Conference Highlights

Sunday, July 22, 2012

International Innovations in Early Childhood Education
July 13-15
University of Victoria
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
A Canadian Forum on Early Childhood Frameworks

Last week I had the privilege of attending and presenting at the above conference hosted by the University of Victoria, School of Child & Youth Care, Unit of Early Years Research & Development.  The three days were filled with rich keynote addresses, deeper ways of thinking about early childhood education, and multiple opportunities to connect with new colleagues who share the same vision about young children's potential.

The keynote speakers included:

Dr. Margaret Carr 
Faculty of Education
University of Waikato
New Zealand

Dr. Jennifer Sumsion
Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Education
Charles Sturt University Faculty of Education
Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Dr. Carla Rinaldi
Pedagogista, President of Reggio Children
Director of Loris Malaguzzi International Center
Reggio Emilia, Italy

Canadian Innovations
Chair: Larry Prochner
Alan Pence & Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw
Pam Whitty & Sherry Rose
Caroline Rowan

Each keynote address was over an hour in length, and filled with more than my brain could process at one time.  I would by no means consider this to be a negative reflection of what I heard, but rather a point for me to revisit the content and continue to consider my next steps.  To be completely honest, I was so impressed by all of these speakers and their differing perspectives that I am certain I could have easily filled a single post about each of their messages.

I loved Dr. Margaret Carr's notion of the development of working theories as collaborative research between early childhood teachers and researchers.  She stated that we need to be able to articulate our working theories, and listen to others' working theories to communicate and make sense of the world.  This is especially important for young children who are still developing an understanding and making meaning of their surroundings.  We need to try to be more attentive and listen to their working theories!

Dr. Carla Rinaldi (also called Dr. Carlina Rinaldi) spoke of the "pedagogy of listening" from even the earliest moments of every child's life.  She brought forth the powerful messages that "real listening is the courage to change" and that if a child is anonymous (isn't heard), that they will feel as though they don't exist.

Here is a photo of me with Dr. Carla Rinaldi:

Throughout the conference we were also given the opportunity to attend various presentations and learn from other professionals interested in early childhood education.

Here are the presentations that I was lucky to attend:

School is a Place for Play
Gretchen Reynolds & Elizabeth Jones

Investigating Questions and Materials that Ignite a Journey of Learning: Implementing an Emergent-Inquiry Based Curriculum
Melanie Shibaoka, Marina Giovinazzo, & Cristina Primerano 

Capturing Complexity: Frameworks Reflecting the True Complexity of the Child's Inquiry
Tom Kertes

Aesthetic Seeing as a Framework for Emergent Curriculum
Carol Anne Wien, Jason Avery, & Karyn Callaghan

Young Children and Digital Photography: Images and Perspectives
Peg Hasted

Learning Through and With Art Works
Bo Sun Kim

 The following is a quote that resonated with me from one of the presentations:

"We have to risk being transformed, risk changing, risk learning more than we might have originally anticipated or hoped or desired."
                                                                           -David Jardine       

From the right: Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Dr. Margaret Carr, and Dr. Carla Rinaldi

This picture was taken at the end of the conference, and I thought that it was particularly suitable to close this post off with, as it conveys the true sentiment of our time together.

Thank you to everyone who made this conference the success that it was, in particular Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, Alan Pence and their team from University of Victoria, B.C.!  I was extremely proud to be a part of it!


  1. such a wonderful, strange and pleasant surprise to see words I wrote appear in ways I had not anticipated.


    David Jardine

  2. Thank you for stoping by Professor Jardine!

    Your quote is very inspirational and I look forward to reading your new book!