Professional Development Opportunities

Professional Development Opportunities

At Seneca ECE Lab School we were built on the foundation of re-thinking early childhood education, practices and pedagogy. We hope to co-create communities of practice, to learn and grow, to rethink and change, and to cultivate a new way of living well with children, one another and the worlds we share. We seek to create spaces and opportunities to gather in dialogue and collaborative rethinking with the larger community through workshops, webinars and other opportunities. We propose space to reflect on our own practices, think with HDLH, and to transform Early Childhood pedagogies across the province and beyond.

Available Upon Request for your Centre or Organization

The Seneca ECE Lab School Educators have created our Rethinking Webinar Series. The intention of these series are to delve deeper into theories, practices, views and pedagogies. Each Rethinking Series has an overarching focus, broken down into separate webinars looking through specific themes/lenses.

Each webinar within the series is approximately 2 hours long with opportunities for dialogue and reflective thinking throughout. Additional conversation sessions can be added as well to come back together and share after reflecting upon our time together in the original session.

For more details and descriptions of each series, please click on the corresponding image below.

Whether you are just starting your work in the ECE field, or have been working with these ideas for decades, this series works as a spark to ignite the flame of deeper reflection, rethinking and change.  This series will appeal to those who are interested in looking closely to the ideas of emergent curriculum, the image of child, teacher, family and community in connection with the foundations and pedagogical approaches of How Does Learning Happen?(HDLH) and the Standards of Practice of the CECE. 

How might we hold space for  meaningful pedagogies and practice to emerge in our specific and local Canadian context in which we work and live?  We intend these webinars to be responsive to the community members who attend, ebbing and flowing with the dialogues that come up emergently.

This series will walk alongside educators as we weave together the foundations of rethinking with the image of the child and the educator. Looking inward at ourselves, beliefs and values; we examine practical approaches to re-envisioning our practice and pedagogical values.

How might these practices transcend our teaching? How might we re-invent new ways of being, responding  and co-creating together?

 

This 2-part series explores the beauty and necessity of connecting with land based and outdoor pedagogies. Valuing outdoor pedagogy is ever more important in today’s world. Exploring the possibilities and potentials of an enriching and meaningful curriculum will be examined, considering the Outdoor environment as a third teacher and reminding us that… 

“Nature is not a place to visit, it is home.” 

-Gary Snyder

Seneca College ECE Lab School educators will share a pedagogical journey; unraveling the metaphorical layers discovered through a multi-year long exploration and inquiry in relationship with paint. The educators will share their process of reflective pedagogical documentation as a tool for research through artifacts, video, photos and documentation of this project.

This Mini-Series brings to life through the lens of this multi-year project the rethinking and pedagogies we share throughout our Rethinking Series 1 and 2 webinars. This project lives as a culmination of the rethinking we have done in our pedagogies and practice at the Lab School over many years. In sharing it we hope to spark the beginning of a transformation of thinking; in the value of letting go, honouring children’s needs, embracing creativity, individuality, community and cultivating more meaningful relationships and curriculum.

For more information on booking sessions for your centre or organization please email us at senecalabschool@senecacollege.ca

Below you can also find our individual webinar offerings. 

Click on the image for details and descriptions of each webinar.

A Photo of an educator and child sharing paint from one of their hands to the other in a room where the walls and floor are covered in white paper that has multicolored paint all over it
A photo of a child kneeling on woodchips stacking a variety of cut tree cookies and stones into a uniquely shaped structure

We would love to hear from the community on the topics you are interested in learning more about and/or rethinking together. Please reach out and let us know if there are any particular topics of interest to you.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Rethinking Our Image of the Child and Educator". Above it are three photos. One photo is of a child and an educator walking/jumping in a large rain puddle. Another photo is of a child pouring water into a white pipe that leads to a sensory tabloe with a look of concentration on their face. The third photo is an educator and a child each painting on their own face with a thin paint brush in a room where the walls and floor are covered in paper that has paint splatters all over it

“Teaching begins with the Image of the Child” – Loris Malaguzzi

“What is your image of the child?” A common question asked in the ECE community. This phrase is encountered in How Does Learning Happen? (HDLH), in Reggio philosophy, in ECE courses in College, in interviews…. But what does it truly mean to each of us, and how does it influence our practice?

In this webinar we will be delving into the complex ideas of the  Image of the Child. In HDLH it describes children as “competent, capable of complex thinking, curious, and rich in potential.” What does this look like in practice? What does YOUR Image of Children include? How is that image visible and come to life in your classroom? 

In rethinking and embracing  our Image of the Child, this shift began to change not only the way we view and live with children but how we view the world around. The Image of the Child has an impact and influence on all aspects of teaching and learning and the environments ( physical and emotional) we create.

How might inviting children to be active and equal members of our classroom communities create a change in the world beyond our classroom walls?

Throughout this webinar we will think deeply with these ideas, and share how this image lives and breathes in all we do in our work at the lab school.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Rethinking Our Image of the Environment as a Third Teacher, Rethinking Responsive Spaces". Above it are photos. A series of photos of a child stacking blocks with a bright light shining on them which casts a shadow of the structure and the child on the white wall behind them. Another photo is of a child standing on a bench adding parks to a large piece of mark making on a white wall with black charcoal

As stated in How Does Learning Happen? “The environment was described by Loris Malaguzzi as “the third teacher” and is valued for its power to organize, promote relationships, and educate. It mirrors the ideas, values, attitudes, and cultures of those who use the space” (HDLH, pg 20).

We seek to rethink our environments as more than a traditional view of the classroom. To create environments that are active, engaging spaces to co-learn and co-create with others. Throughout this webinar we will share our  journey of transforming our physical environments, as well as the emotional and cultural climates of our classrooms. We will introduce and discuss some ideas connected to the environment as a third teacher including loose parts, messing about, and the aesthetic and emotional nature of learning environments. 

Everything within the environment sends unspoken messages to the people living in the space. From the materials we select, to the way they are displayed, the lighting and even the atmosphere. Through our time together we will share and discuss researching, rethinking and resetting responsive spaces to reflect and uphold our pedagogical values and principles held in the strong image of the child, educator, family and community.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Environment as a Third Teacher: Rethinking Outdoor Spaces as Places of Possibilities". Above it are three photos. One photo is of a child jumping into a muddle puddle in winter coat and boots, another is of a children walking/running through a grassy field and the foreground of the image has long plant stems across it. The third photo is of a stump sitting in amongst plants and on the stump is a white paper on a clipboard with some black marks on it and a small container of charcoal

As we face uncertainty in today’s world, we have an opportunity to reimagine our outdoor learning environments as places of possibilities. Lab School Educators will share a brief history of the transformation of their Outdoor Learning Spaces and pedagogical discourses over the last several decades. Join us for a pedagogical dialogue on potentialities as we return to our outdoor spaces with a new lens and seek opportunities to focus on the possibilities that could emerge from these challenging times.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads " Embracing Emergent Curriculums and (un)Planning Our Time With Children". Above it is a series of 4 photos. Each photo has a child sitting in a room where the walls are covered in paper with paint splatters, and the child is looking at themselves in a rectangular mirror, making different expressions as they notice red paint they have on their face, hand and tongue

Educators from Seneca ECE Lab School will share some of their rethinking in the processes of planning curriculum. Shifting our focus from planning what children will do to what we will offer, from observing children to truly listening and responding. 

 

Moving away from simply providing experiences and materials into deeper connections between what we see, think, feel and wonder about; in relationship with children, materials, space and the world we are living in together. How may un-planning our curriculum offer opportunities for greater responsive curriculum and meaning making through the building of relationship based pedagogies.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Rethinking Our Image of the Family and Connecting in Community". Above it are three photos. One photo is of educators and families gathered outdoors, some sitting others standing in conversation. Another photo is of children and family members planting plants together. The third photo is of a child walking towards Canadian Geese in a field of dried grass

How Does Learning Happen? invites educators to reflect on the following: 


“How can we help families to experience a sense of belonging

in our program? How can we engage with families as co-learners about and

with their children?” (HDLH, pg 18)


The work of living well together in community with children and their families is something educators at the ECE Lab School hold very close to our hearts. We seek to hold space for true connection and relationships built on trust, respect, vulnerability and openness. Throughout this webinar we explore these values as they live in our practice; from daily interactions to larger community gatherings. How might holding space to be in relationship with families create opportunities to awaken community in new and deeper ways. Educators from the Lab School will share stories of connecting with families, cultivating and attending to community, and holding space for a sense of belonging for everyone in our centre and beyond.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Embracing Risk: Leaping into Adventure and the Unknown". Above are four photos. One photo is of a child sitting inside a large circular tube while another child is standing attempting to roll it. Another photo is of a child jumping off a tree stump set up on a playground. Another photo is of an educator and child holding hands while the child balances across think blocks that form a pathway in a classroom. The fourth photo is of one child standing on top of a large rock boulder and another crawling up the rock behind them.

From upholding our image of the child, to the bonds of trust created when we hold space for risky-play; Educators reflect on and share their journey in embracing adventure, risk and the uncomfortable spaces that lie between. 

 

When we come together to think with these uncomfortable topics, vulnerability and joy collide in collective dialogues among colleagues. How might we, together, explore the beauty of embracing risk and adventure play and what possibilities this evokes in ourselves, the children and communities we share.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "The Power of Letting Go: and the Art of Holding Close". Above it are three photos. One photo is of an educator and a child sitting on a paint covered floor painting on their feet. Another photo is of a child standing at the top of a blue slide attached to a climber. They are staning on the slide facing the climber and holding onto the wooden cross-beam at the top of the slide smiling. The third photo is of a child jumping into a very large muddy puddle in winter boots and a coat..

Seneca ECE Lab School educators have been thinking with the Power that comes along with letting go. Throughout our journey at the Lab School, we found the Power of choosing to question, reconsider, and to ultimately let go lives in the space it creates for us to hold close to something else. What is it you want to hold close in your practice? We invite you to join us in this dialog as we share some of our stories of letting go and the gifts this process has allowed us to truly hold close. We seek to hold space for us all, as educators, to begin to feel we have the power and agency to question, to rethink and to create change within our practice, the field of ECE and the worlds we live in together.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Embodying Forest School Ethos and Land Based Pedagogies In Forest and Urban Settings". Above are three photos. One photo is of a group of children walking through some bushes towards the camera. Another photo is of a child carrying buckets down a steep muddy hillside in a forest. The third photo is of a child carrying a basket and walking across a large grassy area towards a big willow tree as the4 sun casts shadows of the tree all around.

Seneca ECE Lab School and Seneca Forest and Nature School educators share the beauty of embracing Forest school ethos and land based pedagogies in Forest and Urban settings. We offer some of our reflections, stories and lived experiences from over the last few years and how embodying a land based ethos not only enriches our relationship to land but with one another.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Forest and Nature Play: Discovering Courage, Uncovering Curiosity". Above is a photo of a group of children working together to roll a large section of a cut tree trunk across the ground outside in a forest

In this webinar, you will explore the Forest and Nature School (FNS) pedagogy through a reflective lens by looking closely at the world around us. We will take you on a journey of KOLTS Forest and Nature Play program that ignites curiosity and joy while uncovering possibilities….     

Discover the importance of a child led inquiry, play-based and ecological curriculum, connected to the head, heart, hands approach that inspires the co-construction of knowledge. We will share experiences with children, families and educators. 

Learn why we banned the phrase BE CAREFUL! Participants are invited to reframe risk by deconstructing KOLTS FNS video experiences with children and deeply reflecting on their current role as a teacher as it influences a child’s ability to freely explore without predetermined parameters.  

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Exploring Seasonal Change with Children". Above is a photo of a snowy pathway with people walking down it in the distance. The wide path is surrounded by snow covered trees on either side

Join us for another visit to Seneca Forest School where we will explore the way children play throughout the seasons when provided with safe, free time in Nature. As you experience the seasons virtually along with the children, consider the many gifts and invitations offered at various times of the year. 

We will share our experiences with snow and ice, beautiful mud, rain puddles and lakes, ponds, and bogs. This interactive experience will invite you to reflect on opportunities in and with nature, and to embrace the challenges presented by weather.

Re-imagine the possibilities for encounters as the landscape changes and invites renewed exploration, inquiry, and investigation through a lens that views children as capable, competent, and mindful of their own boundaries.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Enabling Risk in Outdoor Play". Above is a photo of two children climbing in a tree

The idea of children taking risks might not be as scary as you think. Accept our invitation to spend time  looking closely at your current understanding of “risky play” and re-imagine the possibilities inherent in a pedagogical shift to “enabling risk.” Part of the work of childhood is to freely explore the world, make calculated choices and mistakes, conquer physical challenges and build creativity by finding innovative and unique solutions to problems. Opportunities to fully experience the work of childhood are obstructed when “perceived risk” is assumed, a safety-first attitude is adopted and rules and boundaries are enforced, hindering a child’s healthy development and overall well-being. Together we will unpack uncertainties around risky play and create intentions to become advocates of enabled risk.

Webinar title written in white on a brown background reads "Fostering Adventure and Challenge in Nature". Above is a photo of a child standing on top of a number of branches taht have been formed into a fort

Adventure and Challenge ignites curiosity, wonder and joy. The same adventure and challenge has the potential to generate fear. The perception that fear is a state that educators need to protect children from, invites unpacking as it impedes a child’s opportunity to uncover their individual potential.

We will share our Forest and Nature play journey grounded in all its complexities, negotiations, and enjoyment through images and videos.  We will challenge the dominant discourse, that fear negatively impacts children and that an educator’s role is to shelter them from those fearful experiences.

Identify practices in the Early Years that hinder adventure and challenge. Co create plans to engineer experiences that embrace uncertainty and fear. Seek possibilities to find joy in adventure. Imagine the gifts offered through challenge.