Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Windows of Opportunity

Child Australia held the 2011 Western Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Conference “Windows of Opportunity” in June 2011.

Recently I had the privilege of speaking at this conference. Not only did I have the opportunity to provide a keynote but also to facilitate a workshop on learning stories. There was a high level of interest in Learning Stories, many people had already begun this journey. Teachers in Australia were very passionate about learning stories and the power of this documentation to make a difference for not only children but parents as well.

The early childhood environment in Australia is very different when it comes to looking at the structural issues. Childcare Centres and Kindergartens operate under very different structures. The 2011 Western Australian Early Childhood Education and Care Conference “Windows of Opportunity” brought together early childhood leaders, educators (in childcare, kindergarten and school settings), academics, researchers and policy makers so they could work collaboratively to ensure our children have the best start in life.

The Conference provided participants a wide range of international and national keynote speakers who presented on current research findings and provided a variety of workshops based on Leadership, Learning Environments and Relationships. The areas of Advocacy, Curriculum and Assessment, Reflective Practice, Play, Early Childhood Education for Aboriginal Children and Inclusion were also in focus. Keynote speakers at the conference are below.
Dr Stuart Shanker (Canada); Dr Margy Whalley (England); Dr Louise Hard (Australia) and Wendy Lee (New Zealand)
The conference organisers gave opportunities for participants to use ipads and ipods during the conference, they set up a Wiki and invited everyone to participate. For many this was the first time that they had an opportunity to use an ipad or infact and ipod. There were 300 ipads and 300 ipods distributed to conference participants.
Some of the comments on the Wiki relating to my participation are listed below…..

Dr Alec O'Connell

"Bravery has many resting places." What a great phrase! Wendy's call to arms is very timely. Commitment and passion are great drivers of sustainable success.


What fantastic practice principles to guide our work with children and families by. Just imagine the outcomes that could be achieved if these principles were embedded in our thinking in every centre and classroom.

Dr Alec O'Connell

Wendy's decision to go and find her favorite teacher is a great idea. There is a lovely book which my wife bought for my birthday called "My Favourite Teacher" by Robert Macklin. A simple compilation of how teachers made a difference to those interviewed for the book.


What great encouragement for thorough reflection in learning stories. The personal stories of educators is an idea I will be taking away. How can we expect our families to be integrated and vulnerable to share life if we can't offer our own ... Great stuff


Thank you Wendy for challenging educators thoughts and allowing us to take a moment to put ourselves in the children's shoes and to believe we can support children to be capable competent learners


Wendy has a great solution focused approach to her work. Build on their strengths, that’s the foundation to good education.


Powerful message about the importance of developing quality friendships in the workplace and about displaying kindness... Specifically adult to adult.


You have inspired me to try this in my class.


Very inspiring presentation. Absolutely loved the whakatauaki that helped to reinforce that we can change the world one child at a time!


I really enjoyed learning and taking in more knowledge, I felt like a child in wonder and awe. I would love for all of our children to have the same opportunities that your children have experienced and can't wait to implement the type of learning story letters that our children can treasure now and when they grow older.


What an inspiration! I can only hope to take it back to my classroom and involve the children more. My only real dilemma is to inspire my colleagues as you have inspired me. I want to change right now!


Thankful for encouraging us to be brave going forward, and I feel free to be me to interpret and implement my child focused programme.


What a fantastic motivational speaker and finally someone agrees its ok to play outside in the elements.
Can you please write in my next newsletter to let the parents know this! Thank you for reigniting the flame.

Jessica Bradbury

Hi Wendy,
I loved your talk about leading by heart and soul, I found it so inspiring and learnt so much from it.
I write learning stories where I work on the children and I learn so much from children each day
Thank you, Jess


Thank you Wendy on an inspirational talk. Our staff have been working on learning stories for twelve months. We have seen much progress and embracing of this concept. It will be wonderful to pass on information to our staff and to see them further embrace this area.

Evelyn Houghton

An inspiration as always Wendy, food for thought and motivation to achieve more and more every day.

1 comment:

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