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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.

Honoree: Pearl Zeitz, Inspirational educator and advocate for social change who has influenced generations of Bank Street children, Graduate Students and colleagues.



On Being Human: Young Children, Troublemaking, and the Role of Imagination in Social Change
Carla Shalaby
Though the theme of our conference is Teaching Kindergarten, this talk will focus on what we can learn from our kindergartners -- particularly those who make the most trouble at school -- about what it means to be human in our classrooms, and beyond them.

“Here Comes Zodiac" and Other Great Singing Games and Dances
Betsy Blachly, Susan Harris, Henry Chapin
As participants sing and dance together they will be reminded of the powerful impact that these experiences can have on children.


“What’s a Kindergarten Education For?” Schooling Five-Year-Olds in Disruptive Times
Patsy Cooper

Patsy Cooper argues that a fundamental achievement of the kindergarten year is complex confidence – confidence in oneself as a capable and curious learner, as a self-respecting partner in love and friendship, and as a responsible member of the community.


Learning from the Past as We Move to the Future (Meeting the needs of today’s five year olds)

Ursula Davis

Are we meeting the needs of 5 year olds in today’s climate? This keynote will look back at past practices, as well as, begin to access todays’ practices in Kindergarten. It will also examine the characteristics of 5 year olds and how we can develop exciting and challenging programs that will meet their cognitive, social, emotional, and physical needs.

Film: Choice Time and Inquiry in Fanny Roman’s Kindergarten Classroom & Interview
with Beverly Falk and Fanny Roman

See detailed description of workshops and presenters

2018 Workshops

Workshop highlights are below. View the complete listing of workshops here. After registrating for the conference, we will contact you to register for Saturday workshops.

  • Building Birdtown: Constructing Democracy in the Block Area | Facilitators: Rebecca Burdett
  • Writing, Playing & Choice Time | Facilitators: Fanny Roman, Charlene Cruse Rivera and Renée Dinnerstein
  • Outside-In: Integrating Nature into Urban Classrooms | Facilitators: Lisa McDonald and Monique Rothman
  • Supporting Second Language Acquisition in Kindergarten | Facilitators: Tatiana Rosa and Antonia Bendezu
  • Creating a Learner-Centered Classroom: Why and How? | Facilitator: Julie Diamond

Testimonials from 2017

"It was incredibly inspiring to be at a conference focused on Kindergarten! The conference validated the work we are doing at our school and gave us resources and motivation to continue on our journey to create a best practice environment for our students and their families."

"This conference empowered me to return to my district with the experiences and knowledge to strengthen my work for the kinder "gardens" my children deserve. I know what next steps I need to take to improve our practices and what resources I need to seek for all our children to succeed. Thank you for this amazing opportunity and I hope it will become an annual tradition for kindergarten teachers to continue these conversations."

"We left the conference rejuvenated, with the feeling that we should be proud of our practice and reminders to do what we believe in. Thank you for devoting this conference to kindergarten. We truly appreciated it."

Resources from 2017

View details of the First Annual Teaching Kindergarten Conference in 2017. 2017 Blockbuilding workshop