A teacher from MacKillop Catholic Primary School, North Mackay, has gained recognition for her approach to the foundational year of schooling, presenting at a national education summit alongside some of Australia’s leading educators recently.
Prep teacher and Assistant to the Principal: Curriculum, Kristy Cundell, was one of the educators invited to present a ‘TEDx’ style talk on the Quality of Reading in the Early Years at this year’s Creating Futures Summit hosted by Griffith University’s School of Education and Professional Studies. The Summit aimed to enable informed and creative educators and stakeholders to prompt thinking on how to continuously improve the teaching of reading in initial teacher education.
The virtual immersive event attracted a community of 600 participants including stakeholders from all schooling sectors, educational associations and community representatives from around Australia and as far afield as New Zealand, Scotland and Wyoming in the United States.
The place of phonics in a balanced approach to the teaching of reading provokes important conversations amongst educators, according to Mrs Cundell.
“Enjoying and exploring high quality mentor texts to respond to and foster learner engagement is at the core of my approach to learning in Prep,” Mrs Cundell said.
Mrs Cundell said through an integrated and balanced approach, teachers are able to cultivate purposeful learning within authentic contexts and meaningful talk, ensuring children develop all the repertoires of practice for reading.
An accomplished Early Years educator representing Catholic Education Diocese of Rockhampton (CEDR), Mrs Cundell shared a professional presentation incorporating video clips from her classroom which gave greater clarity to her approach to the teaching of phonics in Prep.
Mrs Cundell’s presentation was very well received prompting important conversations, according to CEDR Assistant to the Director: Curriculum, Carmel Kriz.
“Kristy’s presentation entitled Cook with it, play with it, read with, sing with it – A balanced approach to phonics drew deep discussion from participants in the room and also via twitter during the Q and A session which followed her presentation,” Mrs Kriz said.
“These summits are very valuable as they provide a platform for these critical conversations resulting in the co-creation of shared ideas that shape a common vision for quality teacher education,” Mrs Kriz said.
Mrs Cundell is committed to ensuring academic progress while enabling each learner to grow in a holistic and faith-filled way. A proud mother of 4 (including triplets), she understands how important it is to celebrate diversity among children.
Kristy values her position in Catholic Education where she daily brings to life her educational philosophy, characterised by a love of learning, a play-based approach, and honouring the individual through personal connections to each story shared.