Smarter Childcare

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LOVING THE OUTDOORS THROUGH LITERATURE-nature stories and storytelling

This workshop is already full

You don’t need to wonder Where the Wild Things Are; sometimes they’re in your classroom! In this workshop, learn how stories about animals, plants and wild places can act as a portal to outdoor learning. Use literature to bring your group of wild things outdoors to explore! Whether you’re new to outdoor learning or a seasoned outdoors person, get ideas for creating connections between books, songs, oral stories and outdoor activities.

Bio: As a small child, Tricia Edgar loved to sit outside and look into the branches of the cherry tree in her backyard watching the flowers drift to the ground. As an adult, she plays in the mud with her children, plants flowers and food, and shares her enthusiasm for science curriculum, outdoor education, local food and gardening with others. She is a long time outdoor educator, with over 20 years of experience developing outdoor and science education curriculum. She teaches all ages, from toddlers to adults. Tricia is the program director of Fresh Air Learning, a society that brings all season play-based, place-based learning to children in the Metro Vancouver area.

Thursday November 14, 2019 6:30 - 8:30



This workshop will teach the basics of how to play the West African djembé drum. It's about having fun and learning to drum in a group setting. Drums are supplied.

Bio: Russell is a percussionist with over thirty years of professional playing and teaching experience. He's traveled to West Africa seven times to study with master drummers. Russell teaches African drumming and performs in various musical settings and situations and has run his own hand drumming school for twenty-five years.

Thursday November 21, 2019   6:30 - 8:30


Messy Art: Holiday Version

Celebrate creativity by exposing children to a variety of mediums, tools and materials through open-ended art activities. Provide children with experiences that support inclusion and a diversity of developmental needs. All can be possible through hands-on art situations. Discover the important role that documentation and display play in classrooms.

Thursday December 5, 2019   6:30 - 8:30


Big Science for Little Hands: Amazing Me – Super Sleuths

Big Science for Little Hands is a resource designed specifically for educators and caregivers of children aged 2 to 5 years. These are hands-on activities that promote scientific literacy, STEM and the inquiry-based approach to learning. Amazing Me/Super Sleuths explores how amazing the human body is with a variety of hands-on and “toes-on” activities and discover how doing science is like being a detective. We will spend time teasing out the science concepts of each activity, discuss ways to encourage scientific literacy in young children and consider how adults can aid children’s exploration of science.

Bio: Wendy Lorch is the Early Learning Specialist at Science World, responsible for The Wonder Gallery; a space dedicated to under 5s, Preschool Curiosity Club; a parent-participation class and Big Science for Little Hands; hands-on educator workshops for educators and caregivers who work with young children. She has a background in early learning, Kindergarten and primary grades, science program development and adult workshop facilitation, having delivered a variety of educator workshops across B.C.

Thursday, January 9, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm


But Licensing Says…

We plan to debunk myths regarding licensing requirements and discuss the realities related to the provision of quality child care. Focused discussions related to sleep, snack/lunch, circle time, and medication administration will address the sometimes difficult task of complying with the Child Care Licensing Regulations. There will be the added opportunity to brainstorm with colleagues to determine various manners in which the intention of outcome based regulations can be met related to each of the topics. Options and methods will not only be presented but group work will also be facilitated regarding the importance of policies and procedures and when and how to submit plans to licensing related to health and safety issues. Time permitting, the topic of exemptions and how and when these can be applied for will be also discussed.

Bio: Cindy Devlin is a child care licensing officer who has worked in a variety of child care settings providing direct care prior to over 14 years of service as a child care licensing officer.  At previous North Shore and ECEBC conferences this topic was launched within an interactive setting. The session allowed for the collective exploration of the areas of routines and practices that tend to result in higher incidents of non-compliance, complaints, and investigations.

Thursday, January 23, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm


Communication Through Art

Whether we are focusing on a science project, a collective community project, or simply through play, art plays an integral role. We will share how to use art organically through a program and how to embed it in the curriculum. We will offer materials to consider using, to open dialogue with children and suggest the possibilities available for considering art as a tool for communicating with children. Participants will learn how to set up an inviting and provoking environment. Also, how to incorporate natural, inexpensive and readily available materials to inspire beautiful art processes. In this workshop, educators will come to understand the value of using the arts as a means for children to express themselves.

Bio: Sue and Caren both ran family child care. Sue founded Childgarden Preschool in 2007. Caren began teaching at Childgarden in 2012 and has almost 20 years of experience with children. Both have been awarded the Prime Minister’s Award of Excellence in Teaching.

Saturday February 1, 2020 from 9:30 to 12:30 pm


Exploring Invitations and Provocations

Creating meaningful and intentional programs should involve observation, discussion and both invitations to play and/or provocations. What are the differences? What are the similarities? Let’s explore why we need to consider both provocations and invitations to play and discuss the benefits they have within your programs. How is your environment used as a third teacher and why is that so important when setting up the children with opportunities to explore and investigate? Discussions trigger a deeper connection to what the children are curious about and therefore provoke further need to create a curriculum involving the children. We are preparing our children to be leaders and critical thinkers. I invite you to come and share with us!

Bio: Paula Milbradt has over 25 years experience serving children from birth to adolescence. After fostering 4 boys, aged 9, 10 and 12; she began to support parents and educators with the important of healthy attachment and brain development. Paula has created meaningful workshops that help expand the Early Learning Framework and has designed her workshops to give tools and techniques that will allow educators the opportunity to feel as though they are facilitating and supporting health child development.

Thursday, February 6, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm


Gender Differences in Learning & Behavior

Females speak up to 10 times as many words in a day as males – how come? 70% of learning and behavioural disability designations are boys- what does this tell us? Are girls emotionally stronger than boys? What is the best way to deal with a boy who is upset? A girl who is upset?Based on the work of Dr. Michael Gurian and his book Boys and Girls Learn Differently, the above questions and others will be answered:

• Learn how boys and girls minds are different
• Examine ways for meeting the needs of both boys and girls
• Introduce the main findings on brain development, age-related differences, and acculturation of boys and girls

Bio: Bruce is currently an Associate Professor and the Professional Year Coordinator in the School of Education at Trinity Western University, Langley BC. Bruce has been an educator for over 40 years. He is a certified trainer with the Gurian Institute and has conducted over 75 sessions for schools, districts, community groups, and parents on the topic of How Boys and girls Learn Differently. Bruce has a wealth of experience presenting to large and small organizations and has conducted an additional 85 workshops throughout North America on positive youth development.

Saturday February 15, 2020 from 9:30 to 12:30 pm


Managing Big Feelings

This presentation will assist parents, teachers and other supportive adults in gaining a deeper understanding of the emotional world of a child, in order to assist with emotion regulation and coping.

Bio: Michelle Srdanovic is a Registered Clinical Counsellor with a Master’s Degree in Counselling Psychology from Simon Fraser University. For 15 years, Michelle has worked with families, couples and children using expressive, cognitive-behavioural and emotion-focused therapeutic practices, as well provided community education on the topics of trauma and anxiety. Her private practice work is focused on supporting families who struggle with anxiety. Additional information about Michelle can be found on her website at

Thursday February 20, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm


Exploring Lights and Shadows 

Lights and Shadows are magical to children. Come and foster your own awareness of “light” and learn new strategies on how to use light tables, shadow screens and overhead projectors in your environments and projects. The Reggio Emilia approach values using light as a material or a language to help support investigations and different learning styles. This workshop will offer endless opportunities to invent, imagine, wonder and problem solve with children. Come and explore the magic.

Bio: Wendy has worked for over 15 years as an Early Childhood Educator, in addition to 14 years as a Special Education Assistant. She was nominated for the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Wendy is extremely passionate about the Reggio Emilia Approach, with many years of experience as a practicum supervisor and mentor in assisting others in implementing this approach.

Saturday March 7, 2020 from 9:30 to 12:30 pm


Deconstructing Circle Time

What does circle time mean to you? Come and explore all the different possibilities that group time can offer. Learn how to incorporate science, math, and dramatic play experiences; embrace emergent learning opportunities; transition ideas, and build resources.

Bio: I became an Early Childhood Educator in the year 2000. Since then, I have gained experience in a variety of areas within the field of Early Childhood Education: director of a preschool, supervisor of after-school care as well as 3-5 and Infant Toddler programs. My primary focus has evolved to encompass team leadership, management training and program development. I have had articles published in provincial and national ECE journals on the topic of emergent curriculum and leadership. My goal as an Early Childhood Educator and facilitator is to support fellow educators and early years professionals provide high quality early learning experiences for children and families.

Thursday March 12, 2020 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm


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