Experiencing Playful Learning: A Hands-on Workshop

Children learn best in active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive settings, making play an ideal context for learning.

This presentation will share findings and future directions from a series of projects that use developmental science to infuse everyday spaces (e.g., bus-stops, grocery stores, school yards, and classrooms) with playful STEM learning opportunities. Findings will focus on caregiver-child conversation, interaction, and STEM learning.

The presentation will also emphasize co-design strategies that invite local community members and teachers to become design partners, so learning experiences reflect community values, strengths, and learning goals.

The objective of these projects is to create joyful informal STEM learning experiences in the places and spaces that children and families already spend time.

Following the presentation, attendees will be offered a hands-on opportunity to experience playful learning activities first hand and spend time reflecting on the learning opportunities that were present, connections to developmental science, and brainstorm new activities that they can bring to their own classrooms and communities. 


Target Audience: Educators/ Practitioners



Assistant Professor Andres Sebastian Bustamante

Andres-SebastianAndres S. Bustamante is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Irvine’s School of Education, and directs the Social, iTerative, Engaged, and Meaningful (STEM) Learning Lab. He designs and implements play-based early childhood STEM interventions in places and spaces that children and families spend time (e.g., parks, school yards, grocery stores etc.). He maintains an intentional focus on translating rigorous science from the lab, into meaningful research in the classroom, and the community.

Andres is invested in research that has practical implications for school and life success for children and families from under-served communities. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Advanced Education Research and Development Fund (AERDF), Heising Simons Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He was recognized by the Association for Psychological Science (APS) through their Rising Star Award for early career scholars.

He is also committed to sharing and interpreting early childhood research with a broader audience through blog posts for the Brookings Institution, Psychology Today, BOLD Blog, and other media outlets. 


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