Sample Topics

Sample topics include: 

Foundations of Child Development

Fundamental knowledge about the ages and stages of child growth and development give all those who work with young children the ability to see children where they are in all domains. By exploring how each child has a unique developmental profile, expectations can be customized for optimal learning outcomes. This seminar will give participants specific information about each developmental stage as children grow, comprehensive developmental theory, and how stages of growth impact certain behaviors and processes.


Building Brains Playfully

What does neuroscience and current brain research tell us about child development and learning, and what is the role of play of all types in this process? We will apply this knowledge to understand how young children learn best, and consider that all types of play are valuable, but differ in their influence on the growing brain during early childhood. Importantly, we will emphasize executive function skills enriched by socio-dramatic play experiences.  


Preventing Challenging Behaviors: Building Relationships and Creating Supportive Environments

Helping children develop relationships and self-regulation skills starts with you knowing  your children, having realistic expectations, and creating positive learning and growing environments at school and home. Specific strategies that work well with each age correlate with developmental growth, as well as consideration for temperament, specific behaviors and personality. When challenging behaviors occur, your understanding of growth patterns and the developmental stage of the child enables you to redirect, refocus, or minimally deescalate situations. Having this knowledge enables all those who care for young children to be proactive, and plan effectively for the best learning environment.

The Outdoor Classroom

We all know how important outdoor play is for young children, but how can we enhance the outdoor experience beyond free play? The outdoors can become an ideal learning environment when teachers have the strategies to create experiences that enhance development and growth in all domains. Also, how can we bring the outdoors indoors? Many need a fresh outlook on recess and developmentally appropriate activities to incorporate into your outdoor classroom environment. Outdoor play has the potential to support all areas of child development - brains, bodies and spirits alike!


The Kindergarten Conversation

To accompany our Kindergarten Readiness booklet, this training will consider what it means to be “Ready for Kindergarten” in the context of Ready Kids, Ready Families, Ready Schools, and Ready Communities. This paradigm reveals different and important key points when making decisions regarding the transition from preschool to kindergarten. We will answer common questions parents and schools have about how to know if a child is truly ready for the transition to kindergarten. Check back in 2018 for a NEW soon to be released Gesell Institute kindergarten readiness booklet.


The Brain in Early Childhood

Neither scientists nor educators are ready to prescribe MRI informed practices for improving learning in individual children. However, new research does demand that we take seriously how this new knowledge of the developing brain can better inform and influence practice, and ultimately the development and learning of all children; especially those facing adversity. This  training will review the latest and best research on brain development, and consider how new findings are bringing us back to old school methods.


Social Emotional Learning and the Young Child

Incorporating social emotional learning into the classroom can be challenging, especially with the variety of developmental ages and curricular expectations involved. However, we now know more than ever the value appropriate experiences and interactions have on the developing child and their developing brain. Providing secure relationships, opportunities for rich interactions, problem solving through play, and modeling language should be integral components in early education classrooms. Social emotional learning occurs through explicit instructional strategies, teacher practices, modeling, and integration within academic curricular areas already being implemented. Using these methods will allow for best SEL integration in every early education environment.  


If you're interested in learning more about these topics, contact Erin Akers, or complete an inquiry form for a private webinar and/or seminar.