International Play Association Canada
IPA Canada is a national NGO whose mandate is to protect and promote the child’s right to play. Canada has a long association with the International Association. In 1978, Canada hosted the World IPA Congress in Ottawa, Ontario. In 1990, on behalf of the Canadian Council on Children and Youth, the Children’s Play Resource Centre in Vancouver undertook to organize and promote IPA Canada.
The current membership is made up of dedicated child advocates from a variety of backgrounds including early childhood education, recreation, teaching, post-secondary institution instruction, research, landscape architecture and playground equipment supply.
Board of Directors
Marjorie Cole, President – Marjorie has over twenty-five years experience in the education field. She is an Alberta-certified teacher and has taught children of all ages ranging from preschool to post-secondary, from public to private schools, and from provincial to international settings. Marjorie is located in Calgary where she currently works in the field of early intervention for a play-based service provider as well as teaches part-time in early childcare certificate and diploma-based programs. In addition, she delivers presentations and workshops for a variety of organizations. All of these interests allow her to share her passion for play and for helping children and their educators achieve their potential. Marjorie is a mother to two children and a dog named Sophie who also loves to sail.
Lynn Campanella, Vice-President – Lynn is a play and recess specialist. It started in 2001 with her first playful business, Lettuce Make Thyme (for a fun, active lifestyle. No, this was not a catering company, just a play on words), where she was the first to bring Giant Games to North America. And now, with Playocracy, a social innovation company that creates workshops and resources to (1) proclaim and demonstrate the value of play, (2) provide a sustainable and successful solution to recess problems with the Recess Architects Blueprint™ and (3) support global physical literacy. Lynn has chaired or co-chaired several events, one being the Ontario Physical Literacy Summit (the longest-running physical literacy conference in the world!). As a member of the Kiwanis Service organization, Lynn organized and ran Hamilton Play Days, and she has written articles for magazines and newspapers in Canada and the US. Lynn has also been a member of the US Play Coalition since 2011. Lynn is married to Guy; they have a daughter, Rachael, son-in-law Steve and grandsons, James and Adam. James and Adam are a true blessing and an ideal source to witness the wonder of play.
Heather Coe-Nesbitt, Secretary – Heather has been an educator for over fifteen years. She is an Ontario certified teacher and started her education career as a Kindergarten teacher in Shanghai, China, where she worked within a multilingual, play-based learning environment. Through this experience, Heather came to truly appreciate the power of play as essential to young children’s well-being and found that play was the common language among the children in her classroom. Heather is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University. As a researcher, Heather is interested in the ways that educators and learning environments help to support student thriving and well-being, and endeavours to incorporate the voices of young children into her work. She is a mother of a very active and inquisitive three-year old daughter, who keeps her busy and playing both indoors and out.
Wale Osideko, Treasurer – Wale joined the Board of IPA Canada in July 2020. He is a financial expert and holds professional accounting designations in Canada, United Kingdom and Nigeria. He has over 10 years experience serving with other service organizations. Twice, he served a local Rotary club as a Treasurer and currently serves as the club’s President Elect. Also, he is a Chartered Professional Accountants (CPA) Canada Financial Literacy Volunteer and has made presentations to children in their school. Wale enjoys helping kids to maximize the learning (include play) opportunities open to them.
Alex Smith, Director at Large – Alex is the founder/editor of the award-winning blog, PlayGroundology. For nearly 15 years he has been publishing stories for international audiences featuring play theorists and practitioners, designers, artists, academics and kids from Canada and countries around the world. Alex’s rediscovery of play was inspired by his three youngest children’s very active pursuit of fun and adventure. Together, they gamboled through playgrounds in Halifax, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and points between. The backyard of their Nova Scotia home became an ever-changing neighbourhood play zone.
In the process, Alex became an advocate for children’s right to play, organizing a variety of public events, appearing in regional and national media, and volunteering with the Canadian chapter of the International Play Association (IPA). The father of five and grandfather of two is a firm believer in the transformative power of play.
Paul St. Arnaud, Director at Large – Paul currently lives at Spring Lake in the Edmonton Region of Alberta. The majority of his work, volunteer time and as a parent over the last twenty-five years has been involved in planning and developing play spaces and leadership as well as promoting child friendly cities. Paul has been on IPA Canada committees and board for over 20 years. His favourite quote is: Time is a game played beautifully by children – Heraclitus.
Pierre Harrison, Past President – Pierre has been involved with IPA Canada since 2005, serving as president from 2009 to 2019. He is an Ontario certified teacher, a learning through play and inquiry specialist, and a children’s right to play advocate. Pierre has been involved in non-formal learning since 1985 and in 2003, he launched PLAYLearnThink, a social enterprise focused on promoting child-directed play. Pierre facilitates Adventure PlayDays in school and community settings across Canada. He keynotes nationally and internationally on play, inquiry and learning and facilitates training workshops for adults across the country and in Europe. For his many contributions, Pierre was named as IPA Canada’s inaugural Play Champion. Pierre lives with his family in an off-grid straw bale house in the beautiful forest of Northern Ontario, where adventures abound and imagination soars.