Tell us a bit about yourself, and your transition from classroom teacher to your current role (or should we say roles!)
I'm a mom of a curious and spunky preschooler, an Ontario Certified Teacher teacher with a Masters of Teaching and certifications in primary, junior and intermediate divisons, and an educational leader for Curriculum and Instruction Support Services at the Peel District School Board. I taught elementary school before moving into leadership roles that re-focused my work from teaching students to coaching teachers. In my current role, I work alongside administrators and teachers to implement initiatives that improve teaching practices and student learning, support numeracy and literacy across the curriculum and am personally passionate about supporting modern learners in the Early Years.
I started my blog and Instagram platform, Modern Learning Mom, to expand my learning community to include parents, guardians and caregivers. I curate play-based learning that’s inspired by research, theory and effective practices for young children. Building and fostering this online learning community empowers educators (including parents!) to learn from each other and develop a deeper understanding of how young children learn best - through exploration, play, and inquiry.
If you could give one piece of advice to another parent who’s looking to incorporate more play-based learning into their lives, what would it be?
Include open-ended materials in your play spaces – and these materials and toys don't need to be expensive! Think toilet paper rolls, rocks, beads, shells, popsicle sticks, etc. Kids can create and build over and over again because there isn’t one right way to play with the materials. I like to organize our loose parts in a tinker tray, which is just a wooden cutlery tray. For larger recyclable items, I like to use clear bins so that the items are visible when playing and creating, but are still organized in inviting ways.