Educator Discussion Series

What is it?

Each year, we are pleased to offer a series of culturally responsive workshops facilitated by guest speakers that explore a variety of subjects. The range of topics is geared toward adults working with young children such as early childhood and elementary aged educators, youth advocates, social workers, policy makers etc. but would also be of interest to parents, au-pairs, and families of young children, therapists, librarians and many more! The format for discussions is interactive, with facilitators and participants engaged in dialogue around the selected topic.  Our workshops times are as follows:

Full-Day: 8:30 am – 3:30 pm (STARS Hours Available & Clock Hours Maybe Available)
Half-Day: 9:00 am – 1:30 pm (STARS Hours Available & Clock Hours Maybe Available)
Evening:  6:30 pm – 8:30 pm (STARS Hours Available)

Current Season

Unfortunately, in 2019, access to a high-quality learning environment is often still reserved for those who are privileged. Children who fall into these low socioeconomic “bucket,” for lack of a better word, means they are less likely to be in diverse physical, social-emotional and child-centered environments where curricular materials and instructional methods are adapted to meet the unique needs of individual children, their strengths and ares of growth are valued, and the value they bring to the community are visible. In a push for educators and adults working with young children to set aside their own biases and view children’s personal experiences, home cultures, and family life as assets to the school community, we’re focusing this year’s Educator Discussion Series (EDS), on the various ways learning happens, where learning happens, and ways our own biases prevent it from happening. For more information on this year’s speakers and events, please see below.

 

Sowing the Seeds of STEM & Inquiry-Based Learning
November 9th, 2019 – 9am – 1:30pm

Trivia Night & Silent Auction with Hilltop (Our Fundraiser Event!)
November 12th, 2019 – 6pm – 8:30pm

#NatureSoWhite: Decolonizing the Outdoors
December 7th, 2019 – 9am – 1:30pm

Disrupting the Cradle to Prison Pipeline: What YOU Can Do!
January 15th, 2020 – 6:25pm – 8:30pm

Exploring Spirituality & Religion with Young Children
February 8th, 2020 – 8:25am – 3:30pm

 

Who Am I When I Teach? Understanding the Intersectionality of Teaching, Identity, & Race
March 4th, 2020 – 6:25pm – 8:30pm

Bicultural, Biliterate, Bilingual: Strategies to Support Dual & Multi-Lingual Learners
April 4th, 2020 – 8:25am – 3:30pm

Trauma Responsive Care with Communities of Color
May 9th, 2020 – 8:25am – 3:30pm

Assessing & Addressing Microaggressions & Biases
June 6th, 2020 – 8:25am – 3:30pm

Click here to download & distribute the flyer with all the list of workshops!  

Educator Discussion Series Full-Day Events

Exploring Spirituality & Religion with Young Children

Saturday, February 8th, 2020
8:25 AM – 3:30 PM

Facilitator: Debbie LeeKeenan & John Nimmo
Pronouns: She/Her – Debbie; He/Him – John
Affiliation: Anti-Bias Leaders in ECE

Image result for john nimmo portland state university

Workshop Overview:
Children often have questions such as “What happens when I die?” or introduce thoughts and beliefs from their home life into the classroom.  This workshop offers a series of thoughtful practices for child care providers to nurture a child’s spiritual development an extension of social-emotional learning. Join us as we help adults introduce young children to a system that begins with love and leads to a strong sense of self, ignites wonder and learning, and allows for the emergence of empathy that leads to personal wholeness.

Core Competency Hours:
Child Growth & Development

Curriculum & Learning Environment
Families & Community Partnerships
Interactions

STARS Hours:
6 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/religion
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Bicultural, Biliterate, Bilingual: Strategies to Support Dual & Multi-Lingual Learners

Saturday, April 4th, 2020
8:25 AM – 3:30 PM

Facilitator: Dr. Sharon Cronin
Pronouns: She/Her
Affiliation: Goddard College & Co-author of Soy Billingual Curriculum

Image result for sharon cronin seattle

Workshop Overview:
For young children, the language of the home is the language they have used since birth, the language they use to make and establish meaningful communicative relationships, and the language they use to begin to construct their knowledge and test their learning…Each child’s way of learning a new language should be viewed as acceptable, logical, and part of the ongoing development and learning of any new language.

This interactive workshop will help adults who works with young children, develop a deeper understanding of the language and social development of multi-lingual children. With practical strategies that can create a supportive and stimulating educational environment for young multi-lingual learners, participants will walk away with the confidence to create a welcoming environment for children and families from all cultures, especially those who speak different languages.

Core Competency Hours:
Curriculum & Learning Environment

Ongoing Measurement of Child Progress
Interactions
Program Planning & Development

STARS Hours:
6 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/bicultural
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Trauma Responsive Care with Communities of Color

Saturday, May 9th, 2020
8:25 AM – 3:30 PM

Facilitator: Victoria Romero, Ricky Robertson, Amber Warner
Pronouns: She/Her – Victoria, He/Him – Ricky, She/Her – Amber
Affiliation: Authors of the book “Building Resilience in Students Impacted by Adverse Childhood Experiences: A Whole Staff Approach”

Image result for victoria romero, ricky robertsonImage result for victoria romero, ricky robertson

Workshop Overview:
As children become more and more exposed to the issue of racism and white supremacy through media, daily experience, and history, they need adult guidance to navigate all of the information and experiences. Youth’s resilience and resistance to systemic oppression can be increased by creating an environment that acknowledges the role of systemic racism inside and outside of their homes, community spaces, and schools, and how that is perpetuated by intergenerational poverty, current community unrest, and intentional targeting of young people of color by those in power.

This workshops focuses on building the capacity of adults in our community to address this issue so that we can nurture the social-emotional wellness of the next generation. Designed with an intersectional (LGBTQ+, SES and Class and Social Work) and racial equity lens, this high-quality, family-focused, culturally responsive training in evidence-based research will help shift our perspective and culture to create a safe, welcoming, and healing space for children impacted by adversity.

Core Competency Hours:
Families & Community Partnerships
Health, Safety, & Nutrition 
Professional Development & Leadership

STARS Hours:
6 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/trauma
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Assessing & Addressing Our Microaggressions & Biases

Saturday, June 6th, 2020
8:25 AM – 3:30 PM

Facilitator: Rosetta Lee
Pronouns: She/Her & They/Them
Affiliation: Seattle Girls School (Seattle, WA)

Image result for rosetta lee

Workshop Overview:
Microaggressions are a weapon and those experiencing this kind of discrimination prematurely ages the body. These subtle statements and actions can widen the disparities in income, education, geography, and lifestyle between white children and children of color. Focusing on how race intersects with ethnicity, religion, sex, gender identity, sexuality, age, ability, national origin, citizenship status, and more, and how covert acts of racism are contributing factors to prejudice, and race-based trauma to name a few, this workshop offers us the tools and awareness to spot micro-aggressions and biases, tools to address it, and ultimately hold us accountable in changing our behavior with young children and with each other.

Core Competency Hours:
Child Growth & Development
Curriculum & Learning Environment 
Interactions
Professional Development & Leadership

STARS Hours:
6 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/microaggressions
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Educator Discussion Series Half-Day Events

Sowing the Seeds of STEM & Inquiry-Based Learning

Saturday, November 9th, 2019
9:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Facilitator: Dr. Marley Jarvis
Pronouns: She/Her
Affiliation: University of Washington Institute for Learning and Brain Science (I-LABS)

Image result for marley jarvis

Workshop Overview:
Rooted in the drive to discover, the need to question, and the ability to create solutions that transform the world around us – STEM and inquiry-based learning is more than asking a student what he / she / they wants to know. Its about triggering curiosity. Curiosity that engages students, builds socio-emotional intelligence, dispel stereotypes, and assists in the elimination of barriers to upward economic mobility.

This workshop will help participants learn how to cultivate a culture of inquiry and curiosity. By learning how to place students’ questions, ideas, and observations at the center of their education experience, participants will be able to fold in the core principals of STEM, that emphasizes learning by doing, encouraging students to build their knowledge through experience and exploration, evidence-based reasoning, and creative problem solving,

Core Competency Hours:
Curriculum & Learning Environment 
Ongoing Measurement of Child Progress 
Interactions  
Program Planning & Development

STARS Hours:
4 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/stem
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

#NatureSoWhite: Decolonizing the Outdoors

Saturday, December 7th, 2019
9:00 AM – 1:30 PM

Facilitator: Khavin Debbs
Pronouns: He/Him
Affiliation: Tiny Trees Preschool (Seattle, WA)

Image result for khavin debbs

Workshop Overview:
The outdoors are for people of all creeds, countries and colors. Yet, many kids of color are not encouraged to go outdoors because the outdoor world is represented as an elitist one.

History, false narratives, and stereotypes have all played a part in the exclusion of people of color from outdoor, wild spaces. This seminar explores ways to engage with communities and families to ensure that everyone has access to the wonderful environments this world has to offer. This session will offer tools and solutions for decolonizing outdoor spaces.

Core Competency Hours:
Child Growth & Development
Families & Community Partnerships
Health, Safety & Nutrition
Interactions

STARS Hours:
4 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/nature
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Educator Discussion Series Evening Events

Disrupting the Cradle to Prison Pipeline: What YOU Can Do!

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020
6:25 PM – 8:30 PM

Facilitator: Betty Peralta & Elise Gooi
Pronouns: She/Her – Betty and Elise
Affiliation: Betty – Alta; Elise – Child Care Resources (CCR)

Workshop Overview:
The impact of race and racism on health stems largely from differences in access to resources and opportunities that can hurt or enhance health. These racial and ethnic discrimination not only negatively affect the health of babies, infants, and toddlers, but negatively affect their health across lifetimes and generations.

This workshop focuses on offsetting the damaging effects of exposure to frightening or threatening conditions by building the capacity of caregivers to provide children with safe, stable, and nurturing relationships that help to develop children’s adaptive and positive coping skills. Through the elimination of in-school experiences that can be so stressful and racially discriminatory discipline policies, we can reduce the cognitive, behavioral, and health harm that toxic stress provokes.

Core Competency Hours:
Child Growth & Development

Health, Safety & Nutrition

STARS Hours:
2 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/pipeline
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Who Am I When I Teach? Understanding the Intersectionality of Teaching, Identity and Race

Wednesday, March 4th, 2020
6:25 PM – 8:30 PM

Facilitator: Dr. Caryn Park
Pronouns: She/Her
Affiliation: Antioch University & The University of Washington

Image result for caryn park

Workshop Overview:
By understanding who we are and how our identities affects how we interact with students, only then can we use an intersectional lens to better relate to and affirm all students and to help young people understand the relationship between power and privilege in the world.

This identity-based workshop examines the tremendous influence we have on establishing the ideological, political, and cultural scaffold of our schools.  By emphasizing how our teaching dispositions intersect with our various identities, we’ll break down our own biases and better understand how to respond appropriately and adequately to the needs of racially diverse students within the framework of anti-bias education.

Core Competency Hours:
Curriculum & Learning Environment

Professional Development & Leadership

STARS Hours:
2 STARS / MERIT Hours

Click here for more information and registration! or visit www.hilltopcc.com/teacheridentity
This event is FREE for for all eligible City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Scholarships

Excellence and high quality trainings are comprehensive methods for improving the quality of educators and providers in and around the Pacific Northwest.  As a result of our commitment to inspire such excellence, we invest in bringing world-renowned speakers to the Pacific Northwest who often demand higher than average speaker fees.  Hilltop acknowledges that cost for our workshops may be a barrier to entry for some.  In an effort to make our Educator Discussion Series more accessible to all, we have partnered with various organizations to make our high-quality professional development trainings more affordable.  Please see below for a list of available scholarships:

Image result for dcyf logo washingtonWashington State Department of Child, Youth, and Families (DCYF) offers reimbursement for state-approved training costs for professionals currently employed in DCYF licensed or certified facilities on a first-come, first-serve basis. DCYF will reimburse you for up to $250 each year for STARS classes in MERIT.  Have more questions? Email DCYF (formerly known as DEL) at merit@dcyf.wa.gov or click here

 

The City of Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) provides free registrations for all eligible City of Seattle DEEL early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP, and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff.

Hilltop has set aside a limited amount of funds, available on a first-come, first-served basis.  If you believe you qualify for a scholarship, please email Mike at institute@hilltopcc.org

 

If you would like to contribute to our scholarship fund with financial contributions, venue spaces, or in-kind donations please reach out to  Mike at institute@hilltopcc.org or via phone at 206-283-3100 ext 3.

Sponsors

Interested in Sponsoring our work?  Reach out to Mike at institute@hilltopcc.org to express interest!

We are pleased to announce KidsQuest Children’s Museum as a sponsor for the 2019-20 Educator Discussion Series and a committed partner to advancing diversity, social justice, and partnership within and outside the city of Seattle!

Thank you to the Department of Education and Early Learning (DEEL) who has provided free registrations for all eligible City of Seattle DEEL early learning partners in the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP), the SPP Pathway Program, ECEAP, and City of Seattle DEEL Early Learning Staff for each workshop this year!


Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning

Many thanks to the Bertschi School whose generous support and dedication to educational equity made this series possible!
The Bertschi School

Many thanks to SEED ECS at Temple Beth AM for your partnership on
making our vision of improving equity of outcomes across race and class more achievable:

SEED ECS at Temple Beth AM

We would like to express our deep gratitude to Woodland Park Zoo and for their invaluable contribution to the
#NatureSoWhite: Decolonizing the Outdoors” workshop on December 7th, 2019.Woodland Park Zoo logoMany thanks to the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center (HSDC) whose generous support made this series possible:

The Speech, Hearing, Deaf Center

We’re grateful to be able to partner with Friends of Waterfront Seattle to make our workshop
Sowing the Seeds of STEM & Inquiry Based Learning” a reality!:

*date, time, and session details are subject to change

All events held at Hilltop Children’s Center are wheelchair accessible, and has all-gender restrooms available. All of our events will be facilitated in English. Many thanks to the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center (HSDC) for providing interpretation services to a select number of workshops this year. For more information on which events, please contact us directly (see below). If you would like information about resources for translation or interpretation services, or if there is anything else we can do to support your access to this event, please contact institute@hilltopcc.org.

Past Educator Discussion Series Seasons

2018-2019 Educator Discussion Series

Culturally Competent Educators: Building Brilliance in Black and Brown Children – October 13, 2018    

This workshop will look at good teaching strategies that will engage students across all boundaries of socioeconomics.  This session will look at ways you can engage students in the important issues that are opportunities for active learning, engage students in big picture thinking and breaking it down into pieces as they connect the dots, engage students in action  real life experiences with opportunities for reflection and engage students to help deepen their understanding of self and all the elements of living as a cultural being.

Presenters – Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Tilman Smith, Theressa LeNear, and Sarah Felstiner

Practicing Inclusion, Doing Justice: Dis/ability as an Equity Issue in Early Childhood Settings – December 8, 2017

In this interactive session, participants will explore challenges and rewards of viewing dis/ability as an equity issue in early childhood settings through an expansive view of inclusion. The presenter will draw on experiences as an inclusive classroom teacher, teacher educator, and early childhood special education researcher to provide both a framework and practical strategies for welcoming and serving all children, including children with dis/abilities. Participants will have opportunities for discussion and questions.

Presenter – Dr. Maggie Beneke

 

Trauma Informed Care for Young Children – December 5, 2018

In this interactive session, participants will be introduced to Trauma Informed Care, how trauma effects development and behavior, and how to intervene when interacting with traumatized children.  Participants will learn about different types of trauma, how trauma affects the developing brain, protective factors to trauma, and what they can do to provide sensitive compassionate care to children who have experienced trauma.

Presenter – Jen Kamel

Can We Talk About Socioeconomic Status and Class? – January 26, 2019

SES and Class determines many things about a child’s development including how they view the world; what, how much and how often you eat; type of education; their overall health; and how others view them.  This workshop will examine how educators can advance equity and inclusion in their learning communities at a time where children are discovering and understanding our world.

Presenters – Alison Park

No Place for Men? Attracting More Males to Early Childhood Education – February 26, 2019

This evening workshop at Seattle City Hall will tackle ways programs, educators, and support staff can attract more male figures to Early Childhood Education.  This session will offer you an opportunity to discuss ways we can all advocate for policy, structure our programs, coach and mentor, and strive to promote gender balance in education.

Presenter – Dwane Chappelle, Khavin Debbs, Johnny Otto, and Nick Terrones

Indigenizing Education: A Discussion of Early Learning in Native America – March 16, 2019

This workshop will unpack and discuss what it means to Indigenize educational spaces and materials to better reflect Indigenous people in an authentic way.  Participants will learn ways to incorporate Indigenous traditions of teaching and learning and be introduced to a variety of approaches and strategies aimed at supporting the social and emotional well-being of all children through an Indigenous cultural lens.

Presenter – Miriam Zmiewski-Angelova


Creating LGBTQ+ and Gender Inclusive Schools: A Human Rights Campaign – April 13, 2019Image result for heather kawamoto

Issues about gender in our schools are emerging as never before. As government, communities, schools and classrooms work to support the learning of every child, gender diversity (even in Seattle) is an area that is new for many educators.  This full day workshop facilitated by Heather Kawamoto of the Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) will help us foster a school climate that promotes acceptance of diversity and security for LGBTQ children, non-binary children and for all.

This workshop will look at policy, practice, teaching strategies and curriculum that will help you create a welcoming environment for students of all gender identities.  The morning session will focus on developing a framework for creating a gender inclusive school.

Presenter – Heather Kawamoto

White Privilege Symposium Northwest (WPSNW) – May 4, 2019Image result for yusef salaam

A 2 day symposium to examine patterns, cultures, and systems that contribute to identity, power, and privilege. In examining and challenging concepts of privilege and oppression, WPS of the Northwest offers solutions and team building strategies to work towards a more equitable world. The event is open to everyone and invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege, including race, gender, sexuality, class, disability, and other intersections of identity.

Keynotes – Robin DiAngelo, Gyasi Ross, Yusef Salaam (pictured)

2017-2018 Educator Discussion Series

Using Children’s Literature to Provoke Conversation on Challenging Topics – September 27, 2017

      

This session will explore how to use children’s literature and read-alouds as a way to provoke and facilitate conversations on potentially challenging topics with young children. The presenters will share examples which focus on race, abilities/disabilities and religion. The presenters will draw on their experiences as classroom educators and researchers to provide both a framework and practical strategies for how to choose appropriate literature, and how to engage in the actual conversations that are developmentally appropriate. Participants will have opportunities for discussion and questions.

Presenters – Debbie LeeKeenan, Caryn Park and Maggie Beneke

The Voices of Children: A Documentary Screening and Dialogue on Children’s Rights – December 8, 2017

If we listen to children’s ideas and closely observe their actions, what can we learn of their views about their world? An international team of educators and filmmakers journeyed to sites in five countries, sparking conversations about “rights” and then stepped back and invited the children to speak for themselves. Join John Nimmo, one of the creators of the short film, <i>The Voices of Children</i>, for a screening, insights into the process and vision, and a dialogue about “listening” to children across cultures

Presenter – John Nimmo

Unpacking White Privilege in Schools and Classrooms – January 20, 2018 

When trying to practice multicultural inclusion, too often the focus is on “the other”, that is, families or children of color, leaving white perspectives, culture and identity normalized and unexplored. Through story telling, discussion and experiential exercises we will shift the focus to examine how white cultural norms and privileges can create barriers to equity.

By bringing into focus the ways white privilege operates on a personal and institutional level in schools, participants will be able to identify ways white allies and people of color can work together to reform systems and engage in culturally responsive practices with young children.

Following the morning discussion facilitated by Ilsa, we will spend the afternoon in conversation about how the considerations above play out in an early childhood context. Fran Davidson and Nnenna Odim will share stories and provoke discussions of the particular opportunities for addressing white privilege in classrooms and schools serving young children.

Presenter – Ilsa Govan (Cultures Connecting), Fran Davidson, Nnenna Odim and Eula

Who Am I? Understanding Children’s Identity Formation – February 8, 2018

It’s no secret that young children learn a lot in the first five years of life, but how do children learn about themselves, their preferences, and their own personality? This discussion will focus on how children begin to form an identity. We will discuss the latest research and consider how environmental cues influence children’s identities, including the impact of race and racism on children’s understanding of themselves and the social world. We will also explore how adults can best support children as they figure out who they are.

Presenters – Sarah Lytle

“Making Learning Visible” Documentation and Pedagogical Narration – February 24, 2018

Image result for laurie kocher

Educators engaged in child-centered, reflective practice use Documentation as a tool for studying children’s experiences, planning curriculum, and bringing forward children’s voices. You are invited to join a conversation about the use of Pedagogical Narration and Documentation in Reggio-inspired schools, facilitated by Canadian scholar and educator Laurie Kocher. This session will help participants explore ways that documentation can foster responsive, ethical, and social justice–focused approaches to early childhood education and care. Pedagogical Narration affords opportunities for social justice by bringing a focus to power structures, ethical considerations, and social issues that emerge in our work. Studying and telling stories of children’s work, through documentation and pedagogical narration, illuminates the thinking and learning taking place in schools for young children.

Presenter – Laurie Kocher

Talk to Children Like People: Seeking Equity Though Language-Rich Resources – April 7, 2018Image result for michael gramling

A great deal of evidence points to the critical importance of exposure to rich language during the first five years of life, and much has been made of the “word gap” between low income and more affluent homes to explain disparities in academic performance.

But if rich language is the decisive element in brain development and future success, shouldn’t our classrooms focus on providing rich language as well? A language rich classroom would not be limited to teaching colors, letters and shapes. It would be instead a classroom in which adults share their experiences, ideas, and feelings with children throughout the day.

Why focus on Kindergarten readiness, when we could be seeking language equity for lifelong success?

Presenter – Michael Gramling

Cultivating the Genius of Black Children – May 8, 2018Image result for debra sullivan seattle

As our schools become more diverse, cultural responsiveness is an increasingly important skill for teacher efficacy and children’s success.  Substantial research indicates that Black children have distinct, unique learning styles and preferences.  When we create classroom environments that meet the learning needs of Black children, we create opportunities for them to excel through effective pedagogy, strategies and best practices.  This is a great opportunity to increase your cultural intelligence, break down the disconnect between learning preferences and learning environments that must be bridged before the achievement gap can be closed, and develop closer relationships with Black parents and families.

Presenter – Dr. Debra Sullivan

2016-2017 Educator Discussion Series

Educating Citizens: Play-Based Learning – September 28, 2016

Join “Teacher Tom” Hobson for a conversation about bringing the habits and principles of democracy and play into early years classrooms. We will begin by discussing the purpose of education in a democracy and how and why we have managed to veer so far from the original intent of education in America. We will then explore how a play-based curriculum works, using lots of examples, and consider how it can be a model for both education and democracy in action. Participants will uncover the benefits of introducing play-based principles and what it looks like when children are really learning through their play.

Presenter – Tom Hobson

Play, Culture, and the Role of the Teacher – November 19, 2016    

We are in an era of increased emphasis on school readiness and decreased opportunities for a child’s unstructured exploration. What is the role of the teacher in early childhood programs to support children’s learning through play experiences? Join Margie Carter and Nnenna Odim for a provocative evening to consider opportunities to provide for and respond to children’s complex play.

We will explore the assumptions, dispositions, and experiences that influence our understandings and offerings of meaningful opportunities for children’s play. And you will leave with practice in describing the nuances of children’s learning as they play, as well as gain a repertoire of adult prompts to guide deeper curiosity and intentional teaching.

Presenter – Margie Carter and Nnenna Odim

Leading Anti-bias Early Childhood Programs During Changing and Challenging Times – December 2nd, 2016 (Full-Day)

      

This full-day workshop invites program leaders and educators interested in growing anti-bias programs to join in conversation with our field’s leading thinkers on the topic. This interactive session will provide a framework for intentional and strategic leadership and examine what is involved in whole program transformation, in classrooms with children, and working with staff and with families. Time will be provided for action planning and applying the ideas to your own setting, so groups and teams from an organization or school are encouraged to attend together. This session will draw from the presenters’ recent book with co-author Louise Derman-Sparks, Leading Anti-bias Programs: A Guide for Change, and will examine some of the new challenges for leaders in social justice work with young children.

Presenter – John Nimmo and Debbie LeeKeenan

Play and the Developing Brain: How Play-based Early Learning Prepares Children for Elementary School – January 26, 2017

Children love to play, and they need play to support healthy learning and development. In this session, we will focus on the importance and power of play in a child’s development and how children use play to build skills and understanding of the world around them. Based on current research from the University of Washington and other institutions, we will talk about the ways children play, and how those change throughout childhood. We will also talk about how children learn through play, discussing research that highlights how both free play and guided play build fundamental language and literacy, math and reasoning, and social-emotional skills that are crucial for success in the elementary years and beyond.

Presenter – Amelia Bachleda

Reflecting on Teaching and Learning in Communities of Practice – February 21, 2017 (Full-Day)

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Teaching young children is challenging work requiring ongoing inquiry, intention, enthusiasm, critical thinking, and decision-making. This session will offer an opportunity to engage in a community of practice with colleagues to understand and practice these key elements of reflective early childhood teaching.  Participants will gain self-awareness and a stronger image of children as they share their own stories and experiences, and leave with renewed excitement and delight for the wonderfully complex work of teaching and learning with young children.

Presenters – Wendy Cividanes and Debbie Lebo

Reading and Writing the World: Cultivating a Literacy of Place – March 08, 2017annpelo

We are sorry to announce this event has been cancelled. Please email institute@hilltopcc.org with any questions.

Stories are elemental and essential for us humans. Stories tell us who we are, and where we are, and why we are. Stories of place locate us in the larger-than-human world, allowing us to know the land, the sky, the water, and to contextualize ourselves there, alongside the other creatures bound into them.

To tell stories of place with children and families, we need a place literacy, the ability to read the beyond-human world. We need to be literate in the varying shapes of leaf and blossom, in the seasonal moods of the grasses and wild weeds, in the distinct caresses of drizzle and downpour. During our evening, well consider how we develop a literacy of place, and how we invite children and families to do the same.

Presenter – Ann Pelo

Enterprise Talk: A Handrail for Authenticity and Integrity – April 18, 2017tomdrummond

This evening is dedicated to becoming the adult leader you wish to be with your children, at home or at any grade of school. You can take away from this short experience guides that are concrete, observable, and restorative at those worst of times. Enterprise Talk is a memorable reminder of the verbal dimensions of power and privilege  an adult’s natural dominance over children  in order to be intentional in crafting the growing conditions for our beloved and avoid passing on toxic habits we may have inherited in our own growing up.

Presenter – Tom Drummond

Using Learning Stories for Reflection and Assessment – May 13th, 2017 (Full-Day)

More than just a tool or a format, Learning Stories are part of a philosophy for pedagogy and assessment, with a huge international following. Grounded in socio-cultural theory and formative assessment, the Learning Story approach honors the child, family, teacher and community. Using Learning Stories, educators can write from the heart, in a way that engages children and families, while also integrating required assessment indicators.

At this workshop, participants will gain understanding of the philosophy and key elements of the Learning Story Approach, explore many uses of Learning Stories, and practice analyzing stories that enhance child, family and educator identity. Working in small groups throughout the day, participants will have the opportunity for facilitated conversations to explore the implications of Wendy’s workshop for their own setting.

Presenter – Wendy Lee

The Importance of the Active Body Brain Connection – June 1st, 2017debcurtis

More is going on when children move their bodies than just staying healthy and getting their wiggles out. New information and resources about the importance of active physical play for young children’s development is showing up everywhere. There is growing alarm about the impact of the lack of active play, as early childhood educators often prevent and stop children’s exuberant play on behalf of safety and learning. Active play, which is an integral part of sensory motor development, actually builds neural pathways necessary for children to focus their eyes and attention, regulate their emotions, and develop the ability to plan and carry out a task. This Evening Discussion will invite you to study principles that will help educators ensure children get the active play experiences they deserve.

Presenter – Deb Curtis

2015-2016 Educator Discussion Series

Learning Stories, Part 2: The Writing – September 29, 2015

The deep value of creating Learning Stories in the classroom, and the heart of becoming a professional educator, is participating in discussions with others about what a story signifies, brainstorming ideas of what adults might provide next, and imagining where such opportunities might lead in the future. Picking up where our Evening Discussion in March left off, this evening session is devoted to those who already understand what Learning Stories are and wish for time to write them in cooperation with other educators. We will be watching video clips, selecting what is important for a story, and deciding how to put a complete Learning Story together.

Presenter – Tom Drummond

It Takes Two (Baby): A Collaboration Between Teacher and Therapist – November 18, 2015

Listen to the story of an occupational therapist and a classroom teacher who have partnered to support children and their families. With a shared commitment to play-based learning, reflective practices, and family engagement, Heather and Michelle will examine the unique perspective they each bring to the educational team. The presentation will detail setting goals for the child and the advantages and challenges that are inherent in the therapist/teacher relationship. Michelle and Heather will present practical strategies to use in the classroom and invite you to consider how this model might look in your learning environment.

Presenter – Heather Schuman and Michelle Sanders

Fact or Fiction?: Mythbusting Misconceptions About Early Learning Research – December 9, 2015

We all know that young children learn incredibly quickly; it turns out that scientists’ understanding of early development is growing rapidly as well!  Just like children who test and revise theories about the world, scientists have made new findings that have lead to major changes in what we know about early learning and brain development.  We’ll discuss common beliefs about early learning research, like: Are boy and girl brains really different? and Am I confusing my child by speaking more than one language?

Presenter – Jane Hu

Learning to Walk: Individual Growth and Change in ECE – January 21, 2016

It’s the start of a new year: a time of reflection and resolutions, of making changes, of trying something different, and of growing in new ways as early childhood professionals. However, individual growth and change are more challenging than we think. We can be more successful by focusing on some key principles:

If You Don’t Stand Up, You Can’t Walk.
Just Because You Can’t Now Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Later.
Never Grow A Wishbone Where A Backbone Should Be.
If It Were Easy, You Would Have Done It A Long Time Ago.
Don’t Believe Everything You Think.
If You Grow, You Will Get Bigger.
If You Change, You Will Be Different.

This will be an interactive discussion so come prepared to make some New Year’s Resolutions that will result in growth and change!

Presenter – Dr. Debra Sullivan

Beyond “Inclusion,” Creating Liberating Spaces for Transgender Children and Families – February 10, 2016

Join us for an Evening Discussion with Social Worker and author, Talcott Broadhead, where we will discover valuable tools to:

  • support all of the children and families in our classrooms,
  • develop an awareness of law and policy protections related to gender,
  • and gain an understanding of what it means to be trans-affirmative.

Our evening will begin with a reading of children’s book, Meet Polkadot, after which we will explore gender identity and development as a group.  We will investigate our own gender socialization and discuss strategies for unlearning harmful restrictions that reduce gender to a narrow ‘two-option’ system. Among the concepts addressed will be: Raising gender-independent children, normalizing all gender identities, and advocating for transgender children and families.

Presenters – Talcott Broadhead

Planning Environments and Materials that meet up with Toddlers’ Lively Minds – March 08, 2016

Toddlers come to our programs with avid curiosity, determination, bigheartedness and delight in engaging with people and the world around them. Yet most toddler environments focus on health and safety rather than engagement and aesthetics, or simply look like scaled-down versions of preschool classrooms. We will review the amazing learning capacities of children during this special time of life and consider environments and materials that support and enhance their lively minds and big hearts.

Presenter – Deb Curtis

Is Play an Equity Issue? – A Community Discussion – May 12, 2016

Join us for a discussion reviewing points in Michael Grammling’s new book, The Great Disconnect, and hear what local educators working in publicly funded programs are doing to counter the opportunity gap.

With substantial research on the value of play for children’s learning and brain development, and increasing understanding of the importance of developmentally appropriate practices and inquiry based learning, why are so many low income children in programs that give them less and less time for play?

Studies show that children in publicly funded programs intended to close the achievement gap are actually widening it.  Meanwhile programs free from funding restrictions have more flexibility to develop innovative, child-centered practices, but are available only to the children and families who can afford them. What’s going on here?

Michael Gramling’s new book The Great Disconnect explores the discrepancy between what we have learned from research and what we actually do in the classroom. Join us for a conversation about Michael Gramling’s book, facilitated by Margie Carter, and help us:

    • explore the disconnect between theory, policy, and practice;
    • consider the relationship of this disconnect to issues of equity, the opportunity gap, and social justice in early learning;
    • and hear from program leaders who are finding ways to reconnect their practice to what they know young children need and deserve

Presenter – Margie Carter