Workshop Topics for Teachers and Professional Caregivers

Pre-Service Training

9 Hour Communication Course for Child Care
Get your message across! Communicate better with parents, children and co-workers. Learn to read inflection, body language, and cultural differences. Brush up on common errors in grammar, pronunciation, and punctuation. Lots of engaging activities.
 
90 hour Preschool Child Care Pre-service Course
Prepare for a career in group child care. Course covers child development and activities with a focus on ages two through five years. Lots of hands-on activities! Students will prepare a portfolio of evidence that can be used in obtaining a Child Development Associate (CDA). Scheduled as needed.
 

Child Development

" I Had It First!" Conflict Resolution Skills for Preschoolers
Make peace in your classroom. A review of normal socio-emotional development precedes a discussion of preventive techniques for peer squabbles, as well as invaluable techniques that take advantage of “teachable moments” to impart negotiation tips. Two-hour workshop.
 
Ages and Stages
Typical Development from Birth to Age Ten There is a normal course of development through which every child passes. Participants discuss the children in their care as the group follows the typical sequence of stages from the first through tenth year. Discussion includes difficulties at each stage, and the ideal caregiver’s role.
 
Balance of Power - Power Struggles
An examination of the dynamics of an adult-child relationship that typifies power struggles. Developmental stages and “difficult” temperament traits can contribute to the combustible mix. Participants learn helpful techniques to prevent and resolve power struggles.
 
Communicating With Young People
Childcare professionals and others who work with older children and teens have an opportunity to be a guiding adult at a critical time of life. Hot topics (drugs, sex, violence) and communication skills will be addressed. Participants will discuss how to become an entrusted partner to parents.
 
Dinosaurs Divorce
Children show behavioral changes under the strain of marital disharmony and separate households for mother and father. Caregivers can provide a base of compassion and stability during this difficult time of family stress and single parenthood.
 
Eensy Spiders and Somersaults: Motor Development
The workshop traces the normal course of motor skills from visual tracking to scissor skills and swing pumping. Participants will get to try out finger plays, make play dough, and explore other fine and gross motor activities to use with groups of young children.
 
Effective Discipline Techniques for Preschoolers
Caregivers and parents of children ages 2 – 5 are involved in guiding the formation of an internalized system of rules of behavior. By applying child-centered or “authoritative” guidance techniques, the adult can prevent many discipline problems and give children a foundation for future self-control. Two-hour workshop. Can be combined with "Why Do Children Misbehave?" as a three-hour workshop.
 
Multiple Intelligences: Different Ways to Learning
A hands-on workshop using models of learning differences and their application in the childcare classroom, including Dewey, Piaget, and Gardner. Participants will engage in learning activities to example each of the eight intelligences from Howard E. Gardner’s theory, and will identify their own best ways of learning
 
School-Age Development
Participants examine the stages of normal development from five through eleven, looking at the typical behaviors and motivations of each age. Common problems for the age period are discussed, including learning problems, divorce, and bullies. Share strategies for meeting physical, intellectual, emotional, and social needs in an after school program.
 
Self-esteem of the Preschool Child
Overview of self-esteem theory as it relates to the preschool age period (ages 2-5). Presentation includes indicators of self-esteem as well as classroom strategies to increase self-esteem in particular children. Participants engage in activities that increase self-awareness, self-expression, and self-esteem.
 
Self-esteem of the School-Age Child
Overview of self-esteem theory as it relates to the school age years (ages 6-10). Presentation includes indicators of self-esteem as well as classroom strategies to increase self-esteem in particular children. Participants engage in activities that increase self-awareness, self-expression, and self-esteem.
 
Temper, Temper - Tempering Tantrums
Participants will share their definitions and observations of tantrums, explore typical causes and circumstances of tantrums, and become aware of how adults’ reactions can be helpful or harmful. (Adult anger never helps!) Learn to choose appropriately among three possible responses: ignore, distract, or give in.
 
Temperament Differences: From Easy to Difficult
An overview of the nine traits of temperament according to behavioral science. The discussion further focuses on guidance techniques that are respectful of each “high” or “low” among the nine traits. And finally, the workshop considers the positive adult outcomes for traits that might have otherwise been labeled as “difficult” in childhood.
 
Why Do Children Misbehave?
A framework for identifying causes of misbehavior based on unmet needs. For example, hungry children are not well behaved in the grocery store. Bored children cannot behave well in a waiting room. Caregivers can become better at anticipating needs, thereby preventing misbehaviors. Two-hour workshop.
 

Community

Does Santa Fast For Ramadan?
Explore the religious beliefs and traditions of the families you work with. Learn to separate “teaching religion” from teaching about religion. The workshop includes many examples of hands-on activities to celebrate cultural identity without offending parents’ beliefs: construct a piñata, dip candles, and act out multi-cultural folk tales.
 

Curriculum

Art For Toddlers - Methods and Materials for One and Two-Year-Olds
Participants discuss the creative nature of one and two-year-olds, common hazards of the age, and methods for using art media with toddlers. Age-appropriate art activities are carried out by participants.
 
Art From Scratch
Creativity is best nurtured when divergent thinking is supported. The simplest materials – often “at no cost” - are best for stimulating creative thinking. Participants will get to create their own works of art.
 
Baby Talk: Early Language Development
The workshop covers the normal milestones of language in children from birth through age 3, stressing how language is “caught” by providing a rich verbal environment, and not “taught” in carefully laid out lessons. Activities are exampled – conversation, books, nursery rhymes, and American Sign Language – which help infants and toddlers to communicate.
 
Craft Making
Participate in a variety of craft-making activities suitable for groups of school-age children. The session emphasizes unhurried time, individual expression, and re-visiting media (crayons, modeling dough, paint printing, paper crafts) for continued development.
 
Creative Activities
Creativity is a different thought process from following directions or coming up with a correct answer. Participants will engage in creative thinking exercises and enjoy sample activities that encourage creative thought for discussion, dramatics, creative movement, visual arts, and song making.
 
Curriculum Development
This workshop aids teachers in exploring the needs and interests of the children in their care. Curriculum development emerges from an interaction between the children and the teacher. Participants will practice theme-based planning to consider activities for future use.
 
Drama Kings and Queens – Dramatic Play in the Lives of Young Children
What is the purpose of dramatic play? Making sense of and practicing social roles, imagination, emotional work, communication, cultural learning. The workshop provides suggestions for encouraging the development of a rich dramatic play environment.
 
Making Story Time Come Alive!
There is no reason to just read any old book to children when a wealth of quality children’s literature exists. Quality picture books invite the children to participate in the telling. In addition to selection and presentation, teachers will get to experience a wide variety of follow up activities that help to make the content of the stories real.
 
Math Learning Through Play
Piaget theorized that young children construct an understanding of the physical world from sensori-motor experiences. This workshop emphasizes the spontaneous learnings that occur as children use materials found in a typical early childhood setting. Ten early math concepts are explored by participants.
 
Messing Around: Preschool Science
John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and good early childhood teachers have long known that young children learn best from real experiences. The “scientific method” involves a multi-sensory approach to “messing around” and making “guesses” about how things are. The workshop includes many hands-on activities.
 
Messing Around: School-Age Science
At school age, experiences in the concrete world provide the stimulus for observations, queries, and conclusions. This workshop allows caregivers to explore the wonder of science and nature by “messing around” with materials suitable for school-agers.
 
Music All Day Long
Music can be made an integral part of the group child care day, from Hello songs, to creative movement, to natural rhythms at work while children play. Participants will learn to encourage musical exploration and have a chance to engage in a variety of musical experiences during the workshop.
 
My World: Social Studies for Young Children
Create meaningful activities for your children based on their interests in themselves, their families, their classmates, their communities, their country, and the world.
 
The Birds and the Bees as Young as Threes
Get comfortable with the correct names for body parts and functions. Find natural opportunities for children to use you as a resource for age-appropriate information about reproduction and elimination. Book list included.
 
Together Again: Group Times / Group Games
When children get together, activities can foster group cohesiveness and camaraderie. Shared activities, such as songs, games, and discussions, enhance the learning process for all.
 
World of Stories – Multicultural Folk Tales
Participants will jump right in with a dramatization of an Anansi tale from Africa and other stories from around the world. A case is made for the values of traditional folk tales: good literature, rich language, multi-cultural exposure, and fun. Presentation and follow-up are discussed and demonstrated. A book list is provided.
 

Health, Safety, and Nutrition

Good for You Food Fun
Beginning with Nutrition Bingo, participants get a hands on approach to learning about the elements that make up the foods we eat. Recipes easy enough for young children to do will be followed and eaten! Discussion includes food attitudes and follow up activities (field trips, books, dramatizations). Add $2 per person for food.
 
Healthy Habits for Preschool Children
Set a lifelong pattern with your preschoolers of health-promoting habits for exercise and eating. Engage in several large motor games and activities to work up an appetite for some making and sampling nutritious snacks.
 

Professionalism

Communication – “What I Meant to Say”
Relationship dynamics, body language, cultural differences, and the emotions behind the words often tell much more than words themselves. Learn how to communicate respectfully and effectively with co-workers, parents, and children.
 
Communication and Teamwork
Participants analyze the dynamics of communication with co-workers, parents, and children. Learn to break the codes of cultural barriers, emotional undertones, and body language. Staff members will recognize their individual strengths, rhythms, motivations, and problem solving styles in order to work better together.
 
Stress in the Classroom
Professional child care providers experience stress from the very nature of their work. Children have stresses of their own from their families and from the child care setting. Sources and signs, such as physiological changes, attitudes, and behaviors, are shared. Strategies for coping are exampled.
 
Teamwork – “All Together Now”
Who’s in your team? Take part in a self-assessment and a small group activity to get to know yourself and the people you work with. Staff members can achieve shared goals through respecting individual strengths, rhythms, motivations, and problem solving styles.
 
Working With Parents
This workshop divides parents into four types, providing a discussion of distinctive behaviors caregivers will easily recognize among the parents of children in their care. Different approaches to working most effectively with each of the four types follows.
 

Kids at Hope

Introduction to Hope-ology
Do you believe all children are capable of success, no exceptions? Do all the other adults who interact with a particular child believe it? Kids at Hope is a research-based theory which shows how a shared belief system can surround children with caring adults who assure good outcomes today and in the children's futures. Four hour training. Not yet approved by MSDE.
 
Little Kids at Hope
Early life experiences - those controlled by parents, professional caregivers, and other caring adults, set the stage for a child's future. Topics include the power of hopefulness and optimism, the essential role of the caregiver and other supportive adults, early brain development, and connecting childhood experiences to success in adulthood. Not yet approved by MSDE.