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We Play

What is We Play?

We Play is an online professional development system designed to help early learning professionals meet the Massachusetts regulations and the national recommendations for physical activity with preschool children.  We Play is available at no cost to early learning professionals. WE PLAY was developed using Early Educator Central’s Know-See-Do-Improve model of professional development.

Our Goal

We Play was designed to help early learning professionals increase their understanding about how physical activity helps young children, to give them new ideas for fun and easy games that can be played with children ages 3-5 years, and to expand their confidence and skills leading physically active play.

Why We Play?

While adults may think that preschoolers get plenty of physical activity, research shows that many preschoolers are actually not active enough. Physical activity benefits multiple areas of child development, including: enhanced cognitive functioning; positive physical and mental health; learning and academic success; and improved classroom behavior. It is also a key strategy to promote healthy weight.

We Play Includes:

  • A 60-minute online training/overview of the system
  • A video library of fun and easy-to-lead active games
  • Downloadable handouts about each game
  • A teacher self-assessment
  • An administrator support component
  • Parent letters to support home-school collaboration

The We Play system is aligned with Early Educator Central’s Know-See-Do-Improve Framework.

Professional Development

We Play is approved by the Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children (MassAEYC) for CEUs. Participants can earn 0.5 CEU by completing the We Play training program.

There is no charge for participating in We Play.

We Play Research

Schmidt, E. M., Hoffman, J. A., Mule, C., & Briesch, A. M. (2021). Effects of a teacher training program to promote physically active play among children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of School Psychology, 85, 57-79.

Hoffman, J. A., Schmidt, E. M., Arguello, D. J., Eyllon, M. N., Castaneda-Sceppa, C., Cloutier, G, & Hillman, C. H. (2020). Online preschool teacher training to promote physical activity: A pilot cluster randomized controlled trial. School Psychology, 35(2),118-127.

Hoffman, J. A., Schmidt, E. M., Castaneda-Sceppa, C., & Hillman, C. H. (2019). The theoretical foundation, fidelity, feasibility, and acceptability of a teacher training to promote physical activity among preschoolers in child care: A pilot study. Preventive Medicine Reports, 13, 214-217.

See our presentation from the National Research Conference on Early Childhood in Arlington, VA on June 26, 2018.

Questions about We Play?

If you have questions about We Play, please contact us at [email protected].

The We Play Team

The We Play team is made up of a group of faculty members and graduate students at Northeastern University with expertise in psychology, exercise science, kinesiology, computer science, and public health. Members of our team have been working for many years with colleagues at Head Start to promote children’s health and wellness, and the idea for We Play was inspired by and informed through these collaborations.

Jessica Hoffman - Institute for Health Equity and Social Justice Research, Northeastern University

Jessica Hoffman
Principal Investigator and Associate Professor
Northeastern University

Charles Hillman - Northeastern University

Charles Hillman
Co-Investigator and Professor
Northeastern University

Carmen Sceppa - Bouvé College of Health Sciences Northeastern University

Carmen Sceppa
Co-Investigator, Professor and Dean
Northeastern University

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Ellyn Schmidt
Graduate Student
Northeastern University

Mara Eyllon - Northeastern University

Mara Eyllon
Graduate Student
Northeastern University