“I learned to ask more open-ended questions to get the children to think critically,” said Barbara King, a family child care provider from Long Island City, Queens. She was one of the 80 UFT-represented child care providers who attended the Providers Appreciation Educational Conference at union headquarters on May 27. Themed “Constructing Knowledge through Purposeful Play,” the conference included a choice of two workshops led by UFT Teacher Center instructors and free takeaway resources, including books, puppets, puzzles and science kits. “It was amazing and fun,” said Marie Andre Alceus, a provider from Canarsie, Brooklyn. “I learned a lot.” Ana Tovar, a provider in Parkchester, the Bronx, said the conference has inspired her to put on shows with the children, because “we haven’t done performances, which kids like to do and parents like to attend.” Tovar said the conference was “an opportunity to improve your day care and even yourself as a person.” UFT Providers Chapter Chair Tammie Miller, who welcomed attendees, said, “I’m proud of our union for offering an educational day of appreciation for our early child care educators.” above: Showing they can build during the Children at Play workshop are (from left) Desideria Matos from Manhattan, Mildred Caraballo from the Bronx, Jimena Jerez and Monica Polanco from Queens, and Joy Leonard from the Bronx.
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Learning through purposeful play