“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play, children learn how to learn.” –Fred Donaldson

One major lesson you will learn in June at the CPE Workshop is the importance of play for all children—I have studied child development and learned from inspiring theorists such as Piaget, Vygotsky, and Bandura to name a few. These are also some of the theorists included in our CPE Workshop that will be discussed as well as other concepts, research and advocates on the power of play. My name is Kerry Bauer and I am a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) and a Child Life Specialist (CCLS). My personal life and professional career have provided me experiences and opportunities with both typically and atypically developing children and their families.

Play allows children to use their creativity while developing and exploring their imagination and enhancing physical, cognitive, and social/emotional development.

Play is vital to healthy brain development, a topic my co-presenter Jean Bailey will highlight further in the CPE Workshop. It is through play that children at a very early age engage and interact in the world around them.

Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master. As they master their world, play helps children develop new competencies that lead to enhanced confidence and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.

Through my experience as a Child Life Specialist, I have seen the many challenges a child can be faced with at a young age. Unfortunately, children are sometimes hospitalized and as difficult as that can be on the child and family, being exposed to medical play and therapeutic play has significant benefits. Through social/emotional development, a child learns how to regulate their emotions and cope with hardships and stressors in their lives. During the CPE Workshop, we will discuss in further detail how social/emotional development establishes positive and rewarding relationships with others.

Children have an instinct to explore the world through play and want to engage in activities like their peers. You may recall, as a child, participating in group structured recreational activities. This type of play helps children obtain positive social skills. In the CPE Workshop, we will explore the fundamental way children prepare for the future and how those social skills are acquired.

Play is one of the best tools for fostering learning—it is intrinsically motivating and should be enjoyable and fun for children (and adults). Who doesn’t have fun when they start a quick pick me up game of football or even just playing a game of Go Fish? Most children develop a sense of pride during their accomplishments in play. It is a simple joy that is a cherished part of childhood. Maybe you can even recall your favorite play memory as a child?

Join ASTRA on the Marketplace & Academy Connect Community and bring your questions to the upcoming AMA (Ask Me Anything) Thursday with CPE Workshop Facilitators, Jean Bailey and Kerry Bauer, on Thursday, May 11 from 3-4PM Central. 



Kerry Bauer, B.S., M.S., CTRS, CCLS completed her Bachelors of Science at Southeast Missouri State University in 2004 and she received her Masters of Science degree in Child Development with an emphasis in Child Life from the Erikson Institute in April 2010. Bauer worked at Adult Community Transition program as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist working with young adults with developmental disabilities from 2004-2005. She worked at the National Lekotek Center from 2005-2010 as a Certified Lekotek Leader and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist focusing on providing children with special needs and their families opportunities to play through the power of toys. Bauer completed her Child Life internship at Children’s Memorial Hospital now Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. In May 2010, Bauer joined the Child Life team at Advocate Children’s Hospital as the Certified Child Life Specialist in Radiology.