The Strong Hosts "Playful Learning in the Primary Classroom" Conference on May 5

The Strong News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

April 20, 2017

For Immediate Release

Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365,

Noelle McElrath-Hart, 585-410-6325,

The Strong Hosts
“Playful Learning in the Primary Classroom” Conference
on May 5, 2017

ROCHESTER, New York—Nearly 100 educators from a dozen school districts across the state, including Amherst Central Schools (Buffalo), Fairport Central School District, Gates Chili Central School District, and Watertown Central School District, will participate in the sold-out “Playful Learning in the Primary” conference taking place May 5 at The Strong museum.

Educators will learn from leading education consultant Steven Levy and explore the potential for play to support learning and development for students in kindergarten through second grade. The all-day conference, part of The Strong’s ongoing commitment to providing top-notch, play-based professional development opportunities, includes presentations by Levy, nationally recognized author and former Expeditionary Learning (EL) consultant, and Debbie McCoy, assistant vice president for education at The Strong.

“Play is a fundamental part of a child’s development and a powerful tool for supporting physical, emotional, cognitive, and social growth,” says McCoy. “Through this conference, participants will discover the role that play, movement, stories, and imagination have in preparing student for success in school and in life,” 

The conference includes interactive workshop with titles such as “Characteristics of a Primary Learner” and “Children Learn Through Play”; thought-provoking panel discussions; and exploration in The Strong’s unique museum setting, which houses the play-based Woodbury School for children ages three to five, produces the peer-reviewed American Journal of Play, and holds an unparalleled repository of play research materials in the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives
of Play.

For more information, visit


About Steven Levy: After 28 years in the classroom, Steven Levy consults throughout the United States and the world—independently, and with EL Education, a nationally known not-for-profit organization serving kindergarten through Grade 12 students and teachers in more than 39 states. Levy guides educators in designing service-based curriculum, engaging instructional practices, and student-owned assessments. Levy’s accolades include Massachusetts State Teacher of the Year, the Disney American Teacher Awards for national Outstanding General Elementary Teacher, the Autodesk National Teacher Award for impact on project-based learning, and the John F. Kennedy Prize for the teaching of history. Levy has written numerous articles for educational journals, and his book, Starting From Scratch (Heinemann, 1996), details some of the projects and students he has worked with in his elementary classrooms.

About Debbie McCoy: Debbie McCoy is assistant vice president for education at The Strong, where she directs all museum education programs, including the Woodbury School, and leads professional development training in playful learning and the play-based Reggio Emilia approach for educators across the country. In 2010, she participated in a North American Study Tour of the schools of Reggio Emilia in Italy. As a founding teacher of the Genesee Community Charter School at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Debbie implemented the innovative Expeditionary Learning model there and has presented national seminars for Expeditionary Learning Schools.

About The Strong: The Strong is a highly interactive, collections-based museum devoted to the history and exploration of play. It is one of the largest history museums in the United States and one of the leading museums serving families. The Strong houses the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of historical materials related to play and is home to the International Center for the History of Electronic Games, the National Toy Hall of Fame, the World Video Game Hall of Fame, the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play, the Woodbury School, and the American Journal of Play. Together, these enable a multifaceted array of research, exhibition, and other interpretive and educational activities that serve a diverse audience of adults, families, children, students, teachers, scholars, collectors, and others around the globe.