On Friday, February 15, 2013, an exciting event happened that I helped to create. Edcampkinder Abbotsford was a six month long dream that Meg Unger and I envisioned, planned and executed together. With the support of my principal, Dan Village, and a cheering section in #kinderchat, we set out to blaze a new trail in professional development in our district.
Meg and I are so pleased with the way everything happened at #edcampkinder! I kept hearing over and over again how “this is exactly what I needed” or “I don’t feel so alone now” or “I like how I can contribute both questions and offer ideas”…and the list goes on. Many times I was asked when the next #edcampkinder would be! The participants were enthusiastic, engaged, collaborative, encouraging of each other and willing to share. It was so inspiring to see the day unfold just as we had hoped.
After working in my district for 24 years I have learned that some things are worth “fighting” for. Was it a fight to be able to hold EdcampkinderAbbotsford? I hope not, but some days it felt that way. This is only the second Edcamp of it’s kind in the world that I am aware of, so the concept is foreign to the educators in my district. The #edcampkinder I attended last summer was 10 members of #kinderchat coming together because we were friends and colleagues from all over the world who wanted to meet face to face and discuss our passion for early learning. No one else had done an early learning-specific Edcamp before, but Meg and I took inspiration from my experience in Las Vegas (blogged about here and here) and had a vision for what it could be…a powerful, affirming Professional Development opportunity for our local early learning colleagues. Most Edcamps have a focus on secondary teaching and learning (only because the participants concentrate in that area for the most part), but we thought it was important to create an environment for discussion about our youngest students and topics specific to their needs.
Some stats that are interesting…
-there we 43 participants plus Meg and I
-total cost of #edcampkinder Abbotsford: $155.00 (plus baking donated from my mom and Meg)
-5 school districts represented (Abbotsford, Surrey, Langley, Mission and Kent)
-2 pre-service teachers
-2 private school teachers
-some of those that came from out of district had to take time off to do so…they thought it was that important
-everyone contributed something!
I think there are some powerful lessons to be learned. We all have something we are great at that we can share; we all have questions; and we all need the support of a PLN (Personal Learning Network). I am looking forward to continuing the conversation with the new connections I have made through #edcampkinder Abbotsford. Meg has just created an open Facebook group (EdcampKinderAbbotsford) where we can continue our conversations. We also have a Google doc where various contributors have documented some of the discussions we had. These two venues will be instrumental in keeping us connected and remembering the great ideas shared.
Throughout the day, some participants tweeted about what we were learning and discussing. You can see the tweets from the day in the following Storify:
After six months of planning, Edcampkinder Abbotsford turned out exactly as I had hoped. A successful, meaningful, authentic place for my colleagues and I to learn from and support each other. What more could I ask for?