Thinking Ahead Extension Workshops presents
Learning Through a Child’s Eyes:

Parenting and Teaching in the Early Years

Plenary Sessions and Workshop Details

Sunday, 29th May, 2005

Plenary One

Learning through a child’s eyes – the power of play for learning.
Dr Cathie Harrison

In this presentation Cathie will share contemporary understandings of learning in early childhood with a particular emphasis on children’s play. The presentation will include discussion of what is play and participants will be encouraged to recall their own childhood play experiences. Cathie will outline the role of play in children’s learning about themselves, others, and their physical and social worlds. Cathie will highlight the place of play in life long learning by emphasising the importance of play for establishing effective learning processes and positive dispositions to learning.

Plenary Two

The overexcitabilities in  early childhood. Fiona Smith

Parenting gifted children is both exhilarating and exhausting. In this session we will examine and discuss the intense behaviours and responses that so often accompany intellectual giftedness. Be prepared to discover things about your children and yourselves that will delight and bewilder you as you enter the realm of overexcitabilities.

Workshop One Choices 

Learning through a child’s eyes – the power of play for learning. Dr Cathie Harrison

In this workshop Cathie will continue to share contemporary understandings of learning in early childhood with a particular emphasis on children’s play. The presentation will include discussion of what is play and participants will be encouraged to recall their own childhood play experiences. Cathie will outline the role of play in children’s learning about themselves, others, and their physical and social worlds. Cathie will highlight the place of play in life long learning by emphasising the importance of play for establishing effective learning processes and positive dispositions to learning.

Transition to School – choices and challenges. Fiona Smith

Four, five or six?? There is no easy answer as to what age is best for beginning at school. Insights for parents into what ‘social immaturity’ really means! Thoughts about holding back boys. Considerations for early entry. A provocative look at the Kindergarten experience through the eyes of a psychologist who has heard it all!

Learning in today’s context:  using information and communication technologies. Bronwyn MacLeod

     Early childhood professionals and parents both have a responsibility to educate themselves on the benefits of technology for children’s education. Yet they must also make smart choices as consumers, advocating for software that encourages cooperation among children, caters to the needs of children with varying abilities, reflects productive and non-violent ways of solving problems, and offers positive representations of gender, cultural and linguistic diversity, and physical abilities. This workshop will explore some of the ways parents and early childhood professionals might use information and communication technologies which encourage exploration, use children’s imagination and problem solving skills, allow children to be in control of the pace, contain
sound, music and voice, open-ended animated routines and whose directions are child centred and interruptible.

Workshop Two Choices  

Rediscovering creativity – Part One (This is a two part workshop). Dr Cathie Harrison

Young children are highly creative beings however the ability to think laterally an imaginatively is too frequently lost as young children enter structured environment of care and education. In this two part seminar participants will explore the notion of creativity and the educator’s role in the creative process. Participants will explore such questions as – what is creativity? How can early childhood educators/adults /parents facilitate creative thinking and creative expression? Which resources and what types of environments nurture creativity? Participants will have the opportunity to engage in hands on experiences with open ended resources. These experiences will be used as a basis for reflection and analysis of the possibilities of play and learning that emerge from the creative experiences and processes.

Transition to School – choices and challenges. Fiona Smith

Four, five or six?? There is no easy answer as to what age is best for beginning at school. Insights for parents into what ‘social immaturity’ really means! Thoughts about holding back boys. Considerations for early entry. A provocative look at the Kindergarten experience through the eyes of a psychologist who has heard it all!

 Learning in today’s context:  using information and communication technologies. Bronwyn MacLeod

Early childhood professionals and parents both have a responsibility to educate themselves on the benefits of technology for children’s education. Yet they must also make smart choices as consumers, advocating for software that encourages cooperation among children, caters to the needs of children with varying abilities, reflects productive and non-violent ways of solving problems, and offers positive representations of gender, cultural and linguistic diversity, and physical abilities. This workshop will explore some of the ways parents and early childhood professionals might use information and communication technologies which   
encourage exploration, use children’s imagination and problem solving skills, allow children to be in control of the pace, contai sound, music and voice, open-ended animated routines and whose directions are child centred and interruptible.

Workshop Three Choices

Rediscovering creativity – Part Two (This is a two part workshop). Dr Cathie Harrison

Young children are highly creative beings however the ability to think laterally an imaginatively is too frequently lost as young children enter structured environment of care and education. In this two part seminar participants will explore the notion of creativity and the educator’s role in the creative process. Participants will explore such questions as – what is creativity? How can early childhood educators/adults /parents facilitate creative thinking and creative expression? Which resources and what types of environments nurture creativity? Participants will have the opportunity to engage in hands on experiences with open ended resources. These experiences will be used as a basis for reflection and analysis of the possibilities of play and learning that emerge from the creative experiences and processes.

Bibliotherapy the Power of Books. Fiona Smith

Reading opens worlds for your child. The choice is infinite! Fiction, fantasy, fact – your child can fly with Harry, go through the wardrobe into Narnia with Lucy or explore space, the human body or ancient cultures with scientists and experts in the field. There is a style of book to suit every reader – from avid to reluctant, in and outside the stereotypes. Fiona will look at the power of the written word and of the illustration. She will discuss how books cater for all learning styles. This is a hands-on workshop during which participants will read and laugh and understand how they can help their child learn more about themselves and their unique aspects.

Liaising with your child’s school – collaboration and negotiation. Bronwyn MacLeod

From the time a child begins their first day in an early childhood learning environment, parents begin to encounter an educational system which may be more than sixteen years in advance of the one they encountered as a child. How do parents and early childhood professionals build responsive relationships as partners in a child’s learning and development? In what ways can ongoing and effective communication be established? How can parents support the early childhood professionals’ role in their child’s learning and development? This workshop will explore some practical strategies parents might employ in working together with their child’s early childhood educators.

Panel Presentation – Realising potential through collaboration.  Dr Cathie Harrison, Fiona Smith. Bronwyn MacLeod

Monday, 30th May, 2005

Plenary One

 Be inspired be very inspired … snapshots of Scandinavia.
Dr Cathie Harrison
In the power point presentation Dr Cathie Harrison will share photos insights and reflections from a recent study tour to early childhood centres in Finland, Sweden and Denmark. The images of indoor and outdoor environments provide both inspiration and challenge. They offer an opportunity for us to pause and reconsider the incredible magic that can be part of the early childhood experience. Come to be challenged to participate and perhaps to choose another way to think about the possibilities of creating early childhood environments that celebrate the rich imagination and creativity of childhood.

Plenary Two

Using multimedia and technology in early childhood  learning contexts.
Bronwyn MacLeod
As technology becomes more accessible to early childhood programs and computer software becomes more user-friendly, early childhood educators have a responsibility to examine its impact on children and prepare themselves to use it for all children’s benefit. A common thread throughout early childhood literature and research is the role of the early childhood professional and the environment in which technology is integrated into the learning experiences. The educator is no longer the holder and disseminator of knowledge, but rather a questioner, guide and risk-taker willing to explore, experiment, and incorporate technology into their own learning environment.

 Workshop One Choices

Innovative environments for learningDr Cathie Harrison

The significance of the environment for learning is increasingly recognised in early childhood education. The notion of the environment as the third teacher is highlighted by the educational experience of Reggio Emilia, Italy. In this presentation Cathie will  use images from early childhood centres in Italy, Scandinavia and Australia to highlight the use of the environment and open ended resources to support children’s play, creativity, curiosity and wonder and to support in-depth engagement in child initiated investigations and projects.  

Affective impacts on learning. Fiona Smith

Think back – remember your school days. What did it feel like in early primary. Remember sitting at that desk. Remember listening to your teacher. What can you see? What can you smell? What can you hear? Did you feel happy? frightened? sad? What did you learn? Think carefully. Fiona will discuss how your childrens’ learning is affected by much more than their intellectual ability. Can you remember the facts you learned in Year 2? Or do you see images? Smell odours? Hear the sounds of that time?

Using multimedia and technology in early childhood  learning contexts. Bronwyn MacLeod

This workshop continues from the plenary session and provides participants time to explore the development of learning
experiences in early childhood settings using multimedia and technology. A variety of materials, hardware and software will be examined and used as support in this session.
 
Workshop Two Choices

Innovative environments for learningDr Cathie Harrison
The significance of the environment for learning is increasingly recognised in early childhood education. The notion of the environment as the third teacher is highlighted by the educational experience of Reggio Emilia, Italy. In this presentation Cathie will  use images from early childhood centres in Italy, Scandinavia and Australia to highlight the use of the environment and open ended resources to support children’s play, creativity, curiosity and wonder and to support in-depth engagement in child initiated investigations and projects.  

Affective impacts on learning. Fiona Smith

Think back – remember your school days. What did it feel like in early primary. Remember sitting at that desk. Remember listening to your teacher. What can you see? What can you smell? What can you hear? Did you feel happy? frightened? sad? What did you learn? Think carefully. Fiona will discuss how your childrens’ learning is affected by much more than their intellectual ability. Can you remember the facts you learned in Year 2? Or do you see images? Smell odours? Hear the sounds of that time?

Differentiation in early childhood learning contexts. Bronwyn MacLeod

Early childhood learning contexts present educators with the challenge of catering for a mixed ability group of children who each have specific learning style preferences and needs. Planning differentiated learning experiences requires an understanding of the knowledge and skills that each child has developed to that particular point, along with the appropriate strategies needed to support and extend children’s development. This hands-on workshop will assist participants to develop learning experiences which involve higher order thinking  processes, promote creative and critical thinking, require problem solving, involve group interaction, have variable levels of pacing, involve open-endedness, and allow for debriefing of the process and freedom of choice.

Workshop Three Choices

Rethinking observation and documentation in early childhood. Dr Cathie Harrison
In this workshop participants will explore a range of contemporary and traditional methods of observation that can be used to understand and document young children’s play and learning. The discussion will focus on observation methods for different purposes and for different audiences. Participants will be encouraged to share the possibilities as well as the dilemmas associated with observation and documentation in early childhood settings.

Bibliotherapy – the Power of Books. Fiona Smith
Reading opens worlds for your child. The choice is infinite! Fiction, fantasy, fact – your child can fly with Harry, go through the wardrobe into Narnia with Lucy or explore space, the human body or ancient cultures with scientists and experts in the field. There is a style of book to suit every reader – from avid to reluctant, in and outside the stereotypes. Fiona will look at the power of the written word and of the illustration. She will discuss how books cater for all learning styles. This is a hands-on workshop during which participants will read and laugh and understand how they can help their child learn more about themselves and their unique aspects.

Differentiation in early childhood learning contexts. (Advanced workshop). Bronwyn MacLeod

This hands-on workshop continues the work begun in the earlier session and examines strategies of differentiation which involve real world problems and real world audiences. Additionally, issues of differentiation of the learning environment will be explored. For differentiation to facilitate all children’s development, the early childhood learning environment should be flexible and open, encourage independent and intrinsic learning, be accepting and non judgemental, and encourage complex thinking.

Plenary Three  
Panel presentation: Contemporary Perspectives in early childhood education. Dr Cathie Harrison, Fiona Smith, Bronwyn MacLeod

 

Click here to find out more about the presenters

Presented by Thinking Ahead Extension Workshops (ABN 50 017 429 348)
Ph 9474 4594 Fax 9474 3462
in conjunction with Gateways Education