Bettina Atwill is a mother, teacher/educator, and social entrepreneur. She grew up jumping off dive boats in the once rich and vibrant coral reefs of the Philippines.  Her aspirations as a mother include being able to give her children the opportunity to play in the same coral reefs she used to call her playground.  With the increase of severe typhoons and medical waste dumped in the reefs, it hasn't been feasible.  

Bettina works locally and globally.  In her local community, Bettina works with primary and secondary schools.  She facilitates workshops for children and teachers to bring learning outdoors and through play. Bettina also facilitates the Early Childhood Education International Facebook group and creates online digital courses for parents and educators of young children living around the world.

Bettina is passionate about giving as many children the opportunity to play, especially children in vulnerable communities.  Her social enterprise guides teachers, parents, and educators, embracing play as the root of learning whilst creating environmentally appropriate play invitations.  Profits of these online courses go to sending boxes of preloved children’s toys, clothes, and learning resources in Australia to vulnerable communities in the Philippines.  Bettina also collaborates with local woodworkers in the Philippines and co-designs wooden play resources and sells them around the Philippines.


"Leveraging Play with Nature and the S.T.E.A.M. Learning Approach"

The presentation I will share is based on some big questions I have on children’s opportunities to play as they get older or where they live in the world. 

Should children play less as they get older? Will children cut off from early childhood play based programs in developing countries always have a disadvantage to authentic learning?   

These were some burning questions that I am seeking answers to as an educator who believes in peace education and lifelong learning.  In this presentation I share my research and practice of how I take elements of play and nature as the root to learning skills and tools that can be extended to a whole new plane of learning. 

Systems, processes, joy, and spontaneity can also be a recipe for  innovation and lifelong learning.  Integrating learning ideas with art, science, engineering, technology, and mathematics almost happens so naturally in the world of play. 

This presentation aims to highlight elements of play that can be extended to an open-ended field that provides the child an environment to continue playing and learning no matter how old the child is or where they live in the world.