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Researchers bring expertise to Fort McMurray

October 25, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Michael Rich
Centre on Media and Child Health at Boston Children's Hospital

Adversity, resilience, play, technology — these ideas and their interconnectedness will get a full airing during a public lecture and research summit in Fort McMurray in late October.

Envisioned as a research mobilization and professional learning activity, the series of talks and breakout sessions will focus on how children, youth and adults can become more resilient and bounce back from adversity, and how this notion is related to the latest research on play.

“This came about through the leadership of the Fort McMurray local,” said Dr. Phil McRae, an executive staff officer and researcher with the Alberta Teachers’ Association.

“Our speakers are all evidence inform-
ed from existing and new research,
so this will be a very well-informed conversation with practical outcomes for supporting play and the building of resilience in the Fort McMurray population.”

Play and resilience are deeply interconnected, so the event aims to examine them in order to help residents build a more hopeful future for their children and youth, McRae said.

The event in Fort McMurray is tied to an evening dinner and lecture hosted at the University of Alberta by the Education Society of Edmonton on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The initiative then shifts to Fort McMurray for a public address on growing up in a digital world by
Dr. Michael Rich on Thursday, Oct. 27. A research summit entitled Resilience and Play will follow on Friday, Oct. 28.

“We hope to help develop an understanding of resilience and look at how play is changing in the digital age,” McRae said.

The public lecture is generating considerable community-wide interest, said Fort McMurray local president Nancy Ball.

The research summit will occur on the annual professional development day that the local provides to its members. Ball is anticipating that the event will provide teachers with valuable tips for incorporating resilience-building into their classroom routines and throughout their school day.

“I’m hoping that this opportunity for our professional development day can help provide some strategies for teachers for working with their students and for themselves,” Ball said. ❚

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