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The 1st International True Play Conference

Global Conversations on the Future of Early Learning



The 1st International True Play Conference

Global Conversations on the Future of Early Learning


The 1st International True Play Conference: Global Conversations on the Future of Early Learning was a minimally-structured, open-ended conference defined by a spirit of love, risk, joy, engagement and reflection.

Chinese and global experts and Anji Play practice leaders came together from May 12-15 in Anji County, China to share their work, learn from one another and consider the implications of True Play for the future of early learning and learning generally.

Participants, attendees and guests visited the public early education programs of Anji County and learned directly from the children, teachers, families and administrators who have created a model for global educational change.

During the conference the founding members of the Global True Play Union issued a statement defining True Play and its role in the future of learning. This statement is now available online for co-signing. The conference also marked the release of three new publications on the curricular practice of Anji Play, standards for materials and environments, and collection of interviews with Anji educators and past international visiting educators.

On the closing day of the conference, conference hosting duties were officially passed on to representatives of TruePlay2020 Host City Madison, Wisconsin.


Chinese Discussants

Chinese Discussants

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Professor Li Jimei

East China Normal University, School of Early Childhood Education and Special Education

Learn more about Prof. Li’s work


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Professor Feng Xiaoxia

Beijing Normal University, School of Early Childhood Education

Learn more about Prof. Feng’s work


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Professor Hua Aihua

East China Normal University, School of Early Childhood Education and Special Education

Learn more about Prof. Hua’s work


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Professor Yan Chaoyun

Sichuan Normal University

Learn more about Prof. Yan’s work


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Ms. Cheng Xueqin

Director, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

Founder, Anji Play


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Professor Doris Pui Wah Cheng

Professor, Early Childhood Education, Tung Wah College

Learn more about Prof. Cheng’s work


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International Discussants

International Discussants

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Kaleem Caire

Founder, One City Schools, Madison, WI

Learn more about Kaleem’s work


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Carissa Christner

Youth Services Librarian, Alicia Ashman Branch, Madison Public Library

Learn more about Carissa’s work


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Jesse Robert Coffino

Director of Translation and Interpretation, Anji Childhood Education Research Center

Learn more about Jesse’s work


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Dr. Lawrence J. Cohen

Author and Psychologist

Learn more about Larry’s work


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Cas Holman

Associate Professor, Industrial Design, Rhode Island School of Design and Founder, Heroes Will Rise

Learn more about Cas’s work


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Dr. Tovah Klein

Director, Barnard College Center for Toddler Development, Associate Professor of Psychology

Learn more about Tovah’s work


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Dr. Peter Mangione

Dr. Mangione is the Co-director of the Center for Child & Family Studies, WestEd

Learn more about Peter’s work


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Sandra Moore

Chair, Department of Early Childhood Education, Contra Costa College

Learn more about Sandra’s work


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Michell Naidoo

Director, Contra Costa College Early Learning Center, Assistant Professor, Department of Early Childhood Education.

Learn more about Michell’s work


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Dr. Nico van Oudenhoven

Dr. van Oudenhoven is the founder of International Child Development Initiatives

Learn more about Nico’s work


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Dr. Andreas Roepstorff

Professor of Cognition, Communication and Culture in the departments of Culture and Society and Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University

Learn more about Andreas’s work


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Dr. Nikolay Veraksa

Dean of Psychology of Education Faculty, Russian State University for the Humanities

Learn more about Nikolay’s work


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Dr. David Whitebread

Dr. David Whitebread recently retired as Founding Director of the Play in Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) research centre at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, UK

Learn more about David’s work



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Dr. Mariana Brussoni

Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia

Learn more about Mariana’s work


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Dr. Mitchel Resnick

LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Learn more about Mitch’s work


More presenters may be added


Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule


Arrival and Registration


The Meaning and Implications of Anji Play from a Chinese Perspective: What is Anji Play, Why Now, Why China?


The Meaning and Implications of Anji Play from a Global Perspective: Why the World Needs True Play


Implementing Anji Play in China and Globally: Presentations by Global Pilot Leaders


Theoretical Understanding at the Cutting-Edge of True Play and the Child’s Learning: Risky Play, Deep Learning, Play and Psychomotor Development


Anji Play Curriculum Vol. 1 (release)
Anji Play Materials and Equipment Standards (release)
The Anji Interviews (release)

School visits


Academic Roundtables - The Direction of the True Play Revolution: global outlook on models for pre-primary learning reform

Launch of the Global True Play Union

Passing of Conference Responsibilities to 2020 Host City


Conference Site

Conference Site

Tian Huangping, Lunar New Year Scenic Resort Village, Anji County, China 


The True Play Community Network


The True Play Community Network