Geraldine Mabin is internationally recognized as a leader in the field of early childhood education. Gerry received her training and taught in the UK before coming to the Institute of Child Study (ICS) in Toronto where she taught and became principal. Founder of The Mabin School in Toronto, she has a wealth of experience in both teacher training and classroom teaching. She helped open the Children’s Own Museum in 1998 and co-founded Words in Motion, a charity providing dramatic programs for the children. Gerry is the founding Executive Director of Friendship in Action, a children’s charity that supports teachers in building positive emotional and social skills of young children.



Nancy Brown is an award-winning designer, educator, and consultant focusing on hands-on and participatory experiences for children. Past projects include: Spiral Garden at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital; Children’s Participatory Exhibits at the Art Gallery of Ontario; C.A.R.E. Programming at Trinity Bellwoods Park; development of the Arts Training and Resource Manual for the YMCA of Greater Toronto; the Parent and Teacher Handbook for the National Film Board of Canada; and concept design for iLook, a remote observation tool for teacher/child interaction. Nancy was Professor at Seneca College until 2013, in the Early Childhood Department, specializing Art/Creative Expression & Curriculum Design, Childhood Development and Field Placement Supervision.



Stacie Carroll is an award winning teacher with the Toronto District School Board. Recipient of the 2012 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Achievement, Stacie teaches kindergarten at a downtown elementary school with children who have developmental disabilities. She is passionate about the philosophy of learning through play and engaging young children in critical thinking. She has been interviewed on CBS 60 Minutes, CBC The National, CBC Radio All in Day and Metro Morning, CityTV, CTV, and Global News and featured in numerous local and national newspapers. She has a special interest in educational technology and is currently working with a multi-national group on the development of a communication app for those with an expressive language delay.



Paola Scaravelli Cohen is an Early Childhood Educator who has spent her career focusing on arts education and childhood development. As Art Instructor at the Mabin School and at the Institute of Child Study at the University of Toronto, and an Instructor with the Visual Arts Department in the University of Toronto Faculty of Education, Paola has been instrumental in shaping the arts curriculum for Toronto’s children. Paola received her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Primary Specialist Certificate from the Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto; studied sculpture at Yale University; and received her Bachelor of Arts, Comparative Literature from the University of California at Berkeley. Paola was a Board Member for ArtHeart Community Centre, and has led art workshops on a volunteer basis through the Toronto Board of Education. In addition to Paola’s knowledge and passion for the arts and childhood development, she has also published two books on Italian Cooking: Cooking from an Italian Garden, and Mediterranean Harvest.



Laila Baksh was the Head ECE (Early Childhood Educator) at St. Stephen’s Community House, Harbourfront Child Care Centre. As such, Laila creates the curriculum for children five years and younger, and oversees the centre and classroom finances and supply orders. In 2009, Laila received her Child & Youth Worker Diploma through Humber College. She has also completed the Ontario Management Development program at Seneca College, receiving certificates in both Leadership and Business Management Skills. Laila has been an Early Childhood Educator since 2002, when she graduated from the Seneca College ECE Diploma Program in 2002.



Lili Lipton earned a Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts, Sociology, from York University, and has received a Diploma of Early Childhood Education from George Brown College. She has also completed additional qualifications in the fields of Drama, Dance, Tribes Training, Special Education, and has achieved SMART Board Certification. Lili is a supply teacher with York Region District School Board, and focuses on play-based learning, emergent and theme-based curricula. She has worked with students of varied age groups and abilities, including children with Autism and Asperger’s, and learning and behavioural exceptionalities.



Sarah Patterson received her Master’s of Science in Child Psychology and Child and Family Centered Care from Illinois State University. Over the past 22 years, she has worked at SickKids as a certified child life specialist. Sarah has worked in several areas of the hospital including the Critical Care Unit, Trauma, Respiratory Medicine, Complex Care, Endocrinology, Rheumatology, GIFT (Group for the Improvement of Intestinal Function and Treatment), Nephrology and extensively with the solid organ transplant population. Currently Sarah holds an Assistant Clinical Professor appointment and is a Co-Director for the Child Life Studies programme at McMaster University in the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Health Sciences. Sarah also works within the Early Childhood Education department as a part time faculty instructor at Ryerson University and George Brown College. In 2009, Sarah received the Canadian Society of Transplantation Associated Members Award for Excellence in Clinical Care in Transplantation. This award recognizes the development/implementation and evaluation of current and progressive clinical care. Sarah’s research interests lie predominantly with investigating the developmental care of infants in hospital and in May co-published an article that examined the research conducted of parental experiences of a developmentally focused care program for infants and children during prolonged hospitalization at SickKids.



Simone Atungo recently joined the senior management team at Toronto Community Housing as the Director, Resident Engagement and Community Development. Previously, she was the Director of Community Development and Integration at Mount Sinai Hospital for nearly five years. Simone has also worked at the Parkdale Community Health Centre where she held the position of Executive Director for nine years. As an involved community leader Simone has more than 25 years experience working in community based, not for profit organizations. Highlights of Simone’s career include extensive experience in facilitation and community based research, policy and program development, strategic planning and advocacy and community relations. Simone’s experience in community development and integration is complemented by a Masters degree in Environmental Studies and a Non-profit Management Certificate both from York University and an Executive Leadership Program Certificate from the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.