Providence Children's Museum and the Providence Athenaeum are partnering to present a series of panel discussions, moderated by Museum director Janice O'Donnell, about the critical importance of self-directed play for children's healthy growth and development. Conversations will be held the first Tuesday of March, April and May from 7:00 - 8:30 PM at the Athenaeum (251 Benefit Street in Providence) and are free and open to the public.
Leave No Child Inside
Tuesday, March 5 | 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Today's children play outside less than any previous generation, yet free outdoor play connects kids to the natural world and builds their imaginations, resiliency and confidence. Join a discussion about what's keeping them inside and what we can do to get them out!
Panelists: Chris Hitchener, "Our Big Backyard" Program Manager, Roger Williams Park Zoo; Paul Pieri, Middle School Farm Program Director, The Wheeler School; and Jeanine Silversmith, Founder and Director, RI Families in Nature.
What Happened to Recess?
Tuesday, April 2 | 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Recess is crucial for kids, resulting in better attention span, improved classroom behavior, and important opportunities for free play, creativity and interaction with other children - yet it is increasingly limited or withheld. Join the great recess debate!
Panelists: Alicia Bell, Elementary art teacher and DR. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School parent; Dr. Lauren Greve, Psychologist and Vartan Gregorian Elementary School parent; and Phyllis Penhallow, URI Lecturer and Chariho Elementary School parent.
Play & Risk: How Safe is Too Safe?
Tuesday, May 7 | 7:00 - 8:30 PM
Acceptable risk is beneficial to kids' physical and emotional development, so when did it become a 4-letter word? Taking risks helps children learn about their own capabilities and limits while increasing their comfort with making mistakes and taking on challenges. Discuss ways to foster healthy risk-taking in kids' play.
Panelists include: Wendy Nilsson, Director, Partnership for Providence Parks, and Janice O'Donnell, Executive Director, Providence Children's Museum.