Training Topics

Our training topics fall into two very broad categories. The first is Play. The second is Caregiver Self-Care and Relationships. 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 Sessions

Building Brains With Hands-On Play

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 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.
  • Attendees will leave with tips and strategies for managing hands-on play.
  • Attendees will acquire ideas for supporting hands-on play.

Length

This is generally a 1-3 hour session.

Available

Reimagining Your Dramatic Play Space

Description

Dramatic play is often confined to a classroom corner with a table, a kitchen set, some plastic food, and a few baby dolls. Such spaces are fine, but dramatic play can be so much more.

This session highlights ways to reimagine and support vibrant dramatic play spaces. We’ll dig into ways to create reinvigorated, child-led, creative dramatic play spaces full of loose parts, imagination, and learning. We’ll also discuss the philosophical and developmental sides of this type of play.

Outcomes / Goals

  • Attendees will understand why children should have more say in the setup of a dramatic play space.
  • Attendees will understand ways to support child-led dramatic play.
  • Attendees will leave with concrete ideas for spicing of their dramatic play space.

Length

This is generally a 1-2 hour session.

Available

Defining Play

Description

While researches 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 be familiar with the five conditions of play.
  • Attendees will understand the difference between real play and play-like activities.
  • Attendees will understand the importance of real play.

Length

This is generally a 1-2 hour session.

Available

Building Better Block Play

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.
  • Attendees will understand how to better support block play.
  • Attendees will leave with a better understanding of the learning that takes place in the block play area.

Length

This is generally a 1-2 hour session.

Available

Note

This session is often paired with our Do It Yourself Blocks session.

Cows In The Basement

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.
  • Attendees will practice using their imaginations.
  • Attendees will see the relationship between fantasy play and learning.

Length

This is generally a 1-2 hour session.

Available

Zombie Vampire Veterinarian Moms

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.
  • Attendees will examine their feelings about, and experiences with, these ‘uncomfortable’ types of play.
  • Attendees will leave with ideas for managing and supporting such play.

Length

This is generally a 1-3 hour session.

Available

Trusting Kids As Learners

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.
  • Attendees will leave with ideas for creating more trusting early learning environments.
  • Attendees will understand that curriculum should grow from the children’s interests and existing knowledge of the world.

Length

This is generally a 1-3 hour session.

Available

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Supporting Play And Learning Through Observation

Description

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

Outcomes / Goals

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

Length

This is generally a 1 hour session.

Available

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Understanding Loose Parts Play

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.
  • Attendees will understand how children learn with loose parts.
  • Attendees will understand how to support loose parts play.

Length

This is generally a 1 to 2 hour session.

Available

Note

For in person events, we can also haul along a collection of loose parts and offer attendees time for hands-on play with the materials. This requires a large open space and at least 3 hours for the session.

Self-Care And Relationships Sessions

Finding Your Smile Again

Finding Your Smile Again

Description

Many caregivers spend so much time focusing on the needs of others that they fail to take care of themselves, which often leads to stress and burnout.

Some day’s we greet children with real smiles, other days we plaster on a fake smile mask and try to make it through the day–and then there are the days we can’t even fake a smile for the people around us.

Based on our books, Finding Your Smile Again and Keeping Your Smile, this session looks at how burnout impacts caregivers and ways to deal with that impact so you have more real smile days.

Outcomes / Goals

  • Attendees will understand stress and burnout’s impact on their lives.
  • Attendees will leave with simple and doable ideas for managing stress and burnout.
  • Attendees will understand the relationship between their mindset and the quality of care they provide.

Length

This session can be done as a one hour keynote, a 6 hour deep dive into the topic, or anything in between.

Available

Babies In The Rain

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

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

Length

This is generally a 1-3 hour session.

Available

Attack Of The Snoterpillars

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.
  • Attendees will understand the importance of creating and maintaining healthy emotional environments.
  • Attendees will leave this session with useful tips for dealing with their stress and managing their mindset.

Length

This is generally a 1-3 hour session.

Available

Baby Steps: Making Mindful Change

Baby Steps: 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.

This session looks at strategies for becoming more successful at making change.

Outcomes / Goals

  • Attendees will learn strategies for making mindful change in their life.
  • Attendees will understand the value of taking baby steps–making slow change over time.
  • Attendees will leave the session with a deeper understanding of why making lasting change is difficult.

Length

This session is generally 1-2 hours long.

Available

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’.
  • Attendees will understand that their responses are choices.
  • Attendees will understand the importance of their own mindset and outlook in dealing with stressful situations.

Length

This session is generally 30-60 minutes.

Available

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.
  • Attendees will learn strategies for making more time for their own needs.
  • Attendees will understand that investing in self care makes them better at taking care of others.

Length

This session is generally 30-60 minutes.

Available

Do It Yourself Sessions

Do It Yourself Early Learning

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.
  • Attendees will understand why children are drawn to play with everyday items.
  • Attendees will better understand the concept of loose parts.

Length

This is generally a 1-4 hour session.

Available

Do It Yourself Early Literacy

Do It Yourself Early Literacy

Description

This session digs into simple ways to help children build pre-literacy skills. We’ll look at a bunch of do it yourself book making ideas, discuss how physical activity helps prepare kids to read and write, look at play-based ways to grow language skills, and examine other ways to support pre-literacy skill-building in your play environment.

Outcomes / Goals

  • Attendees will leave with lots of do it yourself book making ideas.
  • Attendees will understand how active play prepares children to read and write.
  • Attendees will learn how to support the development of pre-literacy skills in their play environments.

Length

This is generally a 1-2 hour session.

Available

Do It Yourself Blocks

Do It Yourself Blocks

Description

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

Outcomes / Goals

  • Attendees will leave with lots of ideas for blocks they can make with and for children.
  • Attendees will understand the value of involving children in making these blocks
  • Attendees will understand how DIY blocks add interest and novelty to block play.

Length

This is generally a 1 to 3 hour session.

Available

Do It Yourself STEM Play

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.
  • Attendees will understand the importance of child-led play and explorations.
  • Attendees will learn ways to better support child-led STEM learning.

Length

This session is generally 30 -60 minutes long.

Available

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