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Cheng Xueqin - 程学琴

Founder, Anji Play
Direct, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

Cheng Xueqin is the creator of the Anji Play approach, former Director, Office of Pre-Primary Education, Anji County Department of Education, Zhejiang Province; Member, Play and Materials Professional Committee, China National Society of Early Childhood Education. Her research includes public policy and management in pre-primary education, early childhood curricula, and play. In 2004, Ms. Cheng was recognized by Zhejiang Province with its highest honor for her 2004 research initiative “Rural Early Childhood Education Management and Development Strategies.” In 2014, she received the “Highest Honor for National Achievement in Pre-K-12 Education” from the Ministry of Education of China for “The Practice and Exploration of the 'Anji Play' Approach.” She has presented her work to colleagues and audiences at Columbia University, MIT, Mills College, Stanford University, University of Wisconsin-Madison and other learning and play communities in the United States.

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Jesse Coffino - 高杰

Director of Translation and Interpretation, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

In addition to his work since 2014 as Chief Interpreter and Translator for Anji Play founder Ms. Cheng Xueqin, he has also authored numerous articles and essays on the history and practice of the Anji Play Approach, including “The Anji Play Ecology of Early Learning” (Childhood Education, Vol. 95, No. 1) and has lectured on the profound historical significance of the work of Ms. Cheng and the educators of Anji County, China at organizations and institutions including Google, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and BRAC.

Since 2014, Jesse has worked closely with Ms. Cheng to translate the ideas and concepts of Anji Play for a global audience. Together they have identified pilot programs and cultivated practice leaders in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

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Cas Holman

Director of Design, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

Cas has spent the last ten years immersed in play, education and imagination. Through her company Heroes Will Rise, she designs and manufactures tools for the imagination. These materials are manipulable parts and pieces which inspire constructive play, imaginative forms, and cooperative interactions between people. Abstract in their identity, these tool/toys inspire children and adults to imagine the origin and story of the toy as well as how to use it.  “What is it?” and “What does it do?” are answered in intuitive details, play prompts, and semiotic clues, making the instructions implicit in the tool/toy. She is a full time faculty at RISD in the Industrial Design Department and recently relocated from Brooklyn to Hope, RI where she prototypes her playthings on five acres known as Camp Fun.


Krystina Tapia

Director of Foreign Educator Training, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

Krystina works with teachers and administrators at pilot programs in the United States and internationally. Krystina earned a BA in Psychology from UCLA and a MA in Early Childhood Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She also has a certificate in Digital Technologies and the Early Childhood Environment from Bank Street College of Education.

Advisory Committee

Marianne Bloch, PhD, Curriculum & Instruction Department, Emerita, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gina Farrar, PhD, Head of Schools, Williamsburg Northside Schools

I-Fang Lee, PhD, School of Education, University of Newcastle, New South Wales

Peter Mangione, PhD, Co-Director, Center for Child and Family Studies, WestEd

Chris Moffett, PhD, Teachers College, Columbia University

Julie Nicholson, PhD, Professor of Practice, Director, Center for Play Research, Mills College

Michele Reich, EdD, Children's Librarian, Santa Fe Public Library

Frances Rust, PhD, Senior Fellow and Director of Teacher Education programs at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education