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Learning Story Workshop Series – Tauranga

May 15 @ 6:30 pm - October 16 @ 8:30 pm

The Promise of Play
Lorraine Sands
Wednesday 17 July, 6:30-8:30pm
“Play: How it shapes the brain, opens the imagination, and invigorates the soul”
I share Stuart Brown’s book title with you because it gives such a visual interpretation of the way play grows a child’s brain, builds empathy, fosters social learning and generates creativity and innovation. Alison Gopnik’s comments are challenging too. “Our job is not to shape our children’s minds; it is to let those minds explore all the possibilities that the world allows”.
Teachers’ practise that honours free play honours the aspirations of Te Whāriki as we are all asked to enable agentic children to have choices about what to learn, when, and with whom. This workshop provides practical examples of how to design environments for authentic free play to unfold. We will explore how to use Learning Stories to analyse the dispositions and working theories that are strengthened when children immerse themselves in play.

The joyful life of Learning Stories
Wendy Lee
Wednesday 21 August, 6:30-8:30pm
Mā te ahurei o te tamaiti e ārahi i ā tātou mahi
Let the uniqueness of the child guide our work.
Get ready to ignite your passion because here’s the rallying cry: Let’s bring back the sheer joy into documenting children’s learning! It’s time to kick aside those pressures that have been sucking the vibrancy out of our working lives. We’re embarking on something truly meaningful here, something that resonates deeply – making a real difference in the learning journeys of these young and curious minds. This is all about building their unique learner identities, setting them on a path to lifelong discovery.
And guess what? This isn’t a call to let documentation take over your life; it’s a call for strategic brilliance. Let’s embrace the idea that ‘less is more’. Write fewer stories, but oh my, make every single one count. Also, if your documentation isn’t used every day, it might be time to let it go. Let’s ensure that what we create is a joy for the tamariki, their whānau, and us, the passionate kaiako. And remember, it’s a privilege to capture these Learning Stories of tamariki learning lives.

Get ready for an exciting exploration of key ideas and elements that make up short, powerful Learning Stories. Not only will they be an absolute delight to write, but they’ll also meet a multitude of demands in your daily work. So, are you ready to infuse your documentation with pure joy and purpose? Let’s dive in!

Whakapapa – foundation, process, and potential
Emma Parangi
Wednesday 18 September, 6:30-8:30pm
Learning Stories provide a snapshot of where a tamaiti is in their learning, their connections, and their trajectory. Learning Stories weave together the moving strands of where that tamaiti is in space and time. When we craft Learning Stories we aim to be guided by an authentic knowledge of who tamariki are. For Tangata Whenua, tamariki are a continuation of whakapapa which extends back to the beginnings of space and time themselves. This is a complex concept embedded in a Māori worldview of time, space and relationality. Join Emma in this wānanga to explore whakapapa as the source, journey and possibility of āhurei for the tamariki Māori we learn alongside.

Te āhuatanga o te tamaiti – Wrapping assessment in a Te Ao Māori cloak of wisdom and learning dispositions (a kaiako Te Tiriti perspective)
Catalina Thompson
Wednesday 16 October, 6:30-8:30pm
At the heart of any assessment practice is the image of the child. A child who comes into this world bursting with potential, a powerful child, complete with very unique and distinctive strengths. Therefore, the relationship between the child and assessment is ONE in which the first determines and shapes the second and not the other way around. So, how do we honour this perspective inside our narrative assessments? How do we recognise and respond to children’s powerful learning potential? I invite you to embark together on a wānanga, which aims to challenge and strengthen our understandings around ways in which we write Learning Stories for a multitude of purposes. Te Whatu Pōkeka and the principles of Te Whāriki will overarch the kaupapa of this workshop.

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May 15 @ 6:30 pm
October 16 @ 8:30 pm


Greerton Early Learning Centre
1 Emmett Street
Tauranga, 3112 New Zealand
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