By Nandini Bhattacharjya, Teacher
This year, many teachers from Bing Nursery School made presentations at the California Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual conference. The event, held April 3-5, 2014 in Pasadena, gives teachers, program directors and researchers opportunities to share with others their work with young children, changes they made in their own programs and their research. Attending and presenting at the CAEYC conference is always fun, educational and inspiring. Following are some of the highlights of our presentations.
In Examining Your Role as an Educator: Nurturing a Culture of Creative Thinking, Peckie Peters, head teacher, and Bev Hartman, head teacher and director of the Bing Institute, explored the question: What is creative thinking? They shared the viewpoint that creativity is not limited to the area of creative arts but can be nurtured and should be valued in all the areas of the classroom. They also gave teachers strategies and tools that would guide them to foster creative thinking in early childhood classrooms.
In Potential of the Learning Environment: the Role of the Environment in Enhancing and Integrating Creative Thinking in Children, Parul Chandra, head teacher, and Nandini Bhattacharjya, teacher, presented on how the learning environment plays a vital role in supporting creative thinking, an important skill to nurture in young children. They brought into focus some of the key elements in a learning environment that help foster creative thinking: displays that spark children’s interest and classroom spaces, indoor and outdoor, that children can use in a self-directed manner to express this kind of thinking.
Jennifer Winters, director, along with Todd Erickson, teacher, discussed the history and use of unit blocks in their presentation, Block Building: A Teacher’s Role. The Lessons from the First 100 Years Forward. They also talked about ways to guide children in block play in the classroom and the importance of this material in every early childhood setting. (For more information, see pages 24 and 27.)
Erickson also gave a presentation on math, Counting on Play: Creating a Preschool-Aged Mathematics Foundation in a Play-Based Curriculum. He described various techniques that allow play and mathematics to meaningfully intersect in a play-based learning environment. (For more information, see page 22.)
Kitty Pecka, head teacher, presented Creative Art for the Young Child: Inspiring Creative Thinking through Visual, Tactile and Auditory Curriculum, focusing on her work with 2-year-olds.
We were elated by the positive feedback all of our presentations received. We hope teachers from Bing will continue to inspire and enhance other programs by sharing the work we do with children in our very own classrooms.