Professional Experience / Biography
Charlie Steffens and Spencer Gorin, co-authors of Learning to Play, Playing to Learn, Curriculum and Activities for Classroom and Playground Management, started Creative Spirit in 1992. Their behavioral, character education and team-building program uses fun, humor and creativity to effectively cultivate student executive function and self-regulation, reduce bullying, increase problem-solving and foster personal and professional growth. Their clients include many colleges and universities, elementary, middle and secondary schools, convention bureaus, churches, mental-health organizations, businesses and professional organizations.
Charlie and Spencer have given hundreds of teacher-oriented seminars throughout North America in utilizing therapeutic play to manage aggressive behavior in children, build their self-esteem, foster cooperation, cultivate their social skills and invigorate academic performance. They have worked directly with over 250,000 students. Goals 2000, a program established by the Presidential Summit on Education evaluated Creative Spirit's Healthy Play program in twenty-nine schools. Over a five year period the study continually found that 85% of the teachers who used the program three to five times per week reported a 50-100% reduction in behavioral problems, including acts of aggression, bullying, threats, non-cooperation and teasing.
Spencer has designed and facilitated programs for mental health organizations that used art, play, and music therapy; groups that dealt with relationship building, relaxation, creative visualization, sexuality, personal safety and values clarification; and therapy sessions for individuals, groups and families. In 2009, Spencer created, The Buzz, an original, innovative and interactive alcohol education program for the University of Arizona, now utilized at other universities. He writes monthly for the Red Cup Q & A column published in the Arizona Daily Wildcat and is a health educator/consultant on various UA projects focusing on college student mental health/wellness in the areas of alcohol education, alcohol diversion programming, suicide prevention, healthy relationships, and LGBTQ issues. Spencer is also a semi-gifted and modest artist, songwriter and musician.
Charlie and Spencer met when they were working in the children and adolescent unit at Palo Verde Hospital, a Tucson psychiatric hospital. Contact Spencer at HealthyPlaySpencer@gmail.com.