The P.L.A.Y. Education Corporation

Educational, Holistic Programing and Interventions for Vulnerable Youth

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The P.L.A.Y. (Please. Learn. As. You.) Education Corporation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, which secures grants, partners with local and national organizations and accepts donations to enhance learning environments in which children can thrive.  By utilizing creativity, innovation and authenticity, PLAY Education, encourages small organizations, schools/districts/charters/BOCES and individuals in Colorado and nation wide to create or modify, implement and assess whole child educational initiatives, programs, practices and policies that focus on interventions and adaptations to learning environments so each student is given the necessary tools, resources and support to assist him/her/they with reaching his/her/their full potential.

PLAY Education's VISION is: Every child experiencing diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environments where they can shine and thrive just as they are.

PLAY Education's MISSION is: Providing programmatic and financial support to holistic programs, practices, policies and initiatives in schools and communities. Each child is seen for who they are, individually, and is given intentional interventional support, resources and tools to allow success academically, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually and socially.

PLAY Education's PRIORITIES are: VULNERABLE YOUTH which includes but is not limited to; children of color, children of historically marginalized or underrepresented populations and underserved communities, children who identify as (she/her/hers) and LGBTQ+, families with low social-economic status or who live in poverty, unsheltered and foster care children, migrant families, children with chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, food allergies, oral health, etc.), the disabled (physically and mentally), children with mental, emotional and behavioral health needs and rural communities. 

In order to provide holistic programming and support, PLAY Education utilizes the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model as an approach to guide initiatives that support children's cognitive, physical, social and emotional development in education and public health settings. Having student-centered, evidence-based school programs and out-of-time school programs, policies and practices ensure children are "safe, healthy, challenged, engaged and supported"  (2022, Division of Population , Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion) within their schools and communities.  

As the world continues to shift into a more culturally competent and inclusive space for children, strategies and resources that use a holistic approach to wellbeing (emotional, occupational, physical, social, intellectual, and spiritual) builds resilience (2020, National Wellness Institute) and enables children to feel confident and competent in taking on challenges and risks that promote him/her/they as successful contributing members of society.

We have three (3) foundational values; sustainability, justice and individuality.
  1. Sustainability: We provide programmatic and financial support to holistic programs, practices, policies and initiatives in schools and communities. We are committed to doing our part in making the world a more inclusive, equitable and diverse space for children to grow up in.
  2. Justice: We identify and outsource support and resources to our vulnerable populations (homeless and foster care education, migrant populations, rural communities and children with chronic conditions), by using student centered, evidence-based programs, policies and practices.
  3. Individuality: Each child is given intentional, interventional support, resources and tools to allow for success academically, physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually in community health and through healthy bodies and healthy minds.

We are looking for funding to support the following projects: 

  • Creating learning environments for kinesthetic learners, students who learn best by having flexible seating, standing desks, movement before the hardest subject of the day and a place to process new information through social or visual pathways.
  • Support professional development and technical assistance around best practices for out of school time programs (healthy eating, physical activity and/or social emotional learning)
  • Partner with organizations that can provide resources and access to quality health care (school based health centers, referrals, dental hygiene education, chronic conditions ) support.
  • Collect data the demonstrates and supports the benefit of engaging in standards-based quality physical education programs and comprehensive school physical activity programs (CSPAP) [before and after school, staff wellness, community and family involvement/engagement, classroom physical activity).
  • Provide learning opportunities to adults and children, encompassing essential skills, such as communication, understanding emotions, setting boundaries, etc., through technical assistance
  • Collaborate with school health professionals (social workers, counselors, phycologists, etc.) within schools, districts and local communities, which support social emotional learning and mental health treatment.
  • Remove barriers (financial, transportation, access) for our most vulnerable children (unsheltered/foster care youth, migrant families, the disabled, and individuals with chronic conditions, etc.) and young adults by collaborating with stakeholders and institutions who provide mental and behavioral support resources and programs (including substance abuse).
  • Build and maintain relationships with stakeholders and organizations who can provide access to healthy and affordable food choices (local farms and vendors, transportation, mobile sources, community greenhouses and gardens, etc.) 
  • Use schools/districts/charters/BOCES to establish a holistic community partnership between children families and local and state stakeholders who can provide essential resources and access to identified needs within a particular community (eg. race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national origin, disability, age (age 40 or older), or genetic information) (2023, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)).

The P.L.A.Y. Education Corporation (PLAY Education) was created by Shannon Milliken (she/her), a former physical education teacher and mom, who through her professional and personal journey, desperately wanted to be a catalyst for educational systems change.  Her inspiration was her Asian-American daughter, who will grow up and identify as a woman of color.  As any caretaker, wanting what is best for children, is the most important work that we as a society, could ever do and ever invest in.

Growing up as a multi-racial adoptee in middle class, suburbia Colorado, privilege was always at the forefront of opportunity and education for Shannon.  Teaching in a variety of districts and schools and working at the Colorado Department of Education allowed her to observe and experience the inequities our educational system faces, to provide diverse, equitable, and inclusive environments for children, specifically in rural, low social-economic communities. and historically marginalized and underrepresented populations.

It is Shannon's passion and enthusiasm for children, education and social justice to be the voice for the voiceless and be a driving force to support and implement innovative, creative and novel environments for students to thrive in.  Shannon believes in the importance of each child needing to be seen and heard and given the same opportunities to learn, grow and excel, just as they are.

Please visit our website for more information or to see current grantees and projects.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

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