Early Intervention

Playing with Purpose: Building School Readiness from Infancy

Saturday, November 10
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Location: Ballroom E/F/G - Convention Center

It has been said that play is the work of the child and that work is critical to forming the foundation and the building blocks required for school readiness. As infants explore and engage with their environment and toddlers manipulate and investigate they are building skills beyond just fine and gross motor. Play is a necessary interaction between a child and the world around them and in many kids it needs to be developed and cultivated. In addition to the skills of the child, the capacity of the caregivers to play in a purposeful and engaging manner must be developed. Caregivers are the first teacher for the infant and it is critical that this learning begin early and often. This session will provide evidence to support the importance of purposeful play interventions in preparation for future school readiness and the application in clinical settings.

Learning Objectives:

Erin Wentzell, PT, DPT, PCS

Assisitant Clinical Professor
The George Washington University

Dr. Wentzell is Assistant Professor in the Program in Physical Therapy at The George Washington University and the academic director of the pediatric residency with Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Wentzell is also the owner of an early intervention practice in Washington DC. She obtained her doctorate in physical therapy from Oakland University and is a board-certified Pediatric Clinical Specialist. She has experience across practice settings from acute care to early intervention. She is an active member of the APTA and the Pediatric, Education and HPA Sections. She serves as the Communications Chair of the International Organization Physical Therapists in Pediatrics.


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Margaret M. Plack, PT, DPT, EdD

The George Washington University

Dr. Plack received her baccalaureate degree in physical therapy and her master’s degree in physical therapy with a specialization in developmental disabilities from New York University, NY; her EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University, NY; and her DPT from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Plack co-authored a text entitled Teaching and Learning in Physical Therapy Practice: From Classroom to Clinic. She has presented on effective strategies for teaching and has been involved in ongoing research related to adult learning principles, educational outcomes, and reflective practice. Dr. Plack has received several awards for her research related to the scholarship of teaching.


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Playing with Purpose: Building School Readiness from Infancy

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