Workshop Presenters Biography
Keynote Address: Early Literacy through a Musical Lens
Presenter: Dr. Laurel Trainor, Founding Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind
Dr. Trainor has done groundbreaking neuroscience research on musical development in children and infants and her research spans perceptual, cognitive, and social aspects of pitch and rhythm.
Learning to communicate through language is a complex process. One of the basic prerequisites for both spoken and written language is the ability to group the incoming stream into meaningful units such as syllables, words and phrases. The ability to perceive and produce rhythms is critical in this process. Music also depends on rhythm, suggesting that musical ability and training may affect literacy development. I will review research on the effects of musical training on language and reading acquisition, rhythmic deficits in dyslexia, and the importance of musical elements during early communication between parents/guardians and infants.
Click below to go visit the Auditory Development Lab at McMaster University
Universality of a Storytime: Inclusive programming through the lens of five early literacy practices
Presenter: Katie Jackman, RECE, Waterloo Public Library
Katie Jackman has a Bachelor of Arts and is a Registered Early Childhood Educator. She also has her certificate in Family Literacy Studies from Conestoga College. Katie has been working in the field of early learning and childcare for 4 years. She has worked in both child care and library settings. Katie is currently a children’s programmer at the Waterloo Public Library. She is the coordinator of a new project “You Belong Here” http://www.wpl.ca/services/you-belong-here that focuses on inclusivity and community belonging for families living in Waterloo.
Using examples from the Waterloo Public Library’s new early learning program philosophy “Explore, Play, Learn”, we will look at how to adapt story times and enhance them to better suit the needs of the community. Explore different strategies using five early literacy practices (read, sing, write, play and talk) to develop and offer a universally fun and inclusive program for everyone!
iPads in Kindergarten
Presenters: Dr. Monica McGlynn-Stewart, School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, and Dr. Tiffany MacKay, Peel District School Board
Monica is a full-time professor in the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, Toronto. She is also a former elementary school teacher, consultant and principal. She is researching the role of iPads in literacy learning in full-day kindergarten in two Ontario school boards.
Tiffany is an instructional coach in the Peel District School Board. She is also a former elementary teacher with a background in early childhood. She is a co-researcher on the I-Pads in Kindergarten project.
Both presenters have a background in ECE and hold PhD degrees in curriculum, teaching, and learning, with a focus on literacy teaching and learning.
In this session, the presenters will share their recent research findings of educators’ experiences using open-ended apps to support kindergarten children’s oral and visual literacy learning. Join the discussion about implementing digital technology in a way that is in keeping with a play-based program.
Engaging Families as Partners in Literacy: A Pedagogical Approach
Facilitators: A staff team from the Early Years Centre System of Waterloo Region, led by Amber Holmes, RECE
The Ontario Early Years Centres of Waterloo Region are into the second year of the Early Learning Pedagogy Reflection and Exploration project. The goal of the project is to build organizational and family support sector capacity for reflection, exploration, deeper understanding and implementation of the “How Does Learning Happen?” early years pedagogy and learning framework. A team of local OEYC staff will co-facilitate the session, led by the project’s pedagogy specialist, Amber Holmes.
Join OEYC staff for a glimpse into a journey of pedagogy exploration based on “How Does Learning Happen? Ontario’s Pedagogy for the Early Years.” We will share ways we support the active participation of parents and families in early literacy development. Through reflection and collaboration we will examine how our own strengths and experiences can be utilized to support family literacy, and formulate strategies for incorporating family literacy practices into child care, early learning and family support programs.
Connections Between Early Literacy and Physical Literacy
Presenter: Meg Shirley, Recreation Therapist, KidsAbility Centre for Child Development
Meg Shirley is a Recreation Therapist at KidsAbility Centre for Child Development in Waterloo. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Mount Allison University, and discovered that studying ‘the good life’ does not necessarily lead to the practice of a good life. After a few years of searching (much of it done via bicycle and canoe), she discovered Therapeutic Recreation, and completed her Post Graduate Certificate from Georgian College. Her passion is paediatrics, and ensuring that children and youth with disabilities have the same opportunities for participation and skill development as their peers.
Physical literacy is the mastering of fundamental movement skills and fundamental sport skills that permit a child to read their environment and make appropriate decisions, allowing them to move confidently and with control in a wide range of physical activity situations. Physical literacy gives children the ability, motivation, and confidence to make healthy, active choices for life.
How can we embrace this love of moving to foster both a lifelong love of physical activity and a lifelong love of learning? This session will explore the concept of physical literacy, the connections between literacy and physical literacy, and ideas to teach early literacy skills through active games.
Every Word Counts!
Presenters: A team of Speech-Language Pathologists from Waterloo Region District School Board
Cathy Scott: Cathy’s background includes speech, language and literacy development with pre-school and school-aged children. She has been with WRDSB since 2003, and worked at KidsAbility from 1995 to 2003.
Linzy Abraham: Linzy has been involved with speech and language services for children ages birth to five years, as well as school-age children. She has a background in early language development, early literacy, and augmentative and alternative communication for children. She has been with WRDSB since 2009.
Jessica Van Bakel: Jessica has been involved with speech and language services for primarily school aged children. She gained invaluable experience working with senior kindergarten students in the KLIP program (Kindergarten Language Intervention Program). It was here, and at home with her own children, that she developed a passion for early literacy. She has worked with WRDSB since 2006.
Tenley Baker: Tenley has enjoyed working with preschoolers and school age children over the past two decades as an SLP in health care and the education setting. Tenley enjoys working with parents and educators to support the development of children's oral language and early literacy skills. She has worked with WRDSB since 2008.
This session will focus on practical ways we can build children’s vocabulary skills to promote their early literacy and thinking abilities. We will share strategies to help children gain a deeper understanding of words and build on oral language to connect to literacy skills. We will discuss ideas about selecting specific vocabulary from songs/stories/books and extending children’s learning of these words throughout the day.