Wonderplay™ Program for Newborn-5 yrs > 92Y Wonderplay™ Early Childhood Learning Conference

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Compassion, Empathy, Curriculum: Exploring How They Converge

Fri, Nov 13, 8:30 am–4:30 pm

For information on the 2016 conference email us.

Keynote Speakers

Derrick Gay, MS Ed

Mary Gordon, CM, ONL, LLD

Ron Taffel, PhD


Who are YOU? How YOUR Identity Matters in the Early Childhood Classroom
Derrick Gay, MS Ed
Early Childhood and Lower School educators instinctively know—or eventually learn—that the better a student feels about him/herself, the higher the likelihood that s/he will maximize learning in class. Moreover, longitudinal research consistently finds that faculty perception is a salient predictor in student self-efficacy and academic gains. For instance, when educators provide positive feedback and encourage young girls to participate in math and science, gender gaps in schools close. Similarly, when teachers utilize culturally responsive pedagogy and inclusive curricula, students from historically-marginalized groups demonstrate more robust engagement. If the goal is to adopt a constructivist approach which builds on the culture of each child, then it follows that the old adage of treating everyone the same is not in the best interest of our students.

Relationships are the Conductors of Learning in the Early Years
Mary Gordon, CM, ONL, LLD
This presentation will use video footage to demonstrate how the Roots of Empathy program (5-8 year olds) and the Seeds of Empathy program (3 -5 year olds) leverage social and emotional competence and cognitive learning. Just as emotion and cognition are inextricably linked in the young child’s developing brain, so is the playground the learning ground and emotions the connective tissue of human kind.

The "Three-Dimensional" School: A New Paradigm to Protect Kids' (and our own) Humanity
Ron Taffel, PhD
It's time to think of school as a living 'three-dimensional' community, for even our youngest children are in danger of being 'flattened' by 21st century pressure-cooker anxieties. To do this, we must learn key skills from the same page or we will all—kids, parents and educators—remain caught in a web that breeds social cruelty. Fortunately incredible discoveries in several areas—Mindfulness, Attachment, Group Dynamics and Spirituality—can create vital connections throughout the community of school, and help protect the emotional safety, focused learning and, yes, joy in our classrooms. From the ripples of a new paradigm, a sea change of newly inspired techniques will both empower and enrich your experience as an educator.


Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Sessions include reflections and Q&A with keynote speakers, hands-on workshops, master teachers’ curricula presentations, a panel discussion and workshops for directors, newer teachers and special needs educators.


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