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Brenau welcomes hundreds of teachers for conference
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Callie Truelove, 6, makes a withdrawal Wednesday at a pretend ATM inside the Interactive Neighborhood for Kids. Brenau University’s College of Education will welcome some 300 educators Friday and Saturday for the Early Childhood Constructivist Institute designed to help teachers improve their skills for teaching mathematics and sciences to students. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Early Childhood Constructivist Institute

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Brenau University’s Pearce Auditorium

Agenda: Constructivist approaches for math and science teaching practices

Contact: Lora Bailey, 770-297-5955 or pcrusoe@brenau.edu

Brenau University’s College of Education is hosting the Early Childhood Constructivist Institute conference this week and about 20 free spots remain for interested Georgia teachers.

Brenau Education Dean Lora Bailey said the state Department of Education is waiving the $150 registration fee for the first 300 public or private Georgia pre-K-12 educators or early childhood professors who sign up for the conference.

Friday and Saturday, educators from around the nation will gather at Brenau’s Pearce Auditorium to help teachers improve math and science teaching practices for pre-school and early elementary-aged children.

"All teachers, including those in high schools and middle schools, will benefit from attending," Bailey said. "But any teacher who works with young children will find this to be an especially rewarding experience."

Bailey said a focus on early math and science teaching methods aims to have a ripple effect on K-12 systems and state test scores.

"When you look at the deficit in the teaching and
learning in kindergarten through 12th grade, you see that what children learn as far as mathematics in the early grades, matters most," she said. "So if they can become proficient in early numeracy and mathematics by the time they reach kindergarten, first or second grade, then we won’t see the deficits in state assessment scores we are seeing in third grade and above."

Bailey said the conference will espouse the constructivist teaching approach that has teachers support a child’s construction of learning by asking students to clarify concepts through open-ended questions, pushing them to think deeply about their own learning.

"That’s a craft," Bailey said of teachers learning how to prod students in a constructivist manner. "... The teacher is not the determiner of what a child learns, the child is. The child interprets his or her own environment, they make sense of their own environment. And only they can grasp learning, because it’s internal."

Douglas Clements, a professor of education at the State University of New York, and Constance Kamii, University of Alabama professor who has worked in early childhood education in the United States and abroad for more than 30 years, are the conference’s featured speakers.

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