Our Mission

The MISSION of Ooey Gooey, Inc. is to reinforce the power of play in the lives of young children. To this, we assist in the transformation of early childhood education (read: getting back to play!) by offering timely and relevant workshops, connecting educators to up-to-date resources and facilitating meaningful connections and conversations between like-minded, playful people in the profession.

Child smiling

Happy girl

Kids playing with car

About Ooey Gooey, Inc.

After spontaneously facilitating a workshop for about 700 people at a national convention in November of 1996 because the scheduled presenter didn’t show up, Lisa graciously received a standing ovation and honestly thought to herself, "If they got this excited over something I made up, what if I actually planned something???"

And that is how Ooey Gooey, Inc. (originally The Learning Through Adventure Company) was born. Formally organized in 1997 our original objective was to bring passionate workshops to the early childhood educational community. Our mission has since evolved to include not only the delivering of workshops, but getting relevant resources into the hands of people who need them and creating connections between people in the industry, whether online or in person. 

Since conducting her first workshop at a small preschool in San Diego for 15 teachers where it took two-hours to set up and the same number of borrowed mini-vans to haul materials, to more recent events in stadiums and auditoriums for 3,000 - 5,000 people, before COVID Lisa was on the road about 300 days a year doing workshops. And despite the inconvenience of airport security, baggage fees, stolen materials and cars set on fire (true story) she continues to stay true to the question she asks at each workshop: are we committed to creating environments that are relevant & meaningful for the children who are growing up in them? And, deeper still, are we in touch with why we even do this work in the first place? Because truthfully, it does not matter how many kinds of playdough you know how to make if you are not deeply passionate about what you do. If you have lost touch with the WHY behind your work none of the activities, the games, the experiences, the books, the toys... none of it matters. At. All.

Here at Ooey Gooey, Inc. we support the creation of play-based, child-centered environments and we seek to work to establish a base line understanding as to what that actually means and what that actually looks like so that early childhood practitioners can be on the same page, working towards developmentally appropriate goals and using a common language with shared definitions.

We believe that in order for children to be “ready” for school, they need to have time to PLAY whether within their home, a preschool, a family child care environment, elementary schools, kindergartens, or child care care centers; children need to be engaged in experiences that are relevant and meaningful to them. How do we do this? Why is play-based more appropriate than academic [drill and (s)kill] based? What are children learning while playing? How do we share knowledge and information with parents, principals and administrators about what children really need (blocks, water, clay, stories, songs, free play, social skills and recess time) vs. what we sometimes think children need (workshits, skill and kill drills, sitting still, homework, computers, evaluations, standardized tests, table work and grades)?

Facilitating discussions with parents and educators, providing mentor teaching and shadowing, coordinating staff development meetings, working with agencies to plan community workshops, writing books and articles, providing keynote speeches at conferences, sharing and disseminating the most recent information and research and assisting educators and parents as they think about the answers to these questions all the while working with parents and educators to create engaging, hands-on, play-based environments is at the heart and soul of not only the company, Ooey Gooey, Inc. but of Lisa Murphy too.

About Lisa Murphy

Lisa Murphy has been in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years; she is the oldest of five, grew up in a family child care home and eventually moved from being the neighborhood babysitter while in high school to being a nanny for many families while attending college. She has spent most of her adult/professional life teaching and working with children in various environments including Head Starts, elementary schools, private preschools, family child care homes, Park and Rec centers, group homes and many child care centers.

Lisa is the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc. where her mission is to assist in the transformation of the profession (read: get back to play!) by providing relevant & meaningful workshops, getting the necessary materials & resources into the hands of people in the profession who wish to do the same and facilitating conversations & connections between the people in the early care and education profession. In addition to being the co-host of The Child Care Bar and Grill Podcast she presents hundreds of online and in-person workshops each year to both domestic and international audiences on various topics related to early childhood education.

Lisa has an M.Ed. (2013) in early childhood education from Champlain College in Vermont. She has authored numerous books, produced dozens of teacher training DVD’s, is a popular keynote speaker at educational conferences and a frequent guest on many early childhood related podcasts. Her standing room only seminars have become nationally known for their information, humor, inspiration and energetic delivery. Frequently asked if she has ever been a stand up comic, Lisa practices what she preaches by blending the learning with the laughing. Lisa is known for her ability to link hands-on activities to educational standards, her outspoken advocacy, and her commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments. Her understanding of the importance of play is obvious in her personal and professional life.

Want more information? Have a Question? Ready to book a gig? CONTACT Lisa today!

Lisa Murphy headshot

Lisa Murphy headshot

Water fight

Child on bridge

Children on playground

We Value...

...early childhood spaces where children play both inside and out

...where children, not the clock, decide it’s time to move on to something else

...opportunity for creative thinking, problem solving, choice and self expression

...loose parts

...long periods of uninterrupted free time for exploration with open ended, child-selected materials

...environments that do not rely on external rigid rules and regulations in an attempt to control children

...controlling the environment, not the children in it

...the ability of children to work through and master various challenges posed by these environments

...the difference between a risk and a hazard

...those who serve as facilitators for children instead of being the keeper of the keys and the boss of all the stuff and thinking they need to "teach" children anything 

...outdoor play time with both energetic activity and quiet contemplation

...process oriented art

...freedom within consistent structure, which is different than control

...offering opportunities for playing, running, painting, water and sand play, color mixing, parachute games, singing, reading, spinning, squishing play dough, thinking, playing dress-up, yelling, building with blocks, touching, talking, climbing, throwing, negotiating, making mud pies, rolling, wrestling, zooming cars, cooking, writing ... being

...the fact that all domains of a child’s development are strengthened when they face a task, fail at it, succeed at it, master it and then repeat it over and over again!

...the smile and “ah-ha!” of discovery when children realize, after the 25th time, that mixing yellow water with blue water STILL makes green water!

...the importance of making time each day to create, move, sing, discuss, observe, read and play.

...mud pies, loud voices, tears, hugs, running feet, frustrations, dumping and filling, runny noses, tiny toes, capes, graham crackers and oranges, nap time, giggles and wiggles, puddles, shadows, dark, light, stars, worms.... being

...adults who bring intention to their work; who can articulate what they are doing, why they are doing it and who it is for

...environments where children can be children. Not needing to be “getting ready” for something.

...the sanctity of childhood

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Are you ready for a great professional development session? Then it’s time to book an ONLINE or IN-PERSON event with Lisa!

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