Creating inclusive learning environments and empowering young children [Webinar Recording]

In this webinar we welcomed three early childhood educators to discuss effective strategies for cultivating environments that embrace every child, family, and staff member and the power of inclusion for healthy child development. We discussed how to implement actionable strategies for creating inclusive learning environments, how to cultivate a safe and welcoming space for all children, families and educators and explored firsthand accounts of how inclusion positively impacts everyone in the childcare community.

🎤Our Special Guests:

Christine Behm – Center owner | Right from the Start

Christine Behm is the owner of Right from the Start Early Learning Academy in Hamburg, PA, a center marking its 20th anniversary in May. Right from the Start works with children from the ages of birth to grade 5. Christine has been involved in early childhood education her whole life, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Education Psychology and a Masters in Urban Education. Beyond her responsibilities at the childcare center, she has contributed her expertise to the Pennsylvania Department of Education Early Childhood Department and served as a Certification Representative for the licensing agency. Christine is married with two adult children. 

Liza Babaran | Curriculum Coordinator |  Green Apple Children’s Center 

Liza is the curriculum coordinator at Green Apple Kids in Toronto, ON.  Liza was born and raised in the Phillipines, which is where she began her career in early childhood education. With eight years of private childcare experience in the Philippines and seven years as a RECE at Green Apple Kids, Liza truly understands the importance of tailored programs, recognizing each child’s interests, abilities, and capabilities. As a childcare provider, she emphasizes incorporating play as a mode of learning, fostering active participation and mutual learning between educators and children. Liza recently had the opportunity to visit Reggio Emilia in Italy to study their teaching philosophy in-depth. 

Kayla Warburton| Early Childhood Educator |  Lillio

Kayla is a mother to a toddler and was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. She entered into the child care space at a young age; first, as a volunteer at before and after school programs, and then as a youth mentor, tutor, and reading buddy at various organizations. Kayla went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts Honours In Drama and Criminology from the University of Windsor in 2013. She then reentered the child care space as an assistant director of a school age program and later as a preschool teacher. In 2018 Kayla returned to school and achieved a 4.0 in the Master of Education program at OISE, University of Toronto. Kayla studied Curriculum Studies & Teacher Development with emphasis in Arts in Education, STEM Education, and Critical Pedagogy (focus on anti-oppressive approaches to education). Kayla has helped organize conferences such As the AAACS (American Association for the Advancement of Curriculum Studies) and has now joined the Lillio team and helps support educators with relevant & applicable professional development content.

🧪Key takeaways from Christine, Liza and Kayla!

  • When setting up the learning environment, create a classroom that expects every child, not one that accomodates a child.
  • Include everyone in the center when it comes to supporting the needs of a child or family, this ensures a positive continuity of care as the child progresses through classrooms.
  • Ask families questions, don’t make assumptions. This will help you to build strong relationships with families and ensure a strong school to home connection.
  • Engage in professional development and webinars and make sure to implement your learning. Even if you fail the first few times that is okay, it is important to try. Be sure to also share your knowledge and support fellow educators when they need help.

✨Resources and Links

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Maddie Hutchison

Maddie is a Registered Early Childhood Educator with a Master's in Early Childhood Studies. Her specialty is in Children's Rights and she is currently a Content Strategist for HiMama!

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