St. Margaret’s Hosts Successful International Conference of the Association for Constructivist Teaching

Education professionals came together for two days to learn the latest research, information and best practices on how children and young adults construct knowledge.
St. Margaret’s Episcopal School was the site of last weekend’s international conference for the Association of Constructivist Teaching, a two-day event where education professionals could learn the latest research, information and best practices on how children and young adults construct knowledge.
The event was hybrid, as ACT Board members were on location at St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School, while more than 200 participants tuned in virtually for presentations, workshops and keynote speakers centered around the conference theme of “Constructivist Teaching is Social Justice Teaching.” Participants joined from 26 states as well as countries around the world, including Canada, Brazil, Italy and India.
St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School director Cris Lozon serves as the Conference Chair on the ACT Board and was instrumental in bringing the conference to San Juan Capistrano, which showcased St. Margaret’s and its renowned early-childhood program in the process. 
“The ACT Board members, consisting of university professors and researchers, expressed their appreciation for the hospitality of the St. Margaret’s professional community, and praised the environment set up for our young learners,” Dr. Lozon said.
Among the many activities, the ACT conference featured a workshop led by St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School teachers Hope Petrozzi and Jennifer Hardison, who presented “Growing Social Justice: Nature as a Lens for Constructing Empathy in Young Children” where they went in-depth sharing their experiences of how St. Margaret’s youngest students construct knowledge in the Outdoor Classroom.
Head of School Will Moseley welcomed the participants on the opening morning Saturday and spoke at the ACT Board meeting Friday night prior to the start of the conference. In addition, St. Margaret’s technology department was instrumental in the planning of the event, as it worked closely with the ACT Board and conference presenters to collaborate on the presentations and ensure a top-quality experience for the participants tuning in from around the world. 
“The hybrid model of both a virtual and in-person conference was a first for St. Margaret’s, and yet another example of our school’s remarkable ability to innovate,” Dr. Lozon said.
St. Margaret’s Early Childhood School academic program, under the direction of Dr. Lozon, aligns closely with constructivism and the Reggio Emilia approach to early-childhood education. ACT Board members, including Dr. Jacqueline Brooks, and Sonia Yoshizawa, have led professional-development activities at SMES, while the conference’s keynote speaker, Dr. Sandra Stone, also worked with Early Childhood School faculty in the past.
In addition, St. Margaret’s educators have been a fixture at the ACT Conference dating back several years. Dr. Lozon presented at the ACT Conference in 2018, and again in 2019 when she was joined by Dr. Hardison and Early Childhood School teachers Debbie Herrera at the University of Michigan.
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