2021 Indiana Early Childhood Professional Development Series

Tuesday, April 13th; Thursday, April 15th; and Tuesday April 20th
6:30 pm to 9:00 pm EST


3 Day Series – Earn up to 7.5 training hours!

SESSION 1:  Tuesday, April 13, 2021
6:30 pm – 9:00 PM EST
Educating Citizens Through Play (Tom’s Fundamental Pedagogy)  (Earn 2.5 training hours)
Teacher Tom speaks about how children’s play brings the habits and principles of democracy into ‘early years’ classrooms. He starts by discussing the purpose of education in democratic societies and how and why we have managed to veer so far from the original intent, which is to educate citizens capable of contributing to the grand experiment of self-governance. In this full-throated support for play-based education, he details through his illustrative classroom stories and examples exactly how his curriculum works. Participants will learn the benefits of introducing these playful principles to their own students, the hallmarks of what makes a good citizen both in a classroom as well as a democracy, the traits and habits required for self-governance, and practical tips on how to implement these ideas in their own classrooms. It is an inspiring, often touching, often hilarious, and always eye-opening and empowering presentation.
SESSION 2:  Thursday, April 15, 2021
6:30 pm – 9:00 PM EST
Speaking with Children So They Can Think  (Earn 2.5 training hours)
In a very real sense, the language we use creates reality. We’ve all known people who seemed to be able to work “magic” with young children, motivating, inspiring, and building relationships with them without raising their voices, bossing them around, scolding, or threatening. In reality, there is nothing magical about it. Teacher Tom speaks about how the specific works we use, and how and when we use them, shape reality for our students for both good and bad. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the importance of being clear and precise with language; honoring children without commanding or bossing them; using words to create a world of facts and intrinsic motivation; creating space in which children must do their own thinking and make their own decisions, and supporting children as they learn from the natural consequences of their behaviors.
SESSION 3:  Tuesday, April 20, 2021
6:30 pm – 9:00 PM EST
The Importance of Risky Play  (Earn 2.5 training hours)
It’s impossible to talk about play without addressing “risky play”. Physical, intellectual, and social-emotional risk-taking are a central aspect for preschoolers learning through play. Yet our increasing litigiousness, a culture of “helicopter parenting”, and our mainstream perception of children as incapable, make risky play…well, risky. In this session, Teacher Tom shares research and anecdotes to define risky play (with an emphasis on physical risk taking), why it is so important, and how educators can support risk-taking in their settings. Participants will come away with a framework for thinking about the role risk can, and should, play within the healthy development process of young children. Tom will also discuss strategies for introducing parents and others to the theories and practices behind permitting children to explore failure, mistakes, heart-break, and even occasional physical injury as part of their learning journey. And underscore that doing so actually helps children become less at real risk, by imbuing them the lifelong ability to take chances while thoughtfully assessing each situation and learning to keep themselves safe.

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