Play, love, and work are the three innate drives that power human thought and action throughout the entire life cycle...
The person who loves his work (love) takes something from himself or herself (the play element) and something learned from the environment (the work element), and the result is something new that cannot be reduced either to the individual or to the environment.
Dr. David Elkind,  Developmental Pscychologist & author  of The Power of Play and The Hurried Child
      Begun in 1994, the original goal of The Learning Arcade program was to create  unique, safe, affordable and choice-based  learning activity centers, during out of school time, using recycled and under-utilized  equipment.   Word and Math Rescue were the most popular games that functioned well on  computers that, at the time,  pre-dated any version of Windows.  Since there were usually more children interested in the  games than there were computers,  many stood behind  others to cheer them on (a few didn't even speak english)  or they engaged in  additional activities  available; depending on space and staffing.  The most popular choices included scarf juggling to music,  flying paper crafts (kites, doves) and a Power Stick craft, twirl and teach workshop.

Here are instructions to make the kites.  

     Until 2001, The Learning Arcade was a popular after school and summer enrichment choice for children in the Princeton/Trenton area.  Now that technology is at the fingertips of most children with an ipod or cell phone - The Learning Arcade continues to offer other empowering and cooperative play activities, including music,  with themes of nature, kindness, peace and civic awareness that are portable enough to fit on a table with a little space around it for kids to move around at  music festivals or activity fairs.  

Click   below to  download a business  and craft card:

With an educational background in juvenile delinquency prevention that began in Trenton more than 30 years ago, I worked in a juvenile detention facility at the time and was disillusioned with a system that was and still is very broken.  While raising my own children, I was inspired to begin  The Learning Arcade project by a lecture on  redirecting aggressive play that recommended using empowering and multicultural play activities to build self-esteem and social skills that studies have shown are effective approaches to prevention.  The presenter, who worked with Howard Gardner as a graduate student at Harvard University  came together with me and  other educators to brainstorm ideas based on that theory to provide an educationally enriching, choice-based learning environment using computers and other activities tied together with educational themes.

    Dr. David Elkind was  an  influence on my thinking after he delivered a  keynote address at a Youth Violence Prevention Conference in 1997 - sponsored by the Coalition for Peace Action at the time I chaired the Peace Education Committee that planned it.   I had an opportunity to talk with him at length about my discoveries and he thought that The Learning Arcade was beneficial  because it offered children the time, space and choice needed to learn and practice social skills that have proven to protect them from the kind of stress that can trigger harm to self or others. 

  This lifelong learning project evolved much further after I discovered and learned to manage my own self-esteem issues in the process of correcting a debilitating case of ADHD with Open Focus neuro-feedback therapy.   As a result of this transformative, interesting and empowering therapy --  I became a songwriter and   more proficient  guitarist so that I could express an experience that words alone could not describe.   I now offer music and plenty of empathy for children who struggle, as I have, with ADHD.  

   Listed below are Learning Arcade activities and proposals: 
  • Do One Thing - Provide ideas and offer empowering play activities  for a violence prevention initiative begun by the family and friends of Emily Silverstein - a promising young leader for peace and justice who was murdered at Gettysburg College by a former boyfriend at the age of 19.  
  • Hope on Academy - A vision for a semi-structured summertime mentoring program in Trenton, NJ, 2009.
  • Cultural Art Expression - Assistant Organizer for a group of performing artists that include poets, writers and musicians, 2008-Present.
  • Love Lives Vividly On - Original songs and videos that tell stories of transformation & transcendence.  2007-Present. 
  • Craft, Juggle, Twirl and Teach Workshop - Leader - SCOOP Program,  Trenton, NJ, 2006
  • KidsBridge Children's Museum  Annual Kidsfest - Volunteer - Peace Juggling, various locations, Mercer County, NJ,  2002-2006
  • CivicQuest - Leader - A dialogue group that brought high school and college students together with adult community leaders to explore war, peace, educational  and environmental issues - Princeton Peace Network, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 2003.
  • Clay Street 3rd Grade Technology Club - Leader - Princeton Young Achievers, Princeton, NJ,  2002.
  • Monarch and Milkweed Conservation Project   - Leader - West Windsor-Plainsboro Extended Day Programs, 2001.
  • The Child : Victim of War and a Messenger of Peace - Delegate - Athens, Greece, May 2001.
  • Do Something Kindness and Justice Challenge  - Leader - Wicoff Extended Day Program, Plainsboro, NJ , 2001.
  • YWCA Week Without Violence  Steering Committee  - Member - YWCA Princeton, 1999 - 2003.
  • Conflict Resolution/Peer Mediation Training Workshop - Participant - NJ State Bar Foundation, 2000.
  • Educating for a Culture of Peace Conference - Participant - United Nations, January 2000.
  • New Jersey School Age Care Coalition Conferences - Presenter  -"Up in the Air" (flying craft projects) Workshop - Spring 2001; Participant - Fall 1999, Spring 2000, Fall 2000.
  • K.I.T.E.S.  Conference - Participant - Kids Instructed in Tolerance Through Education and Support,  Mercer County, NJ, October  1999, 2000 & 2001
  • Hague Appeal For Peace - Delegate -  The Hague, Netherlands, May 1999.
  • Community Works Conference - Participant - Princeton, NJ, 1999 & 2000
  • I*EARN   Teddy Bear Exchange with Australia  - Leader -1998.
  • Creating Peace : children's advice in pictures and words - Leader - a collaborative Internet book, 1998 - present -  Winner of Highlights Magazine TeacherNet Site Award,  February 1999.
  • Future Search Conference for Princeton Youth - Participant - Princeton Alliance for Drug Awareness, Princeton, NJ, 1998.
  • Peace Education Committee Coalition for Peace Action -  Former Chair & Member - Princeton, NJ, 1995 - Present.
  • Technology Articulation Committee - Member - Montgomery Township Schools, NJ, 1994  - 1998.

For more information contact Sue Albert at

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