Renowned Early Childhood Educator Donates Papers to the Strong

Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play News Release
One Manhattan Square Rochester, NY 14607 585-263-2700

November 12, 2010

For Immediate Release

Contact: Susan Trien, 585-410-6359

Renowned Early Childhood Educator Donates Papers to Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong

ROCHESTER, New York—Vivian Gussin Paley, internationally renowned early childhood educator and advocate for the importance of play for young children, today announced that she has donated materials documenting her career to the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong in Rochester, New York. The announcement was made at a gathering of educators at the Fourth Annual 92nd Street Y Wonderplay Early Childhood Learning Conference in New York City, where she accepted the first annual 92Y Vivian Gussin Paley Award for Early Childhood Excellence, presented in recognition of her profound impact on the field of early childhood education.

Author of 13 books about children learning through play, Paley has received numerous honors and awards including an Erikson Institute Award for Service to Children, a MacArthur Foundation Fellows award, and a John Dewey Society’s Outstanding Achievement Award. Paley taught early childhood classes for 37 years—chiefly at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools—and in her books she describes and reflects on her own learning experiences shared with thousands of students. Among her donations to the Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong are a complete collection of her books (English and foreign versions and many autographed) including The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter and A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play; correspondence; clippings related to her published works; articles by and about Paley; items related to conferences, workshops, and symposia; and audio-visual materials related to interviews and presentations made by Paley.

According to Paley, “The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong makes an ideal home for the voices of children in my books. At a time of confusion about the learning power inherent in the imaginative play of childhood, the Strong honors and encourages the study of play as the essential beginning of creativity.”

Says G. Rollie Adams, president and CEO of the Strong, “Vivian Paley is both the best known and the most influential kindergarten teacher in American history, and the Strong is delighted and honored that she chose our Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play to house and preserve the documentary record of her remarkable career. Her books continue to inform and inspire educators throughout the world, and the Vivian Gussin Paley Papers will interest historians and other researchers for generations to come.

The Brian Sutton-Smith Library and Archives of Play at the Strong in Rochester, New York, is a multidisciplinary research repository devoted to the intellectual, social, and cultural history of play. In addition to housing the personal library and papers of its preeminent namesake, the 130,000-volume research library and archives holds a full spectrum of primary and secondary sources, including scholarly works, professional journals, other periodicals, trade catalogs, children’s books, comic books, manuscripts, personal papers, business records, and more. Also housed here are the library and archival collections of the Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games (ICHEG).  For more information, visit


About Vivian Gussin Paley:

Vivian Paley has dedicated her career as a teacher, researcher, and writer to the study of young children, observing them as they play, interact, learn, and grow. Working primarily at the University of  Chicago Laboratory Schools as a preschool and kindergarten teacher, she made audio-recordings of the students in her classrooms, which she later listened to and analyzed. Based on what she observed in these recordings, she wrote a series of books addressing such topics as multiculturalism, fantasy play, storytelling, language development, communication, and friendships, including the relationships between teachers and students. The recipient of numerous awards in recognition of her contributions to early childhood education, Paley continues to influence the debate on how children learn and develop and the important role of play.