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Help us celebrate ten years of inspirational education at Pacem School!

We will be celebrating our 10th Anniversary on Saturday October 22, and we hope that you can join us. There will be fabulous activities for the young and young at heart, a birthday circle, pizza from Woodbelly pizza, cake and ice cream, and an inspirational speaker! All events take place on the campus of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier

Activities: 2:30 – 4:30 pm at Pacem School (in the lower level of Schulmaier Hall, 32 College Street): celebrate the spirit of our unique style of education by participating in a variety of activities: an obstacle course, poetry collage activity, math treasure hunt, face painting, photo booth, crafts, games, and more! Activities are appropriate for folks of all ages, however we ask that younger children be accompanied by an adult.

Birthday Circle: 4:30 – 5:30 pm outside College Hall. Join us as we share our memories of 10 years of Pacem and hear from our founder Amy Thornton.

Pizza: 4:00 – 6:00 pm outside College Hall. Woodbelly Pizza will be selling their delicious pizza baked on site in their mobile wood oven.

Cake and Ice Cream: 6:00 – 6:30 pm. It’s a birthday party, with cake and ice cream, of course! Ice cream kindly donated by Ben and Jerry’s. College Hall Chapel.

Keynote Presentation: Play and Learning: 6:30 pm.

Noted educational psychologist Peter Gray will share his insights on the integral connection between play and learning. College Hall Chapel (suggested donation $10)

Peter Gray will specifically address the question: What Exactly is Play, and Why Is It Such a Powerful Vehicle for Learning? “Play” is a word that we use commonly to refer to children’s preferred activities and to some adult activities.  But what, really, is play?  In this talk he will define play as activity that is (1) self-chosen and self-directed; (2) motivated by means more than ends; (3) guided by mental rules; (4) includes a strong element of imagination; and (5) is conducted in an alert, active, but relatively non-stressed frame of mind.  He will describe these characteristics and show how each of them contributes to play’s educational and developmental value.  He will explain why play came about, in natural selection, to promote children’s healthy physical, intellectual, social, moral, and emotional growth and will describe the psychological detriments that have accompanied the decline of play in recent decades. His talk will address play in children of all ages including teens.

Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education.  His recent research has focused on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. His most recent book is Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life and he authors a blog for Psychology Today magazine entitled “Freedom to Learn.” Professor Gray is a frequent invited speaker on topics related to democratic schooling, home-based self-directed learning, the nature of childhood, and the developmental value of free play.