence]

[00:03:12] Thank you. So, we do have a really great session planned for today. As I mentioned, we’re going to begin with a presentation from Patty Stine, from Pure Play Every Day, but also a live demonstration. So the grownups in the room are going to play around with some everyday materials. And Patty is going to demonstrate how to facilitate play and how to get the neurons firing, with us doing some play of our own. Which we’re really excited to do. And then we will move into our normal question corner, where we will continue the conversation today around having conversations with kids about race and racism with Dr. Seth Shaffer and education specialist, Mariela Puentes. And we’ll then wrap up, send you the link to the survey so we can make sure we’re serving you well and head on to the rest of our Thursdays.

[00:04:01] So that is the plan for today as always, this is a conversation, right? We want to hear from you. Last week, we had a really vibrant conversation and there was just tons of questions, but also people’s comments, people’s reactions, people’s experiences that we could bring into the conversation and respond to. So please do keep doing that.

[00:04:18] Already, we have heard that some favorites from the crowd are marbles, Barbies, dolls, freeze tag, forts in the woods. Forts in the woods, that’s next level. Climbing in trees pretending to be a chef and hopscotch. So we’ve got some good play fields in the room so we can cultivate that.

[00:04:37] I think it’s the line from Peter Pan or something, right, that you grew up and you forget how to be a kid. And it’s one of the most important things to know how to do. So we’re gonna bring back our inner kids.

[00:04:45] As always, as I mentioned, we use the chat box or the Q and A, or if you’re tuning in from Facebook, comment there, and those questions will get to me and we will put them in the conversation.

[00:04:55] So at this point, I’m going to turn it over to Mariela to give a quick, quick introduction about MAEC.

[00:05:01] Mariela: Thank you, Jen. And thank you everyone for joining us in the Family Room today. We’re happy to be a part of this collaborative effort between MAEC and Turning the Page. A part of this is to provide a space for families to connect and share strategies with one another. And today we’re looking forward to hearing from Patty about how you can nurture children’s play within yourself and with your children too.

[00:05:25] So MAEC, we’re an educational nonprofit in Bethesda, Maryland founded in 1991. We’re dedicated to increasing access to a high quality education for culturally, linguistically and economically diverse learners.

[00:05:40] Our vision is a day when all students have equitable opportunities to learn and achieve at high levels. And MAEC is mission is to promote excellence and equity and education to achieve social justice.

[00:05:54] CAFE, the collaborative action for family engagement center, is a project of MAEC. We apply an equity lens to family engagement. We do so by building relationships among schools, parents, community organizations, and we improve the development and academic achievement of all students. CAFE is a statewide family engagement center for Maryland and Pennsylvania. And we’re funded through a Federal Department of Education grant for statewide family engagement centers.

[00:06:26] So now we’ll pass it back to Jen, who’s gonna talk a little bit about Turning the Page.

[00:06:32] Jen: Wonderful, thanks Mariela. So Turning the Page is a nonprofit based out of DC and Chicago, and we link public schools, families, and our communities so that together we can ensure that students receive a valuable, high quality public education.

[00:06:46]And so we work in person, we hold in person community workshops with parents to engage them in their at home learning tools. And so now during quarantine, we are doing so in partnership with any MAEC here in the Family Room, and we are thrilled to be working together and thrilled to have Patty here.

[00:07:06] And so I’m going to, now I’m thrilled to turn it over to Patty. So Patty Stine is the Executive Director and co-founder of Pure Play Every Day. And is a play professional, who has worked as a preschool teacher and childcare as a professional trainer and as a play environment designer, which sounds like an incredible job.

[00:07:26] And Patty is here to share with us some best practices and ways that you can play with your kids and all the benefits that that offers. And then we’ll turn off the slides and we’ll all start doing some imaginative play together. So Patty, I’m going to hand it over to you. Thank you.

[00:07:40] Patty: Thank you very much.

[00:07:43] Well, first, I’d like to show you some of the things that you might have access to already, that you could actually play with. So first we see some empty bottles. I like to use Gatorade bottles cause they tend to be really strong and durable when children throw balls at them. But, you can use any kind of empty bottle. And as you can see here, they’re been used to make bowling games, been used to make tic tac toe game pieces. Just do some simple dumping and pouring we’ve even got an obstacle course set up, for both people and for bikes or skateboards, with our Gatorade bottles. So that’s some of the things that you could do with empty bottles that you rescue from your recycle bin.

[00:08:23] These are some pictures of some household items that children could be encouraged to play with. As you can see, the children are dumping and pouring with some kitchen items and there’s a young lady there that’s dressing up her house with some bedsheets. She’s got a cardboard box playhouse there.

[00:08:39] And then there’s also all the things, other things that you have in your recycle bin, like your coffee cans and your laundry detergent containers and your yogurt containers. So one of my favorite things is those laundry detergent containers that have the push button spout. They are fantastic for taking water play outside. So you don’t have to constantly use the hose. And then the yogurt containers and sour cream containers make wonderful building toys. You can see that the mom and son, they are stacking together.

[00:09:14] And then toy cars. Toy cars are great for everybody to play with, they’re a fantastic STEM activity because they help us learn about physics and about what exactly happens when gravity happens. And you can play wonderful, imaginative games with them.

[00:09:35] So why do we play? Really, this is why we should play, because as you can see this young man demonstrating, he is stretching physically. He is stretching cognitively he’s figuring out whether or not he can actually get that coffee can all the way up onto the top of that. He’s also stretching emotionally. Does he really know that he can do it?

[00:09:59] And then you’ll notice in the next picture, why we play is because it helps us build our resilience. Resilience is knowing that even when we fail, we can once again, try again and problem solving skills. So his tower fell down, so now we can try and build it again. As you can see, he did a very good job at building it very tall.

[00:10:24] So let’s try out some of your everyday materials. What do you guys have in front of your space to play with? Jen what do you have?

[00:10:34] Jen: Yeah, I’m going to actually close the screen here so we can all see. All right. Can everybody see? Can you see our four boxes now?

[00:10:44] Patty: Right, So I see  Dr. Seth, he has a can and a toilet paper roll

[00:10:49] Dr. Shaffer: Yup

[00:10:49] Patty: and it looks like cotton balls.

[00:10:53] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah, these are like the little styrofoam things that come in boxes sometimes.

[00:10:56] Patty: Oh, packing peanuts.

[00:10:57] Dr. Shaffer: Cotton balls would work.

[00:10:58] Patty: Cotton balls would work too. All right. And Jen, you have an egg carton?

[00:11:05] Jen: Yeah.

[00:11:06] Patty: Are you’re cooking something?

[00:11:10] Jen: Yes. I’m making…

[00:11:10] Patty: That’s cool.

[00:11:11] Jen: Yeah.

[00:11:12] Patty: Yes, Okay. So it looks like you’re actually sorting your color pieces there. Are you sorting them in any particular way?

[00:11:22] Jen: Yeah, and this one’s wrong, I have to fix it. I’m doing every other.

[00:11:26] Patty: Oh, every other. Oh, very nice. Do you have more than two colors or just two colors?

[00:11:30] Jen: Just two colors. It’s connect four.

[00:11:32] Patty: Oh, okay.

[00:11:32] Do you think you could find a third color?

[00:11:34] Jen: [inaudible]

[00:11:35] Patty: [inaudible] Mariela.

[00:11:38] Oh. Oh, okay. Are you collecting things in your container?

[00:11:43] Mariela: So yes, I’m collecting, thinking my container. I have some binder clips, some little clips that I can toss in there.

[00:11:50] Patty: I keep hearing a fantastic noise. Is that a musical instrument you’ve made?

[00:11:56] Mariela: Yes, it is. How did you know?

[00:11:59] Patty: Really, so if you shake it, you can make different noises, but does the noise changed depending on what you have in there?

[00:12:08] You’ll have to test that out and see. Alright, Ms. Karmen has some cups. Ms. Karmen, what have you done with your cups?

[00:12:15] Karmen: I made a tower, I think.

[00:12:18] Patty: Okay.

[00:12:19] Karmen: [inaudible]

[00:12:20] Patty: Dr. Seth built something very fantastic there. That looked like a car to me, but I’m not sure that it was.

[00:12:27] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah, it’s a car.

[00:12:28] Patty: Oh, okay.

[00:12:29] Where are you going to drive your car to?

[00:12:32] Dr. Shaffer: I’m going to drive it to Disneyland.

[00:12:34] Patty: All right!

[00:12:35] Dr. Shaffer: Although Disneyland might be closed now. Maybe I should just drive it to, in the neighborhood.

[00:12:40] Patty: Is that a, is that a long trip for you?

[00:12:43] Dr. Shaffer: No, it’s a short, short trip.

[00:12:44] Patty: It’s a short trip.

[00:12:45] Karmen, how could you make your tower taller?

[00:12:50] Karmen: I added a cup at the bottom.  And then…

[00:12:54] Patty: Oh Mariela’s made a purse.

[00:12:57] Karmen: I’m testing out to see if I could stack them.

[00:13:02] Patty: All right. Those are very interesting cardboard tubes you have to go along with your cups.

[00:13:08] Karmen: [chuckles]

[00:13:10] Patty: Where did you find those?

[00:13:11] Dr. Shaffer: That’s fun!

[00:13:11] Patty: Oh my goodness. Ms. Jen, what have you built?

[00:13:15] Jen: I’ve decided it’s a house now, kind of like a fort or tent.

[00:13:19] Patty: Kind of like a fort.

[00:13:20] Jen: These are…

[00:13:20] Patty: What kind of things could you get to make a roof on your fort?

[00:13:24] Jen: Well, I think like paper, hang on.

[00:13:27] Patty: Seth, did you make a slide?

[00:13:30] Dr. Shaffer: I did make a slide and it’s snowing.

[00:13:32] Patty: It is snowing on your slide!

[00:13:35] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah!

[00:13:36] Patty: So they’re all the same size. They all seem to be going down at the same rate. What do you think would make them go down at a different rate?

[00:13:44] Dr. Shaffer: Maybe if I hold them closer or higher.

[00:13:48] Patty: Okay.

[00:13:50] Dr. Shaffer: You can’t see but I’m moving up.

[00:13:53] Patty: Oh, I like your roof. Miss Jen.

[00:13:56] Karmen, it looks like you’re making a carrying handle or sorry, Mariela, it looks like you’re making a carrying handle.

[00:14:03] Mariela: So I’m actually making a trampoline.

[00:14:06] Patty: Oh.

[00:14:06] Mariela: So some of the little clips can jump off of.

[00:14:09] Patty: Okay.

[00:14:10] Mariela: Put them here,

[00:14:11] Patty: [inaudible]

[00:14:12] Mariela: Then maybe start building it this way so they can like jump off, creates some movement.

[00:14:16] Patty: Now, if you turned it upside down, would it be a different thing than a trampoline?

[00:14:21] Mariela: Maybe some sort of critter that scurries across the ground.

[00:14:24] Patty: Oh, okay. Alright.

[00:14:26] Wow, Ms. Karmen, how many cups do you have?

[00:14:30] Karmen: I have, 10 cups.

[00:14:33] Patty: 10 cups. Okay. So if you have 10 cups, all in one stack, how many cups, oh, wait a minute, you have three cups on your cardboard there. How many cups do you have on your stack?

[00:14:50] Karmen: Seven, well, now eight.

[00:14:51] Patty: Oh, okay. Now Karmen, do you know that you just did math?

[00:14:57] Karmen: I did?! Fancy that! [laughs]

[00:15:03] Patty: Wow. Now that’s quite an interesting thing there, Seth, what have you built?

[00:15:08] Dr. Shaffer: It’s a tower.

[00:15:09] Patty: Okay. It looks like it’s a tower that’s taller than your computer even and you’re going to make it fall down. Wow right!

[00:15:19] Dr. Shaffer: I can just rebuild it.

[00:15:22] Patty: You can rebuild it. Absolutely. Now, is there a way that you could maybe rebuild it so it would be stronger? So it would be harder to knock down?

[00:15:31] Dr. Shaffer: Hmm. Maybe I’ll just use these boxes.

[00:15:34] Patty: Jen is there anybody hiding in your house?

[00:15:38] Jen: Yeah, these are forest creatures, there’s like fairies…

[00:15:41] Patty: Do they have names?

[00:15:42] Jen: This is Izzie, and this frog is named Reginald. And this one is Mary.

[00:15:51] You can’t see her. She’s shy.

[00:15:53] Patty: Okay. And what are Reginald and Mary doing in their forest house?

[00:15:58] Jen: They have like a fire. This is the chimney, they have a fire in their building for, it’s their turn to make dinner tonight. And [inaudible].

[00:16:08] Patty: May I write your story down so that we can talk about it more later?

[00:16:12] Jen: Sure.

[00:16:13] Patty: All right. So we’re going to have to remember what their names are, so how do I spell Reginald?

[00:16:19] Jen: R e g i n a l d.

[00:16:24] Patty: All right. And you said your other friend’s name was…

[00:16:28] Jen: Izzie and Mary

[00:16:29] Patty: Izzie and Mary. Is there only one way to spell Izzie or do you have a special way of spelling Izzie?

[00:16:36] Jen: I think there’s a lot, but there’s definitely a Z.

[00:16:38] Patty: Oh, okay. All right. So when I spell it correctly, I Z Z I E?

[00:16:47] Jen: Sure. Yeah.

[00:16:48] Patty: Okay. Great. All right. That’s a lot of fancy letters there we have to write down. Do you have any, can you show me a Z? Do you have, I thought I saw some banana grams there earlier. Do you have any Zs?

[00:17:00] Jen: Yes. It might be an N though.

[00:17:04] Patty: Alright. Okay.

[00:17:06] Karmen, do you have frogs on a log?

[00:17:12] Karmen: Yes. If that’s what they, if you want them to be frogs on the log, sure. Yes.

[00:17:16] Patty: What are your frogs doing?

[00:17:18] Karmen: Well, I was trying to, I was trying to see if I could actually stack the logs using the frogs. I suppose.

[00:17:24] Patty: Okay. So they’re more like columns instead of frogs.

[00:17:27] Karmen: Oh there is..

[00:17:28] Patty: Very good! How many columns do you need to have to keep that section step, stood up? Do you need all five of those?

[00:17:38] Karmen: Yes. I just tested it out with less than that and it wasn’t working.

[00:17:41] Patty: Okay. Alright.

[00:17:43] What are you… Mariela, you’re making something new now. What have you made?

[00:17:53] Mariela: A sort of a jaw.

[00:17:58] Patty: Is it a hungry creature or is a box with a top?

[00:18:03] Mariela: I think it’s going to be a hungry creature by the time I’m done with it.

[00:18:06] Patty: Okay. Have you decided on a name for him yet?

[00:18:11] Mariela: Not yet.

[00:18:12] Patty: Not yet. What kind of story could you tell with your creature? You have a story that would go with him yet?

[00:18:17] Mariela: One about a very hungry creature, probably.

[00:18:20] Patty: What kind of things does your very hungry creature eat?

[00:18:24] Mariela: Maybe some of the frogs from Karmen’s log.

[00:18:29] [laughs]

[00:18:31] Patty: Karmen it looked like you were trying to make something balance.

[00:18:36] Karmen: Yeah, I was. I was gonna see if I, if I put like three of the cups together, closer together on the bottom, would that work? So I’m…

[00:18:45] Patty: Okay.

[00:18:46] Karmen: So I think I can get it to work, I just, it’s about angles.

[00:18:50] Patty: All right.

[00:18:51] Karmen: Yeah. Or maybe..

[00:18:52] Patty: We’ve been modeling play facilitation here. And one of the things that I want to encourage, moms and dads and grandma and grandpa and everybody else that might have children in their lives and have opportunity to facilitate their play, is it takes a lot of practice. [laughs]

[00:19:11] And you just have to be willing to play yourself. It’s not something that you’re always gonna feel like you’re going to get right the very first time and no child expects you to be perfect. They’re more likely to play along the more you play along as well. So, keep practicing at it.

[00:19:31] Play facilitation is important because it helps extend the play. And the longer that we play, the more emergent thinking we’re allowed to follow. Allowing children to have their own thoughts and encouraging those thoughts so that I know that my thoughts are valuable, is one of the best ways we can actually build up a child’s self esteem. By getting their thinking out and having someone value it [inaudible] will help them become stronger players and actually be willing to engage in play with other children as well.

[00:20:13] Thank you, Patty. Yeah you

[00:20:14] Jen: talked about that emergent thinking, and I’m wondering if you could share a little bit more about what that term means, and also maybe why it’s important for the adults to sometimes get involved and you just sort of spoke about this, but it can become into sort of send the kids off to play, especially if there’s more than one kid, what’s the value of the adult voice in play? And can you talk a little bit about what this emergent thinking is?

[00:20:34] Patty: So emergent thinking is the thoughts that you weren’t expecting to happen, becoming and bubbling to the surface. And they are those, emergent thinking has a lot to do with understanding that I am my own person and it’s really how we begin to learn problem solving.

[00:21:00] Jen: So, how can the adult maybe, what were you doing that was fostering our emergent thinking that might not have happened if I was just doing this by myself?

[00:21:07] Patty: So I was strategically trying to not ask yes or no questions because yes or no questions tend to end the play very quickly. Whereas a Socratic method or asking the un-obvious question or an open ended question tends to encourage the play and elongate it. And bring new problem solving skills.

[00:21:33] Jen: Fantastic. Well, thank you. That was really fun, I know for me, I hope everybody else had fun too. Seth’s giving it two enthusiastic thumbs up. We do have a question that actually came in even before the webinar, which was, a participant who’s curious to learn more about your philosophy around supporting tantrums using play. What’s the relationship between those things? I know you also had some play thoughts as well, so we can maybe tag team those.

[00:22:00] Patty: Absolutely, and I think the tantrum question is very interesting, and has a lot to do with the age of the child that may be having the tantrum. Because very young children that are having a tantrum may have had their play actually interrupted.

[00:22:17] And that might’ve been, that might have been what sparked the tantrum to begin. In an older child that might still be having a tantrum, they actually need those opportunities to help to get themselves back into emotional control. And that takes a lot of coaching. It’s not something that they’re necessarily going to find their own way through.

[00:22:42]And I don’t know that play would necessarily be the best way to help coach them out of it. But it can help that, that could be the when you’ve got yourself back into emotional control, then we can reenter into play.

[00:22:59]Jen:  Yeah, that makes sense. And I liked the first thing you said about how kids might feel that their play has been interrupted. And I think that’s often the case too, that just kids, thoughts, feelings, ideas, play to adults can seem, you know, whimsical and not important. And it’s actually sort of one of the foundational important things that kids are doing, right.

[00:23:19] Patty: It’s extremely important. There’s a neuroscientist, his name is Doctor Panksepp and he’s actually discovered that play is one of the motivational systems that actually builds our emotional library. It’s found in one of our base brain structures, called the limbic system. And it’s actually one of the motivating factors that helps us find joy in our lives.

[00:23:44] And so when our play gets interrupted, our joy gets disturbed. So it’s one of those things. That’s actually critical for children in early childhood to have all of those opportunities to play and have their play last as long as it needs to last, until they’re done playing.

[00:24:07] Jen: Absolutely. Another thing that you were talking about was sort of following the kids lead. I think there are so many products out there that are prepackaged and it’s like, this is how you do it, and this is where you’re going, and this is the right way to do it. And the adults who like to play by the rules, I think have a tendency to say, you’re not doing it right. And that can sometimes translate into creative play.

[00:24:27] Like, Oh, you know, my chimney wasn’t right. You did it wrong. Right? So what’s the value of sort of following the kid’s direction or how does a parent or a guardian maybe navigate, resisting the sense of right and wrong and really follow the kids lead in those situations?

[00:24:42] Patty: So when you follow the children’s lead, you’re actually encouraging their emergent thinking. You’re actually allowing them to participate as the leader in the play. And so they then become, they have a sense of ownership. They have agency once again.

[00:24:59] So those are actually very important things. And they’re certainly something that other children can also encourage. One of the fascinating things that I’ve seen happen is when older children play with younger children, they actually become more subservient to the younger children. They actually follow the lead of the younger child better because they’re more closely, developmentally, to the child that they’re, the younger child that they may be playing with. And so they, they can actually get into that mode of encouraging the younger child even more easily than an adult can.

[00:25:36] Jen: Yeah. That is very cool. And I can also imagine that translating too, in terms of temper tantrums or just frustrations, those tend to, I mean, and I’ll let, maybe Seth weigh in on this as the child psychologist, but I think there’s this element of control, right, agency that kids don’t have a lot of. And so maybe there’s some piece also of validating the kid’s voice during play, and that can translate to kids feeling a little bit more in control of their lives in general.

[00:25:59]And Seth I know you had wanted to also give a bit of, from a psychological lens, a commentary on maybe some of the play that we just did, or thoughts about play therapy before we wrap up this section.

[00:26:11] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah. And there’s some great comments coming in like, Barbara just mentioned a great play, is how young children learn and help with emotional competence.

[00:26:18] I mean, play is, and Megan’s called earlier was fantastic. Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury, play is a necessity. And I agree with that. I mean, in my field, certainly. And I work with children and families, play is very much a part of the therapy.

[00:26:34] And actually one particular therapy that I’m certified in called, P C I T, is specifically family based. And the first phase of this therapy is really spent, coaching the parent or the caregiver with the child through a one way mirror. And teaching the parent or caregiver specific play skills at first and coaching them on how to interact with their child. Kind of similar to what Patty was doing.

[00:27:00] What I liked Patty about what you were doing when we were playing was you were sparking kind of curiosity in the child and thought. And it’s kind of felt like a learning type approach to play. You’re kind of teaching through play. PCIT is slightly different in that it’s really about following the child’s lead. So children certainly, the main modality that they express feelings is through play. And by following the child’s lead in play and pointing out what they’re doing, they feel like you’re paying attention to them. And this is kind of good, positive attention. You can reflect what they’re saying, so they feel heard. You can give labeled praises for things that you like, that they’re doing. I like that you have a calm body, for example. I liked that you didn’t get too upset when your structure fell down, and things like that.

[00:27:45] So PCIT, you want to learn more? I see there’s this posted by Megan, thank you. That work to learn more about that specific therapy. But at the very least the play skills that are taught as part of that therapy are awesome.

[00:27:56] And they would be kind of a slightly different approach than Patty described, but both approaches are just different ways of approaching, playing with your kids. Super important.

[00:28:05] Patty: Absolutely and play is incredibly necessary. As a matter of fact, Pure Play Every Day has spent the last month doing a social media series and blog series called Play is Necessary. So if you follow the #playisnecessary, you’ll see some of the life skills that are actually developed through play.

[00:28:25] Jen: Yeah. And I think, you know, again, the second half of today’s webinars about a really serious topic, and I think the adults of the world are really feeling the weight of many moments overlapping on top of each other right now. And I think it’s just really important to remember that kids developmentally are still doing their important work and play is a huge part of. That as Patty’s slideshow demonstrated, it does not take hundreds of dollars of plastic toys to make good play happen.

[00:28:49] In fact, probably better to use what’s around the house because of the creative thinking that emerges so. Hopefully that was useful and inspirational to folks as we launch into the big unstructured summer ahead .

[00:29:02] So thank you so much, Patty for the…

[00:29:04] Patty: Thank you very much for having me. I’ve enjoyed our time playing together.

[00:29:07] Thank you.

[00:29:08] Jen: As well.

[00:29:09] And so we are now going to move back into the question corner for today. So I’ll invite Seth and Mariela, there you are, to come back. And so, let’s pull up our first question here. So we did have some questions coming in from prior to today, and then I can see there’s a lot of talk in the chat and Q and A boxes as well. So we’re gonna try and hit on as many of those as we can during question corner. But thematically again, we know that the news keeps coming, the protests keep happening. There’s more for kids to process, for adults to process every day. So we wanted to continue the conversation around having courageous conversations around race with your children.

[00:29:50]Something that came in actually sort of a segue, from the past week was how to navigate conversations about race that actually happen when kids are playing. So if something comes up, that’s a little like, Ooh, right while a kid is in the middle of play, how to navigate that situation? So I’m gonna pass it over to Mariela to kick us off with that question.

[00:30:11]Mariela: Sure. So I think the first thing that comes to mind, right, is, was this post that I saw online. That really sort of broke down how these interactions happen in day to day life. Right? Because when we talk about race and racism in the abstract, it’s hard to think about what you would do to interrupt that pattern and to disrupt that.

[00:30:35] But when you talk about very concrete situations, right, it’s easier to think to yourself and reflect about what you would do in the moment. And maybe planning ahead of time, like how you would even respond to the situation. So this person that posted and it’s a longer post, but this sort of captures the overall gist.

[00:30:55] So she says, still processing this, but two days ago, two blonde girls at the playground told my daughter she couldn’t play with them because she doesn’t have blonde hair. The girls’ parents did not intervene. You better  believe I did. So with this post made me think of, right, is like, how do you, like, how do you do that? Right, how do you intervene if it’s your own child there? How do you intervene, regardless of which of the parents you are? And I think the first thing to do, right, is to take a stand. And to say, you know, it’s not right to exclude others.

[00:31:27]And depending on your relationship with the other children, right, if they’re children, from your kids like classroom, or they’re kids you know well, like you may want to have a longer conversation, even in that moment, or maybe later. To like figure out like what makes them say that and like, you know, try to understand like what the root cause of that is and why they’re excluding.

[00:31:50]But really I think the important part here is to discuss how it’s unfair to treat other people differently based on how they look, and whether that’s their hair color, their color, the color of their skin or their race. And really making sure kids know, right, that that’s not acceptable behavior.

[00:32:07]And to try to get to the root cause of like what’s making the child react that way or respond that way. Are they uncomfortable with differences? Are they not used to seeing people who are different than them? Is there something else that’s causing that behavior? Right.

[00:32:22] Sometimes young children will exclude, and will say, like, Oh, only the princesses get to come over here, like makeup, things like that. Right. But even then you want to get to the root cause of like, why they’re excluding other kids to begin with.

[00:32:36] And then I think the second part of that right. Would be to encourage your own kids, right, to stick up for others. And encourage them to speak up, even if they’re little, right. And sometimes with little, with little or young children, it’s easier for the entry point for them to be about whether something is fair or not fair. Cause sometimes kids at that age really focused on like, Oh, it’s not fair so and so got the like bigger blank. Right.

[00:33:02] And so sometimes that is their entry point into that, but like, it can’t be the only conversation you have about whether kids are excluded or like treated differently because of how they look, or because of their race.

[00:33:13] And then help them to see that there are ways that they can take action. And so that it’s not just things happening around them, but it, that there’s something that they can do to help other people if they go through that situation, as well as they do.

[00:33:27] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah. I think, Mariela, everything you’ve said is spot on. I’m totally on the same page with you. I especially like that you said, you know, the first thing that you might think as a caregiver is, and maybe the word you use with your child is exclusion, so that you’re not kind of assuming.

[00:33:44] One other thing that I thought of related to what you were saying, Mariela is, you know, looking for patterns. I really like how this, I’m assuming she’s this, the young girl’s mom, right? That’s in that picture. I think it is pretty obvious that she intervened. She’s like the other parents didn’t, but I stepped in. So being your child’s advocate and being as involved and engaged with your child’s school, assuming the playground is the school playground, it’s really important.

[00:34:07] And I would just add a couple other things. One is for young children, I think your expectations as a parent, certainly to be having conversations with your child, modeling, you know, inclusivity at home, through, you know, throughout their life is important. And then this experience for your child can just kind of fit into an ongoing conversation is good.

[00:34:26]In terms of how you can maybe suggest to your child that they handle the situation. So particularly young child, I might say something like after of course giving your child space to process how it made them feel. You know, it hasn’t happened before. What did you do? You know, afterwards. And those kinds of questions is good, but then maybe trying to walk your young child to like, you know, depending on what they did, guiding them on, like, you know, maybe go find, did you find someone who like, you’re good friend, like what’s, you know, whatever your child’s good friend is, you know. Just go, if those kids aren’t letting you play, tell them, well, I’m going to go play with my good friend, so and so. So that your child, your young child is standing up for them. And that’s something for a young child that they probably could do. I’m going to go play with so and so, they’re my friends, right? That’s a good thing.

[00:35:09] As they get slightly older, like even elementary school age, you might be having conversations with your child in instances like this, about this idea of an upstander. What does it mean to be an upstander? Being an upstander in short means you stand up for a peer or your friend, if you see something happening, you know, the child, you see something happening to someone else that you care about. That’s not, you’re not okay with.

[00:35:31] So for example, like if I was, you know, you know, nine or whatever, and my kid, my friend, sorry, was like getting excluded. Like my friend wasn’t being allowed to play basketball or whatever it is I might say, Hey, so and so like, come play with me. Right. That would be a way to be an upstander cause a part of being upstander is you stand up and intervene for your friend or peer, is you don’t really want to, you know, encourage your child to exacerbate the situation or say, or do something that could possibly make the let’s say aggressor in this case, or excluder, get more upset.

[00:36:05] You want to just kind of guide your child again, this context of being an upstander, to stand up for your friend, but in a way that like, could either diffuse or not exacerbate the situation. In this case, telling your child, like, you know, Hey, go, go tell your friend or be an upstander and say, Hey, let’s go play something else. We’re just a couple things I wanted to add there to that.

[00:36:24] I could keep going, but I’m going to stop. Mariela, was there anything else, or Jen, did you want to chime in?

[00:36:29] Jen: No, I think that’s all really great stuff. And I think it’s also just important to remember that we bring our lens of having learned all of American and world history. And kids are just learning all that for the first time. So it’s all just genuinely, sometimes comes from a place of not knowing. And so that’s really important to remember.

[00:36:45] But we also had a question coming in for when kids are a little bit older and are starting to know. So I’m sure there are a lot of people in the room who have middle schoolers, teenagers and emerging adults. Right. And somebody wanted to know from last week’s webinar, so maybe just to pivot to the older range, how do I work with kids or students who are already showing some signs of racism formed from their homes, their communities, particularly older children. If this is already starting to seep in, I think we talked a little bit about how there’s like a lot of different adults, you know, contributing to a kid’s understanding of the world. How, as an educator or somebody working with groups, or with your own child, how do you navigate it when you’re starting to see signs of racist thinking coming out of a child’s mouth?

[00:37:29]Mariela: I think the great opportunity with older students, right, is that they have this, they can sort of grasp the sense of like a bigger picture. Right. And grasp that race and racism are not just based on individual actions or like not being nice to somebody, but they’re based on a larger system. Right. So there’s like systemic racism that creates it so that some, like it’s a system of advantages and disadvantages right, based on race.

[00:37:55] And so I think with older students, there’s this opportunity to be able to talk with them about that. Right. But to also ground it in history and the historical context, for like what’s happening, but also the current manifestations of racism in the United States. And get them to like dig deep with like primary sources, and sort of make sense of the world for themselves.

[00:38:15]But also, if you’re seeing comments that are maybe offensive to other people, or like, you know, disparaging about somebody else’s race, like being able to take a stand on that too. Right. And saying the values that you will uphold in your classroom or in your home. Right. And why we, why we don’t discriminate other people on the basis of race.

[00:38:37]And I think that’s what is so great about being able to work with older students is that you can interrupt the light bias or pressure prejudicial behavior and help them see that they can contribute to making society better.

[00:38:53] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah. And I think one key thing that you, that you said Mariela, that I love is you do something. Right. So as the caregiver, you are in this case, I guess the counselor, sorry, that you do something.

[00:39:06] And it also, there’s a lot of, kind of, it depends with this question, which is a good one of like, not only how old this older child is, but whether they have insight or awareness into what they said and the impact it had on someone else. Right. And so one consideration for the counselor might be, Hey, so and so, come into my office, I’m going to check in for a few minutes. You know, and they come in, and you, you know, you, maybe one objective will to the first one being like, let me just try to get this, to know this kid and where their head is at a little bit more. And then I would bring up maybe what happened, right? As the reason for wanting to check in.

[00:39:40] And then a second potential objective as the counselor in that meeting. And it could be, there could be several, and this could go in different ways or whatever would be empathy building. How do you think what you said made? Cause you’re not the counselor. You’re not, you’re not the kid’s parents. Right? So I think you want to just be mindful of that. But one thing that, you know, you’d be thinking like how to the counselor might say, how do you think what you said made this so and so feel, how did they react? Are, you know, do you like when someone says something to you like about, you know, whatever you’re doing or something you did, that’s critical of you?

[00:40:11]And then you can also, even if you felt comfortable and feel that that conversation is a counselor, it’s okay to say, well, it may me feel it was offensive. I was offended by what you said. You know, to just try and build their empathy, and connecting.

[00:40:23] And then of course at that child, depending on where it went, right. And what they would, you know, if they, if you got a sense that they might want to, you know, rethink how they might, what they might say, you know, or racist tendencies, if you will. Then I love what you said, Mariela, to kind of give them ways in which you try and power them ways in which they can learn about history.

[00:40:46] They can learn about, you know, things going on in the community at school. I thought I have a note jotted down here, if that child, you know, is more open again, amenable to changes, they could start a club at the school. You know, they could become more, I don’t know if you want to put it activist or whatever. But, I love the idea of especially like older children of empowering them to bring about their own change and as the counselor or an adult that you’re merely facilitator and trying to plug them in with resources and things of that nature.

[00:41:17]Mariela: Seth something you said that made me really think about my time when I was working with middle schoolers. Right. Is that a lot of the time they say things that maybe lead for them to be misunderstood and half the time, or maybe even like 90% of the time, they don’t realize what they said cannot be sort of understood by other people.

[00:41:36]And so I think that’s also a great way, right, to break down things like these, about race and racism. And say, Hey, when you said X, Y, and Z, it came across as this way. So, like, what did you mean by that? And then helping them sort of work through what they mean and maybe how they can rephrase that in a better way, and then giving them some of that historical context too, for why we don’t say those things.

[00:42:00] Dr. Shaffer: Absolutely such a good point. And related to what you said of like trying to, as the counselor help, you know, if you want to try and bring about change, in this case, you brought up kind of perspective taking approach Mariela, to bring about a change in thinking and actions in this child is to join in with them.

[00:42:19] And I obviously don’t mean like you would like affirm something that they said, but come at it from the angle of wanting to learn more about what they think about it. And then trying to, cause if a child feels like, you know, you’re kind of talking down to them, they’re going to get defensive and they might feel bad about what they said.

[00:42:36] So you want to probably try to avoid that as the counselor. And have it be more exploratory while sharing your own opinion, but in not necessarily a judgmental way about the child. But about maybe what was said and the words. And you can use language as a counselor, as a caregiver to distinguish something someone says and does from that being the person.

[00:42:57] So an example of, like you said, something that’s wrong versus excuse me, you’re wrong for saying that, versus what you said was not okay. I’m not okay with what you said or I’m not okay with what you did. So that was another thing that he made me think of Mariela.

[00:43:13] Jen: Yeah. And I agree, I think in the same vein Seth, one thing that has been useful for me with middle and high schoolers is to start with assumptions of best intent.

[00:43:21] And so that’s another way of sort of removing the shame element. So I’ll start by saying, my guess is that you didn’t mean for this to come across this way, cause you’re a really kind person and you don’t hurt people. But what you might not know is that when you say the word gay in that way, when you say X, Y, and Z in that way, right. Whatever, the thing that they said, right, historical context, bigger picture, right. You probably didn’t know that yet. Did you know that? You didn’t know that? Okay. So now, you know, and now that you know, you would not want to say that, right. Because you’re a good person. And so you can actually reinforce their morals.

[00:43:53] While pointing out that, the thing that they’re saying was objectionable. With that to your point, Seth making it like, and therefore you are bad. It’s just that you’re learning. And now you have a tool for how to be a better ally, moving forward.

[00:44:06] So these are all really great strategies.

[00:44:09] Mariela: I also, I’m sorry. I also was thinking about, this idea that as a society, right, we sometimes are so uncomfortable with talking about race and racism. We can talk about it in the abstract, but when it comes to our own day to day about how we’re either perpetuating it or not saying anything about it, I think that’s when the conversation becomes sometimes uncomfortable or what, we’re why we changed the topic to be courageous conversations. Right. And not difficult.

[00:44:35] So we could sort of challenge ourselves to go a little bit deeper. And I just want to say right, that we all have different entry points into this work. And it’s really a journey that you have to commit yourself to, especially if you’re talking to children, whether they’re young or older about race and racism, right?

[00:44:54] Because you also have to like dig, dig deep within yourself and examine some of your own belief systems too, so that you can actually have conversations that are productive with young people in your life.

[00:45:05] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah. And that kind of made me think of last week, which if you haven’t checked out last weeks Family Series, please go watch it. We had Christine on and then we also had Dr. Kristin. And both of them were saying some things that are really great. Just these conversations about racism about difference, but about equality and things like this, like social justice stuff. It’s important to have with your kids on an ongoing basis so that it’s not so uncomfortable. Right.

[00:45:31] So one other caveat I’d add, and maybe we can jump to another question. Cause I think we have time, although we could probably keep talking all day. This is a great question, we can be talking all day long about it, but the other caveat would be, you know, as a counselor, if you’re noticing a pattern, right?

[00:45:45] So this isn’t just like a one off thing that happened with that particular student. Then you probably I’m sure, I know, your school has policies and procedures for how to proceed with that, but you might want to check in with whoever was there, if you weren’t there, whatever adult was there, rather, there was one who heard it, just to kind of start to get different perspectives. Maybe check in with the principal,  you know, bring it up in a staff meeting, because patterns require most likely checking in with that particular student’s parents or caregivers or whoever just cause it’s a pattern. So that was just the one other thing I wanted to add.

[00:46:17] Jen: Yeah, thank you. So I think, our next question takes us in a little bit of a different and interesting direction. So on the one hand, yes, this is an ongoing conversation that we are all hopefully rising to the challenge of having whether or not it’s in the news. But right now it’s very very much in the news. And so the question that just came in in the chat box was how do I get my daughter to talk to me about what she’s seeing on TV and listening to my partner and I talk about racial injustices. She is very shy and I don’t know how much to push a conversation or how much to ask her what she’s feeling about what she sees and hear?

[00:46:51] So how to talk with your kids about both this is happening on the news and on TV, and you’re seeing it and, you know, the grownups in your house are talking about it. How do you get those conversations started? Where do you push?

[00:47:02] Dr. Shaffer: Mariela, I’m going to let you chime in first, if you’re cool with that. But one question, if the person could answer, I don’t know who it was. Could we have the age of the child? I think that would be helpful. No.

[00:47:14] Jen: Maybe if that person wants to chat back in, they can.

[00:47:18] Mariela: Yeah. I’m happy to take the question. So I think with this one, right, there are a few things that come to mind, like Seth said, right, I’d be interested to know the age of the child only to know how verbal or how complex their thinking can be about these things. Because if there may be younger, I probably would sensor more of the screen time that they’re seeing. But if they’re older, I mean, even if they’re older, I think I would want to not like have them re-experience this and retraumatize themselves by consistently watching things that were making them feel sad or angry or upset.

[00:47:55]But instead having them process in a way that’s not like verbally sharing  with you, right. So they can, you know, write about it, they can journal about it. They can record themselves thinking about the situation. But I think the biggest thing is to like, make sure you create the space for them to reflect on their own, if they’re so shy.

[00:48:16] It also, but like the space of reflect on their own, but also to know that you’re available or that a trusted adult is available to talk through this, even if it’s not you. Because it may be that there, you have to figure out like where, what they’re worried about. Right. So you have to figure out if they are struggling with feeling safe in their home and they need you to assure them of their safety and that you’ll do everything to protect them.

[00:48:39]Or like where that sort of is stemming from. So that you can tailor the conversation that way.

[00:48:47] Dr. Shaffer: Yeah Mariela, like you said, the younger the child, the more mindful you want to be of filtering out some of it and even taking breaks and frankly, as caregivers, yourselves, taking breaks, I know I do.

[00:48:59] But also it’s important to be having those conversations that this person mentioned about social justice with their partners. So if that’s happening and your child is present, you can ask them questions, have them be part of the conversation, right. And maybe adjust the language of your question, like, you know, what do you, do you know what equality means? And it, depending on the kid’s age, I don’t really know here, but you kind of can adjust your language depending on the age of the kids to kind of.

[00:49:24] If your child doesn’t know, you know, then you can chime in. You know, I know that’s and bringing up an example, right. So I know like we saw on the news when all of us were watching as a family, that’s such an, this thing happened. How did that make you feel? That would be a way to bring it into the conversation or an example from when your child was playing with a friend, I noticed that this happened, this person said this to you. How did that make you feel?

[00:49:46] Or to bring up the exclusion question earlier when you weren’t allowed to play by these two girls, how did that make you feel? Cause, even though the context is different and the words could be different, the child’s still might be experiencing, an experience like this, you know, in similar ways. If that makes sense, you know, so you go for the feeling and help them connect to the situation.

[00:50:08] And then as a caregiver or caregivers, if your child is like not wanting to answer these questions or seems kind of like, you know, it doesn’t want to participate or engage with you about it. Just keep modeling how you’re feeling about these things. Watching this, maybe you feel X or Y. That person on the screen was feeling X or Y. I’m not okay with, you know, X or Y, so I’m going to do this. Hey, should we do this as a family or whatever the case may be, so that even if the conversation isn’t a two way, you’re still kind of modeling for your child, all those things, feelings, thoughts, situations, actions.

[00:50:46]Mariela:  I also, was going to add that I think you also want to validate that, like, if they’re saying something like our current events, right, with George Floyd and, and, and his murder. Also validating that, like, it’s not fair that something like that happened to him. Right. Because of the way he looked like you can actually have those very explicit conversations with kids. Right. And also like, know, how often, or how frequent to have those conversations based on like how comfortable your child is, how comfortable you are. But, but have those conversations often. Right.

[00:51:15] And then there’s also this resource on the Anti-Defamation leads page, ADL. Where they have this series called table, I think it’s a table talk, something like that up, but they talk about current events and they encourage you to have conversations about current events at the dinner table.

[00:51:32] And so they provide you with some context about the situation, and then they also have guiding questions that help guide this conversation with your child. And you could even maybe provide those questions so that they can journal or write about them or draw about them and then come to you and share.

[00:51:51] Dr. Shaffer: That’s a good point that you’ve brought up, which is about like the medium with which you exchange with you engage in exchanges with your child. Like you said, Mariela, through play through journaling, through direct conversation. Another one that I just posted here, if I got the link, right. I hope so. That was brought up, I think last week, maybe by Christine. I’m a huge proponent of children’s literacy and using literacy as a way to kind of help your child think and, you know, instill values in them and things like that. It’s a great teaching tool for all ages. Right? So the older they get them, they can read it on their own. Right. And maybe you could even read it with them, you know, if it’s an older child and be like, Hey, what’d you think about what was said on this page or that page? And if your child is, assuming that he or she is engaged in the book and whatever is going along with it, it might spark a conversation because it’s something that’s not.

[00:52:47] It deflects from it being just about them and their feelings, if it makes them uncomfortable to kind of go there and just talk about it directly. Right. So that would be if your child is, you know, if you’re noticing your child presenting as more fearful, angry, et cetera, that this would be a way to kind of keep the bond between you two, but put it on kind of a third thing, like a book, for example.

[00:53:09] Jen: Yeah, the books from last week are a great starting point. So if you missed it, go back and check out and buy her books. They’re amazing. There’s a new one coming out, any minute now.

[00:53:19] And just so you know, we to get an update, the, question asker chimed in that the child is 12. And so I think a lot of what you said really applies, and also it is likely hopefully if their school is doing its job, that they’re learning about social injustice and, you know, civil rights movements and all sorts of stuff. And I think this really loops it all together, right. That. You’re reading about it or learning about it in school and then watching it on live TV and they look really similar. Right.

[00:53:43] And so that can be a way of, for the playground question. Like why does this matter? Well, if you feel that what happened in history is not just, you’re actually living through the same thing. It hasn’t stopped. Right. And so what is your role, even in something as basic as how you treat other people who are different from you in a variety of ways on the playground, how do we be an upstander? How do we be an ally? Because we are a part of things that will go down in history books, right? Where do we fall in this moment?

[00:54:09] And I think too, like for me, as a white person when I’m interacting with the young kids in my family who are white, being really open and honest, like you said, Mariela can be really uncomfortable to talk about these things, but you have to. And say, we are the recipients of some privileges and we’re not going to experience racism because we’re white. How does that feel? Right.

[00:54:26] And to your point, Seth, just being able to acknowledge all of the feelings, validate them, explain that you feel similarly. I think can be really empowering. From a really early age kids can handle these conversations, as you’ve said in different ways.

[00:54:39] We have one more question. I know we’re coming up on our hour here. The questions are really rich and the people have a lot to say. So I think we’ll do one more. Maybe try to be a little bit faster and then we’ll wrap up. If people need to head out these do, you can catch the whole thing on our website, but if you’re able to stick around, we love to have you here.

[00:54:57] The final question is a sort of different tech altogether. The person in the chat box said, how can I help my child create relationships with other people in my community? I worry about him only connecting with children who are like him? Which I’m guessing means like kids of the same race or similar backgrounds or just being more comfortable with people who are not too different from this child who is 10 years old. So that’s sort of a different question. Do you guys have thoughts about ways to encourage connections outside of, people who are very similar to one’s child?

[00:55:30] Dr. Shaffer: I love that question. Whenever I’m walking with my family up and down my neighborhood in Long Beach ,and you know, they’re black, brown, white, Asian, all different kinds of families around. I’ll say hello to everyone. I want to model that for my son. Cause that’s just a simple way to connect and be friendly. Right? That’s one simple one.

[00:55:50] Another one would be like through whatever your child’s kind of extracurriculars, if you will, are. You know, they’re on a sports team or they do a few kind of art thing or whatever the case may be. But if there are parents, that’s a great question by the way, that shows that you really are, you know, you want to kind of bring that about, you know, parents or families that look different, you could suggest to your child, Hey, why don’t we invite so-and-so after whatever game. I mean, we’re in coronavirus right now, so you want to be safe and mindful, but just to give that as an example. You know, I’m sure the point, if it comes across of like, why don’t we invite so-and-so to come, you know, come over afterwards? We’ll we go grab pizza afterwards, right. I guess you eat piece outside and do curbside.

[00:56:28]But anyway, things like that. Mariela, did you want to ask something else? I mean, I can keep going, but, I don’t want to hog the mic here.

[00:56:36] Mariela: No, no worries. So I would say, yeah, it’s not just about like who your kids are interacting with. Right. And I’m assuming, based on your question, and I don’t know this is that you probably live in a community where a lot of people look like you. Right. And are, maybe are very similar across different sort of, forms of identity. So I would also say that it’s important to think about like how your children get to know people who are different than them. Yes, based on the activities that like they may be doing, but also, like,  to think about like what subtle messages are you showing kids through your interactions with people who are different than you are.

[00:57:20]Are they seeing representation of people of different races, different backgrounds, different identities, and their toys and their blogs and images that they see on TV? What are those representations?

[00:57:33] I think I had mentioned this at a previous question corner, but like, what is the role that people were different than you, in your life? Right. So are they like genuine friendships or are they roles that are in service to you, right? Because if you are having interactions with children, or having your child interact with children who are different than you are, but then you’re also are showing this message of maybe they exist other people exist in service to us, and you’re not sort of really doing a service. Right?

[00:58:05] So like, I think it’s, I think it’s both, I think making sure your children interact with children who are different, if that’s what’s important to you. And to gain like different perspectives. Right. But also to think about the subtle messages you’re sending through different things that kids come into contact with.

[00:58:23] Dr. Shaffer: And that’s, that’s a really, that was, that was amazing what you said, Mariela. And just the point of like diversity comes in all shapes and sizes. Right. Even with you can, you can even bring up things at time with your child or children or, you know, you have different ideas, right, caregiver and child. We have different ideas. Our ideas are different, but we still get along and things like that. But that’s a great point that different can look very different, has different ways of thinking.

[00:58:51] Jen: Yeah. And I think this actually came up in the chat box, I think last week, do we talk about diversity or do we talk about anti-racism right. And those are different things. And so cultivating a diverse experience for your child so that they grow up, not in a homogenous world. I actually think I saw somebody today mentioning that. That’s why it’s really important for kids to be around kids who are different than the ways that you can expose kids to all kinds of differences that just creates that empathy.

[00:59:16]But also that the work, especially for families of privilege, people who have racial privilege and for everybody is also anti-racism, right. And those were sort of maybe parallel, but also different tasks. And the conversations can sound a little different.

[00:59:31] So we’re going to close out here, Mariela, you want it to close with this quotation before we wrap up.

[00:59:36]Mariela:  And I actually think that what you just said Jen really leads to this quote, right? Because it’s this idea of committing yourself to being anti-racist right. And yes, if you value diversity, value diversity in your life and with your children, and getting them exposed to different perspectives, different cultures, different traditions, and seeing that these differences are valuable, and should be uplifted. And then this leads us to this idea that in order to be anti-racist.

[01:00:05] The only way to do, to undo racism, right. Is to consistently identify and describe it and then dismantle it. The idea that you constantly have to have these conversations with children, with the people in your life, to commit yourself to changing the system that is set up with like advantages and disadvantages based on your race. This is a quote by Ibram X Kendi.

[01:00:31] Jen: Thank you for that.

[01:00:33] All right. So, there’s a few more resources here that we will be sending out. And as always, all this comes out, if you are registered for this webinar, then you will get it in your email forthcoming. Mariela did you want to speak to any of these in particular? Or just make sure everybody had access to the really…

[01:00:49]Mariela:  I just wanted to make sure you knew they were available. They have various perspectives. If you are a person of color, if your black, if you are white, different sort of entry points into this work.

[01:01:02] Jen: Thank you. And so here’s some more resources that we always share about  Covid, education, other things that might be useful. One thing that I, and I forgot earlier on was that, pivoting back to Patty briefly, Patty Stine from Pure Play also has some great book recommendations. There’s a lot of great anti-racist books out right now. And she also has some really great books about play. And so I know Megan was going to maybe shoot some of those in the chat box. And some titled recommendations will be coming out after the webinar as well. But Patty, if you’re still here and want to shut out any of those, maybe turn on your camera. And if not, we’ll just close out.

[01:01:36] I think we will plan to share those out afterwards. But some really good reading about the value of play, and the way that play creates problem solving skills, emotional stability, and other things with which you can build all kinds of skills, including anti-racist skills. So it all sort of comes together.

[01:01:53] So hopefully you guys can check out some great resources. And so that’s going to be the conclusion of our Family Room today. Thank you everybody so much, Patty and Mariela and Seth for joining us.

[01:02:04] Please stay connected via our newsletter. The link is right there. Sign up for it or just check out the website for past Family Room webinar recordings. And join us back for upcoming Thursdays. Next week, we have a great session called Healing through Art with ArtReach, which should be a really fantastic session. And then we will take off the week of the 4th of July week, there won’t be programming that week.

[01:02:28] And then the following week, we will be doing Full STEAM Ahead for Summer with Motor City STEAM, which is an amazing nonprofit. That seems to really live up the full, all of the letters of STEAM. So really fantastic science and math and also great art. So please join the newsletter for updates on the conversation about courageous conversations around race continues. And do you take our survey before you go. Thank you all so much for joining us today.

[01:02:53] Be well and be safe and keep having those fun play activities and courageous conversations at home. See you next time.


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