Interested in a topic not listed? Contact the instructor, Karen Rucker, regarding the possibility of customizing a session to address your center's specific professional development needs or to address a specific age group. For additional information, click the Contact tab or send an email to krucker@RespectingChildren.com or call 717-314-8368.
All Age Groups
The Importance of Relationships: Creating Powerful Interactions to Support Children's Learning (2 or 3 hrs - K2.02/C3 and SQ.3.4.5; SQ.3.4.9; SQ.3.4.10) There's a huge difference between going through the motions of teaching and actually supporting children's learning. The key lies in the types of interactions - both verbal and nonverbal - that you engage in with children throughout the day. Based on the book "Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning," this session explores strategies to become more intentional and purposeful in your teaching.
Behind the Scenes: Examining Underlying Causes of Challenging Behaviors (2 or 3 hrs - K2.13 C3): Often challenging behaviors are the product of multiple factors that may not be readily apparent. Join us as we examine the bigger picture including developmentally appropriate behaviors, mistaken behaviors, and imitation (sometimes of the grown-ups in the program!). The emphasis will be on the role of the adults in contributing to behaviors. Small group activities, case studies and discussion will be used in this professional development session.
ZERO TO THREE The Growing Brain: Social Emotional Development (3 hrs - K1.4 C1/C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.4) We often think of children's social/emotional development as primarily influenced by interactions and experiences, but the brain also plays an important part. After taking this course you will understand how social–emotional development unfolds in the first 5 years and the brain’s role in this process. This session focuses on ages birth through five years and is part of a series developed by the national Zero to Three center. The Growing Brain series is comprised of seven sessions and may be taken in any order or combination.
ZERO TO THREE The Growing Brain: Understanding Cognitive Development and Executive Function (3 hrs - K1.4 C1/C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.4) This course will help you understand what cognitive development and executive functions are and how young children develop cognitive and executive functions in relation to the developing brain. We will start with how children grow and change in their intellectual/mental abilities such as thinking, reasoning and understanding. Then we will move on to the "air traffic controller of the mind" - executive functioning - which includes the ability to control impulses, filter out distractions and sustain attention (all attributes every teacher wants to promote in young children!). This session focuses on ages birth through five years and is part of a series developed by the national Zero to Three center. The Growing Brain series is comprised of seven sessions and may be taken in any order or combination.
ZERO TO THREE The Growing Brain: Understanding How Children's Behavior Is Influenced by the Brain (3 hrs - K1.4 C1/C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.4) During this course you will learn how children’s behavior is influenced by the brain, brain anatomy, and root causes of challenging behavior. Includes information on temperament's impact on behavior when coupled with brain development and the environment. This session focuses on ages birth through five years and is part of a series developed by the national Zero to Three center. The Growing Brain series is comprised of seven sessions and may be taken in any order or combination.
ZERO TO THREE The Growing Brain: Everyday Play (3 hrs - K1.4 C1/C2; K1.8 C1/C2; K2 13 CI/C2 and STARS EC.2.2): Explore the stages and types of play that unfold in early childhood, the role of the brain in this process, and how to maximize children's learning through play. Includes information on how play supports the Six C's: communication, collaboration, critical thinking, content, creative innovation and confidence. This session focuses on ages birth through five years and is part of a series developed by the national Zero to Three center. The Growing Brain series is comprised of seven sessions and may be taken in any order or combination.
Why An Apple Is Worth 1000 Words: Learning Through Play (2 hrs - K2.14 C1/C2; K2.14 C3 and STARS EC.2.2): In the adult world, play is often viewed as the absence of work and is considered of lesser value or time 'wasted.' In the child's world, play is the work that allows them to decode the world around them while creating and practicing relationship skills. The tuned-in early childhood educator recognizes the value of play and sets the stage for children's construction of knowledge. We will explore what research tells us about play and how to best support learning through play via the teacher's role; planning activities to support play; and providing learning centers that encourage discovery. This session includes discussions, case studies, and small group activities.
Developing Extension Activities from Children's Literature (2 hrs - K2.14 C2; K2.15 C2 & K2.16 C2) A grown up and a book are a favorite for most young children! Reading opens the world to children by expanding vocabulary, building on prior knowledge and discovering new things. Often a favorite book will be requested multiple times. One way to enhance children's enjoyment of literature is to develop extension activities. This session will explore ways to create your own extension activities that support multiple developmental domains and content areas. NOTE: This session is primarily for preschool and toddler staff.
Creative Art Experiences (2 or 3 hrs - K2.14 C1/C2; & K2.15 C2): Say 'good-bye' to product art! This interactive, hands-on session explores various open-ended process art activities that support all domains of development; physical, social/emotional, language, creativity and cognitive.
NOTE: Obviously the on-line version does not have a hands-on component.
Exploring Developmentally Appropriate Practices (2 hrs - K2.9 C1 and STARS SQ.3.4.10): DAP is an expression that is frequently heard in our field, but not always understood. Explore the five components of DAP (developmentally appropriate practices); creating a caring community of learners, teaching to enhance development & learning, constructing appropriate curriculum, assessing children's learning & development, and establishing reciprocal relationships with families.
Using the PA Learning Standards to Support Curriculum Development (2 or 3 hrs - K2.15 C1/C2 and STARS EC.2.2): The PA Early Learning Standards reflect what research tells us is best practice in early care and education. Equally as important, they provide a foundation and connection to future school success. This session will discuss the logic behind the development of state learning standards and how they relate to national standards. Then, via small group activities, participants will dive into the tool to explore this valuable resource and consider ways to increase its use in planning curriculum for young children. NOTE: This session is only available as a face-to-face event.
Using Webbing to Create Curriculum That Reflects the Interests and Needs of Children (2 hrs - K2.10 C1/ C2 and STARS EC.2.2): Good curriculum incorporates both the interests of children and activities to promote development in all areas. Webbing provides a method to generate curriculum ideas that support development and academic domains while taking into consideration the resources of the specific program. A significant portion of this session is spent webbing and mapping out curriculum. NOTE: This session is only available as a face-to-face event.
Creating Curriculum: Themes vs. Project-Based Approaches to Learning (2 hrs - K2.9 C2 & K2.10 C3): Authentic curriculum reflects the interests of the children while supporting development in various domains and content areas. Explore the difference between theme and project-based approaches to learning. Discuss how to successfully incorporate themes and project-based learning; and examine how these strategies are being implemented in other programs.
Note: This session is available only as a face-to-face event and is recommended for centers who are planning to embrace the Project Approach as their primary method of curriculum development. Another Note: This session is intended for either Preschool/School Age staff.
STEM Activities for Toddlers (2 or 3 hrs - K2.14 C1/C2) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) are a natural for toddlers as they are the ultimate scientists - always investigating, exploring and making new discoveries about the world around them. This session focuses heavily on the science and engineering aspects of STEM and ways to incorporate these important concepts into the toddler classroom. Come prepared for hands-on activities, including time outside to learn ways to weave in environmental science. NOTE: Obviously the on-line version does not have a hands-on component.
Preschool / PreK / Kindergarten: STEM Experiences (2 or 3 hrs - K2.14 C2, K2.15 C2): This interactive, hands-on session will present STEM challenges to explore science/math/engineering activities for preschool/pre-k/kindergarten classrooms. NOTE: Obviously the on-line version does not have a hands-on component.
PreK/Kindergarten: Math Games and Activities (2 or 3 hrs - K2.14 C2): Although the thought of math can be anxiety provoking for some, we use math every day and research has found it to be a necessary early skill to promote later school success. This fun, interactive session explores ways to incorporate math games and activities in the classroom as well as how to get parents involved in supporting mathematic skills at home. Session includes information on conducting a Family Math Night. NOTE: This session is only available as a face-to-face event.
School Age Specific
School Age: STEM Challenges to Get the Juices of Your Brain Flowing (2 hrs - K2.14 C2 & K2.15 C2): This interactive, hands-on session will present design challenges to exercise your science/math/engineering muscles (or to grow new ones, I mean really, who knew we had muscles in those areas?!!??). NOTE: This session is only available as a face-to-face event.
School Age: Math Games and Activities (2 hrs - K2.14 C2): Who says math has to be boring?!!? This interactive session introduces fun games and activities to make math enjoyable in the school age program, while supporting important math concepts. NOTE: This session is only available as a face-to-face event.