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IGE Early Years Conference: Materials, Creativity and the Thinking Child

May 07, 2021 - May 09, 2021
IGE Early Years Conference: Materials, Creativity and the Thinking Child

Time Fri May 07 2021 at 04:00 pm to Sun May 09 2021 at 12:00 pm

Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Woodlands, Singapore

USD 580

IGE Early Years Conference Materials Creativity and the Thinking Child IGE Early Years Conference: Materials, Creativity and the Thinking Child
                     Innovative Global Education in partnership with 

                                        Fiona Zinn Consulting

                                        The Learning Square

                                        Kirsty Liljegren Consulting

                         Early Years Conference May 07-09 2021


                       Materials, Creativity and the Thinking Child

A conference that elaborates the important interconnections between cognition, creativity and the material world. Materiality is a concept that is widely embedded in early childhood education, centred around the notion of children as competent beings from birth, learners who engage deeply in play and exploration as a vehicle for making meaning through experience, relationships and connections with place. Seeing materials as participants in learning, this conference brings early years educators together for deep learning through dialogue, participation and practical experiences.

Keynote Presenters:

Dr Clare Britt

Lecturer in Early Childhood/Primary Creative Arts (Visual Arts),Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University, Australia.

Clare’s research centres around creative approaches to pedagogy in both formal and informal contexts. Her work draws on poststructural theory, and arts-informed and emergent research methodologies in understanding the complexities of experiences and perspectives of children, families and teachers in these places of learning. Sheteaches creative arts in undergraduate and postgraduate programs, and supports practicing educators through professional development workshops in early childhood visual arts pedagogy. Clare's work has a special focus on the role of the arts in foregrounding children's own perspectives in both research and learning contexts. She is the Lead Investigator on the Art & Wonder: Young Children and Contemporary Art Research Project, in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia (MCA).

Dr Louisa Penfold

Louisa is an artist and educator who works with young children in art museums. She is passionate about supporting children’s creativity through contemporary art and play with materials. 

Louisa’s PhD research, undertaken at the University of Nottingham (UK) focused on the design of children’s creative spaces in modern art museums. The fieldwork for the research was run in partnership with learning staff from Tate and the Whitworth Art Gallery. 

In 2016, Louisa founded the blog ‘Art Play Children Learning’ to support educators, artists and parents to develop children’s creative learning environments. The blog has attracted a strong international following and regularly features innovative resources, practical tips and expert interviews that aim to help adults connect art, play and children’s learning. 

Louisa has also previously worked as a children’s curator at the Ipswich Art Gallery in Australia and as a Research Fellow on Serpentine Galleries’ ‘Changing Play’ project in London. 

Note: Each keynote presenter will also be offering 2 Breakout Sessions. Numbers for these will be limited to 35.

Additional Breakout Sessions will be offered by:

Anne van Dam

Education has been Anne’s passion for more than 25 years. She has worked in a variety of schools in the Netherlands, China, Singapore and Switzerland. Since 2000, Anne has taken on various positions in schools, combining teaching with leadership responsibilities. Anne has been an IB workshop leader since 2005, sharing her passion for young children and child initiated play with educators in PYP schools. 

Anne moved back to the Netherlands in 2015. This has given her the opportunity to work with the PYP development team at the IB regional office in The Hague.  Anne has been working on the PYP review focusing on learner agency, the early years, inquiry and several aspects of ‘the learning community’. She still works for the IB as a workshop leader and collaborates with international schools as an independent educational consultant. 

In May 2019, Anne joined a local candidate PYP school in her hometown The Hague. She teaches 4 and 5 year olds and thoroughly enjoys being back in the classroom. Anne is fascinated by the power of loose parts and is researching the interplay between children and recyclable materials. These materials have their own agency and act in conjunction with the child’s ideas and discoveries.

Devin Bokaer

Originally from Ithaca, New York, I studied theatre at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, N.Y. and at L’Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris, France. I completed my master’s degree in social work at Hunter College in New York City. While living in New York, I worked with children, youth, and families in school, museum, and domestic violence shelter settings. When my wife, Lauren Bokaer, and I moved to Singapore for her new position at Singapore American School, I fell in love with the world of early childhood education as a substitute instructional assistant. I completed an online master’s degree in inclusive education and curriculum & instruction through Portland State University. My professors at Hunter College and Portland State instilled in me a passion for equity, anti-bias education, and social justice. I feel that one of the best ways for early childhood educators to practice anti-bias education principles is to create a learning environment with materials that allow children to creatively explore and make meaning around a wide range of social and personal identities.

Fiona Zinn

Drawing on many years experience across the early childhood, primary and tertiary sectors, Fiona collaborates with educators around the world to boldly re-imagine early years pedagogy, curriculum and learning environments in response to research. Fiona has a particular passion for supporting teams of teachers to develop a ‘shared pedagogy’ as they collaborate with colleagues, families and children and has worked with many schools to bring a closer alignment between beliefs and practices.

Much of Fiona’s work finds resonance with the educational project of Reggio Emilia and the ideas that underpin the positive psychology movement, shaped by interpretation and experience across a wide range of cultural contexts.  Her current research focuses on the material environment analysing the structure, function, purpose and impact of learning environments when considered as the ‘third teacher’. 

Consulting extensively with International Schools, Fiona has also spent a decade as an invited sessional lecturer at the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, is elected to the National Committee of the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange and has a long standing association with the International Baccalaureate (IB) as a workshop leader.  

Hannah Connors

Hannah Connors is an early years educator with 10 years experience teaching in the UK and Singapore within primary and early childhood settings. Hannah’s practice is inspired by the educational project of Reggio Emilia, and she views early years settings as places where knowledge and understanding is co-constructed, and within which children leverage agency to bring about change in their communities. For the past 4 years Hannah has taught in the Early Learning Center at Singapore American School, making meaning and effecting change with young learners aged 3-5. Hannah holds a Masters degree in Early Years Education from University College London. Her research explores the relationship between materials and creative identity, using participatory methods to demonstrate the ways in which children and materials bring about forms of transformation within the relational spaces of early years settings.

Kirsty Liljegren

Kirsty has had a wealth of experience as a teacher and leader in various contexts in Australia and overseas, and was honoured to receive a national excellence in teaching award for innovative practice together with a State and Territory award for Victoria, Australia for her contribution to the early childhood sector. 

 Kirsty’s varied experience now inspires and informs her current work as an educational consultant, with the opportunity to run professional learning and guide teams pedagogically both nationally and internationally. 

Kirsty has been a long-standing committee member (nationally elected) of the Reggio Emilia Australia Information Exchange. She and has undertaken three study tours to Reggio Emilia, together with visits to the Forest Schools in Denmark and the Nature Kindergartens in Scotland. 

There have been many influences on Kirsty’s ever-evolving philosophy and research about teaching and learning with the philosophy from the Reggio Emilia Educational Project having had a profound influence on Kirsty both professionally and personally, continuing to fuel a hope for children, all children to be respected, valued and understood as they all deserve to be.

Joshua Blue

For more than 17 years, Josh Blue has been living and learning as an international educator in the Asia-Pacific region. Josh Blue is currently Vice Principal at ESF Kennedy School in Hong Kong but is excited to announce he will be starting a new role as Head of Primary at Discovery College Hong Kong in August 2020. He has been in Hong Kong for the last 17 years working within the local and international sectors with learners from age three to adult. Josh has his Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Change. He leads workshops regularly for the IB, particular on Play, Symbolic Languages of Children and the Early Years. Josh has worked with Early Childhood educators across the Asia-Pacific region as a workshop leader, school evaluator and consultant. In December 2016, Josh presented, “Du Iz Tak?: The Power of Picture Books—Tapping into the Symbolic Languages of Children” at the AISC conference in Hong Kong. In March 2019, Josh presented “Du Iz Tak?: Translanguaging and Symbolic Learning in the PYP” at the IB Global Conference in Hong Kong. Josh has a passion for play and picture books—two big ideas he ties into everything he does, whether it’s working with three year olds or sixty-three year olds. Josh’s two-year old son, Isaac, now drives much of the research he works on these days. Isaac’s stories have inspired Josh for this conference. 

Laura Chirnside Schuster

Laura is a Physical educator and a Certified Laban Movement Analyst through Laban Integrated Movement Studies L.I.M.S NY, NY. She has taught dance, theatre, physical education for over 40 years and is now the expressive arts teacher at Singapore American School. It is actually called; “Move and Groove” class. She has studied Creative Dance for over a decade in summer teacher intensives at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle, Wa, USA with Anne Green Gilbert, founder and dance educator of the year by NDA (National Dance Association). She has presented workshops internationally on Laban movement, international games and traditional games and the importance of Play throughout the lifespan. She is a performing member of Tapestry Play Back Theatre, Singapore; an international improvisational interactive story telling form. Her early learners receive the benefit of her long and eclectic teaching career through a daily program which combines perceptual motor lessons, guided discovery, library story sharing, dramatic re-enactment and scheduled integrated Chinese and Movement co-teaching. She feels very fortunate to be in a supportive and fantastically dedicated and collaborative pedagogical team at the Early Learning Center in SAS. Singapore American School uniquely values movement and the power of learning about movement and through movement school wide.

Dr Esther Joosa

Esther Joosa is Consultant Director of Pedagogy with Playeum, Children’s Centre for Creativity. Originally from the Netherlands, her consultancy focusses on developing research-based practices that embrace the play, arts and creativity in building bridges among communities. Her work is marked by innovation and philosophical engagement about the role of dialogue and audience and understanding the influence of environments. She enjoys working with various mediums and likes to explore the aesthetic and communicative qualities of everyday and repurposed materials. She has presented widely and works in and through the arts in Singapore and the region. She was named citizen ambassador by SIF based on her work with families and children affected by HIV/AIDS in India. Last year, she developed the learning standards for the visual arts in special education for MOE. Currently she is the creative advisor for the design of the National Day funpack, featuring the art and stories of persons with a disability. Within Playeum, her work centres on training, research and designing pedagogies in play and outreach. She has curated a number of arts exhibitions and designed several learning spaces in Singapore schools which evoked new ideas and dialogue about the role of psychology and space.

General Information:

Note: Sign up for Breakout Sessions: Following paid registration you will be contacted and asked to indicate which sessions you would like to attend.

Conference Schedule:

Friday, May 7: 4.00 Registration 4.15 Welcome address 4.30 Keynote speaker6.15 Summary Comments6.30 Refreshments and canapes with the opportunity to wander around the SAS spaces andinteract with materials

Saturday, May 8: 9.00 Keynote speaker10.30 Morning Tea11.00 Breakout Session 1

1.1 Breakout presenter: Anne van Dam

1.2 Breakout presenter: Dr Louisa Penfold

1.3 Breakout presenter: Fiona Zinn

1.4 Breakout presenter: Devin Bokaer

1.5 Breakout presenter: Kirsty Liljegren

1.6.Breakout presenter: Laura Schuster

1.7.Breakout presenter: Joshua Blue

12.30 Lunch 1.30 Breakout Session 2

2.1 Breakout presenter: Dr Clare Britt

2.2 Breakout presenter: Dr Louisa Penfold

2.3 Breakout presenter: Fiona Zinn

2.4 Breakout presenter: Laura Schuster

2.5 Breakout presenter: Kirsty Liljegren

2.6 Breakout presenter: Hannah Connors

2.7 Breakout presenter: Joshua Blue

3.00 Panel discussion 3.45 Conclusion of Day 2

Sunday 9 May: 9.00 Breakout Session 3

3.1 Breakout presenter: Anne van Dam

3.2 Breakout presenter: Dr Clare Britt

3.3 Breakout presenter: Dr Esther Joosa

3.4 Breakout presenter: Devin Bokaer

3.5 Breakout presenter: Kirsty Liljegren

3.6 Breakout presenter: Joshua Blue

3.7 Breakout presenter: Hannah Connors

10.30 Morning Tea11.00 Panel discussion11.45 Closing remarks12.00 End of conference


Conference Fee: US$601.89

Note: Limited to 170 participants

Registration closes: April 30 2021

Request for an invoice and alternative payments (electronic transfer) to the Eventbrite online registration payment system:

Please note that by requesting an invoice for payment and therefore to send money electronically you agree to the following terms and conditions:

Additional Administration Costs: An additional administration fee of US$100.00. This fee will be included in the invoice.

Late Payments: If paying by invoice and payment for participants is not made prior to the conference commencing, a late payment fee will be incurred of US$40.00 per person. The school will be invoiced for this following the conference.

Cancellation Policy

Please note the conference will proceed based on participant registration. Innovative Global Education will inform you by 10 April 2021 or earlier if the conference is to be cancelled. If the conference is cancelled your full payment will be reimbursed. If the conference is proceeding you will not receive an email. 

Conference Participation

If Innovative Global Education is informed by 10 April 2021 that a participant is unable to attend the conference, a full refund will be given. If notification of not being able to participate is after 10 April, 2021 IGE will be unable to refund the registration fee. 

Important: Innovative Global Education must be informed by 10 April 2021 of any changes. If any changes are requested after this date, please note, for the change to go ahead there will be an administration fee of US$30.00 charged by invoice for each requested change.


Innovative Global Education is pleased to partner with Swissôtel Merchant Court, Singapore l

 Room Rates:

Premier Room: S$230.00++ per room per night (Single Occupancy)

Premier Room: S$260.00++ per room per night (Double Occupancy)

 Inclusive of unlimited usage of High-Speed Internet Access

 Inclusive of daily buffet breakfast at Ellenborough Market Café

 Complimentary 2 way coach transfer on 07, 08 & 09 May 2021

 The rate is subject to 10% service charge and prevailing government taxes unless otherwise stated.

 To make a reservation please contact:

Soo, Lai Yin TGFpWWluICEgU29vIHwgc3dpc3NvdGVsICEgY29t

Bus Times:

NOTE: *Bus only available to those who book using link above and not alternative sites e.g Trivago

Friday 8 May:

Pick up from hotel 3.15PM to Singapore American School for a 4.30PM start

Pick up from Singapore American School to hotel 7.45PM from a 7.30PM finish

Saturday 9 May:

Pick up from hotel 8.15AM to Singapore American School for a 9.00AM start

Pick up from Singapore American School to hotel 4.15PM from a 3.45PM finish

Sunday 10 May:

Pick up from hotel 8.15AM to Singapore American School for a 9.00AM start

Pick up from Singapore American School to hotel 12.30PM from a 12.00PM finish

Also check out other Arts Events in Woodlands, Business Events in Woodlands, Conferences in Woodlands.


Tickets for IGE Early Years Conference: Materials, Creativity and the Thinking Child can be booked here.

Ticket Information Ticket Price
IGE Early Years Conference USD 580
Hosted by
About The Host: Innovative Global Education is comprised of highly experienced professionals who have worked in a variety of educational settings throughout the world.  At IGE we recognize that successful models and approaches involve forming relationships and collaborating to ensure sustainable success for innovation and development for education today and tomorrow. At IGE we provide a wide range of professional learning options and services to meet the needs of your educational setting. 
Website Link:
Nearby Hotels Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Woodlands, Singapore
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Event Information

Date & Time

Fri May 07 2021 at 04:00 pm to Sun May 09 2021 at 12:00 pm


Singapore American School, 40 Woodlands Street 41, Woodlands, Singapore


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