Friday, May 17 · 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Please note: This event has sold out.

Presented by Cleveland Botanical Garden and Case Western Reserve University Schubert Center for Child Studies

Morning Symposium
9am - Noon
Free to the public
Pre-registration required. 
Please call 216.721.1600, ext. 100 to register.
Afternoon Workshops
Noon - 4:30
$35/Garden member; $45/non-member
Price also includes parking, Garden admission, morning symposium registration
and lunch

As adults we have jobs: we go to work each day and we take care of loved ones. A child’s job is to play. Playing is learning by creating and exploring imaginary worlds through safe experiences. While it may seem like all fun and games, there is very important work being done that is laying the groundwork for future success.

Playing provides developmental opportunities. Outdoor play has additional advantages, including health benefits, developing tactile skills and concrete experiences that open pathways into learning and stewardship.

David Sobel    

Because of our passion for nature and the environment, and our commitment to early childhood education, Cleveland Botanical Garden and Case Western Reserve University's Schubert Center for Child Studies are excited to bring David Sobel to Cleveland for a day-long symposium focusing on play. Sobel is an educator at Antioch University New England and author who focuses on outdoor education and play. His areas of expertise include developmentally appropriate environmental education, place-based education, inquiry-based science, cognitive development and developmental theory, school improvement, and parenting with nature.

A local panel moderated by Gabriella Celeste, Child Policy Director, Schubert Center for Child Studies includes:

  • James Bader, MS, Director of the Gelfand STEM Center, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU)
  • Sandra W. Russ, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Case Western Reserve University
  • Eric S. Gordon, MEd, Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD)
  • Terrence Allan, MPH, Health Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBOH)
  • Billie Osborne-Fears, MSSA, Executive Director, Starting Point
  • Sharon L. Graper, MA, Manager of Academic Services, The Holden Arboretum

Afternoon workshops will focus on:

  • The Magic of Childhood: The Hershey Children’s Garden as a Learning Space
  • Applying the Small Worlds Principle in Curriculum Development In Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators - presented by David Sobel.

The morning symposium is free with Garden admission and open to the public, however pre-registration is required. Please call 216.721.1600 x100.

Full-day participation including the morning symposium and afternoon workshops is $35 for Garden members, $42 non-members and includes lunch, parking and educational materials.

Online registration for the May 17 Symposium is now closed.  Please check availability by calling 216.721.1600 x100.


The Science of Play-Based Education Workshops and Lectures

Cleveland Botanical Garden is pleased to be collaborating with our colleagues at The Holden Arboretum on Year of Play programming.

Visit Holden's website here for more events about getting children in the outdoors with an April keynote by Ken Finch, president of Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood. The following day he will also present a workshop on creating nature play spaces:

Go Outside and Play! - Why Our Parents had it Right

Thursday, April 18, 7pm - Holden/The Andrews Osborne Academy
Free event, but registration is required by calling 440.602.3833.

Creating a Nature Play Space: Big or Small

Friday, April 19, 8:30am - 3 pm - The Holden Arboretum
Cost is $30. Lunch is included. Please register by calling 440.602.3833.

In addition, click the links below to learn about other summer workshops being held at both Cleveland Botanical Garden and The Holden Arboretum.

Play on Land – Friday, June 28 or Saturday, June 29, 9am - noon - Holden
Play in Water – Friday, July 26 or Saturday, July 27, 9am - noon - Holden
Play in the Garden – Friday, Aug. 9 or Saturday, Aug. 10, 9am - noon - CBG

Garden or Holden Member Adult $15 per session
Non-member Adult $20 per session

For summer sessions at Holden, contact Vonna at 440.602.3833 or use the links above to register online. For summer sessions at the Garden, call 216.721.1600 x100 or use the link above to register online.


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