$140 – $887

FRP Canada National Conference and AGM

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Best Western Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre

591 Wellington Road South

London, Ontario N6C 4R3


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*Please note this registration portal only accepts credit card transactions, if you would like to pay by cheque please contact conference@frp.ca*

Join us at our Biennial National Conference and AGM in London Ontario!

This year's theme is: THE POWER OF PLAY!

Speakers are constantly being added to the agenda so keep checking back for updates!

FRP Canada is proud to have Dr. Paul deliver keynote remarks at our conference!

We are also proud to announce that Lisa Wolff (Director, Policy and Education) at UNICEF will deliver a keynote: The Power of Play as linked to The Right to Play, (UNCRC Article 31). Play is not only good for children's health and development; it is fundamental to their overall well-being. For this reason, the right to play and leisure is protected as a universal right in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We'll explore how the state of play and the overall state of children are related by looking at them across industrialized countries. We'll consider how children and youth express the right to play as they mature; why the "forgotten" right to leisure matters; and what has to change to unlock new solutions for free, outdoor play and liesure.

Confirmed Presenter: Louise Choquette from the Best Start Resource Centre has led initiatives in reaching Francophones, reproductive and child health of newcomers, physical activity, prenatal education and tobacco control. She will deliver her workshop called: “Having a Ball Together!” This active workshop will provide early years staff the skills and confidence necessary to have a positive influence on the physical activity level and physical literacy of children.

Confirmed Presenter: Brian Russell: Provincial Coordinator, Dad Central Ontario! Brian will be discussing attachment theory and fatherhood as research shows that the attachment process for children with their Dad’s is through play. He will also host a workshop called “Daddy and Me: On the Move” which is based on a his writing for the Best Start Resource Centre.

Confirmed Presenters: Dr. Anima Anand, Ph.D., Project Lead, and Michele Hopkins, M.S.W., R.S.W., Project Coordinator, together they will deliver a workshop on the key values, principles, and details on how to incorporate the revised Heathy Together program within core service to promote healthier lifestyles for families and communities. In their workshop you will: Become informed about the Healthy Together program background, content and delivery; Identify principles and strategies to engage vulnerable populations around health promoting behaviours and; Build organizational or community capacity and readiness to integrate Healthy Together.

Confirmed Presenter: Andrew Russo: Co-Founder & Director, National Family Support Network, Washington, DC. Andrew will discuss exploring the Standards of Quality for Family Strengthening & Support in the Canadian Context. Participants will learn about the Standards and then reflect on and share their thoughts about their potential application in the Canadian context and in their work.

For more information: http://www.cnfsn.org/standards-of-quality.html

Confirmed Presenter: Tara Elton-Marshall, Ph.D.: Independent Specialist, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research (IMHPR), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. The focus of this workshop will be on active outdoor play among youth in Grades 6 to 8. This is a critical time where activity typically declines and yet there is little research to understand the potential barriers and facilitators to active outdoor play for youth in this age group. The workshop will review what is known and provide findings from several focus groups conducted in London, Ontario and in a local First Nations community. It will conclude with the identification of critical future directions for research, policy and practice and a discussion of challenges and lessons learned.

Confirmed Presenter: Jennifer Pearson R.P., BFA is the lead Program Developer and Master Trainer for Reaching IN...Reaching OUT (RIRO). RIRO has been promoting resilience in adults and young children since 2002 through evidence-based resiliency skills training programs and resources. Through activities, video and information exchange, workshop participants will experience how different forms of play support development of key resiliency strengths in both children and adults. For more information: www.reachinginreachingout.com

Confirmed Presenter: Amanda Conlon is the Executive Director at the London Children's Museum.
With today’s busy schedules, ​children are facing a compression of their childhood and a reduction in the amount of time they have to engage in what they need most – self guided​ play. In this interactive session we will dig deeper into the profound impact play has on a child's social, emotional, cognitive and physical development. We will explore ways in which play experiences are best constructed to encourage meaningful engagement of children and their caregivers. How can we turn scarce family time into quality time? How can we slow the compression of childhood and bring back play? Together we will explore how to best set up the materials, environment and relationships that support and nurture optimal play experiences for our children and families.

Confirmed Presenter: Adrian Merrick is an Early Childhood Educator at Glenora Child Care Society. At Glenora Child Care Society they are striving to put an end to the idea that young children should sit inside during these frigid months. With the support of a grant from the Lawson Foundation’s Outdoor Play Strategy, Glenora Child Care Society is specifically focused on improving outdoor winter play for young children aged 1 to 5. They aim to normalize winter play for preschoolers and their families by expanding, extending and enhancing children’s outdoor winter play opportunities. Through staff education, development of resources, community connections and celebrations, and new activities and materials, we are finding unique and innovative ways for our youngest children to play outside safely and actively during the winter months.

Confirmed Presenter: Sylvie Melsbach has worked as an educator at an early childhood centre for more than 25 years, and has served as Educational Director for 5 years. She holds degrees in Psycho-Educational Intervention and Early Childhood Education, and completed her education related to play area safety at the University of Northern Iowa’s National Playground Safety School. She is a National Instructor for inspectors of play areas and playground equipment, and is responsible for outdoor play areas for the Regroupement des centres de la petite enfance de la Montérégie. She also serves as Technical Director at the Institut Québécoise de la Sécurité dans les Aires de Jeu. She will deliver an exciting workshop on the Nurturing Development of Active Play which was supported by the Lawson Foundation. The goal of her workshop is to help caregivers understand and support the developing child’s need to move in six pilot communities (child care centres, parent community, and local stakeholders in health and child development) in different regions of Québec who received information and training about the innate capabilities of children and their inherent need to be active and take risks in outdoor environments in order to transform play spaces and teaching practices.

Confirmed Presenter: Beverlie Dietze is the Director of Learning and Teaching at Okanagan College. Outdoor play environments are incredible places for children to learn and develop foundational skills needed for healthy development and later academic success. As children’s access to and opportunities for outdoor play continues to decline in many programs, families, and neighbourhoods, this interactive presentation will outline why outdoor environments are the best places for children to embrace a sense of curiosity and wonderment, develop problem solving skills, and imagine what can be. Come hear how our national outdoor play project, funded by the Lawson Foundation, is making a difference for early learning professionals and children.

Confirmed Presenter: Stacy Yanchuck Oleksy, MSc., CEPF: Stacy will deliver a workshop called "Financial Aid for Service Providers." Do you work with clients who are experiencing financial stress? Are you unsure of how to have the “money chat”, what to advise, what resources to offer, and where to send them for additional help? Look no futher! Join us for a fun and interactive workshop on how to identify financial stressors in your clients, broach the money subject, offer resources, and where to refer for help.

Confirmed Presenter: Arielle Bush, DTATI, Professional Art Therapist and Coordinator of Community Living London's Teach and Play program. This workshop will explore how to successfully provide inclusive and accessible play opportunities within the community for children with developmental disabilities and their families. Participants will gain a better understanding of the diverse needs of children and youth with developmental disabilities as well as helpful resources for providing inclusive community services.

Confirmed Presenter: Dina Barnes, O.T.; Ellyn Sleightholme, SLP; Susy Edwards, O.T from the Child and Parent Resource Institute. Engaging children with a Dual Diagnosis (Intellectual disability + behavior or mental health diagnosis) in play and leisure activities may be challenging due to many factors including but not limited to communication, motor and/or sensory deficits. This interactive session introduces concepts on what is developmentally appropriate, and provides insight into the challenges and strategies when working with this population. Participants will leave with practical strategies for how to promote play and leisure skills including how to structure “unstructured time” and increase quality and length of activities.

Confirmed Presenter: Jennifer Gilbert, Jennifer MacArthur, Cynthia Frizelle from the YMCA of Western Ontario Child Care are excited to introduce, and discuss, their research project with the Lawson Foundation featuring Risky Outdoor Play at the YMCA. They started just over a year ago and will share preliminary findings as they start to look at how a focus on a richer and engaging outdoor environment that can support the development of our children in our child care programs ages 0-6yrs. They have introduced many new materials to our outdoor play spaces - loose parts and new play space designs. To entice all learners, they are equipped to share some videos, pictures and documentation on what has been developed to date.

Confirmed Presenter: Jane S. Cawley, MEd. from the Physical Literacy in the Early Years (PLEY) research project from Dalhousie University. She will deliver a workshop on engaging children in active outdoor play which was identified as a public health priority. For children’s curiosity to be sparked and heightened, they require access to environments that offer freedom, wonderment, and the opportunity to play with open-ended and natural materials. The PLEY project is exploring how loose parts can be used to promote physically active, outdoor play in young children. Through this research, we hope to better understand whether outdoor play with loose parts can help children develop the skills they require to be physically active for life. Sharing experiences from the PLEY project as the foundation, this participatory workshop will explore ways that educators can encourage active outdoor play in a way that is intentional yet child-directed.

Conference Themes Include: Fathering, Financial Literacy, The Right to Play, Outdoor Adventurous Play, a full day of Nobody's Perfect Parenting Program session, and so much more!

Keep checking back here for more speakers and workshops which will be announced soon!


Are there ID or minimum age requirements to enter the event?

There is no miminum age requirement to attend the conference, however, if you purchased a ticket under the student rate, we ask that you bring your current student ID with you for registration check-in. You must also be 18+ to book a hotel room.

What are my transportation/parking options for getting to and from the event?

From the London International Airport: 16km

From the Train Station: 3.8km

Complimentary parking is available on site at the hotel.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Please contact conference@frp.ca

Is HST included in my ticket price?


What's the refund policy?

A refund (minus $50 admin fee) will be issued for cancellations received in writing by August 15th by sending an email to: conference@frp.ca

After this date, no refunds will be given, however, substitutions will be permitted.

Can I update my registration information?

Yes you can update your registration information within the registration page, or you can email us at: conference@frp.ca

Is it ok if the name on my ticket or registration doesn't match the person who attends?

If there is a change in attendee, please contact conference@frp.ca and let us know of the change.


  • Dr. Amina Anand

    Dr. Amina Anand

    The Bridge Youth & Family Sercies

    Ph.D., Project Lead

  • DB Dina Barnes

    Dina Barnes

    Child & Parent Resource Institute


  • Arielle Bush

    Arielle Bush

    Community Living London

    DTATI, Teach and Play Coordinator

  • Jane S. Cawley

    Jane S. Cawley

    Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia


  • Louise Choquette

    Louise Choquette

    Health Nexus (Best Start Resource Centre)

    Health Promotion Consultant

  • Amanda Conlon

    Amanda Conlon

    London Children's Museum

    Executive Director

  • Beverlie Dietze

    Beverlie Dietze

    Okanagan College

    Director Learning and Teaching

  • SE Susy Edwards

    Susy Edwards

    Child & Parent Resource Institute


  • CF Cynthia Frizelle

    Cynthia Frizelle

    YMCA of Western Ontario Child Care

    Regional Manager, Children’s Educational Services

  • JG Jennifer Gilbert

    Jennifer Gilbert

    YMCA of Western Ontario Child Care

    General Manager, Quality

  • Michele Hopkins

    Michele Hopkins

    The Bridge Youth & Family Services

    M.S.W., R.S.W., Project Coordinator

  • JM Jennifer MacArthur

    Jennifer MacArthur

    YMCA of Western Ontario Child Care

    Outdoor Classroom Specialist

  • Sylvie Melsbach

    Sylvie Melsbach


    Project Manager for Nurturing Development of Active Play. RCPEM support to partnership and play areas. Technical Director of the Institut Québécois de la sécurité dans les aires de jeu (IQSAJ)

  • Adrian Merrick

    Adrian Merrick

    Glenora Child Care Society

    Early Childhood Educator

  • Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy

    Stacy Yanchuk Oleksy

    Credit Counselling Soceity

    MSc., CEPF Director of Education and Community Awareness

  • Dr. Paul

    Dr. Paul

    Expert Pediatrician and Health Communicator

  • Jennifer Pearson

    Jennifer Pearson

    Reaching IN...Reaching OUT (RIRO)

    R.P., BFA Program Developer and Master Trainer

  • Tara Elton-Marshall, Ph.D

    Tara Elton-Marshall, Ph.D

    Institute for Mental Health Policy Research (IMHPR), Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

    Independent Scientist

  • Brian Russell

    Brian Russell

    Dad Central Ontario

    Provincial Coordinator

  • Andrew Russo

    Andrew Russo

    National Family Support Network

    Co-Founder & Director

  • ES Ellyn Sleightholme

    Ellyn Sleightholme

    Child & Parent Resource Institute


  • Lisa Wolff

    Lisa Wolff


    ‎Director, Policy and Education

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Best Western Lamplighter Inn & Conference Centre

591 Wellington Road South

London, Ontario N6C 4R3


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