FISHER-PRICE PLAY IQ PARENTING WORKSHOP – CARRIE LUPOLI EXPLAINS THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAY
It may sound hard to believe, but the best learning strategy for children is to play!
Did you know that Play is the most effective means of encouraging healthy brain development and learning?
Coming to Singapore next month, the “Power of Play” Mattel Fisher-Price® ambassador, Carrie Lupoli will be running the Play IQ Parenting Workshop. Speaker, teacher, business owner and mother of two are just a few hats that parenting expert Carrie Lupoli wears. Married for 14 years and mom to 2 beautiful daughters, Carrie has a mission to help parents around the world to improve their parenting skills and raise powerful individuals in an ever changing world.
Carrie started out as an inclusive special educator in mainstream schools before co-founding Live and Learn in Singapore in 2008. Described as the “ground-breaking founder” in effectively educating children, Live and Learn is a special needs consultancy and assessment firm focusing on diverse concepts such as inclusionary education and therapeutic assistance. Their philosophy is the belief that all kids should have the opportunity to reach their goals and fulfil their potential.
We were fortunate enough to catch up with Carrie and get a little insight into her busy life as well as having her explain a little about the ‘Power of Play’.
BM – What brought you to your reasons of bringing the ‘power of play’ to parents’ attention?
Carrie – I have had the opportunity to work with children of all age ranges and have done a lot of research on child development. Our organization, ‘Live and Learn’, supports children with special needs and we work closely with parents on how they can support their children at home. It was through these interactions that I realised how much parents could benefit from concrete, easy to understand information about child development. Working in Asia and understanding the cultural philosophies of ‘do more, earlier’ made me want to focus this message here and help parents to really understand that ‘more, sooner’ is not the answer but ‘different, sooner’ is really important!
BM – So, why is play so important?
Carrie – The brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth so having a child comes with a mind boggling amount of responsibility to develop that brain as effectively as possible! Also, brain development is rapid and most intensive in the first five years so parents don’t have time to wait until a child is in school. Physical, cognitive and social/emotional skills are necessary for success. Simply put, child initiated play time and no other method can give a child all the exposure he needs during that crucial window of brain development.
BM – How best should a parent (or caregiver) interact with a child’s play time?
Carrie – Parents (or caregivers) often believe that, because they are not Child Development Experts, school is the best place for a child’s learning as well as development. However, play strategies are based on a loving and caring relationship with your child and therefore, parents are more than capable!
With play time, it is important that it isn’t pre-planned or too structured. Kids can have a variety of toys pulled out for them to choose from and parents should engage a child in language and communication during this time and simply follow their little one’s lead and allow them to explore and discover.
BM – What are some toys that encourage play and development?
Carrie – From birth, a play gym or rattle allows baby to see cause and effect and builds motor skills. Building blocks are wonderful, they teach physical, cognitive and social emotional skills. The child learns to work through the frustrations of having the tower collapse and, with having a caregiver by their side, they will gain strong social development. Also, toys that allow the child to be creative and use their imagination are powerful in brain development.
BM – Finally, as a career Mum, how do you juggle all of your caps to ensure a happy and healthy family/work balance?
Carrie – It is never easy and is an ongoing struggle! A few things I do to make sure I have it all together are:-
– I always plan out my week on Sunday – I plan meals, do the grocery shopping and figure out what days the kids have activities.
– I ALWAYS wake up earlier than everyone else so I can get myself ready first before getting the little people up! As my kids get older, I give them more and more responsibilities around the house. They have a checklist in the morning for the things they are responsible for doing and I hold them to it! If they don’t brush their hair, they go to school looking disheveled but they learn to do it next time!
I am getting better at saying ‘NO’ to certain things, even if they are good things! Sometimes the expense of the extra stress on our family and myself is just not worth it!
My husband travels a lot but is totally involved. However, it did take us a while to figure out roles and who should be responsible for what…once we got that down, life was a lot easier!
The Fisher-Price Play IQ Workshop
Date: 31 May Saturday 2014 Time: 9am to 2pm (registration starts at 8.45am) Venue: Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital Cost: $50 per person (inclusive of light refreshments). Each participant will receive a goody bag worth more than S$100 and a chance to win Lucky Draw prices. How to register: please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Workshop is open to parents with children UP TO 5 years old and expectant mothers only.