2019 Early Childhood Education Conference - Play, Democracy and Language with Young Children: Honouring Young Children’s Instincts in Early Learning and Child Care
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2019 Early Childhood Education Conference - Play, Democracy and Language with Young Children: Honouring Young Children’s Instincts in Early Learning and Child Care
Presented by: Tom “Teacher Tom” Hobson & Lukacs Horvath
Saturday, March 23, 2019 | 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Session Location:
Lethbridge College 3000 College Dr S, Lethbridge, AB
About the Session:
8 to 8:30 a.m. Check in
8:30 to 8:45 a.m. Welcome message
8:45 to 10 a.m. Educating Citizens through Play
10 to 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 to 11:45 a.m. The Education Instinct
11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Lunch
1:15 to 2:30 p.m. Circle Time with Teacher Tom
2:30 to 2:45 p.m. Break
2:45 to 4 p.m. Speaking with Children So They Can Think

Click here for a printable copy 


Educating Citizens through Play

Tom speaks about how children’s play brings the habits and principles of democracy into early years classrooms. He will begin by discussing the purpose of education in democratic societies and how and why we have managed to veer so far from the original intent, which is to educate citizens capable of contributing to the grand experiment of self-governance. In this full-throated support for play-based education, Tom details through his illustrative classroom stories and examples exactly how his curriculum works. Participants will learn the benefits of introducing these playful principles into their own students, the hallmarks of what makes a good citizen both in a classroom as well as a democracy, the traits and habits required for self-governance, and practical tips on how to implement these ideas in their own classrooms. It is an inspiring, often touching, often hilarious, and always eye-opening and empowering presentation.

The Education Instinct

Tom speaks about the meaning of education for the human beings and how we have evolved as the animal whose survival is most reliant upon passing along the accumulated knowledge and achievements of prior generations. While education has always been a core human activity, schools are a relatively recent phenomenon. Tom will discuss how traditional schools fail to take into account the realities of our drive to educate ourselves, and often wind up perverting and squelching this adaptive instinct. Participants will learn the benefits of designing curricula that takes advantage of the education instinct as well as practical ideas for how to implement these ideas in their own classrooms.

Circle Time with Teacher Tom

At its core, a play-based early childhood curriculum is about supporting the children as they construct their own learning by asking their own questions, then having the time and space to pursue their own answers within the context of community. In this workshop, Tom brings the principles of a play-based learning to adult professional development. We will, together, construct our own learning based upon the questions that each of us bring to our “circle time.” Tom will facilitate our explorations in the same sort of freeform manner he employs in working with the young children he teaches, interspersing discussion with songs and stories. Come prepared to shake up your thinking as well as your booty.

Speaking with Children So They Can Think

In a very real sense, the language we use creates reality. Tom speaks on how the specific words we use, and how and when we use them, shapes reality for our students for both good and bad. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of being clear and precise with language; honoring children without commanding or bossing them; using words to create a world of facts and intrinsic motivation; creating space in which children must do their own thinking and make their own decisions; and supporting children as they learn from the natural consequences of their behaviours.

About the Presenter(s):
Tom “Teacher Tom” Hobson

Tom “Teacher Tom” Hobson is a preschool teacher, writer, speaker, artist and author. He is best known, however, for his namesake blog “Teacher Tom’s Blog” (teachertomsblog.blogspot.com), where he has posted daily since 2009, chronicling the life and times of his little preschool in the rain-soaked Pacific Northwest of the United States. For the better part of the past two decades, Tom has been the sole employee of the Woodland Park Cooperative School, a parent-owned and operated school, knit together by Tom’s democratic, progressive, play-based pedagogy. The children come to the school as 2-year-olds in diapers and leave as “sophisticated” 6-year-olds ready for the larger world. Tom came into teaching through the backdoor, so to speak, having enrolled his own child in a cooperative preschool, where he began working daily in his daughter’s classroom as an assistant teacher under the tutelage of veteran teachers (although he’ll be the first to tell you that most of what he learned came from the children themselves). When it was time for his daughter to move on, he “stayed behind,” where he plans to remain for the rest of his life. During his holidays and long weekends, Tom travels around the world (Greece, Iceland, Australia, China, New Zealand, Canada, the United Kingdom, and across the United States), sharing his views on early childhood education, play, and pedagogy.

Lukacs Horvath

Lukacs earned his Bachelor of Management in Human Resources and Industrial Labour Relations from the University of Lethbridge and became a Chartered Professional in Human Resources in 2008. He is currently practicing in Edmonton as a human resource professional, focusing on labour relations and strategic human resource initiatives. Lukacs is married with two young children, and he values an environment of trust in his professional and personal life. Compassion and altruism are pillars of his daily life. Lukacs serves on the board of Camp Warwa as the chair of the Internal Culture Committee.

Registration Fee:


Registration Deadline:

March 16, 2019

Registration Notes:

If you wish to attend the Directors' Session on March 22nd, please contact Child Care Directors’ Association of Southwest Alberta directly at childcaredirectors@gmail.com