Facilitator Biographies for The Rhythm of Learning in Nature


diane_kashin.jpgDiane Kashin (@DianeKashin1) is a RECE and current chair of the York Region Nature Collaborative. Diane recently took early retirement from her full time position at Seneca College, teaching in the Bachelor of Child Development degree program, so that she could spend more time working with children and educators in and with nature. She teaches part time at Ryerson University in the ECE program and loves to provide workshops for educators and learn/engage with others through social media. She is the co-author of two ECE textbooks, Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education and Empowering Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education. Diane’s doctoral dissertation was also published entitled, Reaching the Top of the Mountain: The Impact of Emergent Curriculum on the Practice and Self-Image of Early Childhood Educators. Diane is the chair of the standards of practice advisory committee with Forest School Canada and along with Beverlie Dietze from Okanagan College in BC, a recipient of a Lawson Foundation grant to support outdoor learning for early childhood educators. Diane also writes a blog: Technology Rich Inquiry Based https://tecribresearch.wordpress.com/.

debi_keyte_hartland.jpgDebi Keyte-Hartland (@DebiKeyteHart) is a passionate advocate for early childhood education, illuminating what is possible if we value children as citizens of today.   She is an international consultant and arts educator currently researching transnational pedagogic exchange, dialogue and reflection between networks of schools she works with in the West Midlands, UK and Stockholm, Sweden.  The research is exploring the pedagogical approaches that enable and deepen children’s expressive and communicative languages through a co-inquiry based approach to learning in the digital age.   Debi’s specialist experience and interest is in the use of the visual arts as a tool for critical and creative thinking and in how these languages of expression can be used to embrace values of active listening and co-construction of knowledge. Debi completed her MA at Birmingham City University in 2009 researching children’s communicative drawing, the methods of documenting it and the pedagogic strategies that supported it.  She won the EECERA/Routledge Annual Practitioner Research Award 2013 at the 23rd European Early Childhood Education Research Association Conference in Tallinn, Estonia for her paper entitled “Developing Children’s Critical Thinking Through Question and Dialogue: From The Recall of Knowledge to the Co-Construction of Knowledge.” She is also a Co-Director of Sightlines Initiative, an independent national organization promoting creative and reflective practice in early childhood education and the official UK Reggio Children International Network member. Her website can be found at: debikeytehartland.me. And she can be contacted at: debikeytehartland@mac.com

suzanne.jpegSuzanne Axelsson (@SuzanneAxelsson) lives and works as a preschool teacher in Stockholm, Sweden. She has a masters in ECE, Sheffield University, UK, her home country, where she specialized in Reggio Emilia, language and communication, documentation as a tool to aid memory and deepen children’s learning, and investigating what ”quality” is in an early years setting. Almost 20 years experience in a variety of early years settings – multi-lingual, Reggio Emilia, traditional Swedish, Montessori, gender equality profile – has given Suzanne a broad knowledge and many perspectives that supports her work with children and for her blog ”Interaction Imagination” that she started writing in 2012. The blog shares ideas, experiences and ponderings about working in the early years… close to her heart is risky play, listening, creativity (with a great deal happening in the atelier), exploring why we do what we do, as well as sharing images from other preschools she has been lucky enough to visit. Suzanne is the pedagogical director at Filosofiska, Sweden’s first preschool with a philosophical profile, where she is developing how philosophy can act as a pedagogic tool for young children. She is actively participating in pedagogic conferences and is a well-received lecturer on how philosophy can be used in ECE. Suzanne has worked with Skolverket (the Swedish National Agency for Education) to create an educational film for teachers in preschools and schools, had been interviewed by Swedish Radio and several ECE magazines. Suzanne also collaborates with The Freedom Theatre in the refugee camp of Jenin, Palestine, to support a playful approach to young children's learning. 

cindy_green.jpegCindy Green (@CindyMGreen1) has been an active member of the early learning community for many decades, most of them in York Region. She taught at Seneca College in the School of Early Childhood Education and has recently retired. Cindy was devoted to working closely with the community during her tenure at Seneca. She sat on various committees advocating for children, their families, educators and the field in general. In her current role as an early learning consultant, Cindy’s passion and enthusiasm about learning through playful inquiry keeps her busy facilitating numerous sessions for educators and families.   


rosalba.jpgRosalba Bortolotti (@RosalbaBortolo1) is a RECE and pedagogical consultant working in early education for over 20 years developing innovative approaches to support Reggio inspired professional learning. She was the founder and owner of Acorn School a Reggio inspired preschool in Ontario. Rosalba is the co-founder of the Acorn Collaborative and is passionate about working with educators and families on engaging and experiencing, how the image of the child impacts our understanding of young children’s learning. She shares her expertise and passion about curriculum development, environmental organization, pedagogical documentation, children’s portfolios and integrated art.  Over the years Rosalba has offered many study tours, workshops and conferences on many different topics connected to the approach. She has learned about the Reggio Emilia Approach first hand from her visits to Italy in the early ‘90’s.  Rosalba is a member of the York Region Nature Collaborative and the Ontario Reggio Association.

Tanya_Farzaneh.pngTanya Farzaneh (@tfarzaneh) is a RECE and holds a degree in Child Development. She is currently completing a Masters in Child Studies at Ryerson University. For the last 20 years, Tanya has dedicated her work to the Seneca ECE lab school at Newnham campus and is a Part-time faculty at Seneca. Tanya has worked with a variety of age groups ranging from infant to senior kindergarteners, but is a self proclaimed Toddler teacher at heart. Tanya’s passion and interest lie in inspiring children and adults in embracing a love of lifelong learning, Reggio inspired practice and connecting children to nature. Her knowledge includes emergent curriculum, inspiring environments, and pedagogical documentation.


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