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Keynote: Let's Take the Learning Outside Creating Playful Learning Landscapes!

Children learn best in active, meaningful, engaged, and socially interactive settings—making play an ideal context to foster learning and development. As students return to in-person schooling, there is great need for outdoor activities that can engage children in high quality learning experiences that align with public health safety recommendations. Learn how El Sol and UCI partnered to create research based playful learning landscapes on our campus, and how you can too. 

Participants will understand how we integrate research-based tools like number line training and representing rational numbers in different spatial forms in a lively game of “Fraction Ball”. In Parkopolis, roll dice that represent whole numbers and fractions to advance around a thirty square foot game board full of whole numbers and fractions and draw cards that suggest challenges born directly from research on STEM education.  Come ready to play!  


Monique Daviss Headshot - Jenny Zavala (1).jpg

Monique Daviss has been the Executive Director of El Sol Science and Arts Academy since 2005. During her tenure the school has grown in both size and achievement. El Sol has been named the Hart Vision Charter School of the Year, National Center for Urban School Transformation Best Urban School, a California Distinguished School (twice), a Title I Academic Achievement Awardee (three times), a California Association for Bilingual Educators Seal of Excellence Awardee, a Campaign for Business & Education Excellence (CBEE) STAR awardee (twice) as well as many other awards and recognitions. The school is a frequent destination for groups interested in dual immersion programs and community school initiatives. Her work supporting university-school partnerships has resulted in research-based innovative practices that contribute to the educational landscape at El Sol and elsewhere.

Monique Daviss

Jenny Zavala is the Director of Curriculum and Instruction at El Sol Science and Arts Academy, a dual immersion school in southern California.  During her tenure, El Sol became the first bilingual school to receive America’s Best Urban School Award, presented annually to the nation’s highest performing urban schools. She has taught at the elementary and middle school level, mentored emerging and experienced teachers on curriculum development, instructional best practices, and led a number of educational initiatives that support teacher leadership. She is an instructional leader and a certified Tier III GLAD Trainer, presenting across nationwide platforms on various topics around dual language and instructional best practices. With more than 18 years of experience, she believes in the importance of prioritizing the ongoing growth and development of teacher leadership and advocacy as a pathway for underrepresented and marginalized students to attain academic success.  

Jenny-Zavala-1 - Jenny Zavala.jpg

Jenny Zavala

Andres Bustamante  - Jenny Zavala (1).jpg

Andres S. Bustamante, Ph.D

Andres Bustamante is an Assistant Professor at the University of California Irvine’s School of Education, and directs the Social, iTerative, Engaged, and Meaningful (STEM) Learning Lab. He designs and implements play-based early childhood STEM interventions in places and spaces that children and families spend time (e.g., parks, school yards, grocery stores etc.). He maintains an intentional focus on translating rigorous science from the lab, into meaningful research in the classroom, and the community. Andres is invested in research that has practical implications for school and life success for children and families from under-served communities. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Advanced Education Research and Development Fund (AERDF), Heising Simons Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). He was recognized by the Association for Psychological Science (APS) through their Rising Star Award for early career scholars. He is also committed to sharing and interpreting early childhood research with a broader audience through blog posts for the Brookings Institution, Psychology Today, BOLD Blog, and other media outlets.

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