Patricia’s passion for art education with children and families has been a driving force throughout her career. However, it wasn’t until the beginning of 2013, that she envisioned how she could combine her love of art education with her dedication to health and wellness. The idea of using yoga and art as a vehicle to motivate and teach young children to focus on their inspirations developed on a surf holiday where she also spent time volunteering with a non-for-profit organization promoting street art to young children. After a morning of amazing surf, Patricia joined dozens of young children in painting and designing recycled oil barrels. Each oil barrel had a theme: happiness, community, health, etc. and children painted what each of those ideas meant to them. She ended the day with another great surf session -blanketed by a pink and purple sunset. This was the moment that changed everything.
Seasoned in designing learning opportunities that promote creative thinking and skill building -such as active listening and possibility thinking; Patricia realized that she had a unique skill set to assist children to envision and dedicate themselves to an idea -or inspiration, that was personally meaningful to them. However, with few waves in Toronto, surfing was replaced with yoga and YOGART STUDIO was born.
Teacher training experience in India
Patricia had practiced yoga for several years before travelling to India to complete her Teacher Training Certification through the Yoga Alliance recognized Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre in Netala, Uttarkashi, Himalayas, India. The ashram walled in by the Himalayas and adjacent to the river Ganges comprised a picturesque setting for study and practice. In addition to 4 hours of yoga per day, the month long program included philosophy lectures, chanting, and chores (karma yoga). Anatomy, Hindu deities, dharma, and the Bhagavad Gita where major topics of focus. The positive environment and beautiful scenery was further illuminated by the 31 fellow yogi’s from across the globe who gathered to learn, study, practice and grow in one place.
Academic and teaching experience in higher education
Patricia’s credentials include a diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE) from George Brown College and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Studies (ECS) and a Master of Arts Degree in ECS from Ryerson University. The inquiry for her major research paper titled, “I don’t have a creative bone in my body”: Awakening Creativity in Educators” focused on the symbiotic relationship between creativity and learning and how educators may encourage and foster creativity in children. Since joining the Ryerson faculty in 2010 Patricia has taught courses in visual arts, literacy development, technology and curriculum planning. She has worked extensively with HELPS Inc. (Health, Education, and Learning Partnerships Promoting Social Inclusion of Children with Developmental Delays and Disabilities) a national study investigating and describing the social inclusion of young children with developmental delays and disabilities in social, recreational and educational settings as they transition from preschool into the public school system. She has also co-authored a nationally distributed resource, available in 33 languages, for newcomer families to introduce and assist them within areas of health and childcare, education, housing, the legal system, financial management, employment and observing traditions and cultural heritage in Canada.
Kilbride, K. M., Ali, M. A., Gora, P., & Sadeghi, S. (2010). Forging new ties, planting new roots: A guide to Canadian resources for immigrant parents of young children (2nd ed.). Toronto, ON: Chestnut Publishing.
Teaching experience in museum education
Since 2006, Patricia has worked at the Art Gallery of Ontario as an educator and gallery school instructor. She has designed educational studio-art experiences in the form of workshops, courses, and summer camp programs that compliment in-gallery exhibits and explore theoretical and technical aspects of art making. Patricia has also contributed to programs of events that aim to encourage broader audiences, including educational events and teacher/staff workshops and partnered with artists for planning programs of special and permanent exhibitions according to visitor needs.
Patricia is a host for ArtSync TV, Toronto’s visual voice for contemporary art. The series is committed to following, sharing, and celebrating the best of the Toronto art scene with Roger’s TV -Toronto and online audiences. Each week’s episode features brief interviews and clips from recent gallery openings and art events, and longer, in-depth discussions with artists or arts professionals. The show airs every Friday night at 10 on channel 10, with clips and uncut material available online shortly thereafter.
Patricia is also the founder and designer of Education and Play by Design an inclusive, educational-based training opportunity for teachers and early childhood educators to gain a better understanding of the relationship between creativity and teaching. Creativity is increasingly becoming more valued in society and recognized as the solution to the problems of the twenty-first century. However, without developing creative attitudes and skills, educators risk hindering their creative aptitudes and limiting the number of way there is to adapt and respond to the unprecedented changes in education. Where does your creative inspiration come from and what does it look like? How can we measure creativity and its value in the classroom? Research indicates that creativity stems from individuals but grows with the help of others. This Professional Development opportunity will incite educators to design teaching strategies and a classroom environment that is reflective of their creative strengths and abilities.
• Participants will explore how creativity may be used as a springboard to engage teachers and early childhood educators in a dialogue regarding curriculum and programming logistics.
• Through critical reflection and inquiry participants will rediscover creativity within themselves and their teaching by examining what creativity looks like, how it can be nurtured and evaluate whether the creative process is more important than the product.
• Throughout this process, participants will challenge prior and current notions of schooling, teacher education, social norms and societal values that may have shaped their creative development.
• While exploring elements of play, aesthetics and family/community resources, participants will recognize how these experiences translate to classroom practices and begin to recognize and anticipate how creative thinking leads to creative learning.
Patricia has presented YOGART STUDIO at the following conferences:
- Ryerson University’s Early Childhood Studies Course Union Conference on the Arts (2013, Toronto, ON).
- The 9th International Conference on Holistic Learning: Breaking New Ground (Geneva Park Conference Centre, Orillia, ON).
Patricia has presented at the following conferences:
- Division for Early Childhood (DEC) International Conference On Young Children With Special Needs & Their Families (2011, Maryland, USA).
- Ryerson Faculty Conference Teaching Today’s Learners (2011, Toronto, ON).
- Family Supports Institute Ontario (FSIO) Conference Sharing Our Stories, Finding Our Voices (2010, Toronto, ON).
- Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) International Conference Creative Teaching and Learning (2010, Toronto, ON).
- Early Years Education Ontario Network (EYEON) symposium Play-based Learning in the Early Years (2010, Burlington, ON).
- National Metropolis Conference Immigration and Diversity: Crossroads of Cultures, Engine of Economic Development (2010, Montréal, QC).
- University of Western Ontario’s Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism Graduate Conference The Artfulness of Play: Bridging Creative and Theoretical Discourses (2009, London, ON).
- Ryerson University’s symposium Beyond the Brown Crayon: Diversity and the Creative Arts (2009, Toronto, ON).