Keynote Speaker

Sarah Roseberry Lytle, Ph.D.


The Power of Playful Learning: Supporting Every Child

In five short years, children transform from newborns who are dependent on others for their every need into sophisticated 5-year-olds who can tell stories and understand jokes. Although many children pass through similar developmental milestones as they learn and grow, research tells us that there is an enormous amount of variability in children’s development.

Together, we will explore children’s development in the first five years of life. We will consider how to understand where children are developmentally, and how to engage them in playful learning opportunities. These strategies will help us support the next generation of lifelong learners. This presentation will discuss basic trajectories in young children’s development across learning domains and the principles of engaging children in playful learning regardless of their developmental ability.


Dr. Sarah Roseberry Lytle is the Director of the Outreach and Education division at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington. The I-LABS Outreach and Education team communicates the latest science of child development to those who can act on it, including parents, educators, policymakers, and opinion leaders. Dr. Lytle has personally had the opportunity to communicate science to thousands in the early learning community. Under her leadership, the Outreach and Education team has launched an online library of free training modules designed to make science accessible to a broad audience.

Dr. Lytle was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at I-LABS working under the supervision of Dr. Patricia Kuhl. Before coming to the Institute, she earned a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from the University of Notre Dame and a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Temple University. Her research focused on the role of social cues in infants’ and toddlers’ language learning and how social interactions might help toddlers learn from screen media. Dr. Lytle was 2014-2016 Zero To Three Fellow.