Friday, August 29, 2014

September Dates

All important September dates have now been added to the monthly calendar tab, which can be found in the menu bar at the top of this blog.

Exciting News!

Greater Essex County Teacher Deanna Pecaski Wins 
ETFO Writer’s Award
How a bird feeder inspired self-initiated learning in 
Kindergarten students. 
August 12, 2014

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has presented Greater Essex County 
teacher Deanna Pecaski McLennan with its 2014 Writer’s Award - Women’s Program for her 
published work on stimulating the imaginations of our youngest students.

The award is presented to an active ETFO female member or a group of female members to 
recognize published or unpublished works. Deanna’s article, Bird Feeding: Giving Flight to the 
Imaginations of 4-and 5-Year-Olds appeared in Young Children and the book Developmentally 
appropriate practice: Focus on Kindergarteners published by the U.S. National Association for 
the Education of Young Children.

A teacher in the full-day early learning program at Amherstburg Public School, Deanna recounts 
how the placement of a bird feeder outside her Kindergarten classroom inspired child-led inquiry, 
discussion and research. Her own interest in bird-watching unwittingly sparked the imaginations 
of her students, many of whom live in cooperative, subsidized housing or apartment buildings 
with no access to yards or trees.

The arrival of a variety of birds week after week fascinated students, who increasingly incorporated
their observations into language activities, creative writing, the arts, mathematics and science. 
They self-initiated discussions, research and investigations of the birds’ habits which led to 
meaningful, collaborative learning, which is core to the play-based philosophy of Ontario’s 
Kindergarten curriculum.

Deanna, who holds a Ph.D in educational studies from University of Windsor, has published 
numerous scholarly articles on early years learning. She was the 2013 recipient of the ETFO 
Writer’s Award.

“Not only does Deanna continue to innovate in her instructional practice; she models that practice 
to other educators by publishing her findings in leading professional development publications,” 
said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “An engaging and thoughtful writer, she inspires educators to 
transform their learning environments to help students be the best that they can be.” 
The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education 
professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

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