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Teaching Kindergarten: Morning Workshops

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

  • 1. Loose Parts and Recess: Kindergarteners Taking Back their Power

    Kindergarten teachers often have a hard time with rough and tumble play.  This workshop will explore how one school provides opportunities for children in this area, as well as research that outlines the cognitive, social/emotional and physical benefits and stories from children that highlight the joy and power of such play in their lives.

    Jyoti Gopal is a Kindergarten teacher at Riverdale Country School in New York.  For years she struggled with the restrictions placed on children’s play at recess. Finally, she armed herself with research from child development, learning and related fields and got up the courage to stand up and speak out.  She firmly believes in the teaching power of rough and tumble play, loose parts, and the healing power of the outdoors. 

  • 2. Creating a Learner-Centered Classroom: Why and How

    What does a learner-centered classroom look like? By exploring children’s work, participants will develop an understanding of a “learner-centered” model in order to plan classroom routines and environments that support this model. Participants will discuss the meaning of these pieces of work for the children who created them and the values underlying this model. We will draw conclusions about how a classroom environment facilitates a learner-centered model. We will also look at how a learner-centered classroom supports children’s development of symbol systems (literacy and numeracy).

    Julie Diamond taught kindergarten in the New York City public schools for over twenty years. She is the author of “Kindergarten: A Teacher, Her Students, and a Year of Learning.” She is a co-editor of “Teaching Kindergarten: Learner-Centered Classrooms for the 21st Century.” She currently supervises student teachers for the Center for Worker Education, City College of New York. Julie has a MA from Bank Street College.

  • 3. Young Woodworkers: Cutting, Hammering and Thinking 3-Dimensionally

    Join us and work with your hands in the Bank Street School for Children Woodworking Studio!

    This hands-on workshop offers the opportunity to think about the benefits of working with wood.  Teachers will be encouraged to explore various age appropriate tools while cutting, nailing and hammering.  Through this process, teachers will think about the benefits of woodworking and find ways to integrate it into their classrooms. Participants will also have an opportunity to discuss and see examples of children’s work and discuss developmentally appropriate lessons to use at this age.

    Maria Richa currently co-teaches woodshop at the Bank Street School for Children.  Maria has been an active member of the Bank Street community for 19 years, teaching in both the School for Children and the Graduate School. She holds a BFA from the Columbus College of Art and Design and and a Masters in Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

    Candice Groenke is the Woodshop teacher at Bank Street School for Children.  She loves to use Woodshop to spark a fascination and reverence for the life of a tree in the hearts of students.  She studied Fine Furniture at the Krenov School in California. 

  • 4. Creating a “Peace Corner” in Kindergarten

    In a busy, stimulating world of a Kindergarten classroom, children need a space where they can retreat from group life and reflect and refuel.  The Peace Corner in Ms. Fonseca’s Classroom provides this space.  Learn how children are involved in the creation and use of this space, and how the concept of peace is evolved over the course of the year.  In accordance with Dewey’s observation that children’s experience in school prepares them to become fully developed as individuals and members of a democratic community, this workshop takes a simple practice and elevates it to contain deep experiences for young children.  The workshop will also address some basic tenets of Emotionally Responsive Practice.  Participants will have opportunities to try out and discuss different ways that the peace corner is used. Video and photos will be shared and planning time and guidance will be provided. 

    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 psycho-educational specialist with Emotionally Responsive Practice at Bank Street. She spent 11 years teaching pre-K and kindergarten in dual language and inclusion settings. Margaret is a graduate of Bank Street’s Early Childhood Bilingual General and Special Education Program. She is also a learning specialist at The Children’s Learning Center of Morningside Heights in New York City.

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

  • 5. Essential Structures & Routines in a Progressive Classroom

    In this interactive workshop, participants will explore commonly held beliefs about progressive education in a Kindergarten setting- specifically focusing on the difference between progressive and permissive settings.  We will share strategies for meeting the social, emotional, cognitive developmental needs of Kindergarteners with a progressive approach.  As K teachers and leaders, it is our job to meet the needs of a broad range of learners. This includes having a balance of structure and open exploration particular to group needs. Sometimes that balance is hard to find.  Participants will leave with concrete strategies as well as how to articulate this approach to families and children. 

    Jenel Giles, Cassie Dore, Kayla Wong are head 5/6 (K) teachers at Bank Street School for Children and graduates of Bank Street College of Education. Jenel and Cassie have degrees in Early Childhood General Education. Kayla has a degree in Early Childhood Special and General Educations.  Collectively they have 16 years of Kindergarten experience and are passionate about early learning in progressive settings. 

  • 6. Looking at Play as a Racial & Equity Issue

    Racially and linguistically diverse children have historically been the object of reforms that negatively affect their social-emotional and academic learning outcomes. This workshop will examine the qualities of environments and interactions that create a culture of care and belonging and engage children in meaningful play-based learning. Participants will address children’s access to play as a racial equity issue. Teachers will generate ideas to foster interactions and explore activities that benefit children across diverse racial, cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic groups.

    Lori Falchi is a Staff Developer at Morningside Center for Teaching Responsibility and an Advisor at Bank Street College.  She was the director of a dual language preschool and a bilingual elementary teacher.  Her published work can be found in the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy and the Childhood Education Journal.  Lori has a Doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University.

  • 7. Story Telling/Story Acting in Kindergarten
    This practical workshop uses real classroom experiences of how teachers can facilitate Vivian Gussin Paley’s Story Telling/Story Acting approach.  Through active participation and directed discussions, teachers will discover a fun and exciting methodology that can strengthen literacy and the teachers’ better understanding of each child. Using videos, children’s stories and story boxes, participants will deepen their understanding of how and why this methodology is so powerful for every child, including children with special needs and second language learners. 

    Suzette Abbott has over 40 years of experience teaching children and teachers in South Africa, London, NYC, and Cambridge MA.  Currently, she does professional development with early  childhood teachers in the Cambridge Public Schools working in their rooms teaching Vivian Gussin Paley’s Story Telling/Story Acting Methodology. 

  • 8. From Classroom Referee to Facilitator: Resolving Conflicts in Kindergarten

    Using a variety of conflict mediation strategies and teaching frameworks, presenters will show participants how to actively engage their children in the problem solving process.  Including students in the collaborative process of validating feelings, identifying the problem, generating possible solutions and developing a plan towards an agreed upon solution, leads to confident and independent children. Participants will learn how collaborative problem solving can be integrated into the school day.  Videos and group work will give participants the tools to move from being classroom referees to facilitators.

    After teaching Kindergarten for 7 years, Kara Marks assumed the position of Early Childhood Program Director at the Gillen Brewer School in NYC.  Kara is trained in Collaborative Problem Solving, Positive Behavior Intervention Supports, and the High Scope curriculum.  She is a certified trainer in Crisis Prevention Intervention.

    Abigail Burch is a Kindergarten teacher at Gillen Brewer and has developed creative ways to teach children how to advocate and problem solve by proactively and explicitly teaching conflict resolution.

  • 9. Building Birdtown: Constructing Democracy in the Block Area

    When Kindergarteners fall in love with the birds outside their window, it becomes a natural extension to move their passionate interest into the block area. Given the task of creating a block town for their handmade cloth birds, the children find that building their community is easy….but governing the action of their flock of friends is not a simple task.  Come discover how these children solve their issues of self-governance, and find out how you can build a community block project to explore your class’s developing concepts of kindness and justice through block play. Participants will learn specific strategies to create and manage class projects within the Block Area, to examine how project work in the Block Area supports social and emotional learning within diverse classroom communities, and will examine their critical role as collaborators, documenters and advocates for play-based, child-centered curriculum.

    Rebecca Burdett has been an early childhood educator for 34 years working in both public and private schools in New York’s Hudson Valley. She currently teaches Kindergarten in New Paltz, NY.  Rebecca is a Teaching Consultant for the Hudson Valley Writing Project where she presents on topics such as emergent literacy, block play, and play-based nature studies. 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.

    Rebecca has a Masters Degree from Bank Street College.

  • 10. Writing, Playing & Choice Time

    How can Kindergarten teachers preserve their professional integrity and help children develop important literacy and social skills while utilizing developmentally appropriate curriculum? In this workshop we will highlight how, through play, we can integrate writing and literacy in multiple areas and levels.  Participants will see children’s work samples, videos and projects. They will share out how play is necessary in the classroom and how, with the right materials and conversations, children are able to draw, write and read by reflecting on what they do in choice time centers.

    Fanny Roman is a NYC public school teacher and has been teaching for over 10 years in an early childhood setting.  She has worked primarily with second language learners. Her work in her Kindergarten classroom is the focus of a new short documentary by Dr. Beverly Falk. 

    Charlene Rivera is a NYC public school teacher and has been teaching for over 10 years in early childhood including PreK, 3 and Kindergarten.

    Both Fanny and Charlene have worked closely with Renee Dinnerstein, Early Childhood Staff Developer, to move their classrooms towards integrating play with literacy.

  • 11. Painting, Drawing, Collage & Clay with 5 Year Olds

    We will use the social-emotional, cognitive and artistic development of the 4, 5 and 6 year old artist as a jumping off point for looking at how materials can be offered to support students’ investigation of themselves and their world.  Participants will work with paint, clay, collage and found material construction to consider how they might structure meaningful arts experiences in their classrooms.  We will share strategies for teaching with materials in ways that make them accessible to all children, classrooms and schools. 

    Diana Jensen has been teaching art in schools for over 14 years.  For the past 9 years she has been teaching art to children in the Lower School of the Bank Street School for Children. 

    Kerry Elson teaches Kindergarten and 1st Grade in a loop at Central Park East 2, a public school in East Harlem, NY. 

  • 12. Using the Descriptive Process to Build Curriculum on Children’s Interests

    This workshop will introduce or deepen familiarity with the Descriptive Process developed at the Prospect School and Center through the presentation by a Kindergarten teacher. The Descriptive Processes asks the presenting teacher and participants to take a wide view of learning and teaching.  Because the aim is to start with the child, the range of materials and activities that “count” as curriculum include all and anything that a child might use to explore and make sense of the world. Knowledge gained through this process helps teacher to plan in a more meaningful way for each child.  Participants will engage in the Descriptive Review model.

    Ellen Schwartz taught children in public schools for 30 years. She co-edited Making Space for Active Learning: the Art and Practice of Teaching, a collection of stories and essays about building on children’s interests, experiences and questions. She also wrote articles about emergent curriculum and serves as a mentor to Practitioner Fellows in the Prospect Archives Fellowship Program at the University of Vermont.