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Professional Development

If you need PQAS credit, Act 48 hours, or you just want to learn something new, we have professional development training to meet your need.

Welcoming All Children

Participants will learn how to make their classrooms more inclusive so that all children are able to successfully participate in classroom activities. The concept of inclusion is introduced and misconceptions about what inclusion entails are discussed. Concrete strategies such as using ‘person-first language’ and focusing on children’s personality traits rather than their disabilities are taught to help teachers create a warm and inviting classroom environment that promotes inclusion. Activities that will help participants use these skills are provided

Cultural Competence

Participants will be introduced to the concepts of culture and cultural competence and will be encouraged to become more culturally competent in their teaching practice. Emphasis will be placed on aspects of culture that can lead to differences in developmental expectations and child rearing behaviors such as independence vs interdependence, multiple intelligences, and the influence of dominant culture on the early education system. Values, beliefs, and behaviors of members of the Culture of Disability will be discussed in depth. Participants will be introduced to a 5-step process that enhances cultural awareness and provides concrete suggestions for addressing conflicts with students, families, and coworkers that may be influenced by cultural differences. Activities that actively engage participants in this process will be provided.

Promoting Development and Learning

Participants will learn how children learn and how to promote learning in their classrooms, primarily through play. A brief discussion of neurobiological development in early childhood is presented. The purpose and importance of play is discussed and different types of play are introduced. Participants are taught how to observe children to determine their temperament and developmental abilities in order to best promote different types of development (physical, social, emotional, etc.) for each child in their classroom

Promoting Full Participation

Participants will learn the purpose (and drawbacks) of labels and diagnoses for young children. A discussion about what labels tell teachers about children and what they don’t tell teachers about children is presented. A strengths-based approach to inclusion practices is emphasized and concrete strategies for focusing on children’s strengths is taught. Information about a variety of disabilities young children may have and strategies to increase classroom participation in children with these disabilities are introduced. Teaching strategies, such as using cues and consequences, are presented to enhance classroom participation in all children.

Promoting Social & Emotional Development

Participants will learn the importance of social emotional competence in early childhood. Definitions of emotional development and social development are provided. Emphasis is placed on meeting the child at their individual developmental level so that they are neither bored nor frustrated socially or emotionally. Strategies are provided to help children gain emotional literacy and better emotional regulation skills and build positive relationships with adults and peers. Participants will learn about the importance of creating a supportive environment, in addition to individualized interventions, to cut down on challenging behaviors and enhance social and emotional functioning in children. Activities will be provided so participants can practice new skills and concepts

Positive Behavior Support

Participants will learn about Positive Behavior Support (PBS). Its roots in applied behavior analysis and how the process of using it is conceptualized will be introduced. This module will focus on the third step of PBS: “Developing a behavior support plan”. The PBS process is taught as a way to understand the meaning behind challenging behaviors, prevent challenging behaviors when possible, and intervene in challenging behaviors when necessary. The concept of ‘replacement strategies’ is introduced and an emphasis is placed on implementing the least-restrictive possible strategy.

Teachers as Coaches

Participants will learn how to “coach” children in social, emotional, and academic skills using the Center for Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) pyramid model. Participants will be given a foundation in social emotional development and its importance. Direct teaching strategies such as ‘descriptive commenting’, prompting, and modeling desired behavior will be taught. Emphasis will be placed on direct teaching practices rather than environmental ones. Activities provided will help participants identify and practice coaching strategies

Understanding Challenging Behaviors & Challenging Personalities

The participant will learn how to identify the meaning of challenging behaviors using functional Behavior Assessment as well as a 6-step process for accommodating the needs of children with a pattern of challenging behaviors. Different types of personalities children may have that are often challenging for teachers are listed with a focus on positively reframing these children. Information on temperament, attachment style, and trauma are presented as issues for participants to keep in mind when reframing a child’s behavior.

Children with ASD

Participants will be given a background on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including common symptoms, strengths, and myths about the disorder. Adaptations and accommodation strategies such as using negative language sparingly, providing choices when possible, and using visual cues will be presented. The importance of collecting data will be discussed and simple data collection strategies to record observations will be presented. Activities will allow participants to practice creating and maintaining data collection systems and creating and implementing visual supports.

Structuring the Environment

Participants will be given strategies to structure their classrooms in a way that engages participation by all students. Successful participation in activities (rather than skill development) is presented as a goal for each child. Indirect (or environmental) teaching practices are emphasized. Practical strategies are given for room-set up, constructing and using learning centers, adaptation of materials, interactive schedules, and classroom transitions. Strategies for creating a structured, warm, and inviting classroom culture are also presented. Activities will provide opportunities for participants to think about incorporating adaptations that will promote participation in their classrooms.

Adaptations & Accomodation

Participants will be introduced to adaptations and accommodations that can be used for all children in their classroom, but are especially helpful for children with special needs. ‘Least-restrictive’ adaptations and accommodations are emphasized and a hierarchy of least-most restrictive ways to facilitate children’s participation is presented. Examples of each level of this hierarchy, and when to use particular strategies are addressed. Focus is placed on what changes can be made to the classroom environment to help children fully participate.

Cara's Kit

CARA’s (Creating Adaptations for Routines and Activities) Kit is a 6-step guide to creating and implementing classroom adaptations in toddler and preschool classrooms. It introduces the concept of adaptations and explains how they can help promote participation and create an inclusive classroom. Different types of adaptations are identified and a guide to implementing each type is presented. Materials are provided to help teachers identify the need for adaptations, consider possible adaptations, choose the correct one to implement, and evaluate the chose adaptation.

Visual Supports

Participants will be introduced to the concept of visual supports and given strategies to use visual supports in their classrooms for individual children as well as groups of children. Examples of creating and implementing individual and classroom-wide visual supports are given. Types of visual supports that will be introduced include: schedules, first then-boards, social stories, and visual cues. Participants will be introduced to a process that will aid them in identifying the need for visual supports as well as creating, implementing, and evaluating them.

Assistive Technology

Participants will be introduced to the concept of assistive technology for young children and how to implement it in their classrooms. The difference between high-tech and low-tech assistive technology, and when it is appropriate to use each one, is discussed. Practical strategies to teach children to use assistive technology, and to teach adults how to teach children to use assistive technology, are presented. Emphasis is placed on selecting the least-restrictive assistive technology using a pyramid model.

Individualizing for Families

Participants will learn about the importance of partnering with families of all children in their classroom, especially those with special needs. Tips are provided on how to effectively engage and partner with families. These include: recognition of families as experts on their child, taking a joint problem-solving approach, and effective communication skills, especially around identifying possible disabilities and referring to Early Intervention services. Activities will provide participants with the opportunity to evaluate cases in which teachers partnered with families and consider ways that they can successfully build relationships with and meet the needs of families of their students.

Early Intervention: Building Relationships

Participants will learn about the Pennsylvania Early Intervention system including historical context of disabilities legislation and how it affects childcare centers, the process of how a referral is made from a single point of entry, the role of various players in EI teams (i.e. families, teachers, providers, etc.), and typical developmental milestones. Participants will also learn about the importance of collaborating with other members of children’s EI teams and will be provided with tips for effective collaboration.

Child Portfolio: All About Me

Participants will be given guidance and materials to help them make a written and visual portfolio of one of their students. This project will be a strengths-based assessment of the child. Participants are expected to collaborate with the identified child’s family to complete this assignment. Tasks include writing a strengths-based story about the child, identifying a child’s strengths, needs, like, dislikes and recent developmental milestones. Information will be presented on how the child acts in various environments including at school and at home.

Active Supervision & Appropriate Teacher/Child Interaction

In the Early Childhood Profession child safety, supervision regulations and teacher child physical interaction must be skillfully executed. When every adult who works in this field understands their responsibility to implement safety practices and appropriate interactions: the outcome will decrease the rate of injuries and uncomfortable physical interactions. Early Childhood Educators who use Actively Supervision will understand the six strategies to skillfully execute by: 1.Set up the environment 2.Postion the staff 3.Scan & Count 4.Listen 5. Anticipate child’s behavior 6.Engange and redirect

Part 1: Embedding Natural Learning Opportunities in your Daily Schedule

Participants will understand background knowledge on the domains of child development and how to connect the skills from each domain to meet the individual needs of children. The skills will address individual needs for typical children and children with who have been identifies as special needs. Embedding Natural Learning Opportunities in daily schedules is high quality practices in early childhood education is good for all children.

Part 2: Embedding Individual Student Goals into Daily Routines

Participants will learn how using “The Embedding Triangle” helps to visualize the steps to decide what individual children’s goals should be, and how to create opportunities to practice by embedding strategies in the classroom. By using these steps, you will be able to meet the diverse needs of your students, whether they have special needs or are typically developing.

Mindful Teacher Self- care to Promote Positive Attitude in an Educational Learning Environment

This module is to execute “The Whole Child Approach”, so the demands for mindful teacher self-care. As educator’s it relates to what you do at work and outside of work to look after your holistic wellbeing so that you can meet your personal and professional commitments. Everyone’s approach will be different. This training will focus on six self-care strategies (1 hour per strategy) that educators can find useful personally and in promoting a positive attitude professionally. In each strategy there will be a self-care plan that will be completed by all participants Part 1-Workplace/Professionally Part 2-Physical Part 3-Psycologial Part 4-Emotional Part 5-Spritual Part 6-Relationships

Positive Teacher/Child & Teacher/Parent Interactions Skills for Early Educators

Research has proven that Early Childhood Educators must have a positive relationship with children and their parents to support children’s development. By incorporating activities for the four domains of interactions for children and strategies for problem solving for parent’s early childhood educators can lay the foundation that will ensure that the children in their care are receiving quality early childhood educational learning experiences.

Ethical Code of Conduct for Early Childhood Professionals

“NAEYC recognizes that those who work with young children face many daily decisions that have moral and ethical implications. The NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct offers guidelines for responsible behavior and sets forth a common basis for responsible behavior and sets forth a common basis for resolving ethical dilemmas” (NAEYC).

The Effects of Poverty on Early Childhood

Children face many challenges in their lives. As Early Childhood professionals we need to understand the situations and environments that children are facing. In this session, participants will learn what poverty is and what effects it has on early childhood.

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