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International Play Conference International Play Conference


International Play Conference taking place at Mary Immaculate College

Autism from the Inside Out to be part of the International Play Conference in Mary I.

International Play Conference taking place at Mary Immaculate College

Research continues to highlight the significant contribution of play-based practice to children’s learning and development. However, play opportunities across the education system continue to be under threat from perceived pressure to introduce more formal and directive approaches. The Revolutionising Play: Perspectives, Possibilities, and Promise International Play Conference, set to be held at Mary Immaculate College (MIC) on the 15th of September, is aimed at reclaiming play and situating play-based practice firmly in education.

Early bird booking for this important conference is now available at the Children’s Research
Network. Adam Harris, social entrepreneur and founder of, will open the conference and deliver the keynote address entitled ‘Play: I did it My Way’. Adam will also launch the long-awaited Peter Lang publication ‘Autism from the Inside Out’ written by staff at MIC and co-edited by Professor Eugene Wall, President (Acting) of MIC; Dr. Emer Ring, Head of the Department of Reflective Pedagogy and Early Childhood Studies at MIC; and Dr. Patricia Daly, Department of Department of Educational Psychology, Inclusive and Special Education a MIC.



Autism from the Inside Out is the first book in Ireland focused on providing parents, early years, primary, post-primary and special school settings, with guidance, advice and effective strategies for supporting children with autism. The book has informed the development of the award-winning Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years (LINC) Programme. Other conference highlights include a presentation from Professor Peter Gray, from Boston College, whose recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn. He authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today. Professor Gray’s Keynote will ask ‘What Exactly is
Play and Why is it Such a Powerful Vehicle for Learning?’

Additional conference topics include: Outdoor Play; Children and Play in the Early Years; Diverse Perspectives on Play; Play and Children with Autism; Cultivating Play in Primary School Contexts; Children’s Perspectives on Play and Pastimes; Play in and Out of School Settings; Play Promoting Wellbeing; Cultivating Play through Literature and the Arts; Locating the Intersection between Play and Sport; Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Play Developments in Irish and International Contexts and the Profound Power of Play.

The conference is supported by a wide range of key stakeholders in education including MIC, the Leadership for INCLusion in the Early Years Programme (LINC), the Children’s Research Network (CRN), Early Childhood Ireland (ECI); the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO); the National Childhood Network (NCN); the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) and


For more stories on Mary I, go here.

To book the early bird tickets for the International Play Conference, go here.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.