New View EDU Episode 11: Full Transcript

Read the full transcript of Episode 11 of the NAIS New View EDU podcast, in which Jill Vialet joins Tim Fish and Lisa Kay Solomon to explain why the way we think about play as a part of our society deserves a second look. Drawing on her decades of experience working with schools and students, Jill argues that the basic skills and practices of play are the underpinnings of what makes people and societies successful.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Societies depend on our ability to, quote, "play well together." That is at the heart of Jill Vialet's visionary work. Jill is a serial social entrepreneur, author, speaker, and visiting scholar at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business. She's the founder of Playworks, which has supported over 2 million kids through play-based programs.
Her latest book, Why Play Works, dives into the research and case studies of play. Jill, welcome to New View EDU.

Jill Vialet: Thanks so much for having me.

Tim Fish: Jill, thank you so much for joining us today. You know, when I was preparing for this conversation, I started thinking about play. And you know, some of the first ideas that came to mind for me was lower school, recess, and children. That play is often associated with kids. And you know, I’m probably not the only one who thinks about that, but as I was thinking more about you and your work, you really have a much broader understanding of play. So I’m wondering, what do you think about that? Is that something you often see when people think about play?

Jill Vialet: Yeah, absolutely. And, and I will say, too, lower school humans absolutely rock. I would suggest, actually, that the world would be a better place if, like, humans who are used to, like, working with lower school people, were also working with Congress and were like, dealing with us in the workplace and you know, sort of designing the experience of being in high school too.

So I, I take no, no offense. But yeah, I think I believe that play is a force that makes us human and that is relevant to our youngest humans, as well as our oldest and everyone in between.

Tim Fish: Why do you think it's so important for children and adults? And I know this is, this is basically asking you to recall your body of work for most of your life, but really, why do you think it's so important?

Jill Vialet: Well, you know, if you look at behaviors that survive evolution, right? And especially behaviors that are kind of risky, I think you can learn a lot about what's important. And so play is this fascinating human practice that, despite the fact that we break our arms and other sort of bad things can happen when you're playing, it has persisted throughout, you know, being human and it has survived evolution despite its riskiness. And so I just figured, that for me is the first thing that's sort of like, okay, let's look a little closer. And particularly in this moment, right, where we are globally, but in the United States, dealing with issues of the pandemic, a moment of profound racial reckoning, political polarization, but I'd say, just civic sort of polarization in a way that makes us feel more divided.

I think looking at play and what it has to offer in this moment in terms of helping us learn how to get along, how to manage and mitigate fear, how to navigate conflict, how to believe in one's own capacity to make change when, when you feel that it is called upon. I just think play is this sort of keystone activity that has just an outsize impact on everything else. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: Jill, it seems that there's so much research that supports this work. And of course you've been putting it into practice. All the things you mentioned: Play is good for wellbeing, play helps us connect, play builds trust. And as you said, at this moment, it feels more important and urgent than ever. And yet I can't help but look at the decisions that a lot of schools make around play, which seem to be more regulated, shorter in duration, not integrated into the rest of their academic or developmental experience, why they're at school.

And I wonder if you could just reflect a little bit about why that's the case. Like if, if we know play is so important, it just feels so wrong to be making decisions to try to truncate it or minimize it in some way. 

Jill Vialet: Right. Well, and it's not, I think, disconnected from Tim's initial reaction, like, oh, this would be great for the little kids, you know. Like, we've always had ambivalent feelings about play and playful humans and playfulness as a society, at least in the United States in particular. Right? And there's Kay Jameson's—a professor at Hopkins—wrote an incredible book called "Exuberance," where she talks about sort of this history of our very mixed feelings.

And if you think, there've been like some extraordinary leaders that over the years have exhibited a playfulness sort of bordering on mania, like the Teddy Roosevelts, who we simultaneously, we're like, whoa, amazing. And, Oh, hmm. That's sort of, that's a little sketchy, like, you know, so and I'd say that, that, that kind of reaction, like we're not totally comfortable with silly. We are a culture that, you know, in many ways, still very much buys into sort of the Horatio Alger myth about pulling yourself up by the bootstraps and, you know, it's diligence and hard work that's going to overcome obstacles. And so we value seriousness. And so I think there's, it's not particularly surprising that especially educators, who are being held accountable to increasingly narrow sets of standards around what people are hoping they will achieve with the kids during an increasingly complicated sort of framework for educating them. I just think teachers and people in schools are in a really difficult position. And so I try not to vilify them for feeling, you know like a rock between, like that they're stuck between a rock and a hard place, but I do try and figure out how can I help them understand that actually thoughtfully, intentionally integrating play into what people do in schools will actually help them be more successful in the things that they're being held accountable to. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: I love that, Jill, it's such an empathetic response to this moment. And I often think even for school leaders, who this podcast is really intended for, to help them think about new questions, to make different choices in the classroom and within the entire school environment. I think how rare it is, where school leaders are facing a difficult problem and think, this is really hard. Let's go play a game. Just, it's just not our instinct to say, you know, like if we want the fastest way to unleash new ideas, connection with each other, a spirit of possibility, it's not hunkering down necessarily in the board room. I'm not saying that's not important, but we forget about this, you know, just incredible human opportunity we have. 

Jill Vialet: For school leaders, I would offer, too, that not only does actually play offer a really powerful model for just all the sort of challenges of reopening or whatever phase we are currently in, as people are listening to this or re-reopening or, you know, all the different sort of change. Actually thoughtfully considering the rules and the rituals and how we set up refereeing for schools in dealing with following certain health and safety protocols. 

But, even that aside, educators, they kind of get why play would be useful for interacting with the kids. I actually, one of the things that's been most striking to me over the years, working with schools, is the extent to which actually educators playing together, that infusing games and a little bit of lighthearted play, and by play, taking the broadest definition. Right. Any activity undertaken for no apparent purpose. Right? But infusing that into staff meetings, into like the dynamics of, of being grownups working together to solve what can sometimes feel like an insoluble challenge.

Tim Fish: Yeah, Jill, I've been playing with this idea in my head for the last several months. This idea that I call the journey to transformational learning. I've been curious about like, what does transformational learning look like? And one of the works that has really inspired me again has been the work of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and "Flow.” I read it in graduate school and then I just picked it up again. It blew my hair back. Right? He talks about this notion of flow, and he describes flow as really the optimal experience. This sort of space when time disappears. When we confront a challenge, we lean into some real complexity, and in that context, our troubles melt away, and we're sort of lost in this engaging experience. And for me, as I was reading your work on play and was thinking about it, I was like, play is flow, in some ways.

I think back when I would play as a child. And when I play now that I'm sort of, you've helped me understand when I am and how I should be playing in my own life now. I think about, it has a lot to do with the same kind of state. And what's so interesting to me about his work, is he says, essentially, that that notion of being in a flow state builds your psyche. It builds your self-concept. It builds sort of this resilience that you need to go out into the world. And am I, do you see that connection as well? Between the two?

Jill Vialet: Absolutely. I mean, I, when I, in the book, what I'm writing about, why play works. It's all, it's really about trying to, like, I set out by saying, look, defining play is not, it's not a gimme. It's like, there's a lot of disagreements. But I think the way you're describing what Csikszentmihalyi said about, like, being in the, totally caught up in the loss of sense of time, that, that the caught up in the moment, there's a great definition. Bernard Suits is a philosopher and he defines a game as the voluntary attempt to overcome an unnecessary challenge. And I, I just love that, like the critical nature of volition, like you've chosen this activity and the idea that it's an attempt, you're not necessarily gonna succeed, it's not defined by succeeding or failing. And, and this, the sort of the unnecessary challenge. And I think I too, I just, you know, when you're talking about all this, I do think that there's something that's really critical to this moment when we're talking about equity in so many different dynamics.

But if you look at who gets to play, it can be really illustrative about like, who has power, who has access. And so one of the things that's been hardest over the sort of the 25 years of leading Playworks was recognizing the patterns of inequity around access to play.

And so I often, and then we'll hear like, but people, you know, people are gonna have to learn how to read, and you gotta like give, people need to be ready to have—hold down jobs and all this stuff. But I often ask, especially for grownups who are considering why play, and why is it so important, to really think about your own, like personal journey to figuring out who you were and what was most important to you and what you wanted to do with your life? What brought you meaning? It just feels like time and time again, when people are telling me those stories, what comes up is that they were on some, like, ridiculous journey that made no sense to anyone else in their lives. Except they had felt compelled to go off on some trip or to take some job or to do some program of some kind. And it was in this moment of sort of, you know, voluntarily attempting to overcome some completely unnecessary/borderline absurd challenge that they actually really sort of uncovered their own essence. I just, I think that state of flow, I mean, what a gift to be given a passion for something that takes you out of yourself. I just, everyone should get that.

Tim Fish: I remember when I was a kid one summer, we were like, we were really hot and we were saying, I grew up in New Jersey and we were like, how can we get cool? And we thought, oh, if we're like down in underground, we'll get cooler. So we set out for weeks to dig this huge hole that was like eight feet deep in the woods.

And all we wanted to do was sit in the bottom of it. Right? But it was, it was just, a journey, and every day we'd get up and we'd just leave home and we would go dig the hole. And, and it was that, you're so right. Like there was, there was this negotiation with my friends. There was a collaboration, there was no real apparent purpose, but we were committed to it. Right? You know, my sense is that kids don't get to dig holes anymore in the same way. Right? And I wonder if you're finding that as well. 

Jill Vialet: We're increasingly paved. Digging is a challenge, but yes, I mean, but I'd say it's, it's mixed, you know, I'd say it's sort of like the Truman candidacy. Like I, you know, people are still, kids are still playing. It is this intrinsically motivated thing, kids are playing. And the pandemic was, again, another thing that brought to bear inequities, right?

Some kids got to play even more. Other kids had less access to play because of the way of the pandemic. But I think schools, especially in this moment when they are reopening and trying to figure out is everybody okay? What do people need? You know, Lisa said something earlier about empathy and like, you know, leaning into that approach.

Play does make that sort of evident. And it creates nonverbal ways for kids to communicate, both with one another and with the grownups in their lives, things that they need and things that they are experiencing. And so I would say, I think it's still happening, and I think it's still alive and well. I think as grown ups, it is our responsibility to create as many opportunities for kids to go out and dig proverbial holes as, as humanly possible.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Jill, when I hear you talk, I'm reminded of what I heard was a Plato quote. I still need to fact check it a little bit more, which is that we can learn more from an hour of play than we can from a year of conversation. And so, again, it's this integratedness around how play actually acts as a flywheel for some of the other things that we're trying to do in school.

And you talk in your book about this, I think you say false choice, between being rigorous and being student-centered and almost looking at play, perhaps as an opportunity to be able to rigorously be student-centered around supporting them.

Jill Vialet: So I'll say one thing: when you first said a Plato quote, I think it is a Plato quote, but I heard you say Play-Doh and I'm like Play-Doh is quoted? Like, Play-Doh?

Tim Fish: I heard exactly the same thing, I thought of Play-Doh.

Jill Vialet: Yeah. I was like, wait, what?

Lisa Kay Solomon: Which is also an important play activity, right. And building.

Jill Vialet: Yeah. I think like, even again, like this whole—with the framing of reopening schools, like when we were talking to folks, how might you shift thinking about this moment as a sort of giant project based learning, where kids are actually in charge of figuring out social distancing, rules around mask wearing, how to hold one another accountable, creating classroom contracts that really share an understanding that creates sort of a set of rules and sort of prescriptions that ultimately are designed to ensure that the most vulnerable among us feel the safest. And I think one of the things that play tells us over and over again is, given the right sort of stepping stones to achieve that, kids are capable of quite rigorous negotiation and compromise and insight around how to take care of each other. So often I would say better than their adult counterparts. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: I totally agree with that. And I just want to connect that to a concept you were talking about earlier with Tim, around this voluntary attempt. And that sense of agency, which comes up a lot in our conversations, of wait a minute, I am capable. And that, that play offers practice for those really important negotiation skills, connection skills.

Jill Vialet: There's a really cool organization. This woman Lenore Skenazy, who kind of got very famous briefly cause she let her nine-year-old ride the subway and someone called Child Protective Services—

Tim Fish: Oh, the Free Range—what was it, Free Range kids? 

Jill Vialet: Free range parents, yeah, free range kids. Yes. She is involved with this organization called the Let's Grow Challenge. And this challenge they've created basically is that they do it in conjunction with schools and classrooms and, and basically anybody can do it. But the basic essence is that kids decide, they come up with a proposal for some, to do something that they're not currently allowed to do. So it could be cooking with open flame or using knives or riding their bike to the store. Like something that like, frankly in my generation would have been like, not a big deal, but is less common these days. So they come up with a proposal and then they bring it to their family or their parents, or whoever's their caretaker. And they work out an agreement about doing it. And then they present about the whole experience. And one of the things that's sort of always struck me that she said to me about this whole thing was that often, the people who actually find this exercise to be the most transformative are the parents or caregivers, right.

That they are the ones who are the most, like, affected by just the transformation and the dawning awareness that their kids are capable of so much more than they often allow them to do.

Lisa Kay Solomon: I just, can we just double-click on that for a second because you know, we, we try to take a look at the systems challenge, right? That we're after, around trying to turn schools to be more student-centered and towards the future. And I will own being a parent myself. I think it's the parents that get in the way.

So like, if you had an open mic to parents to be like, it's okay if we ease off the rigor or the homework and we, and we lean into the play, like—say, what would you say to parents to get them to loosen up their worry about this?

Jill Vialet: So the first thing I would say is as someone who works in this field, I have taken a strong stance on never offering parenting advice because as the mother and step-mother of five kids, I feel like it was an automatic invitation for my kids to do something incredibly death-defying or risky or ridiculous. So. But so my parenting advice is usually more play, water, and sleep, less sugar. Like those really kind of where I like, that's kind of how I boil it down. But I, I do, I mean, I just. I think our kids are amazing. And, and they are capable of so much and we need them so desperately to find their own agency and leadership. Like the very future of our planet is, is depending on their ability to do a better job than we have done. And so I feel like trust your gut, they can do it.

Tim Fish: You know, it makes me think about my own parenting, and my wife and I used to always talk about what we call the blessing of boredom with our kids. You know, that's the notion like, oh, I'm bored, I'm bored. And we would just try to let that sit. And our sense was that when we did, often, those great games or play or something would emerge from within our kids, but you almost needed that boredom as like an on-ramp to unlock that play. And when our lives were super scheduled, it wouldn't happen. Right? Because there was only these little, these little windows of time where they didn't get to sort of create, open up and create. Do you think there's something to that blessing of boredom?

Jill Vialet: Absolutely. And not just for kids, like Daniel Kahneman writes all about that. Like to be an amazing creative, you know, philosopher, writer, or like designer, like being slightly underemployed is the single best thing you can do for creativity. Right? So I absolutely believe it's true for kids, but so many things though, I would just say it like over and over again, it's a practice what you preach thing. Like I would get on my kids about being on their devices and the hypocrisy escaped no one in my household.

So we had a basket by the front door and we were all supposed to put our phones in the basket when we came home, at least for like the first 30 minutes, to transition from whatever we were doing. Now that we don't all leave the house in a regular predictable way it's, it's slightly different, but I just absolutely think a little bit of boredom, a little bit of less busy, busy, busy, nothing could be better for kids and, and probably nothing could be better for grownups.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Jill, I want to transition a little bit, or really build on this foundational conversation about play to democracy, which is, I know where you're spending a lot of your time now. And just, again, some very revolutionary, imaginative ways. Now I want to read a quote from you, where you say "Play is how we learn to navigate the complexities of social connection. By enabling us to build the foundations of trust and empathy, the experience of play is one of the best ways to learn the skills of being an engaged participant in democracy." So I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about what fuels you around leaning into democracy and trying to make some of the connections of the work that you're so steeped in, in play, to support where we're going next.

Jill Vialet: Yeah. Well, I will say that I do fundamentally believe that education is perhaps the single most important pillar of our democracy. Right? So if other people, when I'm like, I've been, I've been making this pivot, and I'm currently leading a fellowship at Haas that's bringing together grad students from the policy school and the business school to lean in around infrastructure challenges facing democracy, innovation groups, and people are all like, oh, that's great.

You're a social entrepreneur or you've built organizations. But then at some point they're like, wait a minute. You were like leading groups around recess? And so I'm often like, no, no, no, it's really quite relevant. So. One, my work around democracy, it's, I think it's, you know, first and foremost, it's a participation sport. Like democracy only works if we are collectively all believing in it and it, it absolutely requires our ongoing care and feeding. And in some ways that's exactly what play is about. Like the key to actually playing is showing up, you know? And so, so there's that on some level. I also think navigating a world in which you recognize how much you need the other humans with whom, both, are both on your team, but also the ones that you're competing against, right? You are absolutely at cross purposes with the team that wants to win over you. And yet that can be achieved in a way that is really, puts respect and mutual admiration, and frankly, just a, a larger sense of deep interconnectedness and need, right at the center. And so I, I think we've lost that. I've joked, I am a rabid Golden State Warriors fan. My relationship to basketball, I think some might say is not entirely healthy. But I can still love the Warriors, but have respect for LeBron James as an amazing basketball player.

And so part of me is like—the NBA is not a perfect institution, but like how might we make our party politic a little more like the NBA? So I think just having that in the background, it's not impossible. We actually can do this. And, and I think, you know, we've, we've made mistakes along the way. I think American democracy has always been an experiment. Some aspects maybe need to be rethought. We've gotten a little sclerotic in our willingness to be innovative in democracy. But again, a playfulness, a willingness to experiment, a sort of—an openness to tapping creativity and how we do it. Like, and again, it's like, think about, if you are an educator listening, about the kids. If you think about kids playing, their ability to self handicap, like Jill and Tim, you switch sides. Like that's a pretty nuanced human interaction. Or like, Ooh, this rule is not working. Let's, let's change it up so that, like, this is the boundary instead. Like that spontaneous sort of re-imagining of how we work together, that's what's needed for us to navigate this moment.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Just having this vision, Jill, of you going down to Washington DC and like organizing a really big game of Dodgeball right now or maybe blob tag... 

Jill Vialet: Maybe just rock paper scissors. I think actually–

Lisa Kay Solomon: –Yeah. Right. Yeah, yeah. 

Jill Vialet: You know, they've outlawed tag in some places in Massachusetts. So you can't joke about tag anymore.

Tim Fish: You know, that, you know, do you see though, Jill, and I, and this is just a riff on what you're saying, but like people will often say like, oh no, no, no. Like this is not the time for play, right? This isn't fun and games anymore. This is, this is now work. Or you hear that all the time. How do you respond to the folks who say play, you know, that's, that's frivolous when we're up against some of the big challenges that we face in this world today?

Jill Vialet: Yeah, I mean, I guess I mostly go right headlong at it, and I, nothing could be farther from the truth.

I think play is actually how we build the trust and rapport that enables the kinds of hard decisions and difficult conversations that are really called for in this moment. But that idea that we would suddenly going from being in a place of like, dug in inability to like, talk about anything, to like profound dialogue, that feels, to me, well, just poorly designed. I think actually play is the necessary step, and not like not super silly, like weird, like making people uncomfortable levels of play, but just like engagement to no apparent purpose, where you actually have the chance to become familiar, to get to know people, and to begin to build the trust. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: I want to build on that, Jill, you have this great point in your book where you talk about play being the original amateur activity. Right? And how sometimes we look at that, we've actually used that, oh, that's so amateur, like it's a negative thing, but you actually reframe and say actually the root of the word is really, in Latin, "to love." And so this is sort of like, you know, getting back to like being inclusive, being welcoming, tapping into the incredible energy of, of a beginner's mindset. Um, and, and you really go into saying like, wow, it really matters how you feel about it.

Jill Vialet: Yeah. And I, and I think that's part of the challenge right now with our democracy, where our politics have become a professional activity. And those of us who are not professionals have lost sight about how we might be engaged beyond sort of tweeting or like, you know, like sort of sidelines sort of peanut gallery kind of, but, but in fact, you have to be an amateur citizen. You have to do it for love. You have to do it from an intrinsic belief that you and the people you care about will benefit from your engagement.

Lisa Kay Solomon: Jill, I feel like over the course of your career, you've constantly taken something that seemed in plain sight and was willing to be like, well, what if it was this way? Right. And you've already even done this a few times in this conversation, right? How might we, right, how might we reimagine? One of the areas I just want to touch upon, because I know it's a big passion of yours is building resilience in our schools through substitute teachers and Substantial—and, you know, and, and we're seeing that just like you know, in plain sight that we are going to have, we are experiencing massive staff shortages that the pipeline of teachers is highly at risk. And I wonder if you could just talk a little bit about your work at Substantial and why it's so important.

Jill Vialet: I like the way you framed it. It sounds so much better. I often think of myself as a moth drawn to flame for the most like, ridiculous and like, unsexy challenges. So yeah, with substitute teaching. So the story was that in leading Playworks, I'd be out visiting schools and time and time again, during a school visit a principal at some point during that visit would pull me aside and in a tone of quiet desperation would say, could I borrow my Playworks coach just for a brief period of time to fill in, because I haven't been able to get a sub, or nobody's consistent, and I've been farming the kids out to other classes, and your person has such great rapport with the kids and my staff, my teachers are going to leave me, and I'd be like, no, no, they can't do that. That's not the answer. But it happened in so many disparate settings that got me curious about it. So I spent a year as a fellow at Stanford at the d. School, getting the chance to be immersed in the process of human centered design by asking the question, how might we redesign the substitute teaching experience for everybody? And it was just a luxurious, like a year of getting to interview people and learn about the sector. And then ultimately launched this nonprofit called Substantial Classrooms and wrote a book, also by the same name, came out just before Why Play Works. And you know, I think what was so amazing and, and won't be surprising at all to this audience, is that there are bright spots out there.

Like there are people who are doing it well, and I, I guess I am convinced that there are some levers in education that are often overlooked, but that if you tweak these like small things in manageable ways, they have this outsized return on the investment that you've made in making the change. And I, I think recess and play is one, I think similarly having great coverage for classes when teachers are, are not able to be in the classroom, that that also just is a game changer. I don't know if it's ironic, or…it's been this moment in time, right? Where the staffing shortages have been really intense and everybody who was subbing has been pulled in as a full-time teacher.

And now they're making, like, I think the governor of New Mexico is, you know, subbing and they brought in the National Guard. It's, we feel sort of brilliantly prescient on some level that's tragic. We think we, it was already there. Just people weren't talking about it as much. I will say too though, that it's been challenging. And I think this is, this is happening in a number of different moments in education. It's a crisis right now. Right? And so people don't necessarily want me to hear, they don't want to hear me say things like, okay, so you really actually need to fundamentally change the experience of being a substitute teacher.

They're like, no, no, no. I just need a body right now. And like, so I feel like I've been somewhat unsatisfying as far as a responder in this moment, but, you know, I think in moments of crisis, we have historically as a nation risen to the occasion and made great changes. And I think staffing right now in education is one of those things that is deservedly getting a second look.

Tim Fish: You know, Jill, it makes me think, you know, we've said many times and you've said it a few times today that sort of play is this idea of engaging in activity for no apparent purpose. And one of my great lessons from our conversation is yes, there's no apparent purpose, but boy, is there a purpose. Right? That's the magic, right? It may not be apparent, it has a lot of purpose. You know, there's so much great material out there. And I loved one of your TED talks that you did several years ago, at TedMed. And at the end of that TED talk, I'm going to quote you back to you for just a moment. You say "Play matters. And it matters because it gives us a brief respite from the tyranny of apparent purpose. Play matters because it compels us to put a stake in the ground and say, I care. Play matters because it reminds us of our interdependence and gives us a chance to really see each other as people and in turn to be truly seen." It has—Jill, I'll tell you, it has been an incredible pleasure to talk with you today. And I sort of have one final question for you. 

As you look out at education, as you think about K-12, as you think about the work you're doing with Substantial and substitutes and your work with play, what are your hopes and dreams for K-12 education in the future?

Jill Vialet: Well, I think my, my greatest hope is that we give ourselves, one, permission to really design the experiences for the people who are involved in education, whether that—the students first and foremost, but, but the grownups who are there doing it, that we do that from a place of deep empathy. And so building learning that is relevant, that is that is driven by the students and student centered, but that is delivered in a, in a way that makes it possible for the grownups who are tasked with delivering this education. It creates a, a viable way to operate day to day that we aren't asking the humans who work in our schools to be superhumans who are really doing work that, in corporate America, would be done by two or three people, you know? I guess I'm hoping that we come to recognize that actually the education of our youngest citizens is foundational to our ability to navigate the current challenges we seek, whether that's climate or misinformation or all the myriad things that are worrisome in this moment. That ultimately educating our young people well, it's, it's the only hope that we will actually address any of these challenges. But to do that, you need humans who are cared for as well. And so I guess just a whole redesign that, that is just a little more loving, would probably be what I'm hoping for. 

Lisa Kay Solomon: I love that, Jill. I mean, you carry such an enduring, optimistic, empathetic, and caring belief in the human spirit. I mean, everything you do. I mean, it's infectious. So I just want to thank you so much for being with us today, sharing a little bit about where you're spending your time and giving us some new questions to ask about how we might really re-examine how we're supporting our youngest humans in the best way possible.

So thank you so much for being with us.

Jill Vialet: Thanks so much for having me.

Tim Fish: Jill, thank you so much. It's been a joy.