Saturday, 2 January 2016

A Wonderful Year!

As we enter into a new year, and say goodbye to 2015, I bring with me many wonderful memories that I will cherish for a lifetime!

As an educator and lifelong learner, I was grateful to have connected with other likeminded individuals that helped to shape me professionally. #4EverInspired, a group of four educators and friends- Joanne Babalis, Vanessa Bianchi, Jocelyn Schmidt, and myself- came together with a common desire to search for innovative experiences. We collaborated and shared our unique perspectives and personalities with a goal to take followers on a colourful journey of art, inquiry, classroom design, and more! Some of the highlights from our time together included attending Susan Stacey's workshop on Emergent Curriculum, visiting Louise Kool and Galt's showroom and partnering with them for our first of many giveaways, and presenting at the Transform Ed Fall Workshop on Provocations, projects, and my pedagogical documentation process.

Another key moment for me was having the opportunity to co-facilitate a combined Part One, Two, and Specialist Kindergarten Additional Qualification course through York University with Joanne Babalis. Having taken all three parts with Joanne the year prior, it was a humbling experience to assist her this past year. I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone and share my knowledge with other educators, while learning alongside them. A highlight for me from this experience was opening up my classroom to our participants, as well as presenting on my Math Process in Full Day Kindergarten.  

In addition to opening up my classroom for the York University participants, I was fortunate to be apart of the first year of Learning at Schools for Full Day Kindergarten with the York Region District School Board, where we opened our classroom doors to educators in the Board for visits to share our ongoing learning and research. This experience allowed me to collaborate with many inspiring colleagues including Jocelyn Schmidt, Heidi Theis, Taylor Coles, and Ryan Pinto

As an extension of our learning with the Board, I was also fortunate to be apart of a Ministry Pilot Project focused on Outdoor Education. Here I learned the importance of inspiring learning outside, and was able to connect with amazing educators including Tanya Murray and Diane Kashin. I continue to look to them as sources of inspiration through social media.  

This past summer I continued into my fourth year of instructing Building Blocks for Kindergarten, a summer learning program with the YRDSB, focusing on offering children entering into kindergarten the opportunity to experience the routines of Full-Day Kindergarten. A highlight for me was being able to partner with Michelle Lee, a Designated Early Childhood Educator with YRDSB, as well as Lucas Serper, a former co-op student who later entered into Seneca College for Early Childhood Education.  

I was very proud of my dear friends and educators Rachael and Krystine of Indigo Wild, as they ventured into creating a small business offering handmade educational items for children, including my personal favourite Reading Rocks, which are handpicked, painted, and made to order. Both me and my students love the many learning opportunities that come out of these simple and beautifully crafted products! I am grateful for them partnering with me for many giveaways and I look forward to collaborating with them in the New Year!   

2015 proved to be a wonderful year for connecting with wonderful people through social media. I am so thankful to have reached over 5000 followers on Instagram, and I look forward to continuing to share my journey and following others for inspiration into the New Year!  

In addition to my professional achievements, I had the opportunity to spend my 31st birthday visiting my second home in Mexico with my family and loved ones, and later said goodbye to my lifelong family home in Toronto. Although it was difficult to close one door, the promise of a new door opening pushes me forward into the New Year. 

Every sunset brings the promise of a new dawn.