The 2023 Future of Children Summit was introduced by Dr Robert Sanborn, President & CEO at CHILDREN AT RISK with Welcome Remarks  

The summit was broken down into seven sections that lasted 11 minutes followed by a brief Q&A led by Dr Bob and the speaker. Each section covered a different topic on schools, play, equity, youth activism, immigration, nature- based learning, and child care as it relates to the future of children.  

The first section focused on the Future of Schools. The speaker was Nicola Springer AIA, LEED AP who is the Executive Vice President, Director of PK-12 Projects at Kirksey Architecture. She talked about the future of school design and how it can influence the possibilities in schools and the future. “When we think about the children, we want to make sure we are creating spaces designed for their whole-body, mind and make sure they feel they are being integrated”. Nicola highlighted various designs of schools. These designs take into account various aspects such as daylight, acoustics, integration of physical activity, class inclusivity, and incorporate ways that every student can find their space. These buildings are designed to contribute to the learning process and show the ways that buildings can continue to teach and inspire children and allow them to discover.  

The second section was related to the Future of Play. This was led by Alex Whittington , who is a Futurist at Tata Consultancy Services. She shared Insights/foresights that will help us think creatively about the next generation and what they might want from gaming or play experience”. The insights/signals included life extension and human enhancement, biophilia, and brain hacking. She talked about how the metaverse can influence play through learn & play, working play, and mindful play.  

The third section incorporated the Future of Equity. This section was a conversation between Sharon Watkins Jones , the Chief Equity Officer at CHILDREN AT RISK; and Tracie Jae, the Lead Rebel at The Quiet Rebel. The conversation focused on the future of equity as it related to getting people access to digital tools that can change their lives. They also spoke about How they think that the digital era will impact the future of equity. Discussed some issues in equity that still need some work done for a future that promotes more equity.  

Q&A with Dr Bob Sanborn, Sharon Watkins Jones, and Tracie Jae

The fourth section brought to focus the Future of Youth Activism. The presentation was led by Addie Lentzner , Executive Fellow at Our Turn; and Arshia Papari, Programs Fellow at Our Turn. Addie and Arshia shared their experience in what motivated them to become youth activists. They also provided an overview of how youth activism has shaped our history in past and present. This included moments In civil war youth activism, women suffrage movement, protests for quality education in higher ed institutions, and protests to end jim crow laws, to the civil rights movement, to the Black Lives Matter movement. They concluded with how the future of youth activism looks like.   

The fifth section introduced the Future of Nature-Based Learning. This was presented by Audrey Rowland who is the Founder & Chief Executive Officer at Green Space Learning. Green space does “ work in child care centers and schools to bring a simpler more nature-inspired play space for children.“ Her presentation focused on “How do we keep playing in the hands of children and how do we keep the power where it needs to be which is in the hands of our youth, there is a Great and easy way to do that right now, to bring children outside and to get this idea of connecting to the world in a more meaningful way. To trust children to begin and own their own educational journey and let that continue into these changes we want to see in future generations “.   

Q&A with Dr Bob Sanborn and Audrey Rowland

The sixth section of the summit spot lit the Future of Immigration by a “lightning round“ discussion by Dr. Bob Sanborn, and Linda Corchado the Director of the Children’s Immigration Network at CHILDREN AT RISK. Topics included, what the future of immigration in Texas looks like, when it comes to political push and pulls. They also focused on what the potential latino growing voting block could mean to the future of texas and the face of America. They discussed what could be a big catalyst around immigration in the future and what are some of the things that can change the way that the country sees immigration in a more favorable manner.


The concluding section of the summit presented the importance of the Future of Child Care. This was presented by Cynthia Osborne, PhD who is the Founder and Executive Director of Prenatal-to-3 Policy Impact Center at Vanderbilt University. She provided an overview of what the ideal future of childcare would look like in the eyes of a childcare education provider, the future in childcare policies, and the future of childcare for children.  


Thanks to our sponsor and partners for their collaboration: This summit was sponsored by Corebridge Financial and presented in partnership with the Texas Family Leadership Council (TXFLC), the Texas Racial Equity Collaborative (TREC), Our TurnEarly Learning AllianceSanta Maria HostelChildren’s Defense Fund, and Molina Healthcare  

To learn more about the Texas Family Leadership Council and our collaborative working groups, visit



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