Friday, December 28, 2012

Come Play With Me Down Under!

I'm coming to Australia! I thought my Aussie readers might like to know that I'm heading your way to join the great Marc Armitage and the inspirational Niki Buchan as keynoters at the 2013 annual Inspired EC conference at the Shoal Bay Resort & Spa in New South Wales, August 3-4. I'm then planning on a couple weeks touring the eastern part of the continent, speaking and leading workshops, with stops in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Adelaide, with a pop over to New Zealand for good measure (details pending). The folks at Inspired EC have told me it's already booking up and they don't want Teacher Tom readers to find themselves on the outside looking in, so get cracking! 

I can't tell you how excited I am to get to meet you! And what a strange thing it is to meet readers.

In the dark days before I became a father, I worked for nearly 15 years as a freelance writer. It wasn't so long ago that I didn't work on a computer or communicate a bit by email, but all that was still in such an infantile stage that most of my clients still needed me to print things out so they could read and edit it, by hand, then return it to me. And as for meeting my readers, forget about it. In fact, I once wrote some 80 biographies for the staff and consulting doctors at a Detroit area hospital without meeting a single one of them. It's bizarre to think about. I don't look back on those days fondly, these days are better ones, but I did miss the thrill of seeing my writing "in print" and the prospects that someone might actually be reading it.

This is, in large measure, what drove me to start this blog 3-1/2 years ago. I'd written a half dozen early childhood oriented articles for magazines and newsletters, pieces I thought were pretty good, and from what I knew about blogs at the time, it seemed like this would be a good way to give them life beyond the traditional printed page. I had never even read a blog before starting mine, but once I realized that I was going to be posting new material as often as I do, I began to reach out in search of . . . Well, I don't know what. Contact?

Among the very first friends I made via the blog were two of the giants of Australian ECE blogging: Jenny from Let The Children Play and Donna from Irresistible Ideas For Play Based Learning, both of whom had more or less launched their blogs at the same time I did, although I didn't know that at the time. What I did know was that I had a pair of professional sisters Down Under, women who were as passionate as I was about spreading the "gospel" of play-based education. Through Jenny and Donna I feel like I've already met thousands of my readers. Today, I have by far more readers in Australia than any other country outside the US, and 4 of my top ten readership cities are in Oz. Now I get the chance to meet everyone face-to-face.

And the best part is that we will get to play together! I may have started with the idea that play is the best way for young children to learn, but if I've learned anything on this 3-1/2 year journey, it's that everyone learns best through play. So, playmates, that's what I'm coming to do: to laugh and hug and get dirty; to sing and dance and take risks. I plan to bring some ideas to you from the former rain forest that is my home of Seattle, and I expect my Australian friends to show me around such mysterious things as gumnuts, bush walking, and this unidentified flying object I heard is called "the sun."

Come play with me Down Under!

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Jackie said...

YAY for you, TOM! You must be beyond excited to meet everyone, and I'm sure they're just as ecstatic to meet you! What a thrill for all of you! And what a well deserved honour! Congratulations!

lil' red said...

Oh me, oh my!! Squeeeeee!!!!! Don't know if I can make the conference... but I hope you can manage a stopover in sunny Brisbane - we'd love love love to have you!!

Ballarat said...

Wow Tom, that's a great way to get my year off to a good start. Brilliant!!

I've so many questions. When will you be in Melbourne? How does one book into a Melbourne workshop etc? I'll need to cross the day out of my diary. Will you be wearing your super-hugger cape? If so, are you mandated to demonstrate your awesome powers? This is sensational news.

Re 'mysterious things.' Many will encourage you to try our Vegemite (actually no longer 'ours', yet another thing we've sold off) be aware it's an acquired taste. We use a tiny amount, usually on toast but have a reputation for telling Americans we spread it on everything from cornflakes to ice-cream.

I'm really looking forward to meeting you Tom. Hopefully, connect with other Victorians (Melbourne is our capital) who really dig Teacher Tom, his values and his deep regard that we have so much to learn from children; if we simply nurture, respect and facilitate them.

Hannah said...

Your itinerary please sir!
Where and when are you speaking in Melbourne?

Donna Burns said...

I am so excited to finally be meeting you in person TT ... After all, I've met you lovely parents, now it's time I met you. Jenny, and I will be counting the sleeps till you get here soon and I know along with Tash and Nicole, and Niki and Marc we will have a great time together.
Donna :) :)

Angela said...

No Perth??? :(

T.Wood said...

Why does WA alway get left out :(
You will love it here, good Lu k and enjoy!

Jackie said...

Aw, just reading through the comments, and I'm so jealous! When are you coming to Canada, Teacher Tom? hehe! If you're ever making a trip to Toronto, we're right off the 401. You have a open invitation to stop in and visit us hooligans ANY time! x

Deborah Ann said...

What about Perth, WA??
Please consider us way-out-west :)
My husband and I bought acreage earlier this year and since my daughter was born and I started following peaceful/nurturing parenting and play/child-led learning blogs... I have been imagining the creation of an outdoor learning/play space similar to what I read about in your blogs.
If a visit to Perth is definitely out of the question, please advise your itinery and I will have to see if I can juggle baby/travel and seminar :)
Thanks for all your work in providing such a wonderful blog/FB page. My daughter inspires me to read and learn (to try and stay one step ahead of her development levels) and I'm inspired by most (I'm a selective reader) of what I read. Thanks :) Deborah.

Unknown said...

I think this is SO cool, Tom! I am so jealous that I can't go, but so excited to hear all about the session and meet-up! :)

Krys - Baby Massage said...

Yay for us in Australia! I would love to hear about your Melbourne itinerary.

Kirstie said...

Ditto the above comments - especially any attempts at trying Vegemite: don't do it! (Although I'm not a very good Aussie, I don't drink beer either ;>)

Can't wait to hear more about your Melbourne dates!


Kindylindy said...

Just about jumped out of my seat when I saw you were coming to Australia, so disappointed you are not coming to Perth. Lived in the US for 8 years and loved listening to all the amazing people at NAEYC conferences. Sometimes it is hard to get inspired here when the only PD you get is how to improve teaching literacy and numeracy! Sigh!!! Can't you fit us in???