Teaching Kindergarten Conference

Information and Registration

  • Registration Information

    Teaching Kindergarten: Where Did the Garden Go?
    Sowing the Seeds of Social Justice

    The 2020 Teaching Kindergarten Conference has been cancelled. This includes the pre-conference sessions. We are processing full refunds for everyone.
    Save the Date: April 16 and 17, 2021

    Additional Information:

    You will earn 12 CTLE or 1.2 CEU by participating in this conference. To earn the hours, you must sign in each morning and pick up your certificate at the end of the day Saturday.

    You may earn one (1) graduate school credit by registering for TEED 551N through the Continuing Professional Studies Office and paying the tuition fee. Contact us at cps@bankstreet.edu for more information.

  • 2020 Schedule

    Conference Itinerary for Friday, April 3, 2020:

    4:00 – 4:45 PM Registration and light snacks
    4:45 – 5:00 PM Welcoming Remarks
    5:00 – 6:00 PM Keynote Presentation: Teaching, Learning & Curriculum in Politically Uncertain Times: Moving Towards Civic Participation
    Presenter: Dr. Haeny Yoon
    6:00 – 6:45 PM Light Supper Provided
    6:45 – 8:30 PM Keynote Activity: Stories That Nourish The Hearts of Children
    Presenters: Laura Simms

    Conference Itinerary for Saturday, April 4, 2020:

    8:00 AM – 8:45 AM Registration and light breakfast
    8:45 AM– 9:00 AM Welcoming Remarks
    9:00 AM– 9:45 AM Keynote Presentation: Back to the Garden: Inspiring Kindergarteners to Grow into Curious and Concerned Citizens of the World
    Presenter: Dr. Maritza Macdonald
    10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Morning Breakout Sessions
    12:00 PM– 1:15 PM Lunch on Your Own
    1:20 – 2:00 PM Keynote Presentation: Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking
    Presenter: Janis Strasser
    2:15 – 4:15 PM Afternoon Breakout Sessions
     4:30 PM Pick up Certificates of Completion

    Participants will make their workshop selection after registering for the conference.

  • Keynote Presentations

    Friday, April 3, 2020

    Teaching, Learning & Curriculum in Politically Uncertain Times: Moving Towards Civic Participation

    Children engaged in protests, walking picket lines, delivering rousing speeches are often praised by adults for their visible engagement. Yet beyond these hypervisible, familiar political acts, how are children already engaged just by their very being as children in the world? Children’s identities, differentiated along the intersections of race, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, and ability are already political in nature. As political beings, what are they creating, embodying, and doing in the course of their everyday life at school through moments of play, curricular conversations, and inquiry? During a particularly tumultuous political moment, I feature young children whose conversations lead teachers to reimagine curriculum and pedagogy; I show children engaged in thoughtful dialogue around issues of race, gender, and religion; I bring together playful exchanges that make prominent the social, cultural, and political issues children are still grappling with. In doing this, I highlight the importance of capturing and following children’s inquiries and questions as we strive to engage alongside young children towards civic action.

    Dr. Haeny Yoon is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University where she teaches courses on curriculum, language/literacy, children’s play, and qualitative methodologies. Her interest in how children play with materials, spaces, their peers, and in popular culture stems from working as a staff developer and primary school teacher. Partnering with in-service and pre-service teachers, she is committed to listening to children’s descriptions of their lives and the world around them. Her book, Rethinking Early Literacies: Reading and Rewriting Worlds (2018), co-authored with Dr. Mariana Souto-Manning, honors the diverse languages and practices of families, homes, and communities across the United States. Dr. Yoon received her MA in Elementary Education, and her Ph.D in Curriculum and Teaching from the University of Illinois  at Urbana- Champaign.

    Stories that Nourish the Hearts of Children

    Laura Simms reconnects us to the dynamic, inspiring, and profound experience of Storytelling. By telling stories and listening to stories, we will explore how and why storytelling touches the hearts and minds of kindergarten children. Laura will also share her experiences of storytelling with young children from around the world. She will be accompanied by musician and storyteller Therese Folkes Plair. Teachers will leave with a renewed appreciation as well as the joy of bringing storytelling into the life of the classroom.

    Storyteller, writer, arts-educator, and humanitarian, Laura Simms has been telling stories and training teachers for over forty years. She is the author of over 20 books, recordings, and articles including Our Secret Territory (2011) and Stories to Nourish the Hearts of Our Children (2013). Simms is the artistic director of the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center in New York City and the Founder and Story Mentor for Girls Write Haiti, Port au Prince, Haiti. In addition, she is a senior teacher of Dharma Art in the Tibetan tradition of mindfulness. Previously, she was a Senior Research Fellow at Rutgers University and worked with UN Women, Mercy Corps, Common Ground, and The Arthur Mauro Peace and Justice Center. Simms has taught master classes in storytelling and fairy tales at Antioch University, NH and New York University, NYC. She is known as an advocate for engagement, compassion and imagination as a powerful antidote to the challenges we face in today’s world. She earned a BA from Harpur College, Binghamton University in Comparative Literature and History.

    Therese Folkes Plair is a musician, storyteller, educator, and activist with 30 years experience developing arts education programs. She has worked in schools with grades prek-12 in the New York State and the New York City tri-state area. Plair is currently an NGO Representative to the United Nations for IDEAL Society (Institute for the Development of Education, Arts & Leisure) British Columbia, Canada and Co-Chair of the United Nations NGO Committee on Children’s Rights. Her international work includes the US State Department’s Speakers’ Program sponsorship of Storytelling: A Culturally Familiar Means of Educating and Disseminating Information About Social Issues (2001). She has a BA in theater and anthropology from Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, New York.

    Saturday April 4, 2020

    2020 Honoree:

    Tom Roderick, educator, activist and writer retired recently after 35 years as founding director of the Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility.  He has worked closely with educators to help young people develop the values, personal qualities, and skills necessary to thrive and contribute to their communities.

    Back to the Garden: Inspiring Kindergarteners to Grow into Curious and Concerned Citizens of the World

    Kindergarten children, in the presence of gifts of nature – seeds, tall trees, rain storms, birds with many types of beaks, and leaves that change color- wonder, explore, and talk about how things grow and change as they seek to become experts. We, their teachers and their multicultural families, with the magic of the outdoors, help children understand the complex concerns for conservation, health, food, shelter, and climate. Our contribution will be to prevent raising the last children in the woods.

    Dr. Maritza Macdonald has been on the faculty of Bank Street College, Columbia University, Teachers College, and the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH).  Her expertise and research focus on the importance of learning outside school, the importance, beauty, and humans’ need for nature, while encouraging cultural and linguistic knowledge for all. Her major contributions at the AMNH include the development of URBAN ADVANTAGE, a partnership between museums, botanical gardens, zoos, and The Hall of Science. Most recently she created the Master Level Science Teacher Preparation Program. Dr. Macdonald is an Alumna of Bank Street College and Teachers College and the recipient of two Honorary Doctorates in Humane Letters from Bank Street (2011) and Richard Gilder Graduate School at the American Museum of Natural History (2019).

    Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking

    This talk will give participants a chance to think about and practice using the range of questions to support high level thinking. We will explore the types of questions that can stimulate culturally responsive conversations in kindergarten classrooms and share many ways to engage kindergartners in discussions about their family and their community.

    Dr. Janis Strasser has been in the field of early childhood education for more than 45 years as a preschool, kindergarten and music teacher, and Head Start Education Coordinator. She is also a professor of early childhood education at William Paterson University. Dr. Strasser has been consulting editor for Young Children, a member of the Advisory Board of Teaching Young Children, and has published more than 60 journal articles and several book chapters. She is the co-author of two books including Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking (2017), with Lisa Mufson Bresson. A graduate of Bank Street, she received the 2001 Bank Street Alumni Association award for Outstanding Accomplishments in the Field of Education.

  • School-based Pre-Conference

    Friday April 3, 2020
    8:30am – 2pm

    Language, Questioning and the Teacher-Child Relationship

    Participants will spend the morning observing in Bank Street School for Children or Castle Bridge Public School classrooms and will come together for a facilitated discussion and working lunch about the importance of language and the teacher-child relationship in every classroom. Topics may include: questioning techniques, racial literacy, assessment, and the teacher’s role during art activities and free play. Using observations from the morning and your own experiences as a frame of reference, the group will discuss practical ways of bringing the “garden” into their Kindergarten classroom or program.

    Fee: $115 (includes lunch) Participation is limited. Register early.

    Tentative Agenda:

    8:30 – 9:00 Welcome and introduction to observations
    9:00 – 11:30    Observations in classrooms
    Participants will spend time in 4/5, 5/6, and 6/7’s classrooms and other School for Children learning environments
    11:45 – 2:00    Lunch and facilitated discussion

    School sites (select one upon registration):

    Bank Street School for Children (Nursery – 8th Grade)

    610 West 112th Street, New York, NY 10025

    The School for Children is an independent demonstration school for Bank Street College and a working model of the College’s approach to learning and teaching. Education at the School is experience-based, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. The emphasis is on educating the whole child—the entire emotional, social, physical, and intellectual being—while at the same time, the child’s integrity as learner, teacher, and classmate is valued and reinforced.

    Castle Bridge School (PreK – 5th Grade)

    560 West 169 Street, New York, NY 10032

    Castle Bridge is a dual-language, progressive elementary school. Students learn English and Spanish. The school’s mission is to provide each student with a high-quality, arts-infused, project-based experience that will develop the skills and passions for inquiry and engagement in support of their growth as scholars, workers and citizens.

  • Museum-based Pre-Conference

    Science and Museums as Part of the Kindergarten Curriculum

    Participants will spend the day at the American Museum of Natural History, which offers a plethora of learning opportunities throughout its halls and in specially designed programs for children of all ages. Participants will draw upon activities from the Science and Nature Program, which facilitates science learning for kindergarten-aged children through the use of objects, specimens, dioramas, live animals, and toys. Participants will have time to reflect on the application of these activities to their own classroom or educational settings.

    Friday April 3, 2020
    9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
    Fee: $115 (includes lunch) Participation is limited. Register early.

    Facilitator: Jenny Ingber, Ph.D. is the Director of Children and Family Learning at the American Museum of Natural History. Jenny has devoted her career to enhancing science learning in both formal and informal learning environments. With experience in curriculum development, teacher preparation, and professional development, Jenny has worked with teachers from all over the country and at different stages in their careers. She holds a Ph.D. in Science Education from Columbia University.

    Co-Facilitators:  Educators from The Museum’s Science and Nature Program. The educators are fluent in the needs and interests of 5 and 6 year olds and the design of learning experiences to support their science education. Topics include seasons, microhabitats, animal behaviors and adaptations, and honing science skills such as observation, data analysis, and explanations using evidence.

    Tentative Agenda:
    9:00-9:15 Welcome, introduction, and free exploration in the classroom
    9:15-10:45 Demonstration Lesson #1 – Teachers as Learners
    10:45 -11:30 Reflection and application of the lesson to your setting – Teachers as Teachers
    11:30-12:00 Lunch
    12:00-1:30 Demonstration Lesson #2 – Teachers as Learners
    1:30- 2:15 Reflection and application of the lesson to your setting- Teachers as Teachers
    2:15- 2:30 Closing

From the 2019 Conference

  • 190+
    Educators attended
  • 97.7%
    Participants would recommend the conference to a colleague
  • 17
    US states were represented