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NYSED Professional Learning Series

Recorded in November 2019, these dynamic presenters discuss academic rigor using developmentally appropriate practices, inspiring culturally sustainable environments and supporting thinking, language and learning in early childhood classrooms.

by Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D.

The Nicholson Foundation

Primary teachers are well-positioned to provide engaging and playful experiences, child-directed learning, and opportunities for children to collaborate that are critical for student growth in all domains. Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D., presents a video session recorded in November 2019 that will use data to paint the picture of the current state of instruction in kindergarten through third grade and identify opportunities for shifts in teaching to more effectively meet the needs of young learners. The practices shared will demonstrate academic rigor using developmentally appropriate practices.

Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ph.D., Senior Program Officer at The Nicholson Foundation, has been working in early childhood education for her entire career of more than 20 years. She has extensive and varied experience in the early childhood field, spanning from the classroom, to the New Jersey State Department of Education, to national systems improvement. She holds an M.Ed. in Language and Literacy and a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.


by Miriam Beloglovsky

How do you prepare children for an unknown future? Miriam Beloglovsky's engaging video presentation, recorded in November 2019, unpacks the dispositions and conditions that children need to be successful in life. It will review how intellectual learning happens within the context of open-ended exploration with “loose parts” and how they support the development of children’s full potential.

Miriam Beloglovsky is a keynote speaker and presents numerous workshops on child development, Loose Parts, play, and early learning. She leads community building and leadership training for non-profit organizations and community agencies. She is co-author of the Loose Parts series, including Loose Parts 3: Inspiring Culturally Sustainable Environments.



by Janis Strasser, Ph.D.

This presentation shares the many ways that early childhood teachers can use high level questions throughout the day (during read alouds, whole and small group meetings, music, outdoor explorations, creating and discussing classroom displays) and how "big questions" can help children think about and discuss diversity, families, and the school and home community. When we ask children questions that give them a chance to voice their own opinions, share their family experiences, and value their wonder and curiosity, we support their language and cognitive development.  You will learn how to ask open-ended questions that young children will be eager to answer during the various contexts of the school day. 

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) speaker and author Janis Strasser has worked in the field of early childhood for 45 years. She has taught preschool, kindergarten, and primary grades, conducted research for the New Jersey Department of Education, and has written almost one-hundred articles and book chapters for teachers.