A Workshops

SATURDAY MORNING – (9:30-11:00 a.m.)

View the full descriptions of all our workshops and bios of our presenters.  Please remember to list a 1st and 2nd choice for each workshop block when registering, as workshop spaces are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.


A1: Talking with Your Kids: Nurturing Conversations, Confrontations, and Connections

Raising healthy children with an ability to sustain meaningful relationships is a challenge even in the most ideal situations. Add on hormones, attitude, personality, and technology – welcome to the tween and teen years. Dr. Amy Alamar will lead this 90-minute, interactive workshop, which will include a conversation about parenting the independent, emerging adult while still nurturing the playful child within. Participants will have the opportunity to explore and prepare for real-life situations. Specifically, the goals of the workshop are to address:

  • Initiating and maintaining an open dialogue
  • Developing an authentic and honest relationship with your child
  • Supporting your child’s social life
  • Broaching the difficult subjects

Target audience: This topic is relevant to parents of children of toddlers through teens.

Presenter: Amy Alamar, EdD, Yellowbrick.me, Inc.


A2: Common School Behavior Management Approaches

This presentation will provide parents of school-aged children the opportunity to learn more about two common approaches to student behavior management – Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports and Restorative Practices.  Discussion will focus on the basic tenets of each approach.  Parents will leave with an introductory understanding of how the approaches can be implemented in schools.

Target audience: This topic is relevant to parents of school-aged children

Presenter: Sarah L. Jones, SERC


A3: Cyberbullying and Sexting: Perspectives and Awareness for Tweens, Teens, and their families from Law Enforcement

This presentation will provide tweens, teens, parents and those adults in our youth’s lives with an overview of cyberbullying and sexting (sharing images electronically) from a police perspective.  Discussion will focus on the law and how bad decisions made impulsively by youth can (and have) led to lifelong repercussions.  Strategies on how to avoid becoming a victim and/or an inadvertent perpetrator of these cyber-related adolescent trends will be provided as will resources for those who experience cyber-bullying and sexting incidents within the community and school environments.

Target audience:  This workshop is relevant for parents, parenting educators, middle & high school teachers and after-school professionals.

Presenters: Captain Christopher McKee, Suffield Police Department and School Resource Officer Joshua Amaro, Windsor Police Department


A4: Pretend Play and Brain Growth: The Link to Academic Success (SESSION FULL)

What are the basics of child development? How do children learn? What does neuroscience and current brain research tell us about child growth and learning? How can we apply this knowledge to understand what school readiness really means? What role does PLAY have in this process? Are all types of play the same? What are executive function skills and how are they developed? What role do executive function skills play in a child’s early academic career? What strategies can we use to narrow the achievement gap?

Join us for this exciting session that answers all of these questions and more!

Participants will learn fundamental knowledge about the ages and stages of child growth and development, in the context of the latest science on brain growth in the earliest years. Importantly, this workshop will stress the importance of developmentally appropriate practice and specifically play in meeting the unique developmental needs of children of different ages.  This session is useful to parents and educators of infants, toddlers and preschoolers.

Target audience: This workshop is relevant for parents, parenting educators, early childhood and elementary school teachers.

Presenters: Erin Akers, Med, Gesell Institute of Child Development


A5: Foundational Skills: Building a student from the Ground Up

An interactive workshop focusing on the language and motor skills necessary to becoming a student as they relate to the Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten and beyond.  Opportunities to create practical materials will also be provided.

Target audience: This workshop is relevant for parents, early childhood and elementary school teachers.

Presenters: Rita M. Wood, MA, CCC/SLP and Tracy B. Stead, OTR,  Bloomfield Public Schools


A6: Adventure Education in Your Classroom

Adventure education is the promotion of learning through adventure centered experiences. Adventure education often employs practical skills that will benefit an individual in areas beyond the activities in an adventure program. It is our goal to provide leaders with practical applications in group leadership through the following program tactics: group formation, selection of activities, briefing, leading, and debriefing the group. During this presentation we will give you the tools to support social and emotional development of the children you work with. The presentation will also allow experiences in group activities that can be brought back to the classroom. There will be many take aways that can be useful to any program. “I see, I forget. I hear, I remember. I do, and I understand.” – Ancient Chinese proverb.

Target audience: The presentation is relevant for parents, parenting educators, elementary school teachers and after-school professionals.

Presenters: Sarah Maffiolini, Youth Services Bureau, Town of Windsor and Jen Filer, Northwest Park, Town of Windsor


A7: The Potential and Pitfalls of Partnerships

Effective partnerships can enhance your program, enable you to offer new content, and  extend  the reach of your program into the school and community. Poorly thought out partnerships can also bring the most seasoned director to tears and decide that going it alone is a much simpler route. In this session we will have a lively discussion and share resources that will help you find the partners  that will enhance your programming and move your program to the next level.

Target audience: The presentation is relevant for parents, parenting educators, teachers and after-school professionals.

Presenter: Ken Anthony, Ed D., CT After School Network and Marilyn Calderón, CT Parent Power


To view bios of our featured presenters, visit the 2017 Speakers page.