Michael Patte, Ph.D.


Michael Patte
Professor of Teaching and Learning, Child Life Specialist

Michael Patte, Ph.D., along with his colleagues Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, James E. Johnson, and Suzanne F. Quinn have a new text The Handbook of International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education to be published by Routledge in 2018. The handbook provides a groundbreaking compilation of research from distinguished experts in early childhood education, child development, and cultural and cross-cultural research in the psychological sciences from Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe, America, and Canada.

Contact Information

Scholarship 2017

October — Patte, Ph.D., professor of teaching and learning and a child life specialist, received a two-year appointment as an adjunct Professor of Humanities and Education and Research Scientist at the University of the West Indies Family Development Center in Trinidad and Tobago. In this role Dr. Patte will engage in collaborative international research projects, encourage the exchange of students and faculty, and serve on thesis and dissertation committees.

April — Patte, Ph.D., professor of teaching and learning and a child life specialist, offered two keynote presentations at the Enhancing Child Development through Play Conference at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago (Play as a medium for promoting creativity and imagination in adult learning, higher education, professional development, and classroom practice and applying play research and theory to school, family, and community settings: The value of open-ended and structured materials).

In addition, Patte participated in a panel discussion (The State of Play in America) of prominent play scholars at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan to explore key issues facing parents, educators, and policy makers about children’s access and participation in play.

March — Patte, Ph.D., and his two colleagues Cindy Dell Clark and Fraser Brown had their chapter The Intersection of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life in Diverse Settings accepted for publication in The Handbook of Medical Play Therapy and Child Life: Clinical Interventions for Children and Adolescents. The chapter explores the role of adults in facilitating medical play therapy across multiple settings and through the lens of various academic disciplines including Child Life, Play Therapy, Playwork, and Occupational Therapy.

While attending the 2016 NAEYC Annual Conference and Expo in Los Angeles I was awarded the Patricia Monigham Nourot Award for exemplary leadership and play advocacy efforts as a member of the Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Scholarship 2016

October — Patte, Ph.D., and his colleague John A. Sutterby recently had their edited volume Celebrating 40 Years of Play Research – Connecting Our Past, Present, and Future – Play & Culture Studies, Volume 13 published by Rowman & Littlefield. The volume highlights contributions that reflect upon the rich forty-year history of The Anthropological Association for the Study of Play, that explore current research in the field of play, and that advance future directions for play scholarship.

August — Patte, Ph.D., composed three white papers for Playworld in Lewisburg: "The Importance of Play in the Early Childhood Years;" "The Evolution of School Recess and Corresponding Implications for the Next Generation of Children;" and "From Pick Up Games to Play Dates – The Decline of Child-Initiated, Unstructured Play and the Rise of Backseat Children." Playworld used the ​three white papers to create Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the Play Report.

Scholarship 2015

September — Patte, Ph.D., offered three presentations: Adventure Playgrounds: Past, Present, and Future - A Panel Discussion & Planning at Implementing a Pop-Up Adventure Playground at the 41st International Conference of The Association for the Study of Play in San Antonio, Texas. Patte also offered Recess Research: Historical, Sociological, and Anthropological Perspectives on Play at School at the 2015 Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Philadelphia.

September — Patte, Ph.D., and and his colleague Tom Starmack, professor of education, recently had their book Organizational Behavior, which explores various types of leadership and major concepts critical to leading in the 21st Century. The book has a Pk-16 target audience for students or professionals seeking to learn more and be engaged in learning about effective leadership in our complex world.  The impact on pre-service and in-service teachers is the depth with which students engage with content and apply concepts in their current setting through job embedded assignments.

April — Patte, Ph.D., and his colleague Tom Starmack, professor of education, recently had their book Beyond the Classroom Walls: Developing Mindful Home, School, and Community Partnerships published by Cognella. The book encourages a culturally responsive approach to family involvement through an examination of teacher training, various logistical and psychological barriers, and strategies for establishing reciprocal relationships between families, schools, and the larger community.

March — Patte, Ph.D., along with his colleagues Jaipaul Roopnarine, James Johnson, and David Kischner had their book International Perspectives on Children's Play published by Open University Press.

The book provides an analysis of children's play across many different cultural communities around the globe. Issues that are covered include the importance of conceptualizing the relationship between play and culture, how play varies both within and between cultures, children's non-play activities in relation to play activities, how play is learned and how adults, parents and teachers, as well as older peers and siblings, are all important influences on the play of children.

At the heart of the book is a focus on human rights, in particular the Child's Right to Play as stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The book is committed to the principle of all children reaching their full potential and the enhancement of their families, communities, and cultures through play.

February — Patte, Ph.D., was recently interviewed on NPR's Art Scene with Erika Funke. During the 30-minute interview Patte explores the importance of unstructured play on whole person development across the lifespan.

March — Patte, Ph.D., and his colleague Tom Starmack, associate professor of education, recently had their book Beyond the classroom walls: Developing mindful home, school, and community partnerships published by Cognella. The book encourages a culturally responsive approach to family involvement through an examination of teacher training, various logistical and psychological barriers, and strategies for establishing reciprocal relationships between families, schools, and the larger community.

Scholarship 2014

August — Patte, Ph.D., had his article “The importance of play on whole child development” accepted for publication in Child Life Focus. The paper explores how play in America has morphed from an unstructured, child-initiated endeavor to an adult-directed, structured enterprise and the implications this change has on whole child development.

Patte was also invited by the Child Life Council to provide the keynote address at its first international summit — The State of International Pediatric Psychosocial Services: A Global Perspective on Play and Psychosocial Care for Children in Hospitals in New Orleans.

Scholarship 2013

June — Patte, Ph.D., participated in the The Tocati International Festival of Street Games in Verona, Italy. The festival highlights traditional games from various regions of Italy and those of a host country; this year being Hungary. The protagonists are men and women, a community of players, carriers of an immaterial know, they come from the world to fill the streets and squares of Verona. Bring with them their games, their gestures and their cultures and transform Verona in the Capital of the World Traditional Game.

The eleventh edition of the Tocatì ended, now there are many scenarios opened and relationships intertwined elements that year after year, allow the Festival to grow and become more and more a target reference point for the world of international games culture.

May — Patte, Ph.D., delivered a plenary session at the Child Life Council’s 31st Annual Conference on Professional Issues in Denver this May. His session, "Play & Wellness: Two Mutually Complementary or Exclusive Concepts," will examine how play is connected to biological and physical health, mental health, spiritual health, and healthy shared relationships of people of all ages. Through an exploration of current research and practice across multiple disciplines Patte will explore ways in which play adds to human resilience and functioning.

May — Patte, Ph.D., and James E. Johnson, Ph.D., professor of early childhood education at Penn State University recently published a commentary for a chapter on Play in the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. This encyclopedia provides comprehensive scientific knowledge about early childhood development to service providers, planners, policy makers, researchers, and parents. It currently includes more than 450 articles written by renowned scholars and is consulted by people from more than 100 countries around the world.

March — Patte, Ph.D., and Fraser Brown, professor of playwork at Leeds Metropolitan University, recently had their book, "Rethinking Children's Play," published by Continuum Press. The authors argue that children need to play and that the benefits of play are many and varied. However, these benefits are too often overlooked by parents, teachers, politicians, and society in general.

In Rethinking Children's Play, the authors apply a playwork perspective to a wide range of settings populated by children to explore the idea that children's learning and development derives substantially from their opportunities to engage with a rich play environment that is supportive of the play process.

Scholarship 2012

June — Patte, Ph.D., offered a plenary session with his colleagues Jim Johnson and Jaipaul Roopnarine titled Context and Variables Affecting Play in Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Trinidad at the 26th ICCP World Play Conference in Tallinn, Estonia.

Patte also spent time this summer promoting the International Journal of Play, a new Taylor and Francis publication that he co-edits with professor Pat Broadhead and June Factor at various venues in Helsinki, Finland and Moscow, Russia. First two issues of the International Journal of Play can be accessed here.

May — Patte, Ph.D., recently published with his colleague Fraser Brown an interview of the prominent 20th century play scholar Brian Sutton Smith titled, “From the Streets of Wellington to the Ivy League: Reflection on a lifetime of Play - An Interview with Brian Sutton-Smith,” which will appear in the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Play in May.

Further, Patte was invited to offer a contribution to the Rowan & Littlefield two volume Handbook on the Study of Play. His chapter will focus on the history of play organizations.

May — Patte, Ph.D., offered three co-presentations at The Association for the Study of Play's 38th Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico this spring, “Loose Parts and Play Facilitation: Rich Play, Strong Advocacy;” “Unearthing the Relics of our Playful Past: A Look Inside the Historical Archives of the Association for the Anthropological Study of Play;” and “Better a Broken Bone than a Broken Spirit: Exploring Adventure Play in the UK.”

February — Michael Patte, Ph.D., recently chaired a research session, "Current Play Research Spanning National and International Contexts," delivered an additional individual research paper, "Strategies for Implementing a Playful Pedagogy in a Standards-driven Curriculum," and co-facilitated two workshops, "The Play Experience: How to Strengthen Professional Development, Play Leadership, and Advocacy and Supporting Family and School Relationships Through a Parent Play Training Program" at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida.

In addition, Patte has an empirical article, "Examining preservice teacher knowledge and competencies in establishing family-school partnerships," appearing in The School Community Journal, Vol. 21, No. 2, 143-160.

Fulbright fellowship in United Kingdom

Patte, Ph.D., spent the spring and summer of 2010 teaching and researching playwork at Leeds Metropolitan University, U.K., on a Fulbright fellowship.

Playwork, with its roots in Europe, is concerned with providing play environments for children to laugh and cry, explore and experiment, create and destroy, feel excited and elated.

Since April, Patte has made presentations at various play conferences throughout Europe, taught a variety of course sessions on playwork at Leeds and visited a variety of venues where playworkers practice their crafts such as breakfast clubs, adventure parks and children’s museums.

Scholarship 2011

October — Patte recently co-authored an article accepted for publication in The Journal of Student Wellbeing on “Playwork: A Profession Challenging Societal Factors Devaluing Children's Play.” The article highlights his recent Fulbright Scholarship work in the United Kingdom with co-author, Fraser Brown, Ph.D.

October — Patte recently earned the distinction of becoming a Child Life Specialist after completing a semester-long internship at a children's hospital in Pennsylvania. Child Life Specialists provide emotional support for families and encourage optimum development of children facing a broad range of challenging experiences, particularly those related to healthcare and hospitalization.

September — Patte was recently named to be one of three editors of the new Taylor & Francis publication, The International Journal of Play. The new journal is an inter-disciplinary publication focusing on all facets of play. It aims to provide an international forum for mono- and multi-disciplinary papers and scholarly debate on all aspects of play theory, policy and practice from across the globe and across the lifespan, and in all kinds of cultural settings, institutions and communities. The first issue of the new journal is to be published in the spring of 2012.

April — Patte, Ph.D., was co-author of a proposal that landed a $133,000 Community Engagement for Early Care and Education Grant funded by the office of Child Development and Early Learning in July, 2010. Patte assisted in the development of the grant application and served as a member of the Steering Committee and the Transitions to School Team responsible for providing research-based information to local citizens on important current and emerging issues pertaining to children, youth, and families through the Penn State University Cooperative Extension Office in Union County. In addition, Patte spearheaded BU's Teacher Education and Compensation Helps (TEACH) scholarship program, an early childhood scholarship program seeking to change the negative trends in the child care workforce.

March — Patte, Ph.D., will serve as co-editor with Patricia Broadhead, Ph.D., of the United Kingdom, and June Factor, Ph.D., of Australia, of a new journal, The International Journal of Play, beginning in 2012. The journal will be published by Taylor & Francis Group.

March — Patte, Ph.D., is serving as president of The Association for the Study of Play (TASP), the premier professional organization in academia dedicated to interdisciplinary research and theory construction concerning play. TASP is a multidisciplinary organization whose purpose is to promote the study of play, to support and cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes, and to organize meetings and publications that facilitate the sharing and dissemination of information related to the study of play. TASP's broad focus includes many disciplines and scholarly interests, including anthropology, education, psychology, sociology, recreation and leisure studies, history, folklore, dance, communication, the arts, kinesiology, philosophy, cultural studies, and musicology.

February — Patte, Ph.D., was recently elected to serve as a board member of the International Council for Children’s Play (ICCP). The purpose of ICCP is to promote research on play and toys in various countries, to promote the understanding of play and toys, to organize campaigns to ensure the child's right to play, to raise the standards of toys, and to inform the public about good toys and their value in child development.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Brown, F. & Patte, M.M. (2012). Rethinking Children’s Play. London: Continuum Press.
  • Patte, M.M. (2011). Examining pre-service student competence in developing family/school partnerships. Accepted for publication in The School Community Journal
  • Patte, M.M. (2011). Implementing a playful pedagogy into a standards driven curriculum. Play and Culture Studies, 12.
  • Patte, M.M. (2010). Is it still ok to play? Journal of Student Wellbeing, 4(1), 1-6.
  • Patte, M.M. (2010). Can you imagine a world without recess? Childhood Education, 87(1), 62-63.
  • Patte, M.M. (2010). The therapeutic benefits of play for hospitalized children. Play and Culture Studies, 10, 3-22.

Conference Presentations

  • Baltrusaitis, S. & Patte, M.M. Examining the role of recess on student behaviors in the elementary school classroom. Presented at the Association for the Study of Play’s 37th Annual Conference in Rochester, New York.
  • Brown, F, Patte, M.M., & Law, S. Playwork in the UK and America. Presented at the Association for the Study of Play’s 37th Annual Conference in Rochester, New York.
  • Patte, M.M. Getting beyond the old “child centered” versus “teacher-directed” learning debate: Searching for a pedagogy of appropriate practice. Presentation at the 25th World Play Conference in Lisbon, Portugal.
  • Patte, M.M. (2010, May). Getting beyond the old “child-centered” versus “teacher-directed” learning debate: Searching for a pedagogy of appropriate practice. Presented at the Centre for Research in Childhood’s Annual Meeting in Leeds, United Kingdom.
  • Patte, M.M. Looking for play-based pedagogy in diverse school settings. Presented at the Association for the Study of Play’s 36th Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Patte, M.M., & Brown F. Playwork: A profession that challenges societal factors devaluing children’s play. Presented at the Association for the Study of Play’s 36th Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Baltrusaitis, S. & Patte, M.M. Examining the role of recess on elementary student in-class behaviors. Presented at the Association for the Study of Play’s 36th Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • Patte, M.M. Reclaiming play environments for children: An examination of adventure play in the UK. Presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.
  • Patte, M.M. Wanna play? Bringing comfort to hospitalized children and families. Presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.
  • Patte, M.M.; Johnson, J.E.; Cohen, L.; Nell, M.; Jarrett, O.; Kuschner, D.; Sluss, D.; Tarwick-Smith; J.; Van Thiel, L; Graves, S.; Reifel, S.; Mahoney,-Ferster, M.; Cemore, J.; Tolentino, E.; Waite-Stupiansky; S.; Sevimil-Celik, S.; and Baltrusatis, S. Clearing away rubble from the wellspring: Making room for play in the lives of children. Presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.
  • Drew, W.; Blandford, S.; Rankin, B.; Nell, M; Durkin, P.; Wetsel, J.; Patte, M.M.; Peterson, A.; Al Mansour, M.A. The play experience: Strengthening value-added strategies to meet early learning standards. Presented at the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.

Scholarship 2009

June — Patte, Ph.D., had his empirical research study, "The State of Recess in Pennsylvania Elementary Schools: A Continuing Tradition or a Distant Memory," published in the peer-reviewed Play and Culture Studies, Volume 9. In addition, Patte was recently contracted to co-author a book in the New Childhoods Series by The Continuum International Publishing Group, "Rethinking Children's Play," with Fraser Brown from Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. Further, Patte co-presented a session, "The Play Experience: Igniting Passion, Leadership, and Teacher Action Research" at the National Association for the Education of Young Children's 18th Annual National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in Charlotte, N.C., in June.

June — Patte, Ph.D., also participated as a co-presenter and panelist at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Institute in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in early June. His presentation, "Families of the 21st Century: Developing Skills for Successful Collaboration in Challenging Times," explored logistical and psychological barriers impeding partnerships between home and school and practical strategies for breaking them down. The panel discussion, "Forging New Alliances Through Mutual Understanding Between Early Childhood and Elementary Educators: Chapter 49-2 Implementation," explored the challenges and successes of planning for the PreK-4 Certification changes across universities in Pennsylvania.

February — Patte, Ph.D., recently had his article, "All in a Day's Work: Children's Views on Play and Work at the Fifth Grade Level," published in the peer-reviewed Play and Culture Studies, volume 8. In addition, he will present two research papers this spring, "Play in the Concrete Jungle: A Look Inside Urban School Classrooms" and "Block Play: Following the Child's Lead" at the Association for the Study of Play's Annual Conference in Brownsville, Texas. Further, Patte and his colleague Mary Mahoney-Ferster will provide the Keynote presentation, Creating the Backdrop for Transition at the 13th Annual Kindergarten Transition Conference this spring at BU.

Scholarship 2008

November — Patte, Ph.D., was recently appointed to the Governor's Early Learning Council by Edward, G. Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania. The Council is responsible for planning the expansion of effective early learning and development services for young children and their families, and for making recommendation to ensure the plans are implemented successfully. Further, the Council helps coordinating the delivery of these Federal and Commonwealth programs designed to serve young children from birth through their entry into school, and to ensure a smooth transition for those children into K-12 education and other programs serving older children.

October — Patte, Ph.D., recently became a member of the Pennsylvania Professional Development School Network Taskforce. The goal of this state-wide taskforce is to build relationships between institutions of higher education and schools or school districts with the goal of enhancing the educational performance of students and professional staffs through shared expertise and resources, collaborative projects, and ongoing research, reflection, and dialogue. Further, Patte participated in a research session at the 17th annual Conference on Integrated Learning in State College titled, "Parent Engagement: How to Re-Engage Disenfranchised Parents."

September — Patte, Ph.D., will present two research papers, Examining Pre-Service Teacher Knowledge & Competencies in Establishing Family/School Partnerships: Implications for Theory & Practice and Play Based Pedagogy & NCLB: Two Mutually Complimentary or Exclusive Concepts at the National Association for the Education of Young Children's Annual Conference in Dallas, Texas, this November. At the same conference Dr. Patte will also be chairing a research symposium titled, Play Dialectics: Teasing Out Tension Points in the Research and Application of Play. In addition, Dr. Patte recently co-authored a Community Engagement for Early Care & Education Grant in the amount of $100,000 that was funded by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning in July 2008.

May — Patte, Ph.D., recently shared the preliminary results of an empirical research study titled, "An Examination of the Attitudes and Actions of Teachers Concerning the Implementation of Play-Based Pedagogy" at The Association for the Study of Play's Annual Conference in Tempe, Ariz. In addition, Patte had an article, "Examining the Therapeutic Benefits of Play on Hospitalized Children," accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Play and Culture Studies.