Breakout Sessions: A1, A2, A3, A4

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 – 4 pm

(A1) Blanket Exercise: ECSB Students

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 – 4 pm

The Blanket Exercise is an interactive workshop developed by KAIROS following the landmark report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. The exercise explores the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada, from the settlers’ arrival to modern times. Participants are guided through the impact of colonization of a nation including gradual appropriation, relocation, and removal of Indigenous peoples and territories.

The exercise begins with blankets spread across the floor, which represent land occupied by Indigenous populations. As participants are guided through centuries of negotiations, treaties, decrees, and other interactions with European settlers, the blankets on which they stand are slowly removed, until only a few participants remain on a small area representing what little remains of Indigenous territory today. The exercise engages hearts and minds in understanding the current relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples and why reconciliation is necessary for the country to heal.

Speakers

The Braided Journeys Leadership Club builds valuable skills in Indigenous youth by providing a variety activities designed to bridge youth to community leaders and engage them in social justice.  By providing the structure for the community to mentor youth within the school environment Indigenous youth are finding their voice and impacting their own community through activities such as the Blanket Exercise.

(A2) Poverty Simulation: United Way of Alberta Capital Region

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 – 4 pm

A Poverty Simulation is a unique and powerful experience which challenges perceptions, changes perspectives and strengthens understanding and empathy.

Participants experience a full range of encounters, obstacles and challenges, while trained volunteers populate the simulation as business owners, teachers, police officers, agency workers, service providers and government employees. The simulation replicates a month in the life of a family living in poverty. The ultimate mission of each of these families is to provide food, shelter and other basic needs with a limited income.

Speaker

Staff and volunteers from United Way of the Alberta Capital Region have organized and run over 81 Poverty Simulations to date. This session will be facilitated by Sheilah Pittman, Manager of Community Investment Stewardship who has been with the United Way for 10 years and has been one of the lead poverty simulation facilitators since they began in our community 4 years ago.

(A3) The Uncensored Program: iHuman - Youth and staff

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 – 4 pm

The Uncensored Program is built upon techniques derived from Augusto Boal’s Theatre of The Oppressed. We will be using everyday scenarios children and families we work with may experience. We will be both spectators and participants as we work together to identify current modes of behaviour, explore alternatives, and promote discussions.

Speakers

iHuman – Youth and staff will facilitate this session. iHuman’s mission is to work with traumatized youth who exhibit high-risk lifestyles. We promote their reintegration into the community through social support, engagement and outreach programs involving crisis intervention, arts mentorship and life skills development.
Through iHuman, youth are finding their own identity, becoming more empowered, and creating their own compelling future.

(A4) Integrating a Social Justice Lens into Policy Development: Zeenat Janmohamed, PhD

Monday, October 16, 2017, 1 – 4 pm

Contesting a deficit based approach in public policy requires a shift in paradigm that recognizes the value of integrating research into policy development.  Literature and anecdotal evidence demonstrates that policy in the form of legislation can enshrine rights to previously marginalized peoples.  This relates to matters of child welfare, family supports or the right to education free of discrimination.  Policy developers play a critical role in shaping how social justice is embedded in practice.  In this presentation, Dr. Janmohamed will focus on how public policy plays a foundational role in the establishment of a social justice lens in the development of early childhood and family support.

Speaker

Zeenat Janmohamed the Chair of the School of Social and Community Services and Deaf and Deafblind Studies at George Brown College. She has a long history in early childhood education and family support and held a faculty position in School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, and a Visiting Scholar position at the Atkinson Centre, University of Toronto. She is an instructor at Ryerson University in the School of Early Childhood Studies and at the Eric Jackman Institute of Child Studies at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Janmohamed is the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Grant on the Early Childhood Cognitive Sensitivity Training Study in collaboration with researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Calgary. Her most recent study investigates the impact of full day kindergarten and extended day programs on educators, families and school administration. She is interested in the integration of early childhood programs into public education and policy research related to the early childhood profession. Her other area of expertise examines the implementation of ideas related to diversity, equity and difference. Her research aims to examine how diversity is explored in training, policy and practice. Zeenat completed her PhD. in the Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education at OISE, University of Toronto.

Breakout Sessions: B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

(B1) Culture, Context and Migration in the Mental Health & Wellness of Families: Dr. Sophie Yohani

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

As Alberta becomes increasingly culturally diverse, human service providers are encountering tensions in their work when their practice is not applicable to multicultural families. Despite knowing the value of multicultural competencies, few practitioners feel equipped to engage in practice that is holistic and understands clients from their socio-cultural-historical contexts. This presentation will describe the process of developing a multicultural and social justice orientation when working with children and their families.

Speaker

Dr. Sophie Yohani is an associate professor of counselling psychology at the University of Alberta and a psychologist with training in elementary education, global mental health, and community development. Her interests lie in multicultural counselling, participatory research methods, and the mental health and psychosocial adaptation of refugees and migrants. Over the last 20 years, her work has ranged from providing individual psychotherapy and assessments in traditional clinical settings to mental health practice, training and research with immigrant/refugee groups within community settings. She has also served as the director of the Faculty of Education’s Counselling Centre, a training facility for psychology graduate student clinicians. Research activities and publications examine psychosocial adaptation, trauma, sexualized violence, mental health and health service delivery using resilience, hope, critical multicultural counselling, and feminist theories. Her graduate students conduct research in these areas, both in Canada and internationally.

Dr. Yohani’s current projects, with colleagues from the Universities of Calgary and Alberta, include community-based studies of the mental health challenges and pathways to healing amongst survivors of the 1994 genocide and the role of cultural brokers in supporting the psychosocial adaptation of Syrian families with young children. Dr. Yohani is originally from Tanzania and serves as an adjunct (visiting) professor in the Clinical Psychology Program at Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS) in Tanzania. She recently began taking pottery lessons, following the finger prints of female potters in her family and their ancestral Pare people.

(B2) Citizenship with/in Early Childhood Communities: Dr. Tricia Lirette, PhD., and Lee Makovichuk, MEd.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

Play, Participation, and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta is inspired by a vision of strong, active, and energetic early childhood communities— places of vitality—that welcome and invite the participation of children and their families. What does it mean for children to be active participants and citizens? How might families participate in early childhood communities to foster places of vitality? These are the central questions that Tricia and Lee will explore in this interactive session and alongside participants—to make sense of these big ideas and what this might look like in daily early childhood practice.

Participants will gain an understanding of what it means to be a citizen of early childhood communities – children as participating citizens, parents as participating citizens and educators working with this notion within daily practice. As well, Tricia and Lee will highlight conflicting perspectives, problematizing the notion of citizenship for young children—deepening the conversation about the meaning of citizenship.

Speakers

Dr. Tricia Lirette, PhD., and Lee Makovichuk, MEd., are faculty the Faculty of Health and Community Studies, Early Learning and Child Care program at MacEwan University. Over the last four years, they have collaborated with a team of academics and educators to co-create Play, Participation, and Possibilities: An Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta (2014).

(B3) Beyond Access: Meaningful Participation for All Children: Rachel Siderius (B.Ed.) and Krista Wennerstrom (M.SLP)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

Inclusion of all children, with developmental disabilities or other learning differences, continues to create both stories of success and stories of challenge.  Understanding what professional practices the early learning team can implement to result in more positive experiences for all is essential.   This workshop will engage participants in reflecting on their vision of inclusion and what is currently working and where barriers exist in their programs.  The emphasis of the workshop will be on interaction and exploration of practical tools to engage educators and families in a process of using everyday routines to identify functional goals and ensure each child’s inclusion leads to meaningful participation at school and with peers.

Speakers

Rachel Siderius (B.Ed.) and Krista Wennerstrom (M.SLP) have been committed to inclusive early learning and care throughout their careers at the GRIT Program (Getting Ready for Inclusion Today).  In valuing lifelong learning, they stay abreast of current research and apply evidence-based practices in their work with children with developmental disabilities, their families, and with educators who strive for the best outcomes for all children.  With the use of tools to support a vision of meaningful participation, Rachel and Krista have witnessed positive growth in how inclusive education is practiced.

(B4) Good {enough} Parenting: The perfection trap and parents with cognitive challenges: Erin Waite and Lauren Raymore

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

Peer pressure and marketing don’t just affect teens.  Parents feel it too—who hasn’t got a story about a friend questioning your parenting practice and leaving you feeling usnure and inadequate? Parents with cognitve challengs not only suffer from this kind of judgment, but when bias is in the system, these parents have their children taken away.  How do we ensure parents with cognitive challenges are judged fairly for their parenting capacity? How do we evaluate good {enough} parenting – parenting that ensures a stable home where chilren are loved?  How do we take our own biases—our own strong and emotional views about parenting – out of the equation? Connections has 25 years’ experience supporting parents with cognitive challenges to be successful parents.  There is more to be done and more we can all do to eliminate bias that takes away parental rights.

Participants will learn about the experience of parenting with cognitive challenges, from being judged, to being more appropriately assessed, to being effectively supported for success using 25 years of data and experience supporting more than 700 families – all including a parent with cognitive challenges (developmental disability, brain injury, FASD).

Speakers

Erin is the agency director, joining Connections five years ago.  Since that time, Connections has grown from serving 35 families to over 100 each year and Connections now has referrals from parenting and support organizations and CFS offices all over Calgary and region.  Erin is a vocal advocate for people with disabilities and is on the Alberta Council of Disability Services board of directors.

Lauren founded Connections 25 years ago in the early days of allowing adults with developmental disabilities the choices to live in the community, have relationships – and become pregnant.  Connections core in-home parenting support program developed by Lauren is based on international research and has a solid success record.  As a lifelong model of support, Lauren has had the privilege of supporting families from the birth of their child through to high school graduation.

(B5) Making Space for Learning – Responding to Developmental Trauma: Chelsea Hobbs and Angela Hill

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

Trauma is part of the human experience and professionals often engage with children and families who have experienced trauma in their lives. This workshop aims to acknowledge the prevalence of trauma within the population and explore the concept of developmental trauma and how to apply trauma-informed care within our practice.

Participants will gain an understanding of the signs and symptoms of trauma, practical response skills, and a shift in thinking from “what is wrong with you?” to “what has happened to you?”, especially when working with children who have histories of trauma.

Speakers

Chelsea is ECDSS’s Mental Health and Trauma Facilitator and holds a Masters of Education in Counselling Psychology. Her counselling, research and volunteer experience has provided her the opportunity to work extensively with youth and young adults, especially high-risk populations. Her current research interests include trauma, hope and children’s mental health.

Angela is ECDSS’s Communications and Curriculum Development Coordinator. She has worked throughout ECE including the areas of childcare, early education research, and classroom teaching from preschool through second grade. Angela is passionate about how our early experiences impact our lives and how we can create communities that support healthy children.

(B6) Beyond representation of difference though celebrations: Using cultural artifacts in everyday ECE practice: Anna Kirova

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

The cultural world is fluid and ever changing, with each new generation not only appropriating past cultural practice but also furthering both activities and tools to be used in the future. Objects define us as cultural beings and our interactions with others. Therefore, as educators we are required to pay closer attention to the introduction, placement and role of cultural artifacts in ECE settings as cultural mediators of learning. In drawing attention to objects as active mediators that have potential to shape learning, educators can provide children with additional means by which they can construct learning experiences that are relevant to their lives. If we shift our efforts from emphasizing difference in diversity (as in celebrations) to understanding the innumerable ways of being together in a shared space (as in everyday practice), we can refocus on structuring an environment in which children can contribute, explore, construct, and embrace their multiple identities within a multifaceted world.

Participants will expand their understanding of materials defined by the Developmentally appropriate practice (Bredekamp & Copple, 2009) as props and learning tools, designed to elicit children’s optimal development at a particular age and stage. They will be introduced to sociocultural approaches that situate materials as cultural objects within the social context and recognize that their use and functions are adaptive depending on the activities that also are social (Roopnarine & Johnson, 2001; Göncü, Jain, & Tuermer, 2007). From the sociocultural perspective, development is occurring largely through the everyday activities and interactions of individuals and their social partners (Tudge & Odero-Wanga, 2009). By engaging in these habitual activities and interactions, children become a part of their cultural world. Therefore, the practice representation of diversity through celebrations is challenged as an approach to multicultural education.

Speaker

Dr. Anna Kirova is Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Elementary Education, University of Alberta, Canada. Her research focuses mainly on the need for understanding culturally and linguistically diverse families with young children’s experiences in school, and the possibility such an understanding offers for culturally responsive pedagogy.

Breakout Sessions:C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C6

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

(C1) Something’s Up! A practical tool for exploring and reflecting on the lenses we bring to our work with children and families: Sarah Apedaile

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

The reality in early childhood education is that the cultures and lived experiences of children and families are increasingly distant from providers and each other’s.  Intercultural communication skills and awareness of our unconscious bias has become an essential part of designing safe, nurturing and positive places for all children. The Something’s Up! Cycle is a simple, reflective practice grounded in intercultural theory that supports the development of intercultural communication competence. This practice validates and supports the challenges of caring in culturally diverse settings and provides a shared language and process to make sense of important cultural similarities and differences. In this workshop participants will learn how to integrate the Something’s Up Cycle into their own intercultural learning journey and childcare practice.

Participants will learn an applied mindfulness tool (Something’s Up!) to reflect and build awareness of how culture and bias impact interactions, decisions, and outcomes and develop skills for effective engagement in diverse settings everyday situations.

Speaker

Sarah is an intercultural specialist and faculty development advisor at NorQuest College in Edmonton. Her intercultural experiences include living abroad in Zambia, Nepal, Japan, Denmark, Mexico, and the USA. Currently she supports inclusive engagement practices at NorQuest through applied research, curriculum development and workshop facilitation.

(C2) A Fireside Chat about the Rights of Children: The Honourable Landon Pearson

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

Let’s talk about the rights of very young children because all children have rights, as Dr. Seuss would say, “ no matter how small.” In my experience, respecting their rights releases their humanity. When children live within an atmosphere of trust and are able to act without the constraints of fear and anxiety they are comfortable with adults, eager to learn from them and prepared to reach out. What does this mean for us all in our lives and in our practice?

Speaker

The Honourable Landon Pearson O.C. is a long-time advocate for the rights and well-being of children.  From 1994 to 2005, Landon Pearson’s served in The Senate of Canada, where she became known as the Children’s Senator as well as the Senator for Children.  (Link to Parliament of Canada biography, including full details of political experience and selected publications).  In May 1996, Senator Pearson was named Advisor on Children’s Rights to the Minister of Foreign Affairs.  In 1998 she became the Personal Representative of the Prime Minister to the 2002 United Nations Special Session on Children. She then coordinated Canada’s response to the Special Session entitled A Canada Fit for Children (a report in pdf format is on the publications website of the Government of Canada).

(C3) Promising Futures with New Possibilities - For Pregnant and Parenting Teens and their Children: Carol Sullivan, Gary Benthem, and Kerry Kentfield

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

Teen pregnancy has long been viewed as one of the most serious social problems and has been seen through a political and moral concern lens. Over the past four decades, Terra Centre has been on a mission to not only provide better outcomes for teen parents and their children but also alter the collective lens in which we view teen parenthood.  Through continued advocacy, early intervention best practices, innovative community outreach programs, and collaborative partnerships, Terra continues to support teen parents in successfully completing high school and raising healthy and thriving families. The presentation shows how the continued advocacy and program advancements have worked to address social marginality and health inequalities faced by teen parents and their children over the years.  It underlines the current disparities and informs professionals around the collective social justice work done with community partners. Moreover, the presentation aims to inspire professionals to examine their own lens in which they view teen parenthood and apply a social justice lens to promote greater rights of the child and families within their own fields and professions.

The aim of the presentation is to inform professionals about the health, geographical, and social disparities and advancements in program and social justice for teen parents and their children.  The intention is to inspire and motivate collective efforts in supporting early childhood development through the promotion of “equally entitled to respect” and “universal rights of the child”. The presentation attendees will gain an understanding of the both historical and current disparities and what advancements in program and social justice work has done to better developmental trajectories for teen parents and their children.

Speakers

Carol Sullivan has over 30 years of experience in the field of Early Child Development. She has considerable work experience in the field in various capacities, front line and leadership and an educational foundation in Early Childhood Development and Family Ecology.

Gary Benthem has a Child and Youth Care background and has worked at Terra Centre in both the Services for Young Dads and Housing Support Services programs.  Gary has a passion for working with marginalized populations to reduce barriers in accessing services.

Kerry Kentfield has a diploma in Child and Youth Care from Grant MacEwan University and has been working with children, youth and families for more than 10 years. Passionate about children and youth, Kerry has supported children 0-12 and their families, high risk youth and teen parents at Terra Centre to succeed.

(C4) Traditional Family Parenting: Janet Fox

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

First Nations people have always had the knowledge that raising a child holistically prepares them to make positive choices and build healthy relationships. The development of healthy children leads to the foundation of healthy communities. We need to share these teachings with the next generation as they are a source of strength and identity. The breakdown of traditional family systems began with colonization and residential schools. When the first set of children went away our family systems began to deteriorate.

Through this session you will:

  • Discuss traditional family systems and our ancestors raised their children.
  • Learn about the tools used in traditional family systems, including the moss bag, cradle board and the traditional swing.
  • Explore strategies for restoring traditional family systems and sharing these teachings with new parents.
  • Gain awareness of the importance of bonding during early childhood and its impact on a child’s future.

Speaker

Janet Fox has been a life skills coach for 14 years and is the owner of Mahkesis Consulting. Janet is a mother of 4 and a grandmother of 8.

Our communities are still facing cycles of poverty, addictions, abuse, suicide and lateral violence and by creating awareness; this can be a beginning in First Nations communities to heal which is by ‘Reclaiming our Indigenousness’.  The teachings are not new; they have always been in our communities.  As concerned leaders, parents and grandparents we can make change within our First Nations by bringing back the remembrance of the teachings.  Her workshops include the Teepee Teachings, Traditional Parenting, Fatherhood is Sacred and the Power of Positive Thinking.

(C5) Family Literacy – Creating a Paradigm Shift: Kim Chung

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 10:30 – 12 pm

The foundational philosophy of family literacy is built on a holistic approach with families and working with them as co-creators and partners in learning.  This workshop explores the paradigm shift needed to step away from the traditional “top-down” learning that many of us have grown up with and move towards models where we are able to fully support participatory practice.  We will also examine the power dynamics that occur in families, community and within our programs that can have a positive or negative effect on outcomes.  Practical tools that can be put in place within your work context will be presented. This workshop would be suitable for front line workers as well as for managers and partners who support the work of early learning environments.

Speakers

Kim Chung has been with the Centre for Family Literacy for 14 years and is currently the Program Director.  She is responsible for the strategic direction of all programs and training.  She has over 20 years’ experience in developing and delivering programs and training to audiences of all ages.

(C6) Creating Affirming Environments for Gender Creative Children: Kristy Harcourt

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 1 – 2:30 pm

This workshop will explore creating affirming safe spaces in the context of gender identity and gender creativity in young children including the basic concepts of gender, gender identity and gender expression.  Exploring common issues that arise in early childhood environments, the facilitator will offer strategies for staff development and ways to promote positive communication with families.  They will also showcase books and other resources to promote a positive and gender inclusive environment in early learning settings.

This workshop would be suitable for front line workers as well as for managers and partners who support the work of early learning environments.

Participants will gain a set of strategies to affirm children’s gender independence, knowledge of available resources and reassurance that they can handle an issue of growing prevalence.

Speaker

Kristy Harcourt is the Education Coordinator with the Pride Centre of Edmonton.  An experienced educator and education developer, Kristy is a well-known presenter on LGBTQ inclusion issues, violence prevention, bullying and harassment and other community safety issues.

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