Thursday, October 13, 1:15pm – 2:45pm EST

Nurturing Children’s Sense of Wonder

Hilary Redman

With co-presenters Joanne Pye and Lisa Purcell

This workshop will focus on nature-based play and learning. We will introduce strategies for nurturing children’s curiosity, creativity and compassion while building peaceful learning communities. Additionally, we will discuss the benefits of regular access to nature-based play on healthy child development and how to incorporate this practice into your program. Come ready to play outside!

Dramatizing Children’s Stories for Literacy Development

Robin Ploof

Come participate in a hands-on workshop exploring the development of literacy skills through stories written and acted out by children. We will begin with a discussion based on Vivian Paley’s work, together we will dramatize the stories offered and then move into small group work that focuses on sharing and acting out our own stories. We will come back together and share what we have learned by listening to each other’s stories and explore ways to make storytelling and story play come alive in our own classroom practices.

How Do We Feed Vermont’s Children?

Rebecca Webb

With co-presenter Keely Agan

Providing nourishing meals and snacks in early childhood programs is an essential component of quality early childhood programming. We interviewed representatives from 32 early childhood programs in an effort to learn about the cost and barriers to operating a meal program and how programs have successfully provided meals and snacks to children enrolled in their programs. In this session we’ll share key findings and discuss specific recommendations for the establishment of successful meal programs. Participants will engage in discussions about professional development, messaging, advocacy, and resources towards feeding meals in their programs.

But What Have They Learned? Completing Mandatory Assessments in a Child-led Outdoor School

Michelle Black

Teachers working in outdoor programs, or who just want their students to spend more time outdoors, will be asked to prove that students are actually learning. This session will highlight strategies for meeting standard assessment requirements regarding learning done outside school walls. Topics include the challenges of applying assessment requirements to outdoor education programs for which they were not originally designed, and adapting assessment requirements in an outdoor education setting to appropriately address skills and development in children of all ages, abilities, and identities.

Math with Loose Parts

April Zajko

Through playing with loose parts, children learn and expand their mathematical skills as well as foster their sense of wonder. This workshop will explore ways to create meaningful math learning opportunities with natural materials and recycled objects. We will examine how to create play-based ways to implement the Vermont Early Learning Standards (VELS) for mathematics and design environments that invite authentic mathematical exploration.

Getting College Credit For What You Know

Melissa DeBlois

For more than 45 years, the Vermont State Colleges System has been helping adults get college credit for their on-the-job learning through Prior Learning Assessment. Early Childhood Education Professionals are accessing these alternative resources to save time and money in reaching their professional and academic goals. Attend this session to learn about the creative ways to advance yourself and your employees in the profession by getting college credit for what you already know.

Collectively Creating Safe Spaces for Children

Donna Lopiccolo

With co-presenter Beth Maurer, Director of VT Child Care Licensing

Licensing regulations and enforcement help provide a baseline of protection for children. Effective licensing prevents harm, mitigates the risk of injury/death from fire, building hazards, disease and inadequate oversight. Licensing establishes the minimum requirements necessary to protect the health/ safety of children. Participants will: Learn who CDD consults with to monitor regulations. Learn the different ways the CDD supports programs. Learn about the top 10 violations by program type and how you can ensure compliance. Receive updates on the new licensing regulations. Receive answers to questions submitted by providers prior to the conference.

Cultivating Wonder, Awe & Social Exchange Through Play

Laura Bouyea, M.S., CCC-SLP

Play is an integral part of learning, communication, social well-being, and self-regulation. It’s also the natural context for cultivating curiosity, wonder, and awe, capacities which ignite the drive the learn, connect, and communicate. Through play we learn language, flexibility, explore intense experience, and hone our negotiation of social exchanges. This course focuses on creating opportunities for children’s developing minds through neurodiversity-affirming practices in play.