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Our Create and Share Your Invitation to Play ~ Win a Free $5000 Classroom Giveaway Contest is just a few days away from closing. You still have time to vote for your favourite Invitation to Play! – There are two ways to have your vote counted.

The five final entries with the most combined Email and Facebook votes entered by May 31st, 2015 at 11:59 PM Pacific time will be judged by our Natural Pod contest panel. The panel will select one winner out of the top five entires who has the most imaginative and engaging entry. We’ll announce the winning entry on June 16th, 2015. The winning entry will receive $5000 worth of Natural Pod design support, furniture and toys.

Why did we choose to have a panel select the final winner from the top five entries?

We are so very grateful not just to be a company that helps create better learning environments, but we’re part of a big and growing natural play learning and educational community. We’ve had the incredible good fortune of working with so many wonderful inspiring and impactful leaders in our community that we asked them to together decide who had the most imaginative and engaging entry. We know so many of you have worked very hard at engaging your communities in voting and we wanted an impartial panel of incredible leaders to make this very difficult decision on behalf of all of you who participated in this contest.

It is our honour, to introduce our incredible and inspiring judging panel:

Maureen Dockendorf
Superintendent of Literacy and Numeracy, BC Ministry of Education

Natural Pod - Maureen DockendorfMaureen’s work has spanned coordination, management, and leadership positions, respecting and responding to a range of cultural understandings and needs. This work has involved collaborating with local, regional, provincial, national and international networks and initiatives, and through it she has built trusting relationships and established strong credibility. Since 2011, she has been privileged to work with the Ministry of Education’s Learning Division developing and leading the Changing Results for Young Readers Initiative. Maureen has a Master of Arts (Curriculum/Teacher Education) and Bachelor of General Studies from Simon Fraser University and is the former Assistant Superintendent, Coquitlam Board of Education (SD43) as well as the Director of Instruction, Coquitlam Board of Education (SD43). Maureen has won numerous awards including Tri-Cities Champions for Children Award, Leadership Champion for Young Children Award, Woman of Distinction Award, Queen’s Jubilee Award and the award of Community Leadership from the Province of British Columbia.[space]

Jennifer Seydel, Ph.D
Executive Director, Green Schools National Network

Natural Pod - Jennifer SeydelJennifer brings 30 years of experience as an educator to her role as Executive Director of the Green Schools National Network. She has been a School Designer for Expeditionary Learning, a non-profit education reform organization that partners with existing schools and opens new schools, for the past ten years. Prior to her work with EL, Jennifer was an Associate Professor of Education at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts. As the Director of the S.A.G.E. Project, a college-community collaboration founded to address the needs of highest risk high school students in Springfield, Massachusetts, Jennifer designed the S.A.G.E. M.Ed. program, a graduate degree in Education and Counseling.She is passionate about designing teaching and learning environments that advance healthy, sustainable schools and school districts.[space]

Sandra Duncan, Ed.D.
Co-Author of Inspiring Spaces for Young Children & Rating Observation Scale for Inspiring Spaces

Natural Pod - Sandra DuncanWith over 45 years of experience in the early care and education field, Dr. Duncan has extensive experiences in publishing curricula and teacher resources, teaching young children, training early childhood professionals, teaching at the university level, designing professional development programs, working with parents and CDA candidates, and creating educational sponsored programs with companies such as General Mills and Proctor and Gamble. She recently completed a three-year contract with the United States Air Force and is currently under contract for Children’s Home and Aid. Dr. Duncan taught kindergarten for 10 years and owned 11 early childhood programs that served thousands of children. These programs provided a variety of services including private preschools, child care centers, well- baby clinics, park and recreation programs, reading diagnostic clinics, and facilities for special needs children. Currently, she owns a for-profit before and after school program at 11 public schools serving over 1,200 children.[space]

Kerri Favreau
Teacher/Educator, Kenora Catholic District School Board

Natural Pod - Kerri FavreauKerri began her teaching career in 1998 with the Kenora Catholic District School Board. She has a strong commitment to bringing creativity and imagination to her work with children and is not afraid to explore new approaches in school settings. As one of the first educators to implement Full Day Kindergarten in Ontario, she is dedicated to creating inspiring learning opportunities with children. She also understands the importance of building learning environments with thoughtfulness and intention as well as discovering ways to ignite children’s thinking and creativity. She has shared her own research and experience with others over the past several years in numerous ways and has been featured in several videos produced by the Ontario Ministry of Education. She is currently on a new adventure exploring teaching and learning through playful inquiry with 9 and 10 year olds at St. Louis School.

Thank you so much to our panel for being part of this work and this amazing contest. Remember to vote for your favourite entry and be sure to sign up for our Natural Pod mailing list to be among the first to received word on the winning entry.

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