Marc Armitage, an expert on children's play, will present "Keep Calm and Play On: Overcoming the Barriers to Play" at Toddlertime Nursery School from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.

The art of play is a skill that helps children and families to develop as individuals and as a unit, expressing their inner-most feelings and strengthening numerous life skills, including resilience, self-esteem and team building.

Armitage is an independent consultant, researcher and writer of children's play and the wider social world of children and young people. Working as a play worker in the United Kingdom for nearly 30 years, Armitage has a reputation for being an experts on play in the United Kingdom. He specializes in exploring what children and young people do when they are not in the presence of adults and in understanding how this knowledge can impact practices in early child care and education, schools, community provision, policy development and allocation of resources.

The program is designed around specific issues for both parents and professionals, providing information and encouragement for teachers, PTA members, early childhood specialists, psychologists, parks and recreation staff, and people from the community.

According to Barbara Davis, co-owner of Toddlertime Nursery School, "We jumped at the opportunity to host Marc because although current research demonstrates the importance of play for children, families and the community, children are doing less of it across the United States and we wanted to talk with our community about what barriers are getting in the way of play."

Carolyn Williams, director of Toddlertime, added, "Play is critical to a child's physical, emotional and social development. It's through play that children take risks, problem solve, development communication skills and even build academic skills."

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Davis approached New Canaan CARES, whose mission is to empower youth and strengthen community through health and wellness programming, and was equally supportive of increased play and family time.

CARES Executive Director Meg Domino, said, "Community efforts like this provide an opportunity for parents to enjoy their parenting roles, while children can cherish being kids. We live in an achievement-driven world where child development often gets buried behind the need to succeed. We need to re-focus our energies on the journey so that children will learn how to approach life with resilience and hope."

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at Space is limited to 50 people. For information, visit and