Cheng Xueqin - 程学琴

Cheng Xueqin is the creator of the Anji Play approach, 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.







Chelsea Bailey, PhD

Chelsea is a scholar in the field of early childhood education with expertise in curriculum theory and design, teacher preparation and professional development, and the assessment of early childhood learning. She received her Ph.D. from the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997. She was a professor and director of the Early Childhood Education program at New York University until 2005 when she left the academy to focus on the design and development of outstanding early childhood education programs around the world. She began working with educational leaders and schools throughout China in 2012. Dr. Bailey traveled Anji in 2014 and began working with Ms. Cheng to share her extraordinary program with the world.

Jesse Robert Coffino

Jesse has developed a career coordinating and producing high-level cultural and educational exchange. He received a bachelor's degree in political science from Columbia University in 2004 and his experience includes coordinating domestic policy initiatives as an intern at the office of President William Jefferson Clinton, extensive teaching experience in China, including 6 months in Korla, Xinjiang and frequent work as a Mandarin interpreter and Chinese translator. For ten years he was the director of artist Xu Bing's studio in New York, producing projects as ambitious as hanging a pair of 12 ton phoenixes from the nave of New York's largest cathedral. In 2014 Dr. Bailey introduced Jesse to Ms. Cheng and he began working to bring Anji Play to children and communities everywhere, including his toddler.

Cas Holman

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

Krystina is a former early childhood educator and avid True Play advocate who dropped everything to help bring Anji Play to communities across the world in 2017. She was given the incredible opportunity to observe in a 3 & 4 year olds classroom at Jiguan Kindergarten in Anji, China the first month and half of the school year to observe how the Anji Play philosophy was implemented with the youngest children in the program. 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