Hosted by Patrick Shafto and Elizabeth Bonawitz at Rutgers University-Newark

Supported by:  Rutgers University-Newark,  NSF, and  the Jacobs foundation. 

When: Thursday, May 30, 2019

Where: Bove Auditorium, 1 Washington Park, Newark


This conference brings together experts on the science of playful learning with educators, policy makers, funders, and community leaders with the goal of helping stakeholders understand scientifically validated principles of learning through play, helping scientists understand the needs of and questions of the communities that our science is intended to benefit. Scientists will discuss new findings from their research programs for a broad audience, as well as open questions and important avenues for future research, helping to identify questions such as: What are the current gaps in our theories of guided, playful learning? How can we draw connections from basic science questions to current educational and parenting practices? Stakeholders will talk about existing initiatives and approaches, including successes and non-successes. Panels and discussions will emphasize opportunities for synergy and ways to overcome existing challenges.

Main Conference

9:00 am - 9:30 am Breakfast Mingle

2nd floor Lounge

9:30 am - 11:45 am Morning Talks & Panel on Science/Theory of Playful Learning/Guided Play

Bove Auditorium



  • Elizabeth Bonawitz (moderator) Assoc. Professor of Psychology, Rutgers – Newark

  • Kathleen Corriveau, Assoc. Professor of Education, Boston University

  • Fei Xu, Professor of Psychology, University of California – Berkeley

  • Patrick Shafto, Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science, Rutgers – Newark

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Lunch & Group Discussions

2nd floor lounge

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Early Afternoon on Playful Guided Learning in Museum Settings

Bove Auditorium



  • Kathleen Corriveau, (moderator) Associate Professor of Education, Boston University

  • Ryan Reedell, Manager, MakerSPACE, Newark Museum

  • Jeffrey Sasson, Chief Operating Officer, Liberty Science Center

  • Garrett Jaeger, Research Fellow, LEGO Foundation

  • Dave Sobel, Professor, Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences, Brown University

3:00 pm - 3:30 pm Coffee Break

2nd floor lounge

3:30 pm - 5:30 pm Challenges & Opportunities for guided play

Bove Auditorium



  • Patrick Shafto (moderator), Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science, Rutgers University-Newark

  • U. Sean Vance, Assistant Professor of Architecture, University of Michigan

  • Allyson Mackey, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

  • Moira Dillon, Assistant Professor of Psychology, NYU

  • Elizabeth Bonawitz, Associate Professor of Psychology, Rutgers University-Newark

  • Roberta Golinkoff, Professor of Education, University of Delaware

Post-Conference at Clement’s Place Jazz Club

15 Washington Street, Newark

5:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Continuing the discussion over music and hors d’oeuvres