REACH Edmonton

More than 90 local community groups and service providers gathered June 14 to explore issues surrounding out-of-school time at the third annual Out of School Time Conference at St. Alphonsus School. This year's conference focused on the idea that play is an important part of human health. "Play is essential to the healthy growth and development of children and adults alike, and helps stimulate relaxation and creativity," said Daryn Baddour, settlement practitioner at Edmonton Immigrant Services Association (EISA) and first-time conference attendee. The conference offered workshops and activities that showcased how children, youth and adults can engage in meaningful play activities and highlighted dance as a form of play. "The experience gave me plenty of ideas to utilize in my program and everyday activities," said Baddour. Since the first conference in 2012, the event's aim has been to offer training, education and networking to small agencies that otherwise wouldn't get professional development in the area of out of school time programming. The annual conference focuses on providing training that is practical, inclusive and engaging.