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Professional Development

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The Genius of Play and NAA Bring Play to Local Communities

This year, The Genius of Play spread its message to afterschool professionals and parents through a new partnership with the National AfterSchool Association (NAA).

Through a "Play Ambassador" program, NAA members spoke to their professional peers and parents about the educational benefits of toys and play and the importance of bringing more play opportunities to afterschool programs.

"From community play days to professional development workshops, our 'Play Ambassador' program helped us reach more than 1,500 kids, parents, teachers, administrators and afterschool professionals," said Anna Yudina, director of marketing initiatives for The Toy Association. "These events have helped make a positive difference in dozens of local communities by providing information on the value of play and engaging both kids and adults in hands-on play experiences."

The program was launched in time for the 2018 – 2019 school year. Play Ambassadors used The Genius of Play research, talking points, handouts, videos, and other resources to communicate the importance of play at live events and on social media. With themes such as "Never Too Old to Play," "Pathways to Purposeful Play," and "The Power of Play," nearly 50 events were hosted by Play Ambassadors across the country for parents, children, and afterschool professionals.

Play Ambassador Tyler Kearns had an "incredible experience" this past year.

"From spreading awareness about playing with a purpose to holding community play events that put theory into practice, serving as a play ambassador opened up a world of opportunity to educate and build connections through an idea we can all get behind: Play!" said Kearns, who is also the program coordinator for the Clayton Kid Zone in Clayton, Missouri.

As the upcoming school year approaches, Yudina notes that they are excited to continue their partnership with NAA.

"We plan to expand the program by offering select Play Ambassadors opportunities to reach broader audiences and by giving them the ability to mentor new ambassadors as we strive to share our mission with more people."

Courtesy of NAA.

Photo courtesy of The Genius of Play.