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Events

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Teacher agency and bilingual education. Who gets to decide how bilingualism is to be promoted?

Dr Lara Ann Vella will be discussing the role of teacher agency in early bilingual development and education. She will be drawing on the data from classroom observations and interviews where the differential degrees of agency of two preschool educators in Malta were enacted. These educators mediated languages in their bilingual classrooms. The educators’ background and language beliefs, the sociolinguistic context (national and local), as well as the school language policies influenced their classroom agentive roles. Practical adaptive pedagogies/practices and flexible bilingual strategies which meet the language and affective needs of preschool children in a more equitable manner will be discussed.

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Travelling is Learning: BeeSmart’s Kindergarten Experience in Czech Republic

Continous professional development is important for all employees (whether one works within the Education department or not) making sure that one is continously motivated and inspired to achieve new personal goals in life. Fabianne Galea, the manager of BeeSmart Kindergarten together with five employees, had the opportunity to attend a hands-on structured course titled: "See, meet and share" for primary and preprimary educators. The aim of the session is to share the interesting lectures and workshops attended related to the topic of pre-school education in Ostrava. This was funded by Erasmus thus the BeeSmart Kindergarten team could travel to the Czech Republic, attend the course and have all fees covered including travel expenses, accommodation and tuition fees. Sharing best practices of this fantastic experience including what we have implemented as a school will surely be beneficial to all working in this sector.

This session will be delivered in Maltese. However, the slides will be in English text.

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Working with Father Figures in Early Years Settings

In this presentation Dr Ian Blackwell will discuss how to engage father figures in the early years. It will explore the value of having engaged fathers, the barriers that fathers face in accessing early years provision and will present a number of practical strategies providers should consider to reach out to father figures in their locality. Ian will also present his recent PhD research into 'dadness' and how communities can support caring, engaged fathers.

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Exploring Practitioners’ view of reciprocal caregiving pedagogy: What really matters?

We are all familiar with the notion of providing high-quality ECEC provision. According to the political and policy discourse, it is assumed that we all share a universal meaning of quality, yet, as an early years practitioner/educator, what does it really mean to you? From your professional perspective, what is at the heart of quality educational care?

In this session, Georgina Fardoe will invite ECDAM members to listen to and share ideas, perspectives concerning the idea of providing quality ECEC, specifically, aspects of process quality. Central to ECEC process quality lies the embodied interaction between adult and child. This presentation grapples with different perspectives of relational care pedagogy, whilst bridging the gap between theory and practice. By the end of the presentation, participants will be able to identify their approach to interacting with young children, furthermore, their unique professional repertoire, whilst recognising how the quality of their interaction influences the relationships they have with their respective young children.

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Building strong motor skills: Nurturing developmental pre-writing skills

In this session Ms Maria Mizzi will look into the necessary motor developmental skills that are required to build a strong hand, and in return produce clear and legible handwriting. The audience will be able to discover that handwriting requires much more than what we see, it is not just about knowing how to manipulate a pencil in the children’s tiny fingers, or learning the formation of letters, or even learning to write within the lines. Writing requires a whole body effort, this includes giving appropriate attention to position and posture and strenghtening the larger muscles before focusing on controlling the smaller muscles of the hands. The audience will also learn what to look out for when children produce illegible handwriting. This session will also include general recommendations on how to help our children improve their fine motor skills which will eventually enhance their handwriting skills.

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Early Childhood Education in Estonia

The session will include:

An overview about the Early Childhood Education System, Ms Tiina Peterson, Chief Expert of Pre-Primary Education, Ministry of Education and Research:

    • The Estonian national curriculum for preschools
    • The government investments into the development of preschools
    • ProgeTiger programme
    • Finance principles of ECEC institutions
    • Collaboration with universities and ECEC institutions
    • OECD International Early Learning and Well-being Study (IELS)

Development activities, Ms Maria Jürimäe, Senior Specialist in Curriculum Theory and Learning and Junior Lecturer in Curriculum Theory, University of Tartu:

    • Uniqueness of Estonian early childhood education and care
    • Roots and history of Estonia`s pre-primary education
    • Development and implementation of national curricula
    • Toward child-centred pedagogy
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Nurturing a Pedagogy of Thinking in Early Childhood

Regrettably, young children’s thinking skills are at times underestimated because ability is often associated with age. In this session, Dr Gauci will draw on her doctoral research to show that instead, young children are active competent thinkers who can process information, solve their inquiries, think critically, think creatively and engage in metacognition.  The concepts of relational pedagogy, meaningful dialogues, co-construction and emergent curriculum will be discussed as well as demonstrating how educators can assist children to foster thinking skills while exploring their working theories during project work.  Finally, Dr Gauci will discuss the role of school leaders in sustaining this pedagogy of thinking.

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Planning in the Moment

The session will introduce the idea of 'planning in the moment' as children play.  Ms Ephgrave will explain the rationale behind the approach as well as considering some of the practicalities involved in implementing such an approach.

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The Calming Power of Touch

During this presentation we will discuss the benefits of touch. We will focus on the benefits massage has on children and also on the care givers giving the massage. We will also discuss how massage therapy can help with a child's development if used on a daily basis. 

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Bullying & Disability

Bullying cuts across all ages and is present in all sections of society. There is always that something which can make a person the target of bullying. Much bullying takes place because of prejudice, because a person is different, be it race, gender, sexuality, social status…but also disability.

In this session, Malta’s only anti-bullying NGO, bBrave, shall introduce its organisation and the general forms of bullying.

Blue Iris shall then discuss the rationale for attending this presentation and connect this social scourge to disability, outlining the forms of bullying individuals with disabilities, as well as their families’ experience, the pain it brings to these individuals and their families, and potential solutions available.

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The Right to Silence

“Silence please” …  “Do not make any noise” … “Be quiet” … “Pay attention” …  These and many other phrases may come to mind when we recall our own experience of silence during our days in school. But should it be so?  Has silence only to do with discipline or can it be a means of fostering a positive experience in very young children? During our meeting we will explore the meaning of silence and what research and ancient traditions are telling us. We will explore ways and means how to foster positive silence during different moments of the day and through different techniques – including Maria Montessori’s Silence Game and Mindfulness.

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Transforming Small Outdoor spaces with BIG ideas: transdisciplinary play and learning.

Suzanne Axelsson lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. She holds a Masters in ECE from Sheffield University, UK - her home country. During her graduate studies, Suzanne specialized in the Reggio Emilia Approach; language and communication; documentation as a tool to aid memory and deepen children's learning; and investigating what “quality” is in an early years setting.

Suzanne has a special interest in the art of listening and philosophy with children; exploring how play supports children in developing their listening skills with the understanding that listening is more than just hearing words; as well as practicing an anti-bias approach (also known as ‘norm-aware’ in Sweden).

Suzanne works at Stockholm University teaching trainee preschool teachers in outdoor learning, and museum visits to enhance ongoing projects. She spends the rest of her time as a consultant for preschools to develop their democratic approach to play and learning, and developing and writing about ‘Original Learning.’ She is actively participating in education conferences around the world and is a well-received presenter/keynote. Suzanne is also involved with educators in Jenin, Palestine offering them both on site and remote support. In her capacity as an advisor her efforts are focused on: inspiring a greater play focus on early childhood education; creating and supporting inclusive classrooms; offering site support and teacher training/mentoring; as well as researching the effectiveness of the course she is providing.

She has written chapters about play and learning, with focus on risky play, that will be published during 2021.

Description of Session

Outdoor learning and play with young children is essential for well-being and healthy physical, social and emotional development. Designing spaces for young children with limited budgets and limited space can feel restrictive. This presentation offers inspiration connecting theory and practice, with visual suggestions from around the world, analysed for their play and learning potential. The aim is to expand the possibilities of outdoor play and learning for young children even when the square meters cannot be.

 

If you are interested in joining this online session, please register through our website: https://ecdam.org to reserve a place. The Zoom link will be sent to you a couple of hours before the session starts. Only individuals registered will be sent the link and assigned an attendance ticket to count for the issue of the CPD hours certificate.

 

Looking forward to seeing you.

ECDAM Committee

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The Child Above All: The Project Approach

Ryan Calleja has been serving as a Kindergarten Educator (KGE) for the past five years visiting as many as 11 Primary Schools, serving within two different colleges: St. Ignatius College and St. Benedict’s College. Presently, Ryan is working at Zurrieq Primary. Mr Calleja has also worked for a short time at St. Paula’s Early Education Center and has worked for three years at the Foundation for Educational Services (FES), with children aged 3 to 16, in five of their centres.

Session Overview:

Ryan will be talking about a child-centered approach and the importance of unstructured Outdoor Play. Shifting from an adult/teacher centered approach to the Emergent Curriculum has really been beneficial for both the children and for Ryan (educators) himself/themselves. Ryan will also show the process of the projects: how they come about; the importance of observing and allowing time for things to happen and develop; and the idea of moving away from the conventional rigid system of numeracy and literacy - the pen to paper approach. to putting the child into perspective.

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Luke Agius is in his 7th year as a Kindergarten Educator (KGE). For him this is not a job but it is who I he is, and does this every day with passion and excitement as if it was his first time. He currently teaches in San Gwann Primary. Luke is also an Early Years Music Practitioner; he has been carrying out various music educational workshops. These workshops consist of exposing children to instruments, beat, percussions, types of music and hands-on activities. These workshops took place in places like: government schools, church schools, Crickids festival, Notte Bianca, ECDAM, collaborations with Malta Education, different local institutions such as MCAST and other private centres.

Session Overview:

In this presentation, Mr Agius will share different ideas and learning opportunities that he carried out with the children in these past months making use of the Emergent Curriculum and the Project Approach. Children came up with different aspects of learning that he would not have imagined that they wanted to learn about. Luke considers this new approach as fun and beneficial for both the child and the KGE. He feels that he can be more flexible, more creative and more open for new ways of learning.

 

If you are interested in joining this online session, please register through our website: https://ecdam.org/events to reserve a place. The Zoom link will be sent to you a couple of hours before the session starts. Only individuals registered will be sent the link and assigned an attendance ticket to count for the issue of the CPD hours certificate.

 

Looking forward to seeing you.

ECDAM Committee

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Discovery Through play

Childcare has been at the centre of who Pia Darmanin is for as long as she can remember. From a very young age, even whilst being in childcare herself, she was always keen on looking after children who were younger than she was. As she grew up, she could never imagine having a career that didn't involve childcare. She eventually read for a Bachelor's degree in Psychology with the University of Malta and then carried on to a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education with the University of Sheffield.

She has been working and taking care of children for the past 15 years, including 4 years in Amsterdam where she worked with over thirty-five families from all over the world. She moved back to Malta in 2015, pregnant with her first child. She is now the General Manager of three childcare centres. Pia also teaches in the award in Early Years Education, Development and Care with Avanza Academy and is the public relations officer of ECDAM.

Description of the session

This session will focus solely on practical ideas for childcare staff. She will be discussing how to plan effective activities which will help children fully engage, and explain how the main goal is all about the process and not the product. She will also delve into how one can allow children to take the lead which will enhance their learning, as well as what the attachment role of the educator is when aiming for calmer, happier children who are constantly absorbing information from their environment. 

If you are interested in joining this online session, please register through our website: https://ecdam.org to reserve a place. The Zoom link will be sent to you a couple of hours before the session starts. Only individuals registered will be sent the link and assigned an attendance ticket to count for the issue of the CPD hours certificate.

Looking forward to seeing you.

ECDAM Committee

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“Nimbly, Simply, Confidently, Naturally”

Description of the Session

Dorothy Marlen would like introduce us to the Pikler approach with particular emphasis on the crucial importance of natural motor development in the first 18 months of life. The presentation will include:

  • An introduction to the lemniscate of care (the 2 main principles of the Pikler approach) and how this links with Steiner’s understanding of the 4 lower senses. 
  • Sharing her experience of running parent and baby groups based on the lemniscate of care
  • The crucial importance of natural movement progression for later learning and development
  • Natural motor development, primitive reflexes and obstacles to natural movement development.
  • How we can best support babies natural motor development.

Dorothy Marlen called the session: "Nimbly, simply, confidently, naturally" for a reason. This is taken from a quote by Emmi Pikler (“If we give children enough space and possibilities for free movement, they will move as beautifully and gracefully as animals, nimbly, simply, confidently and naturally").

If you are interested in joining this online session, please register through our website: https://ecdam.org to reserve a place. The Zoom link will be sent to you a couple of hours before the session starts. Only individuals registered will be sent the link and assigned an attendance ticket to count for the issue of the CPD hours certificate.

 

Looking forward to seeing you.

ECDAM Committee

 

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Making Malta fit for Children: Learning from Jordan

Ronald G. Sultana is professor of sociology and comparative education at the University of Malta, a member of the Faculty of Education, and founding director of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Educational Research. He has carried out fieldwork in several countries in Europe, the Mediterranean region, and New Zealand, from where he obtained his PhD. His research focuses on educational innovation, teacher training, and the links between education and work. This year he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Université Laval in Quebec, in recognition of his efforts to promote social justice through education.

If you are interested in joining this online session, please register through our website: https://ecdam.org to reserve a place. The Zoom link will be sent to you a couple of hours before the session starts. Only individuals registered will be sent the link and assigned an attendance ticket to count for the issue of the CPD hours certificate.

 

Looking forward to seeing you.

ECDAM Committee

 

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Myriad of Discourse – Quality Approaches for Early Reading with Under-threes

Dr Karen Boardman is the Head of Department Early Years Education at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, Lancashire, England. Karen has worked in a variety of exciting roles with babies and young children from birth to seven years old for the past thirty-five+ years, both as an Early Years practitioner and a Nursery/Reception teacher. Karen is responsible for all Undergraduate and Graduate Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) teaching routes, alongside a range of Undergraduate Early Childhood Education and Early Years Foundation degree programmes. Karen is passionate about high quality, authentic early years provision, supporting the individual needs of all learners and thus impacting upon the life chances of very young children and families. Karen’s research interests are early reading with under-threes, literacy pedagogy and provision for under-threes.

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Education for sustainable development in the early years

Jane Spiteri is a lecturer in the Department of Early Childhood and Primary Education, within the Faculty of Education, at the University of Malta. She holds a PhD from the University of Edinburgh with a doctoral research on Education for Sustainable Development in Early Childhood. She has a long a standing interest in environmental learning with young children. She has published her research in peer-reviewed scholarship on education for sustainable development, early childhood education, outdoor learning, participatory research methods with young children, and gifted and talented education.

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S.T.E.A.M projects through the E-Twinning platform

Brief Bio:

Six years ago, I graduated from MCAST LV5 in Advanced Early years and since then I have been teaching at Kindergarten level (alternating Kinder 1 & Kinder 2). I currently teach Kinder 2 at San Ġorġ Preca College, Ħamrun S.S Primary School, using the combination of both S.T.E.A.M education and that of the Emergent Curriculum.

Back in the scholastic year 2016/2017, I was searching for more growth in my profession when I came across an E-Twinning workshop in the same year. From there on I embarked on both local and also European projects which improved my teaching pedagogy through various collaborations whilst also gaining several Quality labels both on a local and European level. After my second year in E-Twinning, my interest in the platform increased and in 2018 I have been appointed as an E-Twinning Ambassador making the journey even more pleasant and a fruitful learning one.  

Seeking for more knowledge and growth throughout my teachings, I combined what I love doing most to enhance S.T.E.A.M-tastic activities through E-Twinning, leading me to a world of both personal and professional outcomes through collaborated works.

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