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Branches Atelier Winter Workshop Series 2017

Please note that workshops 1-4 have been postponed!

We will Notify you as soon as we have new dates.

1) Integrating Reggio into the Home: An Introduction to the Reggio Approach for Parents, Grandparents, Extended Family Members and Care Givers New!

Saturday,  January 28th  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $75

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath and Becky Zlotoff

  • What is the Reggio approach?
  • What are the theoretical and philosophical roots of the Reggio approach?
  • What is contemporary academics?
  • How can we support life long learning?
  • How can a child be a researcher?
  • How can we have authentic conversations with young children?
  • How does the Reggio approach support brain development?
  • How does wonder support creativity and imagination?
  • What is the role of family members in a Reggio inspired school?
  • What materials can we use at home to encourage creativity and problem solving?

2) A Preschooler’s Journey into Creating a Recipe: Uncovering the Communicative Power of a Visual Symbol New!

Thursday, February 2nd 6:30pm to 9pm $50

Presented by Iwonka Dziag

 Join Branches Atelier Teacher, Iwonka Dziag, to hear a story about 4-year-olds creating and representing recipe instructions that could be understood by all members of our preschool community. Through your participation, you will have the opportunity to reflect on and dialogue about the following:

  • How context based learning abounds in rich encounters with literacy, science and math.
  • Strategies that empower children to devise unique visual code systems.
  • How a desire to communicate led to a playful game of encoding and decoding.
  • How being open to feedback and displaying resilience in devising the recipe cards deepened children’s learning.
  • What is resource-based classroom inquire? How can children’s everyday ways of sense making become valid classroom inquiry norms?
  • How the work around designing the recipe expanded children’s social imaginations, and how it increased their awareness of change within and empathy toward our living garden.
  • How devising an atelier of taste recipe came to stand as a metaphor for creating a recipe for all learning.

3) Integrating Reggio into the Home: An Introduction to Reggio for Parents, Grandparents, Extended Family Members and Care Givers New! In Spanish

Saturday,  February 4th  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $75

Presented by Berenice Vallejo and Shirley Seki

  • What is the Reggio approach?
  • What are the theoretical and philosophical roots of the Reggio approach?
  • What is contemporary academics?
  • How can we support life long learning?
  • How can a child be a researcher?
  • How can we have authentic conversations with young children?
  • How does the Reggio approach support brain development?
  • How does wonder support creativity and imagination?
  • What is the role of family members in a Reggio inspired school?
  • What materials can we use at home to encourage creativity and problem solving?

Una Introducción a Reggio para Abuelos, Familiares y Cuidadoras¡¡

Nuevo!! ¡¡En español!! 

Sábado 4 de febrero de 2017, de 9 am a 3 pm.   Taller de Práctica $75

Presentado por Berenice Vallejo y Shirley Seki

  • ¿Qué es el enfoque Reggio?
  • ¿Cuáles son las raíces teóricas y filosóficas del enfoque Reggio?
  • ¿Cuáles son las prácticas académicas actuales?
  • ¿Cómo hacer que este aprendizaje nunca se olvide?
  • ¿Cómo hcer del niño un investigador?
  • ¿Cómo podemos tener conversaciones auténticas con los niños?
  • ¿Cómo es que el enfoque Reggio ayuda en el desarollo del cerebro?
  • ¿Cómo el cuestionar apoya la creatividad y la imaginación?
  • ¿Cuál es el papel de los familiares en una escuela Reggio?
  • ¿Qué materiales podemos usar en casa para fomentar la creatividad y la resolución de problemas?

4) The Atelier of Taste: Exploring the Language of Food 

Sunday, February 12th,  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $100

Presented by Branches Teacher Becky Zlotoff

 Join us for a very special workshop! We will start this workshop at the Mar Vista Farmers Market on Venice Blvd at 9am, then we will continue our workshop back at Branches. This workshop will include the cost of lunch that we will create together plus acutting board, knife, bowl and cruet.

When we return to Branches participants will learn:

  • What is the language of food?
  • What are slow foods?
  • What are the techniques and tools of tasting?
  • How does the exploration of food extend and deepen children’s poetic language?
  • How is food integrated in other areas of curriculum?
  • How are different flavor combinations introduced to the children?
  • How are herbs and spices introduced to the children?
  • What is the current research on children and healthy eating?
  • How does our local community support the children’s connection to food?
  • What role do parents play in creating community through community lunches?
  • What is an atelier of taste?

5) Children, Families and Schools as Agents of Social Change: Creating Change Through Empathy, Agency and Daily Rituals New!

Saturday, February 25th  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $75

Presented byPatricia Hunter McGrath and Christina Bianchi

  • How do you create, support and sustain community at the beginning of life?
  • How do we support children in feeling that they can have agency in their world?
  • In what ways can our homes and schools become places where daily practices support children’s agency?
  • In contentious and difficult times, how can we build community and in what ways do we support conversation through perspective taking?
  • How do we create communities that are flexible and dynamic in thinking as well as kind and nurturing?
  • What is the role of parents and teachers in the coming era?
  • How do you create a home or classroom that celebrates diversity is open to different points of view and perspectives and problem solving to build resilient social relationships?
  • How do we move away from sustainability and embrace a restorative and resilient future/culture?
  • What is the language of resiliency and flexibility, and how can we incorporate perspective taking through everyday communication?

6) Lines that Wander: An Exploration of Techniques and Possibilities New!

Saturday,  March 18th  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $75

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath and Christina Bianchi

  • How does line support an authentic and contextual exploration of literacy or mathematics?
  • How does an exploration of line support building community and promote understanding of multiple perspectives?
  • How do you introduce the many types of line tools into a classroom?
  • How do you take a line for a walk?
  • How do different types of line tools support observation, problem solving, gesture, reflection, impression and magical thinking?
  • How do you introduce many different techniques of drawing?
  • When are gestural, observational, representational, drawing to learn and narrative drawing intoduced to the children?

7) A Look Into The Big City Group; Developing Ideas and Representing Plans Through a Wide Range of Materials and Media New! 

Saturday,  April 22nd  9am to 3pm A hands-on workshop $75

Presented Sivan Perets

  • How does investigative work with children unfold?
  • How does exposure to a variety of materials expand and deepen children’s thinking?
  • How does thinking about cultural context unveil social responsibility?
  • How does hands on work promote an investigative mindset?
  • What can children learn from each other regarding their differing perspectives within this type of work?
  • How can challenges within the work present valuable learning opportunities for discovery?
  • How do children develop ideas in a group context?
  • How are literacy, blocks, clay, drawing and math threaded through this exploration?
  • What are the organizational structures that support small group work?
  • What classroom strategies support and develop collaboration

About the Presenters

Patricia Hunter McGrath is the Executive Director/Atelierista of  Branches Atelier in Culver City, California.  Over the past 18 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 has been Pedegogista/Atelierista at Branches Atelier for the past 8 years. 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.

She has also been a California Mentor for the past two years, working in the classroom with college students, supporting the practical application of good early childhood practices.

Becky Zlotoff  has been a teacher at Branches for the past 6 years. She created and has taught a preschool program at Santa Monica Synagogue for over thirty years. She has been a California Mentor for nine years, working in the classroom with college students, supporting the practical application of good early childhood practices. For twelve years, she was a teacher at First Presbyterian Nursery School. In addition to attending many workshops about the Reggio Approach in the United States, she has been on two learning tours to Reggio Emilia, Italy. Becky has presented her work at many local workshops and at NAEYC. With Mary Hartzell and Ami Cohen, she co-authored the chapter “Parents As Partners” in Next Steps Toward Teaching The Reggio Way.

Shirley Vien has been a preschool, toddler and infant teacher at Branches Atelier for the past 3 years. 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 three 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.

Berenice Vallejo earned her BA Degree in Early Childhood Education from Cal State Los Angeles University. During her college years, she discovered her passion for working with children. Her teaching experiences started as a volunteer in Head Start program in East Los Angeles Occupational Center. Later she became an assistant teacher at the Vine Street and Commonwealth Elementary Schools in the LA Unified School District and then a teacher in private preschools in Downtown LA. including the Infant and Toddler Program at Hope Street Friends. While taking Reggio-inspired courses at Santa Monica College, she was a substitute teacher at Branches Atelier for a year before joining the community as a full time teacher.

Sivan Perets was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been teaching since she was 19 years old. As a long time employee at the Sunshine Shack preschool, she gained a love of learning through the Reggio approach and spent years developing and researching her practice. Sivan has also taught at Valley Beth Shalom preschool and is the assistant director at Camp Super Duper. She studied early childhood education at Los Angeles Valley College. She is certified to teach preschool aged children and infants and toddlers. She loves to take classes and workshops where she can stay current with pedagogical theory and practices. Sivan has a deep love for philanthropic work. She has spent several summers working with children in need. Most recently she visited Peru, where she supported and cared for children at local orphanages. She also volunteers her time in the States with children in need and the homeless. She loves story telling with children and is passionate about how stories help children connect and build a sense of self.

Spaces are limited in all workshops, please download the registration form and mail it in with your payment to secure your space.

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