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Reflections on the SECA 2014 Conference

27 Jan 2014 by Mary-Margaret Gardiner

I had the pleasure of attending the SECA annual conference January 16-18 in Williamsburg, Virginia.

SECA (the Southern Early Childhood Association) represents 14 states and holds its annual conference in a different location every year. My colleague Sedra Spano and I presented at the pre-conference session to a packed house. We were so excited by the response to our work at Teachstone® and are looking forward to maintaining all the relationships forged or strengthened during our time in Williamsburg.

On Friday, I attended two general sessions and found them to be both inspiring and valuable. The first speaker was Elena Bodrova who was discussing her work with Tools of the Mind. Her compelling presentation, “The Importance of Being Playful: The Science of Play and the Practice of Playful Learning," dealt with the importance of make-believe play. The second speaker was Ellen Galinsky who shared her work around executive function and brain development. Like the first, this session—“Mind in the Making, What’s New?"—had me furiously taking notes. It was all so fascinating!

Both speakers were wonderful, engaging, and thought provoking. The most exciting part for me was the way I was able to connect our work with the CLASS™ system to their findings. For every point they shared, I found a direct link to a domain, dimension, or indicator that our work has identified as important to children’s positive social and cognitive outcomes. It’s wonderful to see how movements in the early care and education field are intersecting to improve the experiences of our children.

If you haven't already, I invite you to read their books Tools of the Mind: The Vygotskian Approach to Early Childhood Education (Bodrova) and Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs (Galinsky). Please use the space below to draw any connections you see between these powerful books and our CLASS system—I'd love to hear your thoughts!