Past Early Childhood Physical Activity Institutes

Class of 2019




2019 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (May 20th)

Dr. Peter Gray

Dr. Eric Drollette

Tanya Dennis

Judy Folwer

Class of 2017




2017 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (May 22nd)

Christine Roberts, Founder of Nurturing Pathways. Topics: Creating Sensory Smart Environments for Infants and Toddlers For Healthy Physical Development & What To Do With Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers for School Readiness

Venessa Gilliam, Owner & Director of Nessa's Young'uns Natural Play Center  Topic:  Infants and toddlers connected to nature.

Diane Craft,  Professor and author.  Topic: CDC Strategies for Promoting Early Childhood Physical Activity in 9 States


Class of 2015




2015 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (July 1st)


Bari Koral, Singer-songwriter and Yoga instructor from New York City.  Topic: Young and young children.

Tim Schwantes, Program Officer at Active Living By Design.  Topic: Building a Healthy Community through Environmental Change 

Morgan Leichter-Saxby , Co-Founder, Director of Training of Pop Up Adventure Play.  Topic:  Active in Body and in Mind: Learning from adventure playgrounds, playwork and children’s imaginations


Class of 2014



2014 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (July 14th)


Rae Pica, Founder and Director of Moving and Learning; Cofounder of the Bam Radio Network; Early Childhood Education Consultant, specializing in children's physical activity

Opening Session Presentation


Mike Lanza, Author of Playborhood: Turn Your Neighborhood Into a Place for Play.

More about Mike Lanza and Playborhood -   News Video     TED Talk Video

Opening Session Presentation


Class of 2013







2013 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (September 30th)

Dr. Linda Carson, Director of Choosy Kids, LLC & Motor Development Expert, West Virginia University, WV     

Opening Session Presentation

Linda Kinney, Play and Nature Expert, North Carolina Zoo, Asheboro, NC   

Opening Session Presentation

Dr. Carolyn Ward, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, Kids In Parks, Asheville, NC    

Opening Session Presentation


Class of 2012







2012 Guest Speakers: Opening Session (October 8th)

Dr. George Graham, Author & Physical Education Expert, State College, PA  

Robin Moore, Author & Play Expert, Natural Learning Initiative, Raleigh, NC

Philip Waters, Play Program Coordinator, the Eden Project, Cornwall, UK


ECAPI Facilitators

Dr. Diane Craft, Author & Physical Education Expert, SUNY Cortland, NY
In additional to teaching courses in elementary and adapted physical education, she has been working for over a decade to improve the physical activity opportunities for preschool children with and without disabilities. Dr. Craft has authored multiple books on active play in childhood and her most recent publication is titled Active Play: Fun Physical Activities for Young Children with an accompanying DVD that shows children participating in many of the physical activities in the book. Dr. Craft is a past president of the National Consortium of Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPERID) and Past Chair of the national Adapted Physical Activity Council. In 2005, she was recognized as the National Professional of the Year in Adapted Physical Education.

Richard Rairigh, Author & Physical Activity Specialist, Be Active Kids, Raleigh, NC
Mr. Rairigh, B.S. and M.S. in Physical Education Teacher Education, has conducted research in Sport Education, PASE and assessment in physical education, and physical activity. After pursuing teaching interests at Meredith College he joined the Be Active Kids program in August 2007 and serves as the Director. Rich serves as co-chair of the Children and Nature Coalition; member of the NCIOM Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Task Force, Shape NC Implementation Team, NC Active Play Alliance; and advisor for Head Start Body Start and Kids Eat Smart Move More.


  • Preservice Teachers Learn to Use Be Active Kids in Limited Spaces

    I really enjoyed our class meeting. It was interesting to discover that you can do just about anything with children in the classroom where there may not be much space to encourage them to be active.  A change that I will make in my own life is to be more active, as well as my daughter. I will share this information with my friends that have children such as yoga animals, or Simon Says.

    Cathy Sesta, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute

    Thank you for inviting me to be part of this year’s Institute. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the experience. You’re doing amazing work and I hope I’ll be able to continue contributing to it a bunch in the future.

    Rae Pica,
  • Plenty of Resources That I Can Use and Share

    This class was informative, and I look forward to being physically active with young children. On Friday, I volunteered at a Parents Night Out through my daughter's school. When I got there the kids were watching a movie. I got them up to play Simon Says and Red Light Green Light, however, after that I was stuck on what to do. I wish I had the knowledge I gained from this class, to have made it more exciting.

    I enjoyed your Land and Lake Activity.

    Venessa Wright, Parent & Child Care Provider
  • Be Active Kids Trainers Rock!

    I loved the training.  I would have loved it more if I had the other teachers from my center there also.  I am really looking forward to taking my kit to work and sharing it with my staff.  I liked Brittney, she reminded me of myself as far as being very active and motivated.  When I am at work with my little ones we stay busy all day.  I feel like singing my instructions and dancing my actions helps them to focus better on what I need for them to do.  Britney was great and I learned a lot from her. I am always trying to find new little ways to get the kids moving.

    Tiffany Daniel, Sandhill Community College

    The Early Childhood Physical Activity Institute was just wonderful!  Thank you again for including me in such an important effort to create and sustain leaders in EC physical activity. I would love to return to NC anytime that you think I can help. I enjoyed meeting the folks who work with you and hearing about all of the great things that are planned. 

    Linda Carson, Choosy Kids
  • Be Active Kids has Much to Offer

    Congratulations to you and everyone who has been promoting PA for young
    children in NC. You have much to be proud of here. Be Active Kids is an excellent source of ideas for promoting active play in unstructured settings. The Be Active Kids website also has resources on promoting unstructured active play. I encourage folks to review these resources. 

    Diane Craft, SUNY Cortland & Active Play Books