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.