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Discovering the Transformative Gift of Play

After graduation from college with a B.S. in Economics, Eleanor spent years as a computer analyst/consultant working on the space shuttle, analyzing animal behavioral research, and quality control of automobile manufacturing. During those years she also donated her time working with children of Haitian women who were dying from AIDS, with homeless young people in the streets, and with children in the schools. As she worked with these children, she found that all she needed to do was to be with the young people in whatever safe way they asked of her.  She says that what she was learning while playing with the children was profound, filled with love, and the sense of belonging and respect that continued to grow inside of her. She learned from the children what she really wanted to do with her life, which is to help young people have a place in the world where they feel accepted and loved. Eventually Eleanor gave up her computer career to dedicate her life to playing with children.

Learning, Growing and Professional Experience

Over the last thirty years Eleanor has worked at schools, community centers, and physical therapy centers as a play specialist utilizing innate play including the Gazebo School at Esalen Institute, Magnolia School, Full Flower Education Center, Grass Roots Free School, Palm Beach Center for Living, and San Diego Pre-School.  She has worked with differently able-bodied children at numerous locations and led a Play Workshop at New College in Sarasota, Florida. In 2006 she oversaw the creation of the non-profit Foundation for Compassionate Connection (501c3) of which she is the Founding Director, to support and expand the practice of innate play and other modes of creating loving, safe and joyful connection for young people.

Creating a Safe Space to Grow

Eleanor creates environments that allow children to restore the essence of who they are so they may resume their exploration and interactions with the world in the kindest, most intelligent, creative and loving manner of being with which they were born.  Her hope is for all children to be able to experience fully the beauty and wonder of themselves.

Having endured considerable abuse as a young girl, Eleanor decided when she was a pre-teen that her goal in life was to never harm anyone, especially a child or another woman. Over the years she has done considerable personal work to heal her past trauma including the Hoffman Process and multiple workshops with Bessel van der Kolk and Peter Levine. In addition, Eleanor is also trained in cranial sacral therapy, somatic experiencing, Rosen bodywork, shiatsu, myofascial release, watsu (Japanese water therapy), Integrative Manual Therapies (IMT) and non-violent communication (NVC).

Eleanor (Ellee) Cyrce ~ Play Specialist

Some of Eleanor’s recent essays are included in the book, Through The Writer’s Eye, edited by Dorothy Herzberg, a collection published May 2020 that is available on Amazon at this link