Picchione 2019

Children experience the world first through play. Let them experience the world.

With generous support from the Picchione family and DMRF, the Picchione Visiting Scholar serves to bring internationally respected scholars, recognized for having made significant contributions to the advancement of their respective fields of endeavour, to Dalhousie University.

The Picchione Visiting Scholar Series of Events:

This year, the visiting scholar series of events is focused on the Summer of PLEY (Physical Literacy in the Early Years). Dalhousie University's PLEY project research team is hosting several free events featuring internationally renowned developmental child psychologist and outdoor play research, Dr. Mariana Brussoni.

Please note, each event has a separate registration link. These events will be photographed and videotaped for use in future presentations, knowledge translation and research.

Dr. Brussoni is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. She is also a Scientist with the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the BC Injury Research & Prevention Unit, as well as a Developmental psychologist, MSFHR Scholar, and Board member of the Child & Nature Alliance of Canada.

She has investigated child injury prevention and children’s outdoor play for 15 years. Dr. Brussoni and her interdisciplinary research team work closely with key stakeholders, knowledge users,and community members to promote children’s healthy, active, and risky outdoor play. Her work and research findings were featured in over 100 media outlets from 14 different countries.

Play is not just fun and games.

Play is a basic childhood need. Through play, children learn societal roles, norms and values and develop physical and cognitive competencies, creativity, self-worth, independence and efficacy.

Above all, outdoor play – with its risks – comes with a great bundle of developmental benefits for children. For example, outdoor risky play including unsupervised outdoor play, rough-and-tumble play, play at speed, at height, with tools, with elements such as water or fire, promotes not only children’s social and physical development but also emotional well-being, self-confidence, risk management and physical activity.

Despite the benefits, opportunities for outdoor play for children have been decreasing across generations due to the perception that it is dangerous and unnecessary.

Reversing this trend requires a societal shift.

Dr. Mariana Brussoni and her research team are dedicated to studying child injury prevention and children’s outdoor play. This research looks at the influence of parents, outdoor environments, as well as policies to promote children’s outdoor play.

Visit the Brussoni Lab


AUGUST 7, 2019

Building Resilient Children: Injury Prevention in the World of Risky Play
Location: IWK Health Centre, Cineplex Theatre
9:00 am - Dr. Robert Strang (Chief Medical Officer of Health)
9:10 am - Dr. Mariana Brussoni (BC Children's Hospital)
9:30 am - Dr. Michelle Stone (Dalhousie University, PLEY Project), Jane Cawley (Dalhousie University, PLEY Project)
9:35 am - Sandra Newton (IWK Child Safety Link), Jennifer Russell (ACIP)
9:40 am - Q & A


This event is support by:

Dalhousie University Healthy Populations Institute
The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
IWK Health Centre
Research NS
Government of Nova Scotia
Child Safety Link
BC INJURY Research and Prevention Unit
BC Children's Hospital
University of British Columbia

AUGUST 8, 2019

Risk, Resilience, and the Renaissance of Play
Location: Dalhousie's University Club, Great Hall, 2nd Floor
Keynote: Dr. Mariana Brussoni
Topic: How risky outdoor play is critical for establishing healthier, happier, and resilient communities. 
5:00 - 6:00 pm - Dr. Brussoni will share what's happening nationally and internationally to support children's outdoor play, with its risks, and how we can work within the outdoor play ecosystem to give young children the freedom to play outdoors (while avoiding injury) in early years environments
 6:00 - 7:00 pm - An informal social event with Dr. Brussoni, supported by Recreation NS.


This event is supported by:
Dalhousie University Healthy Populations Institute
The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
Recreation Nova Scotia
Research NS
BC INJURY Research and Prevention Unit
University of British Columbia

AUGUST 10, 2019

The Power of Play: Why Kids Need to Play Every Day.
Part 2: Panel Discussion 

Location: Halifax Central Library, Paul O'Regan Hall
2:00 - 2:15 pm: Meet and Greet
2:15 - 2:30 pm: Dr. Mariana Brussoni
2:30 - 2:45 pm: Dr. Michelle Stone
2:45 - 3:00 pm: Ms. Laura Beth MacPherson (Government of Nova Scotia)
3:00 - 4:00 pm: Parents, Educators, and Children's Testimonials


This event is supported by:
Dalhousie University Healthy Populations Institute
The Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
Research NS
BC Children's Hospital
BC INJURY Research and Prevention Unit
University of British Columbia