Our training topics fall into the three categories: Play And Early Learning, Self-Care And Relationships, and Do It Yourself. Below, you’ll find a selection of current training topics divided into those categories. We can also create custom sessions to best meet the needs of your audience.

Play And Early Learning
Self-Care And Relationships
Do It Yourself

Managing Mud Play

Description

Slimy, sticky, dirty, gooey mud play is so messy…and so fun and learning rich. This session looks at why adults shouldn’t shy away from offering it up as a regular part of the curriculum. We focus on the magnificence of mud play–setting it up, supporting it, and understanding all the learning it offers.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Gain practical ideas for setting up and managing mud play
  • Understand the learning that takes place during mud and related messy hands-on sensory play.
  • Learn why such play shouldn’t just be a once in a while activity

Core Knowledge Area

Learning Environments

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Supporting Ramp Play

Description

Supporting Ramp Play is ramps from beginning to end! We’ll look at DIY ramps and ramp supports, the difference between ramp play and ramp lessons, what kids learn while playing with ramps, creating a supportive ramp play environment, and more. The session offers a balance of practical ideas and theory intended to help you offer children a richer ramp play experience.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand how to set up and support ramp play
  • Leave with a better understanding of what kids learn when playing with ramps
  • Acquire ideas for inexpensive and easy-to-make ramps and ramp supports

Core Knowledge Area

Learning Environments

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Using Tools With Kids

Description

Using tools makes kids feel, strong, capable, confident, and powerful. This session looks at setting up learning-rich and safe tool use experiences for young children. We also offer tips to help adult who feel intimidated by tools get more comfortable with them so they can better support tool wielding kids.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Acquire ideas for setting up tool use experiences for young children
  • Understand the benefits of supporting children’s tool use
  • Gain confidence in their abilities to use tools and support children’s use of tools

Core Knowledge Area

Learning Environments

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Establishing A Tinkering Space

Description

This session looks at setting up a creative space for kids to tinker, create, muck about, and build with loose parts. Whether they’re building spaceships, zombie traps, or the worlds tallest cardboard box tower, such play offers a learning rich creative outlet.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Collect ideas for setting up a tinkering space
  • Learn ideas for managing the tinkering space
  • Acquire a deeper appreciation for the value of fiddling around with odds, ends, bits, and pieces

Core Knowledge Area

Learning Environments

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Setting Up A Process-Focused Craft Center

Description

This session looks at establishing a space for child-led, process-focused creation and creativity. We’ll look at what to include in your creative space, setup suggestions, managing the mess, keeping everyone safe, and more. We’ll also dig in to why process-focused creation spaces like this are more child-friendly and learning-rich than product-focused alternatives.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Collect ideas for setting up a process-focused craft center
  • Learn ideas for managing the creative space
  • Acquire a deeper appreciation for Process in children’s creative projects

Core Knowledge Area

Learning Environments

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Simple Machines In The Preschool Classroom

Description

This session looks at supporting play and STEM learning with the six classic simple machines (ramps, wedges, levers, screws, pulleys, and the wheel and axle). We’ll provide an overview of these machines, offer ideas for supporting play with them in your preschool classroom, and discuss why kids should have hands-on self-directed experiences with them.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Learn about the six classic simple machines
  • Understand that STEM experiences should be hands-on and child-led
  • Acquire ideas for supporting play with the six classic simple machines

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Building Brains With Hands-On Play

Description

Young children learn best through hands-on, up-close-and-personal, full-contact interactions with the world. The problem many caregivers have with such learning is that kids who so fully engage the world often make a mess of things–a million blocks dumped on the floor, green paint on the floor, and muddy footprints on the carpet.

Based on ideas from our book, Let Them Play, this session looks at why this type of play is an important part of early learning, ideas for managing the mess, and tips to help caregivers support hands-on play.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand why hands-on play is important for young children
  • Leave with tips and strategies for managing hands-on play
  • Acquire ideas for supporting hands-on play

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Getting Comfortable With Risky Play

Description

While research is clear on the value of children taking reasonable risks as they play and explore the world, many adults are uncomfortable with such play and exploration. This session offers adults a chance to gain a deeper understand of risky play’s value, reflect on their own feelings about such play, and see how risk-taking supports learning.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Reflect on their feelings and experiences with risky play
  • Understand what children learn from risk-taking
  • Become familiar with types of risky play

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Defining Play

Description

While play researchers and theorists have established a pretty clear and agreed upon definition of play and its importance in the lives of young children, confusion remains about what is and is not play. This session looks at the definition of play and examines the difference between real play and play-like activity.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will

  • Become familiar with the five conditions of play
  • Understand the difference between real play and play-like activities
  • Understand the importance of real play

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Building Better Block Play

Description

This session looks at re-energizing your block play area with playful props, thoughtful polices, and appropriate support. We will also dig into the wide and deep learning block play promotes.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Leave with ideas for re-energizing their block play area with additional materials
  • Understand how to better support block play
  • Leave with a better understanding of the learning that takes place in the block play area

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Cows In The Basement

Description

The early years should be full of whimsical fantasy play, yet in many classrooms time for such play is limited as more and more time is devoted to teacher-led activities. This session looks at why children should have plenty of time for self-directed fantasy and imaginative play, creative story telling, and make believe and offers up tips for supporting such play.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Leave with ideas for supporting fantasy and imaginative play
  • Practice using their imaginations
  • See the relationship between fantasy play and learning

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Zombie Vampire Veterinarian Moms

Description

Weapons play, rough-and-tumble-play, superhero play, death play and similar types of play often get a bad rap in early learning settings. Attempts are made to restrict and outright ban these types of play because they are loud, rowdy, aggressive, violent-looking, and can make adults uncomfortable.

The problem is, such play is ripe with learning possibilities and developmental benefits.

Based on ideas from our book, Let Them Play, this session looks at the positive side of the play that makes adults uncomfortable and offers suggestions for embracing and supporting it instead of trying to ban it.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand why the types of play that make adults uncomfortable are beneficial.
  • Examine their feelings about, and experiences with, these ‘uncomfortable’ types of play.
  • Leave with ideas for managing and supporting such play.

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Trusting Kids As Learners

Description

Children are wired for learning–they are good at it, eager to do it, and driven to it. Yet, too often, they are not supported in leading their own learning. Based on ideas from our book, Let Them Play, this session is about trusting kids as learners and creating environments where they are empowered and supported in leading their learning.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand why children should be supported in leading their own learning
  • Leave with ideas for creating more trusting early learning environments
  • Understand that curriculum should grow from the children’s interests and existing knowledge of the world

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Supporting Play And Learning Through Observation

Description

This session looks supporting children’s play by becoming a more tuned-in and systematic observer. We’ll discuss why it’s important to step back and watch children at play. We’ll also look at how (and when) to use a collection of free observation tools we’ve made available on the Playvolution HQ website.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand why becoming a better observer will help them support children’s play and learning
  • Become familiar with how to use observation tools to better understand what they observe
  • Understand how to use their observations to make adjustments to their play space

Core Knowledge Area

Observation, Documentation, And Assessment

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Understanding Loose Parts Play

Description

This session starts with a look at Simon Nicholson’s definition of loose parts and at how the term covers so much more than pine cones and shells. After defining loose parts, we dig into things like sourcing loose parts, supporting loose parts play, the learning that happens during loose parts play, and how to explain loose parts to parents and others who may not grasp their value.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand the definition of loose parts
  • Understand how children learn with loose parts
  • Understand how to support loose parts play

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

The Seven Stages Of Block Play

Description

Nearly 100 years ago a pioneering early learning caregiver and researcher observed 7 distinct stages of play children progress through as they engage with blocks. This session takes a look at that researcher, the stages she observed, and what you can do to better support children and the move through each stage.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Learn about Harriet Johnson and her contributions to early learning
  • Understand the 7 stages of block play
  • Leave with ideas for supporting play in each of the 7 stages

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Supporting “Bad” Behavior

Description

Activities like running, climbing, throwing, spilling, punching, pinching, kicking, biting, tattling, and yelling are often labeled as bad behavior and many early learning settings attempt to limit them–if not outright ban them. This session take a contrarian view, looking at these activities as learning opportunities and offers up ideas for encouraging and supporting them. It turns out these things can be done in safe ways–without hurting others–and don’t have to create friction between children and their caregivers.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand the developmental benefits for supporting running, climbing, throwing, spilling, punching, pinching, kicking, biting, tattling, and yelling
  • Acquire ideas for creating a space where kids can run, climb, throw, spill, punch, pinch, kick, bite, tattle, and yell
  • Examine their feelings and policies about running, climbing, throwing, spilling, punching, pinching, kicking, biting, tattling, and yelling
  • Understand that these behaviors are driven by developmental inclinations

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Caring For The Caregiver

Description

Working with children can be physically and emotionally exhausting and many caregivers spend so much time focused on the needs of kids that they fail to take care of themselves. This often leads to stress and burnout as caregivers struggle to find time in their busy lives for self-care. The result? Stressed, anxious, drained, frustrated, and burnt out early learning professionals. Based on the books, Finding Your Smile Again and Keeping Your Smile, these two hours of in-service training offer up proven self-care strategies and tips for implementing them.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand stress and burnout’s impact on their lives
  • Leave with simple and doable ideas for managing stress and burnout
  • Understand the relationship between their mindset and the quality of care they provide

Core Knowledge Area

Professionalism And Leadership

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Babies In The Rain

Description

Like it or not, since everything infants and toddlers encounter is new, exciting, and a chance to learn, caregivers are Professional Role Models.

Based on the book, Babies In The Rain, this session looks at the importance of the emotional environments caregivers create with young children. It also looks at the importance of Here and Now caregiving and at meeting children where they are developmentally.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendee will:

  • Understand how their mood/emotional state impact the children in their care
  • Understand the importance of child-caregiver relationships
  • Understand why it is important not to rush children through their childhoods

Core Knowledge Area

Relationships And Social Emotional Guidance

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Attack Of The Snoterpillars

Description

Strong relationships with the children are a cornerstone of any quality early learning environment. Creating and maintaining such relationships is hard work when times are good–and downright difficult when you’re stressed, exhausted, tired, or being attacked by snoterpillars.

Based on ideas from our book, Babies In The Rain, this session looks at creating strong emotional environments, maintaining a healthy mindset, and the significance of child-caregiver relationships in building age-appropriate early learning environments.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Understand how their mindset impacts their relationships with children, parents, and coworkers
  • Understand the importance of creating and maintaining healthy emotional environments
  • Leave this session with useful tips for dealing with their stress and managing their mindset

Core Knowledge Area

Relationships And Social Emotional Guidance

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Making Mindful Change

Description

Making lasting change–in your work-life or home-life is not an easy task. If it was, we would all eat healthier, exercise more, and be closer to living our dreams. We’re creatures of habit–and changing those habits can be scary and uncomfortable. This session looks at practical strategies for becoming more successful at making lasting change.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Learn strategies for making mindful change in their life
  • Understand the value of taking baby steps–making slow change over time
  • Leave the session with a deeper understanding of why making lasting change is difficult

Core Knowledge Area

Professionalism And Leadership

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Beating Burnout | Feeding The Good Dog

Description

In this session, based on content from our books, Finding Your Smile Again and Keeping Your Smile, we’ll dig into the importance of our own mindset when creating environments for young children and managing our own stress and burnout.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Learn what it means to ‘feed the good dog’
  • Understand that their responses are choices
  • Understand the importance of their own mindset and outlook in dealing with stressful situations

Core Knowledge Area

Professionalism And Leadership

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Beating Burnout | Time For Yourself

Description

If you’re like most parents and caregivers, you spend lots of time focused on the needs of others and tend to neglect your own needs. How long can you go on like this? Who is going to meet your needs if you don’t? In this session, we dig into the importance of investing in self-care.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Learn the importance of investing time and energy in self-care.
  • Learn strategies for making more time for their own needs.
  • Understand that investing in self care makes them better at taking care of others.

Core Knowledge Area

Professionalism And Leadership

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Do It Yourself Early Learning

Description

Based on our books, Do It Yourself Early Learning and Everyday Early Learning, session takes a hands-on look at dozens of ideas for using materials from your local home center, grocery story, big box store, dollar store, or recycling bin to promote child-directed play, exploration, discovery, and learning.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Acquire simple ideas for supporting child-led play
  • Understand why children are drawn to play with everyday items
  • Better understand the concept of loose parts

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Do It Yourself Early Literacy

Description

This session looks at simple and effective ideas for helping children build early literacy skills. We’ll look at a bunch of ideas for making your own books, discuss how active physical play helps prepare kids to read and write, look at play-based ways to help grow vocabularies, and touch on other ideas for supporting literacy skill-building in your play environment.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Leave with lots of do it yourself book making ideas
  • Understand how active play prepares children to read and write
  • Learn how to support the development of pre-literacy skills in their play environments

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Do It Yourself Block Ideas

Description

This session offers up lots of ideas for inexpensive do it yourself blocks made from simple, affordable, and readily available materials. We also discuss the value of child involvement in making blocks and how DIY blocks spice up traditional block play spaces.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Leave with lots of ideas for blocks they can make with and for children
  • Understand the value of involving children in making these blocks
  • Understand how DIY blocks add interest and novelty to block play

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats

Do It Yourself STEM Play

Description

In this session, you’ll learn how to support STEM learning with simple do it yourself toys and materials. You’ll also develop a deeper understand of how children learn about Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, and more through hands-on play and exploration.

Outcomes / Goals

Attendees will:

  • Leave with simple do it yourself ideas for supporting hands-on STEM play
  • Understand the importance of child-led play and explorations
  • Learn ways to better support child-led STEM learning

Core Knowledge Area

Planning Learning Experiences And Curriculum

Clock Hours

Available in 60 and 90 minute formats