Professional Development Workshops

All of our professional development workshops are customized to meet your specific learning needs.  We work with small to large groups, charter management organizations, early childcare providers, moms groups and more!  All learning experiences are strength based, hands on and participatory.  Instruction is provided by Melanie and Christine who are Louisiana Pathways Certified Instructors and well as LAPEN certified Parent Educators and have over 40 years combined in education and social work.

Below are some of the workshops we offer.  Schedule a time to speak with us so that we can customize your personalized professional learning experience today!

Brain Architecture Game      Life experience matter!                             

The Brain Architecture game helps people appreciate the impact of early childhood experiences across a lifespan.  It builds understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development– what promotes it, what derails it, and the consequences for society.  Groups of 3-6 players work together in this hands-on experience to literally build a brain that is as tall as possible thus representing functionality, and as sturdy as possible, representing ability to withstand stresses. Will the brain be strong enough to withstand life’s experiences?

Playful Learning

Children are naturally curious and explore their environment to learn about how things work!  Research indicates that playful learning is crucial to supporting children's social and emotional development and creativity which supports later academic achievement.  During this workshop, participants will learn about the concept of playful learning and the balance between  free play and guided play in the early childhood classroom.  We will explore ways to scaffold the play learning experience to allow for increased quality feedback and language modeling opportunities.  In addition, we will explore the play environment and how to increase correlation to learning objectives.  The workshop will also include ways to convey information to parents and encourage play at home.

Unlocking the Door to Learning: Trauma Sensitive Training For Educators

It is estimated that one half to two thirds of children experience trauma. By understanding and responding to trauma, teachers, and staff can help reduce its negative impact, support critical learning, and create a more positive school environment. This training was developed to help educators understand the impact of trauma on student learning and to identify strategies to work more effectively with all students in their classroom.

Ages and Stages of Development

Children go through distinct periods of development as they move from infants to adulthood: Infancy birth - 2yrs), Early Childhood ( ages 3 to 8 yrs) Later Childhood ages 9 to 11 yrs) and Adolescence (13 to 18 yrs).  During each of these stages, multiple changes in the development of the brain are taking place.  As children go through their different stages of life, they approach learning in different ways. This training will help educators maximize student learning by providing an in depth understanding of how stages of development occur in the primary domains: physical, cognitive, and social-emotional.  By understanding behaviors of students based on developmental stages and  how to respond to those behaviors teachers will be able to create a positive environment and classroom culture that encourages and fosters learning.

Behavior In the Classroom:

How Positive Affect and Emotional Awareness Can Frame Your Day

Learning opportunities increase for children when expectations are clearly understood. Positive classroom management comes from the building of relationships and creating a place when emotions are acknowledged and nurtured.  During this 60 minute workshop teachers will understand the role temperament (both theirs and their students) plays in instructional, interaction and emotional tone of classroom. We will engage in a discussion to identify stressful behavior, determine triggers and learn how to positively channel the student’s behavior.   

Seven Schemas of Children’s Play

Children have urges, it is part of being a child!  Have you ever wondered why they do things like climb, hide in small spaces, and throw things? Schematic play is when children repeatedly practice different ideas or concepts.    During this workshop, teachers will explore the seven most common types of schematic play: transporting, enveloping, enclosure, rotational, trajectory, transformation, and orientation and positioning.  Strategies to identify schematic play in action, encourage its development, and create lesson objectives that capitalize on children's innate need for schematic play will be explored. The workshop will include ways to convey this information to parents and encourage play at home.

The Art of Reading Aloud to Children 

It is suggested that a child needs to hear over 1000 stories before they can learn to read. Getting children ready to read is an important goal of preschool.  This workshop explores the phonological development of children from birth to age 6. Then the focus will shift to learning and practicing three different read aloud strategies: Dialogic, Participatory and Whole Book approach. The workshop will engage participants in practice pairing the story with an appropriate read aloud method..  A brief introduction of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) will also be given as a way to engage in art and pictures to enhance language development.

Executive Functioning Skills: Focus and Self Control, Communication, and Perspective Taking  

Executive functions skills allow individuals to utilize their cognitive abilities to control their thoughts, emotions and actions. Such skills support success in school, contribute to healthy relationships and allow for overall social-emotional growth. It is during the preschool years that these cognitive and emotion regulation skills are introduced, learned and developed. Research has shown that a child's ability to use executive function is a strong indicator of success in both school and life

This workshop will explore what executive function skills are, discuss how these skills are crucial for learning and development, and explore ways adults can foster them in the children they teach.  The essential skills of focus and self control, communication, and perspective taking will also be explored in depth through discussion, video observations, and small group discussion.  The workshop will provide strategies for nurturing theses essential  skills using games, books, and fun activities and examine how students varying ability to focus, demonstrate self control, communicate and take another perspective contribute to the classroom environment.

*2 classes

Concept Development: Brainstorming and Problem Solving

Every interaction with children should be seen as an opportunity to promote collective problem solving skills. Creating an environment in which children are encouraged to plan, execute and evaluate is essential to strengthening concept development. During this workshop teachers will explore opportunities to promote problem solving skills and learn specific strategies to help their students engage in the process. (CLASS: Instructional Support Domain)

Feedback and Language Modeling 

Language is the root of all learning.  To build language and understanding it is important for teachers to have a solid foundation in facilitating feedback loops, self and parallel talk and engaging in conversations that promote higher order thinking skills. During this workshop, teachers will increase their knowledge of these techniques within the Instructional Support Domain of CLASS to expand student learning and engagement.