Wednesday, March 30, 2011

An opportunity to speak on the Sunshine Coast, Australia

This month I was given an opportunity to speak at the C & K Conference on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and also to connect with old friends from New Zealand as well.

One of the highlights of the conference was listening to a teacher talk about one of their volunteers. His name is Ty Belnap and he has been volunteering in the kindergarten for 8 years. This is just one of his contributions to his community. At the conference Ty was given an award for his contribution to the kindergarten. As a person with Down Syndrome his contribution to the life of the early childhood setting is considerable, Kendall Storti, who is the Director of the Caloundra Community Kindergarten, where this award was presented at the C&K Association State Conference had this to say after the conference... "It was a great morning, we were so glad Ty enjoyed it! I had so many people come up to me afterwards with so many positive comments and a lot from people who have a child with a disability and how Ty had shown them what you can do!! and all were so impressed with Ty!! Once again he has touched the lives of so many, they tell me there weren't very many dry eyes in the lecture theatre".
You can view the news article about Ty on the following link-

Another highlight was listening to the other keynote speaker, Antony Semann. His keynote was focussed on 'courage'. This is a disposition that is deeply embedded in our Curriculum Te Whariki. He gave all of us plenty of food for thought around what this might look like in an early childhood setting.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Learning Stories in London

This is a photo of the out of town facilitators at the Brent Conferences in London on the 11th and 12th February this year.
From the left
Nicola Eggbeer and Suzanne Taylor from the Hungerford Nursery School Centre for Children and Families. These two presented a workshop at both conferences entitled ‘A path of shared discovery’.  At this workshop they explored the risks, trials and tribulations and the discoveries, joy and celebrations of learning stories and how they have begun to make this approach work in their setting. This setting has been on this path with learning stories following work with Jo Colbert and Alison Brierley last year.
Continuing with the photograph is me then Paddy Beels from the Wingate Community Nursery. Paddy has been involved with professional learning from NZ via myself, Margaret Carr and Karen Ramsey over several years. Her workshop was entitled ‘Meaningful Assessment through learning stories’. Paddy explored the purpose and benefits of assessment through learning stories. She looked at the importance of sharing learning stories between setting and home with families and identified the ways in which they support adults’ understanding of children’s play.
Veronica Lawrence, a Specialist Senior Psychologist for Early years is the next person in the photograph, her workshop was focussed on how experience shapes the development of babies brains. Next to Veronica is Jane Stewart the Conference Organiser and Training Co-ordinator for the Brent Integrated and Extended Services. The last person in the photograph is Cathy Reding from Sightlines. Over the two days Cathy ran two workhops, one focussed on musicality and the other on engaging in the outdoor environment.
Two people who are not in the picture are Ginna Goody from Fawood Children’s Centre and Sheng Nan Tang from College Green Nursery School. Gina Goody has previously been involved in workshops run by myself and and Karen Ramsey and Sheng Nan Tang is a Graduate of the University of Waikato! Their workshop was entitled ‘The story so far: Learning Stories in Brent’ explored the way that settings in Brent have been using learning stories and how practitioners have shaped this, including the challenges and benefits of
this approach.
People from the University of Hertfordshire also presented at the conference. Their workshop was entitled ‘Learning stories from colleagues’. The workshop for EYFS leaders, early years professionals and senior practitioners focussed on sharing the learning of fellow professionals.