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Heather Hansen has worked with children of ages 3 months up to 12 years for the past 25 years. She is an avid conference attendee and has also been consulting and presenting on Early Education in Atlantic Canada for over a decade. Heather thrives on both learning and teaching. She hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia where she received her Bachelor of Child Study and her Management Development for Women. When not thoroughly immersed in the world of child development on boards and associations or at the program where she works, Heather is typically chauffeuring her daughters, or is nose deep in a book. She also loves to laugh and to make others laugh.

 

• Learning Environment Change: It’s impact on the quality of engagement in an early learning program : Through a visual presentation of photos and videos, we show exciting changes that took place in a program that has infants, toddlers and preschoolers. From starting in a corner, a shift in thinking and approach led to small environment changes with some different materials and the addition of loose parts. As the use of loose parts as a key element of engagement became more and more vital to the changing curriculum of the program, the learning environments were assessed and analyzed with goals set for change. Experiences are shared from a study tour of the Chicago Commons programs as well as a study tour of the London Bridges programs and how this impacted the plan for the learning environment shift.

• The DRIVE to Play & Connection Building:   For adults to be able to teach children… they need to build a connection. They not only need to build a connection with the child BUT they also need to have a connection with themselves. Do adults need to play? Do adults have a drive to play? How does one’s play feed the adult’s ability to see themselves? How does it nurture them? How does the play of an adult or lack of play affect how they connect with their students / children? The intrinsic need for play is something that is present in all people regardless of age and size. The need for connection is also equally important. I wonder about these two things and the relation to the quality of teaching that an educator can deliver.

• Wake up!  :  this workshop looks at the profession we work in and how we each have the chance to own and fuel it personally with our own passion.  Why are we in this field?  What do we want out of it?   Where do we want it to go?  What are our priorities?   This workshop leads to many questions but brings about an internal process to put own work into perspective and fuel our drive moving forward.  

• Tangibility:  The Need for Real and Authentic   :   this workshop examines the delivery of a program through real experiences versus activities designed to meet needs of others.  All too often we are unknowingly (or knowingly!) succumbing to the pressures parents, families, schools, society etc. put on us a profession and wind up offering experiences that are not developmentally appropriate.  This workshop gives some examples of this and leads the attendees through a means of challenging themselves about their practice.

• Interactive Goal Setting  :  This workshop requires the participants to all have a tablet or smartphone or netbook and during the workshop, questions are posed about the program they work in and they answer the question on the device.  As the questions are answered, the results are reviewed and discussed onscreen without anyone knowing who answered what.  It leads to developing a path for future professional development as well as assists in the development or refinement of values of the center and direction.  

• What is in a Game?  :  This workshop is very interactive.  It offers the chance for the participants to play action games together with builds networking abilities as well as community.  Children do not have enough opportunities to play these with facilitated guidance (for explaining the game playing process etc) and these seem to be going by the wayside.  Many games will be shared, played and there will be opportunities for those attending to share their versions and others! 

• AKIMBO!  :  Children use their whole bodies. They glory in space and movement. How do we enable this? How do we mentor it? They not only glory in this but also in the moment. This workshop has participants reflecting on this, making plans to support it and also has the participants experiencing it too!

• Follow Through  :  All too often, people go to conferences or workshops and get excited by what they have learned but do not build in the means to follow through on implementing these ideas and constructs and then maintaining them. This workshop discusses this and then gives ideas for the participants to retain new learnings as well as implementation.

Heather has her Bachelor of Child Study from Mount Saint Vincent University as well as her Management Development for Women. She has worked in the field of Early Childhood in Nova Scotia for over 25 years. During that time, she worked in several daycare programs in the capitol of N.S., Halifax and then opened her own program, KIDS R KIDS Early Learning Centre. Throughout this time, she has been an avid conference & workshop attendee and presented workshops as well. She then founded Dew Resources and began to bring presenters to Nova Scotia for her colleagues to hear. She continues to manage the program she began as well as bring presenters and was asked in 2013 to travel to present outside of Nova Scotia.