Emergent Curriculum Certificate program in Kindergarten and Early Learning Settings

A 6-session certificate program offered in relationship with The Ontario Reggio Association

How do teachers and early childhood educators in full-day kindergarten and early learning settings offer rich, high quality, experiential learning environments that support children’s meaning-making and learning through play, inquiry, and arts-based processes yet also honour curriculum expectations?

We invite kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators to participate in sessions that emphasize learning as an expansion of curiosity, creativity and responsible action – in both children and educators – in an emergent curriculum inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach. An emergent curriculum is one that is not all planned out beforehand in a linear sequence, but rather planned reciprocally with children as their interests are revealed and connected to rich experiences. Through study of pedagogical documentation, we see that kindergarten curriculum and early learning expectations are embedded within these rich experiences that also sustain children’s expansive meaning making about the world around them. In other words, this approach acknowledges society’s curriculum and expectations but adds the important layer of children’s meaning making.

We believe it is essential to co-construct environments in which children of this age can plan, play, have intentions, try them out, develop curiosity, and expand interests and love of the world. We see these aspects as interwoven in a rich tapestry of daily life lived in school.

The “we” spoken of here is the team of instructional leaders who are available to teach the sessions: all are people who have broad experience teaching in elementary schools and early learning settings and who have studied emergent curriculum in courses at the graduate level with Carol Anne Wien or in other university settings.

A Letter From Carol Anne Wien

For years, I have taught graduate courses in the Faculty of Education at York University on the Reggio Emilia approach and on pedagogical documentation. I watched some grad students grow enchanted with the concepts, values, and dispositions towards others considered in these courses, and saw them taking these ideas into their teaching contexts and creating change in the quality of teaching practice offered to their communities. They were among the innovators and creators who invigorate education. 

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The Six Sessions

Each session consists of 25 hours offered over one term, as 5 classes of 5 hours on Saturdays or other combinations that work for specific boards or contexts. Specific session details, dates and times are listed in the calendar. Sessions can be done in any order, with the proviso that beginners would generally begin with the Introduction. There will be a minimum and maximum number of registrants set for each session. In order for the Emergent Curriculum Certificate program sessions to take place we require a minimum number of registrations. If we do not meet the minimum number we will offer a refund of the registration fees. In the event that the maximum number of registrants is reached for a given session you will be notified and your name placed on a wait list. We will consider offering the sessions in locations where groups are located.

Check the calendar for upcoming session dates.

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Session 1

session 1

Introduction to
Curriculum in Kindergarten &
Early Learning Settings

Session 2

session 2

Environments that Support Learning Interactions

Session 3

session 3

Graphic Materials for Multiple Modes of Representation of Learning


Session 4

session 4

Conversations to Generate Children’s Theories and Inquiries 

Session 5

session 5

Pedagogical Documentation as Relationship

Session 6

session 6

Parents and Community in Learning

Session Instructors

Carol Anne Wien
 Carol Anne Wien still teaches a graduate course on Reggio Emilia or pedagogical documentation in the Faculty of Education, York University, for 2-weeks each August. She continues some speaking engagements across Canada, some consulting with early childhood programs in Nova Scotia, and developing her capacity to play jazz piano. She loves the arts — traces of the creative spirit — and attempts to bring them into daily life. 

Andrea Bolton
Andrea Bolton is a Kindergarten educator with a passion for inquiry, play and listening to the voices, ideas and theories of children. She completed her Masters of Education at York University and was deeply inspired and motivated by the work of Carol Anne Wien. She travelled to Reggio Emilia, Italy with the Canadian Study Group in 2015. Andrea enjoys collaborating and connecting with others through conferences, workshops and social media. Andrea has presented to many different groups of educators across Ontario sharing her passion and belief that children are competent, capable, and curious learners.

Brenda Jacobs
 Brenda Jacobs is a PhD Candidate in Education at York University where she teaches Teacher Candidates. She is also a part-time professor at Seneca College in the School of Early Childhood Education teaching in the Bachelor of Child Development degree program. Brenda is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Early Childhood Educators. Previously she taught elementary school-aged children for over twenty years in Oxford, England, Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario. Brenda’s M.Ed. research, which was supervised by Carol Anne Wien, focused on an emergent curriculum project called Children’s Conversations About the Sun, Moon, and Earth. This research was later published, in part, in Carol Anne’s book, Emergent Curriculum in the Primary Classroom. Other publications include a book chapter, with Carol Anne & Ellen Brown, called Emergent Curriculum and the Tension Between Relationship and Assessment. Brenda’s current PhD research, which is also being supervised by Carol Anne, is focused on pedagogical documentation, self-regulation, and oral and written language development in Full-Day Kindergarten classrooms. Brenda attends and participates in presentations and workshops held throughout Canada and internationally. She travelled to Reggio Emilia, Italy in 2011 and was part of the Canadian Study Group. 

Ellen Brown
Ellen Brown is a PhD student at York University researching pedagogical documentation. She is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers and the College of Early Childhood Educators. Prof. Carol Anne Wien was the supervisor for Ellen’s Master of Education thesis, “The Revelation of Self-Talk in Pedagogical Documentation.” Ellen leads workshops and presentations for child care groups and schools working with pedagogical documentation. 
Joanne Marie Babalis
Joanne Marie Babalis is a teacher, PhD student, and kindergarten additional qualification course instructor at York University. She is passionate about the early years, specifically designing spaces that inspire inquiry-based learning and creative innovation for twenty-first century learners. Her Blog, “TransformEd: Transforming our Learning Environment into a Space of Possibilities” www.myclassroomtransformation.blogspot.ca continues to reach educators throughout Canada and beyond.  Each post makes visible the power of inquiry, as well as the strong potential of young children.  Joanne’s learning is heavily rooted in the Reggio Emilia philosophy that was first introduced to her by Dr. Carol Anne Wien in the Master of Education program. 
Kerri Embrey
Kerri Embrey has been working in Reggio-inspired learning environments for 14 years. She has a background in Fine Arts and did her Master’s research with Dr. Carol Anne Wien at York University. Her thesis focused on listening to children, environment, materials and ideas through aesthetic engagement. She teaches at The Bishop Strachan School in Toronto. In September her role will be Lead Teacher and Art Specialist for the Junior School (JK-6). 
Leslie Siegrist-Hood
Leslie Siegrist-Hood is passionate about nurturing creativity and curiosity in our earliest learners. She feels so fortunate to have had the chance to be exposed to the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education early on in her teaching career, as its philosophy has been transformative for her. She is deeply inspired by the metaphor of the 100 languages of children and is guided by its message each and everyday. While Leslie was completing a  Master of Teaching degree from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, she heard Carol-Anne Wein speak at a variety of conferences. She always left inspired and wanting to learn more. After one conference, Leslie approached Carol-Anne and from there they began discussing the Graduate Diploma in Early Childhood Education at York University. She felt that a program with a strong focus on studying the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education and emergent curriculum would strengthen her understanding of our earliest learners. Leslie works as a teacher at Havergal College, a independent school for girls in Toronto, Ontario. 
Mary Jane Miller
Mary Jane Miller has taught students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade Six at the Toronto District School Board, and teacher candidates at York University’s Faculty of Education.  A portion of her thesis research that focussed on pedagogical documentation is featured in Carol Anne Wien’s book, Emergent Curriculum in the Primary Classroom.  Miller attended the Spring 2011 Canadian Study Tour in Reggio Emilia. 
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