AUM to host education conference

For Greene County News

YELLOW SPRINGS – Antioch University Midwest (AUM) and its School of Education is partnering once again with Ohio Voices for Learning (OVL) to host a statewide education conference entitled “Everyday Activists: Social Justice in the Early Childhood Classroom.”

The full-day conference will take place Saturday, March 5 and will feature a keynote addresses from Mary Cowhey, an educator and award-winning author, and co-founder of Families With Power.

OVL is a dynamic professional development network of more than 500 educators dedicated to promoting the Reggio Emilia Approach (REA) through the exchange of information, ideas and shared experiences illustrating how aspects of the instructional approach are implemented in Ohio classrooms.

The Reggio Emilia Approach focuses on seeing children as active contributors to their education – rather than the target of instruction – and is grounded in several key principles including the belief that children are active protagonists of their growth and development process, learning is a process of individual and group construction and the teaching environment is organized to provoke and support learning.

AUM is a statewide leader in teaching the REA and its School of Education’s Early Childhood program is recognized by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), making the campus an excellent launch pad for this initiative, which coincides with the Ohio Department of Education’s Step up to Quality (SUTQ) requirement for preschool programs and teacher professional development.

Dr. Julie Biddle, core faculty and chair of AUM’s teacher licensure programs and immediate past chair of OVL, is organizing the event for the second year in a row.

“I’m very excited about this year’s program and having Mary Cowhey join us and provide her deep insight on learning through activism and cultivating grassroots leadership among parents, guardians and youth to help children succeed,” she said.

Since 1997 Mary Cowhey has been teaching young children at Jackson St. School in Northampton, MA. She is the author of Black Ants and Buddhists: Thinking Critically and Teaching Differently in the Primary Grades, winner of the 2008 National Association for Multicultural Education Philip C. Chinn Multicultural Book Award and the 2007 Skipping Stones magazine Multicultural Book Award. She was a community organizer for 14 years before becoming a teacher.

In 2007, Cowhey co-founded Familias con Poder/Families With Power with Eneida Garcia, Maria Aguilar and Kim Gerould. Families With Power is a grass roots organizing effort among low-income families of color that works with parents, guardians and youth to build leadership skills that can ultimately benefit children within the school system.

Registration for the conference is now open, and is $72 for OVL members and $80 for not-yet members and includes lunch. It includes an exhibit, breakout sessions, small group discussions and two addresses from Mary Cowhey. It will be held at AUM, 900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs. For more information or to register for the conference, visit

Conference attendees are eligible for five hours of Ohio early childhood professional development credit.

Story courtesy of Antioch University Midwest.