In May 2019 Wendy visited the USA to work with teachers in California and present a Keynote Presentation at the first annual Learning Stories National Conference in Orange County, California, organised by Supporting Advancement of Learning Stories in America (SALSA), headed by Dr Annie White. There were several fantastic displays of Learning Stories work at this conference, making visible the depth of the work happening in the USA. Some of these people have recently so generously shared their Learning Stories with Wendy and she, in turn, has been privileged to share them with others.
Dr Annie White is Assistant Professor with the Early Childhood Studies program within the School of Education at California State University Channel Islands, and was inspired by the joy and emotion she saw from educators writing Learning Stories, while on study tours of New Zealand. It was on the first of these study tours she attended that Annie met Wendy, and was inspired by Wendy, and the Educational Leadership Project work of Learning Stories. Since then Wendy and Annie have worked together many times. Annie is on a mission to make a difference to the assessment process for teachers in the USA, adding Learning Stories to all of her courses, and also working with Learning Stories in homeless shelter childcare programs. This group has now widened to include a significant group of both teachers, and their student teachers, to strengthen the work of Learning Stories in the USA.
Following her fourth trip to New Zealand, Annie persuaded Wendy to offer a “Learning Story Intensive” to a group in California. It was this group that went on to form SALSA in 2018, a non-profit group that co-hosted two separate conferences in 2018 in southern and northern California. The 4 May 2019 was their first National Conference and they have tentative dates planned for 2020, 2021 and 2022 in Michigan, Seattle and Texas.
One of the workshops that Wendy was honoured to attend during the National Conference was “Honouring Teacher Voices: Narrative Stories used as a Tool for Self-Reflection”: Referred to as “My Stories”, university professors and students shared how narrative stories, adapted from Learning Stories, can be used for teacher learning and self-reflection. Annie has found this journey a great way for her students to communicate their cultural and social identities.
If you’d like to learn more about SALSA you can contact them here SALSA.USA10@gmail.com
Supporting Advancement of Learning Stories in America (SALSA)
Origin- 2017; Non profit- 2018
Founding Members- Regan Bynder, Chris Carducci, Isauro M. Escamilla, Annette Muse, Lorena Ramos, Lygia Stebbing, Joyce
Stone, Leslie Voss and Annie White
Board of Directors- Regan Bynder, Chris Carducci, Isauro M. Escamilla, Jeannette Mulhern, Annette Muse, Lorena Ramos, Lindsey Shafer, Joyce Stone, and Annie White
Mission Statement- SALSA advocates for the Learning Stories approach that enhances intentional teaching, reflective practices, and advances equity and diversity by acknowledging early childhood educators, families, and children as both learners and teachers.
Vision Statement- SALSA represents children’s learning with integrity and respect, recognizing their individual value and competencies. We advance Learning Stories in the United States as an authentic narrative approach to bring joy into teachers’ work of documentation, observation, and assessment.
Future Goals- Learning Stories presentation, publications, resources, Intensive Learning Stories Study with ELP, NZ Inspire Study Tour, National Conference (Michigan 2020), Learning Stories Inquiry Groups, List Serv (SALSA.USA10@gmail.com), Website, and more.