The 9th Ontario Professional Development Conference for LINC Caregivers was a great success! Funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and hosted by the Learning Enrichment Foundation and CMAS, 300 participants from over 85 service providing organizations across Canada came together for two days of training that focused on their work with newcomer children. From start to finish, the conference inspired, educated, empowered, and entertained. Keynote speakers, Morteza Jafarpour and Mariatu Kamara, are both pillars of strength who have become leaders in community-building and diversity here in Canada. They inspired and motivated participants with personal stories of war, oppression, survival and possibility. The feature presenter, Martin Liberio educated in the most entertaining way! With his animated stories and memorable props, participants left with a new perspective on child care and their role as caregivers. The popcorn and movie event that evening also challenged current perceptions of childhood. Participants viewed “Babies,” a film that follows four children from vastly different corners of the world to build an understanding of differences in culture and child-rearing practices. Watching all of the children reaching developmental milestones was a thoroughly enjoyable way to end the day! All of the workshops were very well received. Topics covered a variety of issues from Culture Shock and Dual Language Learners, to Emergent Curriculum, Music and it’s links to Early Literacy. Caregivers fully immersed themselves in the learning opportunities and were active participants in making the conference such a success!
Don’t worry if you missed the conference this year, because four of the workshops were hand-picked to be filmed and developed as online tutorials and/or training DVDs. Watch for these titles to be available in the New Year: Block Play Builds Bodies and Minds, Welcoming Refugee Families, Great and Sustainable First Impressions: Using Your Environment as a Programming Tool, and Bringing a Children’s Story to Life.
Susan Stewart was back by popular demand, providing our closing remarks. In her clever and witty way, she reminded participants of the importance of living in the moment and becoming active participants in creating their futures.
Special thanks go out to CIC, The Learning Enrichment Foundation, all of the presenters and participants or making this year’s conference such a memorable event!