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Kindergarten Conference

2018 Teaching Kindergarten: Where Did the Garden Go? Democracy, Diversity, Dignity & Dewey


Kindergarten plays a critical and unique role in a child’s life. It is a year filled with discovery, wonder, friendship and creativity - when language, literacy, science and math take on real meaning through play and active learning. Yet, in many classrooms, experiential learning is marginalized as Kindergarten is fast becoming the new first grade. This Conference provides an opportunity for educators to come together and address this challenge.

Keynote speakers and workshop presenters will focus on the important role of democratic values in the Kindergarten classroom, integrated curriculum, language and literacy, the arts, storytelling, block building, and science and math inquiry, based on the needs and interests of five year olds.

This is an extraordinarily challenging time in our world. This conference will inspire educators to create classrooms that foster empathy, compassion and resilience, while developing  children’s curiosity, critical thinking skills and their joy of learning.

2018 Conference

This year’s conference will emphasize democratic values, diversity and dignity in the classroom- essential in today’s challenging world.  

The Teaching Kindergarten Conference will:

  • Present a vision of Kindergarten that is developmentally appropriate.
  • Reflect the democratic values of equity and diversity.
  • Emphasize the unique and important role of Kindergarten within the context of early childhood education (PreK-2nd grade).
  • Present current research on learning and development and its implications for kindergarten practice.
  • Provide models of learner-centered Kindergarten classrooms that also meet the Common Core State Standards.
  • Inspire educators and parents to advocate for healthy Kindergarten classrooms.

The Teaching Kindergarten Conference is an opportunity for classroom teachers, coaches, administrators, graduate students, policy makers and families who are invested in Kindergarten to come together and be reinvigorated.

This conference was created and developed by:

NoneBetsy Grob currently advises students at City College of New York and served on the faculty of Bank Street College for over twenty years. Betsy has taught kindergarten, first grade, and Spanish in both New York City and Colorado and has worked with early childhood educators in many countries including Sierra Leone, Chile, Romania, Mongolia, and Azerbaijan. She is co-author of The Right to Learn: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Work in High-Needs Schools (Bank Street College Occasional Paper Series) and is co-editor of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century (Teachers College Press, 2015). Betsy holds an MS and an EdM from Bank Street College.

NoneFretta Reitzes, educational consultant, was the founder and director of the Wonderplay Conference at the 92nd Street Y in New York City from 2006-2016. She was the director of 92Y’s Goldman Center for Youth & Family from 1990-2016 and was director of the Y’s Parenting Center from 1980-1990. Before her tenure began at 92Y, Fretta taught preschool, kindergarten, and first grade in New York City and New Jersey and trained daycare teachers and directors in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She is the co-editor of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century (Teachers College Press, 2015), Wonderplay (Running Press, 1995), Wonderplay, Too! (Running Press, 2005), and The Right to Learn: Preparing Early Childhood Teachers to Work in High-Needs Schools (Bank Street College Occasional Paper Series).