Please note that workshops are ‘first come, first served’. Workshops are selected during ticket purchase when you click on ‘Buy Tickets’.

Workshops 2024

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore more deeply the ideas presented during the morning keynote session. Participants will learn about the importance of adult SEL and well-being for children’s learning and development. We will learn about mindfulness and participate in several activities intended to support our own well-being. Concepts will be expanded to discuss practical tools for children and how these can easily be implemented within your own programs and home to support mindful awareness, social emotional competencies, and increased engagement.

Molly Stewart Lawlor, Ph.D., is our MTC 2024 Keynote Speaker and an expert in child and adolescent social and emotional development. Dr. Lawlor’s research includes the investigation of mindfulness and psychological adjustment in children and adolescents, and evaluations of social-emotional learning programs for children and adolescents in school settings. She is lead author and serves as the Principal Scientific Advisor for the MindUP program (, an evidence-based social emotional learning program grounded in neuroscience. Dr. Lawlor is also an advisor to children’s media projects including Peabody award-winning Stillwater (Apple TV), the award-winning Scout and the Gumboot Kids (Canadian Broadcasting Company), and Committee for Children’s Mind Yeti, a guided mindfulness app. Dr. Lawlor is an adjunct faculty member in the Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Lawlor is passionate about bringing research to practice in order to make social emotional learning accessible for all children and their adults.
This session will explore holistic approaches to designing a learning environment for young children and the role of the environment as a third teacher. This puts students at the centre of their learning, fosters creativity and innovation, and drives better outcomes for learners.

Participants will discuss why a holistic approach is important in the teaching and learning process. As a group we will examine methods for implementing holistic approaches in early childhood education settings. This session will also highlight programs that have embraced the concept of holistic approach, providing inspiration for educators and leaders to implement similar strategies in their own programs.

Melinda Gaberel, District Principal of Early Years and Child Care at SD72, is a dedicated and caring professional whose career has spanned from working as a behaviour resource team teacher, vice principal, principal, and now District Principal at SD72 in BC. Melinda has worked at both ends of the country, including in early years centers at the University of Victoria and the Bishop Cridge in BC, and as a preschool manager in Ontario. She taught at SD85 in K-7 and special education before moving to SD72. Melinda’s training includes a Masters of Education and a post degree diploma in special education, and she’s a mother to 5 children, and now a grandmother to another 5 children, and enjoys living on Vancouver Island in BC.

Bridgitte Alomes, CEO and founder of BC-based company Natural Pod, is dedicated to creating better learning environments through the use of beautifully designed and high-quality education furniture that is made from sustainable materials with an emphasis on environmental awareness and stewardship. Natural Pod was born from Bridgette’s deep commitment to environmental responsibility and her desire to create inspiring, healthy spaces for children. Through her work, Bridgitte is shifting the paradigm of learning space design toward a more collaborative, intentional, and student-centric model. Bridgitte lives on Vancouver Island in BC.
Join Shelin for this insightful workshop to unravel the intricacies of children’s behavior and the reasoning behind it. Throughout this session, we’ll explore practical tools that empower us to proactively address unexpected behaviors, focusing on prevention and teaching alternative methods for meeting children’s needs. Emphasizing step-by-step learning, co-regulation, and the positive reinforcement of efforts and achievements, we’ll equip you with strategies for creating a supportive, growth-oriented environment for the children you work and play with.

Shelin Hussein is a Registered Clinical Counsellor and Board Certified Behavior Analyst who operates her private practice at Building Blocks in Victoria, BC. For the past 25 years, she has specialized in coaching parents, training educators, and teaching emotional regulation, self-care routines, communication, and social skills to neurodiverse children and youth aged 2-18. With a background in early childhood education and mental health since 1991, Shelin’s practice emphasizes diversity, equity, and inclusion, while employing evidence-based practices to achieve individualized outcomes. Shelin has a strong belief in empowering parents, educators, and caregivers, offering workshops and collaborating with schools and co-operative preschools in Greater Victoria. She has presented at the 2015 and 2018 MTC conferences.
This workshop is perfect for ECEs who are new in the field or are looking for more process, open ended art ideas to add to their daily practice with 3 to 5 year olds. We will go over the dos and don’ts of creating a welcoming art space; materials, mediums and magic required in your art space; set up and clean up and hands-on messy fun (at the end). A handout of 101 process art ideas will be generated by the end of this workshop.

Rhonda has been working in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 30 years. After receiving her certification from Capilano College, she continued her education at UVic, earning a degree in Child and Youth Care. She has worked in numerous child care environments including family daycare, preschool, daycare and school based programs. Over the past 18 years, she has been the lead ECE and manager at a cooperative preschool where she enjoys partnering with parents to create a fun, play-based program with an emphasis on open ended process art (think lots of mess!), outdoor learning and exploration, and building strong relationships with children and families. When not working with children, Rhonda enjoys staying active in the beautiful traditional territory of the Lək̓ʷəŋən and W̱SÁNEĆ people where she lives with her family.
Sharing some of the science behind anxiety and how developing mindfulness and nature connections can help us support children in our care. We will talk about recognizing anxiety, the function of anxiety, strategies for coping with anxiety including the role of mindfulness, nature connection, and becoming curious and seeking joy in our practice.

Cindy began working at Arbutus Grove in 2008, and after a brief period as manager of Sidney Co-operative Preschool, is pleased to return to Arbutus Grove to manage the Nature Preschool team. She has over 20 years of experience in the early years field. A lover of children’s literature, she also writes poetry and picture books with her picture book, IF A BUMBLEBEE LANDS ON YOUR TOE coming out in 2024 with Yeehoo Press, a book about anxiety, mindfulness and our connection to nature.
When working with very intelligent, highly creative individuals, Sue realized that everyone is able to learn, no matter what so-called learning disability label might be attached to them. One-third of the population has a learning style which is different from the way they are taught. Sue describes their natural ability, highlights the accompanying talents and explains why the challenges occur when our children enter the current education system.

Recently, Sue and Julie created a professional development pilot for Early Childhood Educators, funded by the Ministry of Education and Child Care. This pilot is at the forefront of ensuring learning challenges are avoided. They provide much needed self-management tools for all 3-5 year olds, whether they are typical or non-typical learners, plus early literacy skills; namely the foundation of NeuroInclusive education. They are excited to share this information with you.

Sue has worked with children and adults as a dyslexia facilitator for the past 24 years. She is author of Fish Don’t Climb Trees, founder of The Whole Dyslexic Society, TEDx speaker 2021. The Society is the recipient of funding from the Ministry of Education and Child Care to pilot a professional development opportunity for Early Childhood Educators in BC.

Julie is the owner/provider at Langford Montessori, Director of The Whole Dyslexic Society and co-creator of the ECE pilot.