SESSION I (9:45 AM – 11:15 AM)
Character Building: 10 Crucial Concepts Regarding Character Education for the Early Childhood Classroom – The early childhood years provide a solid foundation for what a child needs to learn regarding social, moral, and intellectual development. By attending this workshop, participants will learn how to develop the type of environment, and daily learning opportunities that teach children character values such as respect, responsibility, and courtesy. Participants will share their own ideas for promoting character building and will learn new strategies along the way to take back to their classrooms.
Do I Belong? Providing a Nurturing Environment for Each Child – What does it mean to “belong”? How can adults work towards making sure each child believes they are expected and welcome in their classroom? This workshop will explore the ways in which educator’s concrete actions can contribute to the individual child’s sense of emotional safety, membership in community, and a sense of belonging in the care and education setting. A variety of activities, small and large group discussion will focus on reflection of current practices as well as the real-life challenges of implementing new social emotional learning approaches including, teaching during COVID-19 and working through a lens of equity and bias self-awareness.
Mary Watson Avery
Exploring the Relational Health Journey – Mothers, fathers, caregivers, and teachers play a significant role in developing and nurturing a child’s relational health journey. The pressure of issues related to the pandemic, social unrest, and economics call for a good understanding of what that journey entails. It starts at conception, and we’ll start there exploring the things we can put in place that will result in great self-regulation. We will have a lively conversation using music, videos, photos, and role-plays to illuminate the journey. And, as we learn from each other, we will inspire each other with stimulating social interaction.
Revisiting our Priorities and Revising our Practice in Response to the Pandemic – Whether learning is happening at school or at home, in close groups or with social distancing, inside or outside, the fundamentals of how children learn best do not change. In this workshop we will return to a few basic principles of child development and consider how to recommit to them even in our varied and ever evolving learning environments. Leave with some ideas for ensuring that children’s basic developmental needs are honored in your curriculum, however and wherever it takes place.
The Benefits of Play on Social Emotional Learning – Children’s opportunity to engage in self-directed, teacher- guided play has never been more important than it is right now. Through play, adults and children can explore their emotions, reduce stress and develop strong relationships. In this session participants will reflect on the effects of play on their own well-being and learn how their role as a “play coach” can create a safe and risk-free context for exploration and learning.
Anne Marie Davidson & Sheri Lambert
Together We Can: Promoting Parent Engagement and Equity through SEL – This interactive session will focus on sharing concrete and easy-to-apply SEL tools and strategies that will foster parent engagement and promote equity. This workshop will address the current mental health challenges such as increased levels of stress and burnout, anxiety and depression. Parents and professionals will learn evidence-based and equity-driven SEL skills that can be employed at home or at school to help children develop resilience, independence and perseverance. The presenters will draw from their extensive mental-health expertise and leadership experience to share a systemic model for promoting SEL and mental health supports at district level.
Dr. Stacey Heiligenthaler, Dr. Alina Boie & Dr. Fabian A. Boie
SESSION II (11:30 AM – 1:00 PM)
Mindful Yoga Breaks: The Calm Down Kit for Kids & Educators – This workshop will explore the benefits of yoga and mindfulness techniques with a trauma-informed lens, and how to utilize them for interventions with all children. Educators will learn dozens of coping skills & tools to add to their toolbox that can become one-minute, five-minute, ten-minute or 20-minute breaks in the school day. Participants will learn to put together the six elements of the Mindful Yoga Breaks Toolkit – Breathing, Mindfulness, Yoga, Relaxation, Props & Games into cohesive trauma-informed lesson plans that are accessible to students of all races, abilities, genders, orientations and backgrounds. These lessons and yoga breaks can be taught daily, weekly or whenever needed.
Self-Awareness and SEL Skills to Manage Adult Professional Interactions – Our hearts are in the right place when we endeavor to work towards the success of youth in quality programs. However, we must often contend with anxious parents, demanding administrators and overwhelmed colleagues. How do our innate values, beliefs and biases impact the daily work we do in working with other adults? Join us in this workshop to explore how social-emotional learning can support our work and provide the skills we need to contend with challenging circumstances and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
Supporting the Social and Emotional Development of Dual Language Learners – An increasing number of young children are learning more than one language during early childhood. This session will explore equity and bias as it relates to dual language learners, focusing on how language learning and culture connect to social and emotional development. Strategies and resources for building community, planning curriculum and connecting with families will be shared. Connections between WIDA Early Years resources and the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS) will be highlighted. Come share your own successes and gain new strategies for promoting equity for young dual language learners and their families.
Paquita Jarman-Smith & Michelle Levy
The Art of Refilling Your Social and Emotional Learning Cup – From the dinner table to classroom interactions with their childhood peers, as parents or early childhood providers you will learn in this experiential workshop applicable everyday approaches that children and families need to thrive in being able to express their emotions in a healthy way. You will gain insight and holistic based tools on how to validate experiences of families and students of color, to ensure social, emotional learning is supported in and outside of the classroom. While everyone goes through stressful periods at some point, learn one of the keys in social and emotional learning, how to foster resilience in self, your family and the students and families that you work with.
You will also discover the art of co-regulation and how the act of “just being” goes a long way in a child and family’s emotional regulation. Additionally, from this interactive workshop you will take away a handful of fun and meaningful coping skills that you can use to refill your social and emotional learning cup.
Haley M. Scott & Nicole Cossette
The Pyramid Model for Social Emotional Competence in Young Children: A Focus on Supporting Children with Transitions & Emotional Regulation – The Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children promotes the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children birth to five using Culturally Responsive Practices. This workshop is for families and early childhood educators who would like to learn some strategies for supporting children during transitions and for assisting children with emotional regulation, all with an equity lens. For some young children, moving from one activity to another (e.g., playing with toys to lunchtime, lunchtime to naptime) results in confusion, frustration, or challenging behaviors. Adults can help children predict what is coming next which helps make transitions smoother and gives all children a sense of competence and confidence.
We will also explore ways to help children build self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to recognize and manage emotions and behaviors in different settings, activities, and transitions. Children who learn to regulate their emotions:
► Have an easier time making friends
► Handle disappointment better and are less impulsive
► Relate more successfully with peers and adults
Lisa Swain & Bethanne Vergean