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Introducing our Keynote Speaker:

 Dr. Stuart Brown

Trained in general and internal medicine, psychiatry and clinical research, Dr. Stuart Brown first recognized the importance of play by discovering its absence in the life stories of murders and felony druken drivers.  His years of clinical practice and review of over 6000 personal play histories affirmed the importance and need for healthy play throughout the human life cycle.  His independent scholarship and exploration of the evolution and neuroscience of human and animal play have led to the establishment of the National Institute for Play (NIFP) is to bring the unrealized knowledge, practices and benefits of play into public life. Dr. Brown was the instigator and Executive Producer of the three-part PBS series, "The Promise of Play," and coproduced the BBC-PBS series "Soul of the Universe." His experience as a medical administrator, producer, and scientific consultant or creator to numerous other productions on Joseph Campbell, Cosmology, Animal Play, and Stress, plus his scientific and popular writings have identified him as the foremost "practical champion of the knowledge of play."  Dr. Brown's book: Play:  How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul has been translated into twelve languages.  He co-teaches From Play to Innovation at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University, and is the "Key Strategist" for the Nevada Medical Center's Global Play Science Institute.  In addition to regular creative scholarly contributions for the PlayCore company, he enjoys other international corporate and academic consulting on play and its many contributions through their engagement with it, as it enhances overall human well-being. As the information base about play grows, it is evident that play is a public health necessity


Our species, he says, "is built for play, and built by play."

Panel of Experts:

Layla Bulman, LEGO Education

"The Story of the Brick"


Laylah Silva Bulman has spent more than two decades as an innovative leader in multiple facets of Florida education. Ms. Bulman began her career as an Advanced Academics instructor in the Miami-Dade Public Schools system, where she was immediately recognized as a “Rookie Teacher of the Year,” thereafter serving as an Instructional Technology Lead Instructor as Miami Country Day School for nearly a decade. During her tenure in the classroom, she was awarded the Dirksen Congressional Fellowship for Teaching, the PWC Wharton Fellowship for Entrepreneurship, and the SIFMA Foundation Stock Market Game Educator’s Award.

Following her tenure in public education, Ms. Bulman took her experiences and skills into the private education sector where she quickly ascended to national prominence at United Data Technologies (UDT) as a national education strategist. Within four years at UDT, Ms. Bulman lead a Florida reorganization of their education and created a STEM Learning and Innovation group. Her work at UDT led her to take on leadership positions in a variety of education-related areas including:  serving currently as a national Enterprise Director for LEGO Education, and as the Florida representative for the Samueli Foundation headquartered in Corona del Mar, Ca.

In her capacity with LEGO Education, Ms. Bulman was selected in 2018-19 as a LEAD STEM Fellow within the National STEM Ecosystem project, selected in a competitive process from candidates from 84 cities nationwide, a recognition few have achieved.

As the Florida representative of the Samueli Foundation, Laylah sits on the Advisory Board of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations with the CEO of the Samueli Foundation, Gerald Solomon, as well as recently having been asked by Mr. Solomon to serve as his alternate on CDEF, the California Department of Education Foundation.

In the spirit of her innovative approach to finding the nexus between learning and social engagement and development for students, Ms. Bulman has recently taken on the role of Executive Director of the Florida Scholastic Esports League, part of a national effort in 39 states to connect children’s “play and passion with purpose”, designed to engage kids through immersive experiential activities imparting hard and soft STEM skills helping them develop sustainable career pathways to become productive successful adults.

In addition to her successful career, Ms. Bulman recognizes her responsibility to “give back” and serves in various volunteer capacities, including: Mentor for STEM Makerspaces in the Tampa Bay Wipro Science Education Fellowship Program; member of the Miami-Dade County Public Schools STEM Advisory Board; and as an annual Congressional App Challenge judge for Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart. She has published articles around STEM learning spaces, eSports and Case Studies around Computational Thinking and Immersive Learning Environments. And in 2015, Ms. Bulman was selected to be a member of the Leadership Miami program, a civic leadership development program where she continued to exhibit her innovate and leadership skills.

Prior to her teaching career, Ms. Bulman held positions with the U.S. Department of State, The World Bank and BellSouth. Ms. Bulman is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and national Hispanic Scholar. She is an honors graduate of University of Virginia, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Heinz College Information Systems of Carnegie Mellon University.

Rikki Rosengren, Bonsai Kindergarten

"Denmark Forest School"

 Rikke Rosengren (born 1974) is a Danish kindergarten teacher and Waldorf educator of children (educated in Australia). She has been the manager and owner of the kindergarten ”Bonsai” in Denmark for the past 18 years. This is still her primary focus and the basis for her daily work.

How can we create a free space for children to develop according to their potential and hereby become healthy and strong human beings? By creating rhythm and limited frames in both nursery and kindergarten so that the children in a playful manner can develop themselves both physically, artistically and spiritually and learn how to be at peace with themselves.

Rikke Rosengren is also educated in management and gives lectures on the following educational issues

•  The development of the child age 1-7
•  Cooperation with parents
•  Stimulation of the sensory system
•  Nature’s impact on the development of children
•  Play, imagination and creativity
•  How media influences the emotions of the child
•  Educational framework
•  Creating relations between child and adult
•  Managing of educational environments

In terms of development and leadership Rikke focuses on how to create visions for the future and how to create a quality that is founded on common values, that are so concrete that they can be adapted in the everyday life and maintained over a longer period of time.
Rikke is the author/editor of several books: a book in English about nature and food; Pumpkin Soup and Cherry Bread (, a storytelling book in Danish (Barnets Eventyrperler) and a song book in Danish (Barnets Sangperler).
In autumn 2018 the newest book from Rikke regarding childrens’ relationship with nature – Child of Nature - was published. It is also published in Danish: Barnet i naturen.


 Scott Bultman, Toymaker

"Friedrich Froebel, The Original Kindergarten"

 As a toymaker from the 1980’s on, Scott Bultman has focused on promoting the original Froebel Kindergarten method internationally since 1997. The son of an early childhood educator mother (founder of a public school readiness program) and a toymaker father (Uncle Goose Toys), his Froebel activity carries on both parents' work. Over the last two decades Scott has assembled a large research archive on the history of kindergarten and regularly hosts conferences on the subject. He is currently producing the documentary series Garden of Children


Dayita Datta, Music Specialist  

"The Orff Approach"

Dayita Datta is an Orff Certified music educator who has spent more than a decade teaching music and movement at various early childhood institutions like Children’s Center at Caltech and Pasadena Child Development Center. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in Music and also holds a Master Teacher Child Development Permit.

Dayita has offered various Educator Workshops at Pasadena City College’s Child Development Workshop Initiative (CDWFI), Children’s Center at Caltech, Ontario Library, and Stratford School, Milpitas. She has also been conducting music and movement programs for young children at various venues like Childcare and Development department, City of Irvine, Pasadena Central Library, Arcadia Public Library, Cathedral City Library; Arcadia Glib Museum, USC Pacific Asia Museum and Norton Simon Museum to promote, grow, and hone innate musical ability through STEM based music and movement activities for early childhood years.

Dayita has been a regular presenter at ECSTEM conferences since the year 2014. She has presented wide variety of topics such as

  • Pattern recognition through song-tales, echo songs, dance, tap, clap, and playing percussion instruments
  • Sing, Play and Dance Creative and Improvised Patterns by Exploring Math in Music
  • Building strong foundation for future development of language, social-emotional, and motor skills for young children by introducing ear-training, singing games, solfege, finger plays, song-tales, echo songs, folk dance, playing patterns on non-pitched percussion instruments, and pitched barred instruments.

Dayita is also the recipient of “Individual Artist” 2016-2017 grant by Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division. She also has a strong background in North Indian Classical Music and was awarded “Music Development” grant by Alliance of California Traditional Arts. As a performer, she has performed at various prestigious venues such as Pasadena Art Night, LACMA, Grand Performances, Music Circle, UCI etc.


Our Moderator:


Tiffany Alva

Director of Partnerships and Government Affairs

Tiffany Alva serves as the Director of Partnerships and Government Affairs at First 5 Orange County. In her role as Director of Partnerships and Government Affairs, Alva executes the organization’s vision through an intentional focus on partnerships, integration, and communication. She also takes initiative to develop and nurture relationships with cross-sector stakeholders, providing First 5 Orange County with a platform to educate community leadership and advance buy-in to the importance of investing in early childhood systems of care. Prior to joining First 5 Orange County, Alva served as the Early Learning Director at THINK Together and has extensive knowledge and expertise in program development and management. She serves on leadership committees for both the national and state associations for the education of young children. Alva holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from the University of Phoenix and a Career Technical Education (CTE) Teaching Credential in Early Learning.


ECSTEM is excited to offer tours of The Children's Center at Caltech!

Tours of the center will be available both conference days.  Visit the registration page here for more information.


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