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2017 Teaching Kindergarten: Morning Workshops

Upon registration, you will be asked to select one morning workshop to attend. See descriptions and facilitator bios below.

  • 1. Block Building Basics: Making the Most of Your Block Area **Workshop full**

    In this hands-on workshop, new and veteran teachers will discover how to make the block area a place of greater innovation, communication, and community building within the kindergarten classroom. We will begin by exploring how to create a space that works for every builder by sharing routines that ensure a safe and productive building experience for all and troubleshooting the inevitable social issues that arise in any busy, active place for early learning. Wear comfortable clothes—we will be building together!

    Facilitator: Rebecca Burdett has been an early childhood educator for 34 years in both public and private schools in New York’s Hudson Valley. She currently teaches kindergarten in the New Paltz Central School District and is a teaching consultant for the Hudson Valley Writing Project, where she presents on topics such as emergent literacy, block play, and place-based nature studies for young children. Her chapter, “They Thanked the Bear; Then they Ate the Bear: an Integrated Block-Based Curriculum,” appears in the book, Teaching Kindergarten: Learner Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century (Teachers College Press, 2015).

  • 2. Creating Environments, Routines, and Curricula to Support Kindergarten Learning: Forging Links between Personal Content and Learning **Workshop full**

    In this slide show and discussion, participants will examine children’s work that was produced in a learner-centered public school kindergarten. We will discuss how the use of personally meaningful material aids children in moving towards literacy and numeracy. We will look at classroom environments, routines, and curriculum that connect meaningful material with symbol systems (in reading and math), so that children are motivated to acquire knowledge of these systems. We’ll draw conclusions as to the educational benefits when personally meaningful material is central to classroom activities.

    Facilitator: Julie Diamond taught kindergarten in the New York City public schools for over 20 years and also taught in other early childhood settings, including Head Start. She currently supervises student teachers for the Center for Worker Education. Julie is the author of Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning (New Press, 2011) and is co-editor of Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century (Teachers College Press, 2015).

  • 3. Embracing Differences in Kindergarten

    Cultivating open-mindedness and embracing differences as a source of strength is critical and developmentally appropriate for kindergarteners. Nevertheless, many educators erroneously believe that children are unaware of differences, particularly around race, gender, culture, and socioeconomics. In this interactive workshop, we will explore the latest research around differences that kindergarten children are able to discern and the implications for educators in our aim to foster an equitable classroom for all.

    Facilitator: Dr. Derrick Gay

  • 5. Facilitating Social-Emotional Development through Movement in the Kindergarten Classroom **Workshop full**

    Learn how to foster the social-emotional development of kindergarteners through movement. Participants will discuss the role of movement in the development of a young child and will learn activities that help children develop self-regulation and socialization skills. The workshop will include lectures, discussions, and participatory movement experiences.

    Facilitator: Diane Duggan, PhD, BC-DMT, is a licensed psychologist and board certified dance/movement therapist who worked with children and youth with disabilities from 1973 through 2013. She has taught in the NYU Dance Education master’s program since 1994 and currently teaches in the 92nd St. Y Dance Education Laboratory (DEL), in dance therapy programs, and in the 92Y’s training program for pre-K teachers. Diane has published her work in books and professional journals. She is on the editorial board of the NDEO journal, Dance Education in Practice.

  • 9. The Importance of Family Engagement

    Developing a meaningful partnership between family and school is essential, as it honors and respects the uniqueness of children and their families. In this workshop, participants learn how to engage families and connect with the rich cultural backgrounds of their students. This workshop will draw on the Culturally Responsive Intentional Family Engagement Practices (Harvard University) and is designed to help educators visualize, understand, and connect early brain development with social, emotional, and environmental factors.

    Facilitator: Maimuna Mohammed has been a teacher in early childhood education for more than 22 years in a wide range of community-based programs in New York City. She leads by building pride in teamwork and personal growth for all and is dedicated to supporting and improving community development. Maimuna is the author of Intentional Classroom Family Engagement (The Reporter, NAEYC, 2015) and is currently a student in the Early Childhood Education Leadership Program at Bank Street. She also studied education at the Institute of Education at Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.

  • 10.The Importance of Play in Kindergarten **Workshop full**

    Kindergarteners learn best through play–both content-based and child-initiated play. In this workshop, participants will explore the meaning of both kinds of play and learn why meaningful play is so essential for children in kindergarten. There will be a particular focus on the critical role of teachers in supporting and scaffolding rich play in their kindergarten classroom. The CCSS in kindergarten will also be addressed through the lens of play. 

    Facilitator: Joan Almon is an internationally known advocate for the importance of play in early childhood. She taught preschool and kindergarten for 18 years and now consults with schools in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya as well as China and other countries in Asia. Joan is a Waldorf Early Childhood Educator and places emphasis on play-based learning. In 1999, she co-founded the Alliance for Childhood New York, NY, where she authored and co-authored several reports including “Crisis in Kindergarten: Why Children Need to Play in School” (2009). 

  • 12. Museum Studies in Kindergarten

    Participants will follow a kindergarten museum study through photos, videos, anecdotes, and examples of children’s work. They will learn about language-support strategies that benefit all children including English Language Learners, children with language development differences, and children who already have strong language skills. Participants will also learn the methodology of the Project Approach (as developed by Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard). Additionally, they will design their own project-based study to implement in their classrooms. Bridging language development with real-world learning in an inclusive setting addresses many of the demands now articulated in the CCSS. 

    Facilitators: Margaret Blachly is an advisor and instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education and Bilingual Programs at Bank Street College of Education. She is also a psychoeducational specialist with Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street and a learning specialist at The Children’s Learning Center of Morningside Heights. Margaret spent 11 years teaching pre-K and kindergarten in dual language and inclusion settings. She holds an MSEd from Bank Street’s Early Childhood Bilingual General and Special Education Program.

    Andrea Fonseca is a founding teacher at Castle Bridge Elementary School in New York City, where she currently teaches in a K-1 dual-language inclusion class. Previously, she taught in inclusion classrooms for the New York City Public Schools for 14 years and was an advisor and instructor in the Early Childhood Special Education program at Bank Street College. She has an MSEd in bilingual special education from Bank Street College and a BA from Universidad Nacional de Colombia.

  • 14. Science Exploration in Kindergarten: Curiosity, Enthusiasm, and a Love of Learning! **Workshop full**

    Nature-based learning is the focus of this science session. In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn how to use the natural resources in their immediate environment to create a rich, hands-on, developmentally appropriate science curriculum while meeting the requirements of the CCSS.

    Facilitator: Michael Ziemski is currently a kindergarten teacher at PS 87. His educational philosophy was shaped by the tutelage of Dr. Beverly Falk at CCNY, by his placement at the Ella Baker School, and as a teaching assistant at the Bank Street School for Children. Michael continually seeks out opportunities to increase his knowledge in the area of teaching science and has completed courses at The New York Botanical Garden, The Bronx Zoo, Bank Street College, The American Museum of Natural History, and the Environmental Study. Additionally, Michael attended the Principals Institute at Bank Street College.

  • 15. Storytelling/Story Acting: Bringing Vivian Paley’s Methodology into Kindergarten **Workshop full**

    Participate in this practical workshop using real-life classroom experiences of teachers facilitating Storytelling/Story Acting. Through active participation and directed discussion, teachers will discover how this fun and exciting methodology can facilitate not only literacy learning, but also enhance the teacher’s understanding of the whole child. This approach can be beneficial for all children, including students with special needs and those learning English as a Second Language. The activity can become a high-point of the week in kindergarten classrooms for teachers and students alike.

    Facilitator: Suzette Abbott has over 40 years of experience teaching children and teachers in South Africa, London, New York City, and Cambridge, MA. She currently does professional development with early childhood teachers in Cambridge Public Schools around Vivian Paley’s Storytelling/Story Acting methodology. In addition, Suzette brings Storytelling/Story Acting into the classroom, where she works directly with kindergarteners in Cambridge.