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Learning across disciplines through play: UNE recognized for Playgroup program

Playgroup 2017

April 26, 2017

Through Playgroup, UNE future health professionals learn about development, and toddlers learn through play
Through Playgroup, UNE future health professionals learn about development, and toddlers learn through play
As the weeks go on, the toddlers become more comfortable playing while their parents join a support group in the next room
As the weeks go on, the toddlers become more comfortable playing with students and other toddlers while their parents join a support group in the next room

Each year, the University of New England Westbrook College of Health Professions holds a playgroup program for local parents and toddlers, providing an educational opportunity for future physical therapists, occupational therapists and social workers as well as a service to the community. The program was recently recognized by two Maine news stations. 

This year, 9 toddlers and more than 80 students are participating in the eight-week playgroup experience, which is run by the UNE Community Therapy Center. The group consists of children who are typically developing, children with identified disabilities, and children who were at risk for developmental delay. This provides families with a chance for their children to play in ways that enhance development, participate socially with others and have fun. For the students, this is a hands-on opportunity to implement techniques for working with children, families and interprofessional teams of health care providers.

This year’s playgroup is facilitated by an interprofessional student/faculty/practitioner team including occupational therapy, physical therapy and social work along with a contracted speech-language pathologist to role model and participate in the group.

Lindsey Garehan (M.S.O.T. ‘17), Emily Gall (D.P.T. ‘18), and Cassandra Graham (M.S.W. 2017) are serving as student leaders for this year’s program.  Faculty advisors include Eileen Ricci, PT, D.P.T., M.S., PCS, associate clinical professor of Physical Therapy, Kathryn Loukas, O.T.D., M.S., OTR/L, FAOTA, clinical professor, and Valerie Jones, LMSW, assistant clinical professor of Social Work. Practitioners include Stacy Maguire, OTR/L, Jaime Choiniere (D.P.T. ‘10) and Laurie Mack, M.A., CCC-SLP of Northeast Hearing and Speech.

Watch a story about UNE Playgroup from WGME.

Watch a story about UNE Playgroup from WCSH's "207."

To learn more about the University of New England’s Westbrook College of Health Professions visit www.une.edu/wchp

To apply, visit www.une.edu/admissions

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