• Women’s Play

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The Mills College Women at Play Project is under the direction of Dr. Julie Nicholson and Dr. Priya Mariana Shimpi in the School of Education.  Our goal is to study adult women’s perspectives on play. Our studies examine:

  • The various forms of play that adult women engage in
  • The reasons adult women choose the forms of play that they do and what they describe as the impact of this play on their learning, development and/or overall well-being
  • The factors that influence adult women’s beliefs about play and the discourse they use to discuss and interpret play in the lives of children and adults
  • The relationship between early care and education professionals’ play and their advocacy for play in the lives of children and families
  • How teacher educators, working with novice and experienced early childhood professionals,  can create authentic learning contexts that support students’ deep reflection and inquiry about the importance of play across the lifespan.

Dr. Julie Nicholson is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Education at Mills College. A former preschool and elementary school teacher, she has a Master’s Degree in Developmental Psychology from San Francisco State University and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education from the University of Michigan. Dr. Nicholson is the faculty member for the Leadership Program in Early Childhood at Mills and teaches coursework in ECE policy, leadership, child development, research and play. Dr. Nicholson has been at Mills since 2005.

Contact Dr. Nicholson at jnichols@mills.edu

Dr. Priya Mariana Shimpi is an Assistant Professor of Education at Mills College. As a National Science Foundation Predoctoral Fellow, she received a Ph.D. in  Developmental Psychology in 2006 from the University of  Chicago. In 2009, Dr. Shimpi completed a two-year National  Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellowship at the University  of California, Santa Cruz, where she conducted research on the role of cultural and environmental experiences in children’s attention and learning patterns. Dr. Shimpi has been at Mills since 2009.

Contact Dr. Shimpi at pshimpi@mills.edu

Fenny Khor is currently a 2nd year graduate student in the Early Childhood Education and Special Education Credential Program at Mills college and the web designer for the Women’s Play Project. After taking a graduate course on play, she realized that she needed to play more as an adult and reconnected with her love and passion for media arts leading to her design of the Women’s Play Project website. Her current research interests include children’s use of media and technology.