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Chatham-Kent Heartwork

​Chatham-Kent Heartwork is pleased to offer free learning opportunities for early years professionals who work with and support the children and families in Chatham-Kent. 

All Chatham-Kent Heartwork workshops are FREE and are intended for all professionals working with children in Chatham-Kent early years settings.


Stepping Side By Side

A Professional Learning Pathway for Early Childhood Educators

Stepping Side By Side Login

In Chatham-Kent, we know that Early Years professionals pride themselves on staying current with information on early childhood development. They strive to provide quality programming while holding the four foundations of HDLH at the core of their work with children and families.

Stepping Side By Side Chatham-Kent is a professional learning and mentoring opportunity. This initiative was created to use individually as well as in group settings to support reflection, collaboration and growth within the role of early childhood education. It is a modulated program intended for those:

  • stepping into the field of early childhood education
  • currently working in the field
  • rising leaders and leaders

Stepping Side by Side was created by ASCY for Early Learning Professionals to dig deeper into topics related to their scope of practice. Chatham-Kent is excited to partner with this initiative to support the mentorship and Professional Learning needs of our community.

Upcoming Events

Click to Register (for all events below)

2024 Community of Practice: Seasons of the Educator (presented by Discovery Professional Learning)

January 1 to December 31, 2024 (Virtual)

All educators in Chatham-Kent are invited to register for a free online virtual community of practice. You will have free and unlimited access to this space where we will think, reflect, and connect together with educators from all over Chatham-Kent. It is similar to a closed Facebook group where you can connect with others and share ideas all through your phone or computer. You can choose from two virtual communities: Educator or Leadership. This accessible space allows you to have 24/7 access to a community of companions at your fingertips. This offering is responding to the desire of building community, collaboration, and belonging in the sector.

What is a virtual Community of Practice?

It is a virtual space where a group of people can log on and share their interests, passions, and challenges. This space provides support and knowledge as the participants interact online.

By signing up for FREE today, you will get:

  • UNLIMITED learning
  • New relationships
  • To engage with others
  • Support
  • Access to free resources

When you sign up, your registration information will be shared with Discovery Professional Learning.

Building 2SLGBTQAI+ Inclusive Early Learning Environments (led by Shelley Secrett)

Thursday, January 18 @ 6:30 - 8:30 pm (Virtual Event)

As early childhood educators and early learning professionals, we value providing a safe and nurturing learning environment for all children. However, even the most well-intentioned educator might struggle with how to approach 2SLGBTQAI+ families and topics in the classroom. This dynamic and interactive workshop is designed to build the confidence and comfort level of educators seeking to create a more inclusive classroom. We will cover topics such as our early beliefs and how they impact us, appropriate and current terminology, the use of pronouns, how to celebrate Pride year round and how to creatively use family diversity resources to plant seeds of acceptance. 

Shelley Secrett is a registered early childhood educator at Emmanuel at Brighton Child Care in Waterloo, ON. Shelley is very involved in Waterloo Region's vibrant 2SLGBTQAI+ community by hosting fundraisers, raising awareness and empowering people to be who they are.

Have you Honked Today?: Motivational Lessons Inspired by Geese (presented by Stephanie Brogden)

Monday, January 22 @ 6:30 - 8:00 pm (In-Person Event)

Location: Linck (435 Grand Ave. W., Chatham)

It's been a bumpy few years for the children in our care, and for staff. It's time for some fun!

Let's goosen-up! Motivate yourself and others through this highly engaging and collaborative workshop. Strengthen your flock by building morale, being supportive, encouraging others, and empowering your team. Fluff up your feathers and share this flight together! We ask that you encourage a colleague or team member to sign up with you so that you may have someone to HONK with!

Stephanie Brogden (RECE, BA, MPEd) has worn many hats in the early years field, from licened home child care, child care centres, and FDK to art educator, manager and Facuity member she has done it all. Today, you can find Stephanie working at the the Parent Professional Resouce Centre (PPRC) in Sarnia. 

Playful Storytelling: Early Literacy (led by Carrie Myers)

Thursday, February 1 @ 6:30 - 8:30 pm (In-Person Event)

Location: St. Angela Merici Catholic School (801 McNaughton Ave. W., Chatham) 

In this workshop we will discuss the benefits of early literacy and create an interactive STORY SACK! You will have a chance to create a story sack for one of the following books:

  • The Gruffalo (by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler)
  • Goodnight Gorilla (by Peggy Rathmann)
  • The Napping House (by Audrey Wood, Donna Wood)
  • The Very Cranky Bear (by Nick Bland)

Carrie Myers is an Experienced Educator and former Chatham-Kent Early Literacy Specialist.

This workshop is intended for those working with children 2-6y.

Winter Reconnect: Reconnecting with Curiosity: Inviting Experimentation and Inquisitiveness (led by the London Children's Museum)

Thursday, February 8 @ 11:30 am - 1:30 pm OR 6:30 - 8:30 pm (In-Person Event)

Location: John D. Bradley Convention Centre (565 Richmond St., Chatham)

Experimentation lives in dynamic relationship with materials and place. During this session, educators will examine the connections between materials and environments and their influence on experimentation. By shifting focus from product to process, educators challenge the limitations, and capacities of readily available materials in early learning settings. Session participants engage in reflective practice, exploring their impact on the learning environment through the use of active listening, intentional questioning, and documentation. By re-examining the potential of people, materials, and environments to transform one another, educators reconnect with the power of curiosity.

Jamie Fenton is the Programs & Services Manager at the London Children's Museum. Jamie has a significant background in child development and in delivering effective and engaging hands-on programs for young people.

Jessie Collins is an Ontario Certified Teacher and the Education Manager at the London Children's Museum, a role she has developed over the last twelve years. Jessie takes joy in bringing authentic, hands-on learning opportunities to children of diverse interests and experiences.

Gender Splendour: Supporting Gender Creative Children (led by Shelley Secrett)

Tuesday, February 13 @ 6:30 - 8:00 pm (Virtual Event)

Children's exploration of gender expression and identity is a natural and healthy part of development. This workshop will heighten your comfort level and competency in creating inclusive, affirming, and welcoming programs that support and celebrate a wide range of gender diversity.

Through open dialogue and reflective activities, participants will be invited to critically examine their personal beliefs, values, assumptions, and current practices that influence their responsiveness to the unique needs of gender-creative children. They will acquire practical resources to ensure the appropriate use of pronouns and current gender terminology within their programs. 

Shelley Secrett is a registered early childhood educator at Emmanuel at Brighton Child Care in Waterloo, ON. Shelley is very involved in Waterloo Region's vibrant 2SLGBTQAI+ community by hosting fundraisers, raising awareness and empowering people to be who they are.

Diving into . . . Communities of Practice (presented by Discovery Professional Learning)

Thursday, February 22 @ 6:00 - 8:30 pm (In-Person Event)

Location: John D. Bradley Convention Centre (565 Richmond St., Chatham)

Using the research from Dr. Diane Kashin we will help you find easy, attainable solutions to burnout, low morale, and feeling overwhelmed that will contribute to a community of belonging, well-being, engagement and expression. These sessions will be filled with networking, interactive learning, and opportunities where we explore the ways we can build a community of mentorship, communities of practice, and professional friendships What does it mean to be a professional friend and why is it important? This workshop is relevant to educators and leaders who are struggling to find ways to create a cohesive community within any early childhood setting. If you feel overwhelmed and burnt out, these ideas will help you find new strategies to support reflective practice and bring belonging, wellbeing, engagement and expression into each and every day.

Jessica Holder (RECE, BSc, Forest School Practitioner) has been passionately committed to the field of Early Childhood Education for over a decade. She is the Pedagogical Leader at Discovery Child Care Centre where she works collaboratively with educators to reflect on their pedagogical choices and to grow the programs they co-construct with children and families.

Karen Eilersen (RECE, Forest School Practitioner) is the founder and Director of Discovery Child Care Centre: one of Ontario's very first licensed child care centres that is also a certified Forest and Nature school, founded in 1998. 

Untold Stories: 2SLGBTQAI+ History in Canada

Thursday, March 21 @ 6:30 - 8:00 pm (Virtual Event)

Learning the stories, achievements, unique experiences and contributions of 2SLGBTQAI+ people fosters greater inclusion, acceptance and understanding. Participants will embark on an interactive journey through significant moments in Canadian queer history, which are rarely shared, and meet influential activists who paved the path in the gay rights movement. Understanding brings compassion and helps to create a greater sense of belonging in early learning programs where the whole community is valued, accepted, and celebrated. Join us for this one-of-a-kind workshop and allow this new knowledge to complement any strategies already taken to create visibility and awareness of 2SLGBTQAI+ identities.

Shelley Secrett is a registered early childhood educator at Emmanuel at Brighton Child Care in Waterloo, ON. Shelley is very involved in Waterloo Region's vibrant 2SLGBTQAI+ community by hosting fundraisers, raising awareness and empowering people to be who they are.


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