Upcoming course with ORA throughout the York Region community!

During our nature walk in this inspiring outdoor space I was especially interested
in all of the trunks of trees that I encountered along the way...
There were so many varieties of size, colour, texture, and shape. What do you notice or wonder?

Have you ever lived somewhere for years and not realized what surrounds you?  If we look closely, there are often many hidden gems within our own communities to discover.  
Today I took a walk with my parents and son through the Maple Nature Reserve from the City of Vaughan.  It was so perfectly peaceful, and I feel thankful that we are embracing every bit of this beautiful autumn weather together!  Family and everyday moments such as these are becoming increasingly more important to me...  Being a new parent is also making me reflect on how to engage students and families within my own school community. 

How do you connect with places and people in your school's neighbourhood?

Do you welcome any community opportunities within your classroom program?

Have you collaborated with professionals near your school?

Our students and their families reside in a community.  I have always found it essential to involve everyone (children, families, educators/school, and community), for it takes a village to raise a child!

So how are we connecting all of these important partnerships that make up our students' reality?

As a Kindergarten teacher, I have taken family and community involvement very seriously.

If you are interested in receiving some new ideas and inspiration on this very topic, please consider taking my upcoming course with the Ontario Reggio Association.  It is called "Parents and Community in Learning" and will occur during the month of January 2017.

This course is part of the Emergent Curriculum Certificate series, and you might recall that I had taught "Environments that Support Learning Interactions" back in August 2014.  Each session will be hosted in community locations within the Vaughan, Ontario area (York Region), and together we will learn in a blended model.  I believe this is especially important, as we will create our own community of learners that can continue to have encounters in person and online.

Using exemplars from schools and early learning settings that focus on including parents as part of the learning community, rather than viewing parents as solely recipients of a service, this module asks educators to imagine ways their environments can open up to families and their community context.

Course/module description designed and written by Dr. Carol Anne Wien:

This module asks how can we build connections between our learning settings and the broader community we are located.  We explore possibilities for small-scale projects that move our learning environment out into the community.

We will consider examples of projects that integrate parents and community with children and educators in their settings.  What is the effect of engaging children in authentic tasks that connect them in meaningful ways to life within and beyond their setting?  Authentic, relevant projects of study develop high levels of motivation and engagement in children, and a sense of belonging to something larger than the learning environment.

We explore possibilities and implications of bringing parents and other members of the community into our schools and early learning settings as partners and collaborators with important skills, questions, and expertise.  We consider the role of field trips and community projects in promoting networks of relationships with the community.

The following are the dates of our meeting times from 4:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (Tuesdays and Thursdays):

January 10 - Face2Face (Tentative location -Vaughan Public Library - will be confirmed once we finalize our numbers)

January 12 - Online (Setting up our online learning environment through Twitter and Instagram) *Face-to-face support at a local cafe (Starbucks - Major Mackenzie and Weston road) will be available during this evening if required...

January 17 - Online professional book study, reflections, and chat (consider chatting from a location within your community like a book store, cafe, or restaurant)

January 19 -Face2Face (Tentative location -McMichael Art Gallery - will be confirmed once we finalize our numbers)

January 24Online professional book study, reflections, and chat (consider chatting from a location within your community like a book store, cafe, or restaurant)

January 26 - Face2Face (Tentative location - Kortright Centre and Vaughan Community Centre Art Room - will be confirmed once we finalize our numbers) *This session will run until 9:30 p.m. to complete 25 hours and allow for a social/celebration of learning! 

The book study that we will use is "The Power of Emergent Curriculum: Stories from Early Childhood Settings" by Dr. Carol Anne Wien. I would like to suggest re-visiting this text more deeply to inspire our Reggio Emilia understandings and journeys.  We will be discussing emergent curriculum and how our documentation can serve as an opportunity to make learning visible (specifically the capabilities of children) for parents and within the community.

I admire the transparency that the Italian educators provide to the families of their schools.  They welcome them inside to drop off/pick up their children, to see traces of learning from the day, to study/interpret documentation at their planning meetings, and to become intellectual partners.

To find out more, please register and join us!


For all of these six sessions, the cost is $250.00 and you can register by clicking here. Or you can email me for support by clicking here.

Please note that since we will be travelling to community locations, I am going to cap the class size to 20 participants.  This will allow us to fit more easily into the rooms that are available, and ensure that we create a more intimate learning environment. 

The Emergent Curriculum Certificate courses through ORA are very popular, therefore, I encourage you to register soon so that you aren't disappointed!  

Here are some more photos from our visit to the Maple Nature Reserve:

In case you aren't familiar with the Ontario Reggio Association, you might not know about this weekend's closing conference for The Wonder of Learning Exhibit.  The conference is called "The Value of Listening: An ongoing process for reflection, dialogue, change and sharing perspectives" with keynote speakers Amelia Gambetti (from Reggio Emilia, Italy) and Lella Gandini (Liaison between Reggio Emilia and North America). 

For more information click here
To register click here.

Finally there is less than a week left to visit The Wonder of Learning Exhibit at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto.  Stay tuned for my experiences on the blog very soon!

I sincerely hope to see you at the course!  It's nice to have the chance to facilitate outside of the Kindergarten AQ sessions, as many who have already received their specialist have contacted me for additional learning opportunities.   

Thank you to the Ontario Reggio Association for giving me this distinct privilege as an instructor, Dr. Carol Anne Wien for creating the Emergent Curriculum Certificate series, and Ellen Brown for her hard work behind the scenes with the coordination of this program.

I am truly looking forward to facilitating and co-learning with what I know will be a wonderful community of Reggio Emilia inspired educators!  My promise to those involved is that we will transform this module/course into an unforgettable experience that will value the process of learning as it emerges...

The full cycle of discourse, documentation,

and design is used to negotiate learning and

build intellectual partnerships with families of young children.

-The Hundred Languages of Children, p. 264

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