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2010-2011 Fall Edmonton Regional Newsletter - Spring


									        Fall Newsletter
            Edmonton Regional Early Childhood Education Council

                                   President’s Message

                                                 The Early Childhood Education
                                                 Philosophy is grounded in a belief
                                                 that the child is capable, curious,
                                                 and imaginative and an active co-
                                                 constructor of meaning with peers
                                                 and adults.
                                                    ECEC Position Paper Philosophy Statement

Greetings! In 1984 I bravely held up my hand to become the Parent Advisory Chairperson
for my daughter‟s kindergarten class. What followed was a trip back to university to finish
my education degree followed by teaching assignments in Headstart, Kindergarten and a
combined grades one, two and three class. For the past ten years I have had the privilege
of working with teams of professionals in Edmonton Public‟s Early Education Program to
support the learning and development of young children. The Early Childhood Education
Council has been a tremendous support through it all!

Last May, a dedicated group of teachers from the Greater Edmonton area gathered to hear
Laurie Greenwood give a book talk at Meadowlark School. When teachers gather, they
talk. They share experiences, they ask questions, they empathize with the difficult
moments in teaching, and they laugh. Laurie‟s books were very inspiring but what made
the evening special was the willingness of so many people to serve their colleagues by
accepting leadership roles on the executive of the Edmonton Regional Early Childhood
Education Council. It is the spirit of giving that drives the professional development within
the Council to bring you workshops, book reviews, discussions and of course the annual
ECEC Conference. Many thanks to Carol Vaage, 2010 Conference Chair; Shirley
Goutbeck, Treasurer; Joyce Baergen, Secretary; and Bonnie Erlandson, Newsletter
Editor. Biographies of our newest executive members are listed on the next page.

The 2010 ECEC Conference is here in Edmonton, November 4-6th at the Fantasyland
Hotel and Conference Centre in West Edmonton Mall. Be a part of this exciting weekend
and invite other teachers to join. Over 20 ECEC members are working hard on the
conference committee to bring you one of the most comprehensive groups of speakers you
will see all year. Covering all curricular areas from preschool to grade three, this
conference offers something for everyone.
In keeping with the conference‟s theme Make It Real – Connect the World we will be
featuring Carol Ann Wien as our Keynote Speaker Friday morning. Carol Ann helps us
make sense of curricular expectations at the same time valuing developmentally
appropriate practice and inquiry-based constructivist teaching. More information about
Carol Ann‟s publication Emergent Curriculum in the Primary Classroom, Interpreting
the Reggio Emilia Approach in Schools is available on the Early Childhood Education

Taking our theme one step further, a spring PD session is being planned for you to explore
natural learning environments in your school communities. Thank you to Simone Shirvell
for submitting the first “Connecting to the Great Outdoors” article of the year reminding us
how important it is to connect students in our early childhood classrooms to the greater
world outside. Parks, forests, gardens and ponds are just the start of creating spaces to
learn from. Watch for further developments in our next newsletter.

I wish you all a wonderful school year.
Cathy Pattison, President

                   Teaching in the Outdoor Classroom
               By Simone Shirvell,Grade One. Keeheewin Elementary, EPSB

I had the pleasure of attending the Evergreen Summer Institute: Teaching in the Outdoor
Classroom from August 23-25, 2010. It is not often that a teacher has the opportunity to
attend a three day institute with outstanding presentations, enthusiastic participants, a well
organized binder complete with CD, delicious meals and a backpack full of materials ready
for the classroom . . . all for free! Thanks to sponsorship from Fido and the partnerships
between Evergreen, EPSB, ECSD and The City of Edmonton I was able to learn how I can
develop student inquiry skills and build environmental stewardship. Too often, as
educators, we have focused on gloom and doom (e.g. global warming, deforestation,
pollution) and have left students feeling hopeless about their and our planet‟s future. These
three days were all about helping children interact with nature in their own school yards
and local communities thereby developing a personal connection with the natural
environment that surrounds them. We can make changes if we start small and local.

The first step is to make a commitment to be outside, no matter what the weather! We
learned how to make “sit-upons” (giant zip-loc bags filled with a few folded newspapers) so
we would be comfortable anywhere and a pair of paper tube binoculars to help us focus
our attention on some of the smaller aspects of the outdoor world. We created “land art” by
using natural materials (e.g. outlining shadows using dandelion leaves) knowing that they
would not last, but appreciating them all the same, hammered leaves and flowers to
release their colours onto fabric creating personal „flags‟ and spent time just being still and
becoming a part of the natural world. Participants learned about the value of “Nature
Journals” as a tool to help children appreciate and see the natural world through new eyes.

Perhaps you already incorporate the natural world into your teaching, but after attending
this institute, I am re-thinking how my school year will unfold. Why not start the year
outside?! I had my grade one students outside sitting on their sit-upons and using their
binoculars on the first day of school. Since then, we have arranged leaves, grasses and
other found materials on the sidewalk from lightest green to darkest green. We took our
salamander aquarium outside and created a more natural environment for him, complete
with moss and leaves. Unfortunately, we did not find a playmate, but we are still looking!
My classroom door to outside now has a mat so the students can wipe their feet after an
expedition outside and our sit-upons and binoculars are always at the ready.
Thanks Cathy and Simone for your words of inspiration. It makes me want to rush outside
to enjoy those beautiful fall days yet to come just as soon as I sign up for November’s
conference. If you and your students participate in any “outdoor pursuits” that you would
like to share with colleagues in the next edition of our ECEC Newsletter please contact me
at Next is just a brief introduction to this year’s executive.

        2010-2011 Edmonton Regional Early Childhood Education Council
President - Cathy Pattison is currently teaching Kindergarten in the Early Education Program at
Beacon Heights, EPSB

Secretary - Joyce Baergen has taught a variety of Grades in the United States before marrying a
Canadian and moving to Edmonton. Joyce and her husband have two adult children. She is
presently teaching Grade One at the Strathcona Christian Academy in
Sherwood Park.

Treasurer - Shirley Goutbeck is currently teaching at Edmonton Christian, North East Campus,

2010 Conference Chair – Carol Vaage is currently teaching Grade One at St. Monica, ECSD.
Carol is also an accomplished author and website designer. An Inspiration to us all!

Newsletter Editor - Bonnie Erlandson has had a variety of assignments with Edmonton Public
Schools including kindergarten teacher, special education teacher, Balanced Literacy coach and
Early Childhood Consultant. Bonnie is currently providing assessment services as part of
Edmonton Public Schools‟ Newton Field Team


                    ECEC 2010 Conference
                 Make it Real-Connect the World
                              November 4th, 5th and 6th
                                 Fantasyland Hotel
                                 Edmonton, Alberta

If you would like more information about keynotes and presentations, check
           out the website on-line at

                                 Hope to see you there!

Featured Author’s Corner

Here is a brief excerpt from Carol Ann Wien’s Book Emergent Curriculum in the Primary
Classroom, Interpreting the Reggio Emilia Approach in Schools

“In emergent curriculum, teachers plan in response to the group’s interests and concerns,
and curriculum expands into genuine inquiry as children and teachers together become
participatory co-learners who attempt to understand some aspect of real life. This
understanding occurs through multiple ways of learning and creating (in drawing, dance,
clay, wire and so forth) so that new cultures of identity and classroom citizenship develop
from it.”

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