Meet our presenters
We’ve selected our presenters for the Louise Kool & Galt Web Workshops series, for their expertise, unique perspectives and ability to motivate and inspire others. We thank them for their generosity in sharing their ideas and making a difference.  
Find all our past Web Workshop recordings and future events here:  



Amanda Benton  

Amanda Benton
 An RECE from London, Ontario, with over 25 years of experience, Amanda currently is the Early Years Support Specialist at the London District Catholic School Board supporting fellow RECE’s in Kindergarten programs. Amanda also teaches in the Child Development Practitioner program at Fanshawe College.  


In collaboration with Strive (London/Middlesex/Elgin’s professional learning organization), Amanda has facilitated various professional learning opportunities on topics including: Loose Parts, Deconstructing Provocations, Early Years Math, Outdoor Learning Community of Practice and Continuous Professional Learning.  


In 2017, Amanda was invited to the FRP Canada National Conference: The Power of Play to team facilitate a ‘Walk Shop’ that provided interactive learning about playgroups in the forest and exploring the outdoors with families. Amanda has a passion for sharing and developing engaging learning environments for young children that provoke and inspire inquiry. 



INSIDE OUT: Bringing indoor classroom outdoors  

Moving Math Outdoors  




Diane Kashin 


Diane is a registered early childhood educator in the province of Ontario and retired ECE professor. Diane taught at both the degree and the diploma level for over 30 years.  

Diane’s doctoral thesis on emergent curriculum was published in 2008 and she has co-written three ECE textbooks, Empowering Pedagogy in Early Childhood Education (2016), Playing and Learning in Early Childhood Education (2019) and Outdoor and Nature Play in Early Childhood Education (2019). 
Diane’s areas of interest include emergent curriculum, play-based learning, forest and nature schools, risky play, loose parts, the Reggio Emilia Approach™, and outdoor play.  

Diane writes a blog to support professional learning in early childhood education: Technology Rich Inquiry Based Research, (   )  and has presented workshops and keynote addresses in Ontario, across Canada and internationally.  

Diane also creates content for online learning courses including, Blocks Build Minds and Bodies and she presents webinars on various topics related to curriculum and pedagogy.  


Workshop: Why Wood? The many benefits of Wood Toys for Children and their Families! 




Lesley Pike   

Instagram - @teachmspike

Lesley Pike

Lesley is a Toronto based educator who has taught Kindergarten to Grade 6 and worked centrally as a Math Coach for 5 years. She is currently beginning a new chapter in her career this fall by working outside of the classroom in a support role as a Teacher Librarian.

Her main areas of interest are math and coding, she also loves looking for new and exciting picture books to use in her classroom. 




Melissa Seco   

Instagram - @melissamseco

melissa Seco

Melissa has been both a teacher and Instructional Leader in Mathematics/Numeracy (K-8) and Early Years (K-2). Melissa’s main areas of interest include: early years, visual arts, mathematics, STEM, and inquiry-based learning.

Currently she is a Grade 1/2 teacher and Digital Lead Learner (DLL), and she occasionally teaches AQ courses at OISE. 





Workshops by Melissa Seco & Lesley Pike  

Getting Started with Unplugged Coding: Creating a Coding Kit 

Plugging Coding experience for the Early years 

Coding: outside the box 

Restoring Number Sense in the K-2 Classroom 




Samantha Boyer 

Samantha Boyer

Samantha is an Ojibway, Irish woman from Batchewana First Nation and member of the Buffalo clan.  

A graduate of Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and Algoma University, she holds an Honours degree in Sociology, Anishinaabe Studies and Anishinaabemowin.  

Her passion is working with Indigenous people as a helper; helping to forge a stronger, healthier future for her community and family.  

Samantha fills the position of Indigenous Cultural Competency Facilitator and Urban Indigenous EarlyON Coordinator for the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre, though she is currently on maternity leave. 


Workshop: Nurturing Indigenous Identity in an Early Years centre 




Tara Myran  

tara Myran

Tara is from Long Plain First Nation. Tara has a BA in Psychology and Rhetoric Communications from the University of Winnipeg (UW). She attended residential school when she was eight years old.  

Always passionate about instilling the importance of education to her 5 children, at UW Child Care Centre she volunteers her time teaching Indigenous teachings once a week through Indigenous books, puppet shows, teaching the 7 sacred teachings and the Ojibway language of each of the animals.  

She believes that the 7 teachings are universal have lifelong importance and can be adapted to different cultures.  

The importance of an Indigenous Doula, traditional practices and knowledge in the birthing process is of particular interest to Tara.  She’s currently pursuing a Master's in the Development Practice program at the University of Winnipeg.  

She hopes to incorporate her Indigenous knowledge and experience when working in First Nation communities with sustainable development to address health-related issues that many Indigenous communities face.  


Workshop: Introducing Indigenous Philosophies to little people through active play and storytelling  




Usha Shanmugathasan  

Instagram - @usha_shanmugathasan


Passionate about the early years with a focus on mathematics, S.T.E.A.M and coding Usha was part of the original Faculty that opened Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, the all-kindergarten school.  

There she was the Lead Math Teacher and created innovative programs such as Math Studio and Expressive Arts.  

Formerly a K-12 Learning Coach for the Toronto District School Board, today she teaches JK-1, delivers and facilitates professional development for educators across Ontario.  She recently completed her Masters of Education at OISE/UT in Educational Leadership and Policy. 



WHO AM I? Well Being & Identity in the Early Years 

Early Math Matters: Geometry and Spatial Sense 




1 comment

Mar 16, 2023
Heather Savazzi

Hello there,

I saw Tara Myran’s webinar many months ago and I thought she was wonderful! Now, I am trying to get in touch with her to see if she’s interested in offering a presentation for our conference… do you know how I can get in touch with her?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
She can reach me at or 416.532.4429.

Thanks so much in advance for your help,


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