Branches Clay Workshop Date Change

We still have some space in our upcoming Workshops.

Please note the important DATE CHANGE  for the Clay Workshop which will now be on June 20th.

Viewing the World through Our Lens: A Journey Through Photography and Transformation   New Workshop

Saturday May 30th 9am to 3pm  $75.00 Branches_spring_2015_Reg_Form

Presented by Iwonka Dziag and Laila Hussain

  • What is the language of photography?
  • How can photography support literacy?
  • How is photography used to represent children’s ideas and uncover children’s theories?
  • How is photography introduced to the children?
  • How does photography alter our understandings of the world?
  • How does this language support children’s imagination?
  • How does the use for clay expand and deepen the curriculum?
  • How does photography support poetic language?

 Integrating Clay into the Classroom and Curriculum: 

A hands on Exploration of Clay

Saturday June 20th 9am to 3pm $100.00 Branches_spring_2015_Reg_Form

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath and Shirley Vien

  • What is the alphabet of clay?
  • How can clay support literacy?
  • How is clay used to represent children’s ideas?
  • How is clay introduced to the children?
  • How does the use of clay expand and deepen the curriculum?
  • How does clay become a tool for collaboration?

This Workshop includes the price of 25LB of clay that participants can take back to their centers.

About the presenters


Patricia Hunter McGrath is the Executive Director/Atelierista of  Branches Atelier in Culver City, California.  Over the past 19 years she has developed an innovated early childhood program inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. From 2005 to 2007 Patricia developed the role of the Atelierista at Bold Park Community School in Perth, Australia. From 1998 to 2005 she was the Atelierista at Evergreen Community School where she developed a unique approach to children’s symbolic languages. Using clay, wire, paint, dance, etc. children enter into relationship with the materials and express, clarify and modify their ideas and theories. She also taught at the Growing Place in Santa Monica for 7 years. Patricia is an artist and has over 20 years experience in Early Childhood Education.  Patricia has taught the Reggio Emilia Class at Santa Monica College and at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.  Patricia graduated with a Masters degree in Human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. She also speaks at conferences throughout the United States and abroad and has visited Reggio Emilia, Italy six times.  She is also a contributing author of the book In the Spirit of the Atelier published by Davis Press and Insights and Inspiration from Reggio Emilia also published by Davis Press.

Christina Bianchi is a preschool teacher and environmental atelierista at Branches Atelier. Prior to becoming an educator at Branches Atelier, Christina worked as the Program Director for The Children’s Nature Institute bringing her passions for teaching, children and promoting environmental literacy to the agency. In addition to overseeing both the design and implementation of all new education programs and curricula; Christina also worked with Development staff on grants related to program development, managed a staff of Environmental Educators and coordinated and implemented volunteer training.

Joshua Castillo attended Pacific Oaks College and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development with a minor in Social Change.  A student of the Early Childhood Field for over 20 years, Joshua has sought to provide information and support to families, which will enhance their journey through life.  Joshua taught at Evergreen Community School and trained new staff for eleven years. She also was the director and teacher of Hill & Dale Infant/Toddler Family Learning Center.  She has a passion for learning with children with special rights, as well as a wide range of age groups. Joshua firmly believes that formal education merely enhances the foundation created by family.  A long time collaborator with Patricia, it is with great enthusiasm that she has found an opportunity to work alongside her.

Shirley Vien is a preschool and toddler teacher at Branches Atelier. Shirley graduated California State University of Northridge with a degree in Family Studies. She was the Program Associate of a non-profit literacy program called Jumpstart that serves children and their families in low-income areas. Shirley was part of Jumpstart for 5 years in the San Fernando Valley. Shirley was also teaching/caring in the infant room at Bright Horizons for two years. Prior to coming to Branches full time Shirley also participated in developing a Reggio-inspired Christian-based program in Boyle Heights with Professor Wilbur from East Los Angeles Community College and her colleagues. With the love of children etched in her bones, Shirley is passionate about understanding children, how they see, learn and interpret their world.

Iwona Dziag has been a teacher at Branches Atelier for two years. Prior to her venture into Reggio-inspired environments, she taught preschool at the Children’s Center at Caltech in Pasadena for over five years. Iwona holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Linguistics from UC Berkeley and is currently working towards a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education at Cal State Northridge. Iwona is passionate about creating dialogic spaces for children where they feel safe and empowered to exchange and negotiate experiences, ideas and perspectives.

Laila Hussain received her BA from Loyola University in Chicago. She then went on to earn her Early Childhood Education Certificate from Santa Monica College. While studying, she discovered a passion for providing children with the opportunity to truly be a child; giving them time to explore, play, wonder, make choices, feel emotions, express ideas and be loved. Recently her interests include researching children’s strategies for connecting ideas and language that cultivates collaboration in the classroom.

For more information about upcoming workshops please visit:

This is the best resource and quickest way to be informed of all upcoming workshops.

For more information about Branches Atelier please visit:

To secure your space, please download the registration form Branches_spring_2015_Reg_Form and mail it in with your payment.


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