June 5th Ultimate Block Party to be the biggest play date ever

Thousands of GTA families, children to play with leading educational partners

TORONTO, May 18 /CNW/ - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) today announced an impressive line-up of education partners set to participate in the largest play date ever held in Canada. The Ultimate Block Party, on Sunday June 5th in Toronto, will feature play centres by Ontario Science Centre, Royal Ontario Museum, Art Gallery of Ontario, National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, and international partners Lego, Imagination Playground, and Right To Play, among others.

"The research evidence is clear that play-based learning fosters creativity, initiative, collaboration and problem-solving," said ETFO President Sam Hammond at a media conference today. "Play is the work of children. The Ultimate Block Party will help families and parents understand how important play is for children's brain development."

Thousands of families and children are expected attend the Ultimate Block Party, a free event celebrating play-based learning, to be held at Fort York National Historical Site. As families tour and participate in 25 play centres, researchers and play experts will circulate throughout the park to answer questions about play. Activities will involve adventure play and construction play, language and creative play, make believe and physical play. There will be a story-telling corner and an interactive stage area featuring some of Canada's best known children's musicians including Turkey Rhubarb, Chris McKool, Jack Grunsky, and Monkey Bunch. Full details can be found at www.ultimateblockparty.ca.

"The Ultimate Block Party is also a celebration of Ontario's new full-day Kindergarten program, which has play-based learning as a focus," said Hammond. "The Block Party is designed to attract children of all ages and reinforce the fact that play is key to children's growth throughout all elementary school grades."

ETFO, which represents 76,000 elementary public school professionals in Ontario, continues to be a leader in play-based learning at home and abroad. It has developed a significant body of professional learning for teachers and early childhood educators. ETFO's work in countries including Benin, Thailand and Cambodia has also helped teachers develop curriculum with a play-based learning focus.

The full list of educational partners for The Ultimate Block Party includes: Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, College of Early Childhood Educators, Fort York National Historic Site, Humber College, Imagination Playground, Inner City Angels, LEGO® Group, Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Mariposa in the Schools, Mark Sepic Junkestra, National Ballet of Canada, Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario Science Centre, Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, Prologue to the Arts, Right To Play, Roseneath Theatre, Royal Ontario Museum, Ryerson University, Scientists in School, Toronto District School Board, Toronto Public Library, TVOKids, and York University.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations:
Cell: 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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