Breath of Fresh Air features hands-on workshop opportunities for attendees

Friday, September 27


Demystifying play: Using pedagogical documentation technology to understand and explain play-based learning

Location: The Cabin

Facilitator: Mary Elizabeth Picher, Storypark

Many educators struggle to explain the purpose and value of play-based learning to parents and guardians. Research shows that the use of a pedagogical documentation technology called Storypark helped kindergarten teachers and early childhood educators to explain their play-based curriculum and understand it better themselves. This workshop will explore how pedagogical documentation and Storypark can be used to deepen practitioners’ understanding of play-based learning and strengthen their abilities to communicate with parents and guardians about play-based learning.

Outdoor play: Great for kids, tough [to measure] for researchers

Location: The Yurt

Facilitator: Michelle Guerrero, Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research Group at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

This workshop looks at the need for a standardized approach to measure outdoor active play. Participants will discuss existing approaches along with their strengths and limitations, and have the opportunity to explore and ‘play’ with subjective (e.g., activity logs) and objective (e.g., accelerometry) measures commonly used in outdoor play research. Attend this workshop to offer ideas and provide input for developing a new instrument/measure and take away best practices for measuring outdoor active play.

Land as Our First Teacher: Establishing and maintaining relationships

Location: The Forest – Meeting spot for Forest workshops & Walk and talk

Facilitator: Hopi Martin, York Region Nature Collaborative

The workshop is a land-based introduction to relationships between Indigenous worldviews and Ontario’s Early Years pedagogy through respectful approaches to Land, protocol, and Natural Curiosity. A hands-on demonstration of our walk with Indigenous community to make space for children, families, and ECEs to learn from multiple worldviews at the edge of the bush.

Saturday, September 28


How-to guides: Play Charter and Mobile Adventure Playground

Location: The Cabin

Facilitator: Stephanie Won, City of Calgary

Do you want to mobilize your community to support play? Or help your organization start a loose parts play program? Then this workshop is for you. The Alberta Recreation & Parks Association (ARPA), the Government of Alberta, the University of Alberta and the City of Calgary have partnered to develop ‘How-to guides’ for a Play Charter and Mobile Adventure Play. In this interactive workshop, you will work through some of the tools provided in the ‘How-to guides’, share ideas, hear about lessons learned and play a little.

Pedagogy of nature play in early years

Location: The Yurt

Facilitator: Laura Molyneux and Nora Trask, Child and Nature Alliance of Canada facilitators

This workshop will focus on the role of the educator as a co-facilitator in Forest and Nature Play. Borrowing from theories of the Reggio Emilia approach, project based learning and attachment theories, this workshop will attempt to help educators define for themselves what a “co-learner” means in preschool and the early years. Learn how to troubleshoot common challenges educators experience when taking young children outside and explore practical and theoretical solutions to them.

Walking with place: Storying forest encounters

Location: The Forest – Meeting spot for Forest workshops & Walk and talk

Facilitator: Lynn Short, Humber College Aboriginal Resource Centre; Louise Zimanyi, Humber College, Early Childhood Education; Kaitlin Beard, Humber College, Child Development Centre

Experience the importance of place from an Indigenous perspective through Four Directions teachings and the Seven Gifts of the Grandfathers. Through this walkshop, participants will engage in place-based, earth-centered storytelling (September moon and related stories), create a journey stick and a collective story of place. Stories of place from the forest nature program at Humber College will also be shared.

Saturday, September 28


Forest school in the city: Building an ethic of care with urban green spaces

Location: The Cabin

Facilitator: Margaret Fraser and Roxanne Marcil, The Lion and The Mouse
*This workshop will be offered in English and in French*

Running a forest school in the city of Montreal, The Lion and The Mouse have spent five years navigating the needs and limits of public green spaces and the communities they serve. In this workshop, you will hear about their collaborative experiences, conservation efforts and negotiation tactics as we discuss what it means to have an ethic of care, both towards the spaces we frequent and each other

Loose parts and outdoor learning: Thinking and playing outside the box

Location: The POP-UP Adventure Playground at the Ottawa Forest and Nature School

Facilitator: Linda Naccarato, Earth Day Canada

This workshop will focus on how to support healthy child development through self-directed play opportunities outdoors with loose parts. Participants will explore how a variety of creative, up-cycled and open-ended materials can help expand the potential for play and learning in any outdoor environment.

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