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Playfulness at Work
June 22, 2022
True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.
-Alexander von Humboldt, Environmentalist and Geographer, 1769-1859

In The Interpersonal Neurobiology of Play: Brain-Building Interventions for Emotional Well-Being, psychologist Theresa A. Kestly notes, "Our brains are built to benefit from play no matter what our age."

Early childhood professional Glory Ressler has found that while there are a multitude of benefits to being playful at work, there are also many barriers. In her article included in the newest Out of the Box training "Playfulness at Work," she writes, "At a time when we are beginning to acknowledge that we must be well in order to best model and support wellness in children, and perhaps even to go the distance in our chosen profession, I think there are opportunities to extend a playful approach to our adult interactions. By doing so, we can reap benefits similar to those experienced by children; enhancing and promoting our personal and collective wellness, learning and development. It may also support professional satisfaction and staff retention."

Ressler shares further benefits of play at work, including:

  • Play releases endorphins, which decreases stress and allows us to be more fully present and focused.
  • Play fosters the development of executive functioning and the acquisition of global competencies.
  • Play supports relationship-building as we learn and appreciate more about each other and build team cohesion.

This Out of the Box training invites teams to explore and reframe beliefs and conditions that hinder playfulness at work, to appreciate the benefits of bringing more play into our work lives, and to make time to really play!

Out of the Box Training

Developing Empathy to Promote Equity

Perhaps a child resists classroom routines or expectations, a team member rubs you the wrong way, or a parent challenges program practices. Sometimes, difficult moments offer us rich opportunities, especially when a deeper sense of empathy gives us insights and tools to respond productively. Explore diverse aspects of empathy as a powerful tool for enriching relationships, exercise your empathy skills, and foster a culture of equity and understanding in your early childhood environment.


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