Pana Asavavatana

Bring Kindergarten Back: 21st Century Literacies, 5-year-old Style!


What comes to mind when you think of Kindergarten? For me, it is words like ‘play’, ‘hands-on’, or ‘exploration’, just to name a few. It is no secret that young children learn best through multisensory experiences, since as infants we instinctively begin learning about the world around us through all of our senses. As we grow, this ability only becomes more complex and dynamic, yet as students move up through the school, their educational environment does not always keep pace with this complexity.

It is this very same basic human instinct that draws students of all ages to new forms of digital tools and media, as they provide a multisensory and interactive experience. But we can’t just give students iPads and expect them to learn themselves! In order for students of any age to maximize the potential of new media and tools, we need to ensure that we as teachers are encouraging them to understand and engage with this content in meaningful ways. This means we need to redefine the term “literacy” so that it encompasses the fluency with which students are able to interface with new forms of media. This workshop provides teachers with the foundational knowledge (and practice!) they need to get students thinking critically about and creating digital content. Whether it be the literacy of apps, robots, icons, or videos, come and discover how you can bring a dose of Kindergarten back to your teaching and reimagine learning in the 21st century through the lens of a 5-year-old!

Possible Outcomes
  • Explore and analyze what literacy looks like in the 21st Century
  • Walk through several exercises that break down how to use traditional literacy concepts to teach students how to analyze, understand, and create new forms of media
  • Create your own activities and games linking different literacies to various curricular areas
Intended Audience

This session is open to all educators who are interested in redefining what “literacy” could mean and look like in their setting, or simply anyone who would like to bring sprinkle of Kindergarten magic back to their classroom!

About Pana

Pana is the PreK-2 Technology Integrator at Taipei American School where she works with teachers on technology integration, coding, robotics, engineering, and design in the curriculum.  Prior to this she taught in early childhood classrooms for seven years. She has studied, lived and worked on three continents in eight different cities, including Melbourne, Manila, Bangkok, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Pana is an Apple Distinguished Educator and is passionate about learning in the early years. In an effort to connect more early childhood students and educators around the world, she founded a Twitter hashtag chat #KchatAP (Kindergarten Chat Asia Pacific), and created the Traveling Teddy Project.

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