Growing With Children Session Descriptions

Posted in: GWC

Growing With Children Session Descriptions

We are very excited about this year’s Growing With Children Sessions!  We hope that you will be just as excited!

Interested in earning badges?  You could earn one of four different TrailBlazer Badges offered at Growing With Children 2018.  Learn more on this page and look at the color coding of session titles below:

  • Nature Classrooms
  • Get Your Groove On
  • Working Well
  • Science is Everywhere

Click on the Sessions below to see descriptions of each class.  Once you are ready you can register at

Nature Hack Your Classroom
Leah McDermott, Developing Your Natural Learner

During this workshop, we walk through the research-based benefits of nature-inspired learning and what happens when your children spend time each day exploring with nature. This workshop takes educators through a step-by-step process to seamlessly incorporate nature into your indoor classroom learning environment. We will look mostly at things that can be integrated through free or cheap resources including increased natural light, nature tables, natural loose parts, organic/intentional decor, etc. – creating a plan for short and long term implementation of natural learning in the classroom.

Adapting to Stress in the Workplace
Ryan Dopps, Dopps Chiropractic NE

Stress is a part of everyday life but studies have shown that it can cause cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral complications. This is a result of stress effecting the nervous system whose job is to control all of our organs. If the nervous system is stressed it can quickly trickle down and cause more complications. Come and learn how and why you experience stress and what you can do to support yourself and your children to ultimately provide healthier happier care for all!

Music To Their Ears
Kay Alston, Arts Partners

Are you tired of singing the same old songs? Are you looking for inspiration on how to integrate music and movement into your curriculum? This training is for you! Participants in this training will engage in activities that explore children’s multiple intelligences. You will learn new songs and activities that integrate music and movement into your daily curriculum. You will leave this training with the keys to unlock the songs of young hearts.

Recognizing & Celebrating Diversity in Storytime, Anytime, and Every time
Anne Harris, Wichita Public Library

What’s on your bookshelf? Are you providing books that are both mirrors and windows for your children in care? This session gives participants suggestions of books to use in the classroom and ways to intentionally recognized celebrate the beauty and uniqueness of all humans, especially young people of color.

Engaging Children in Math
Regina Miller, Princeton Child Care Center

Participants will gain knowledge on how to introduce basic math through hands on learning. The training offers a series of activities that can be introduced into your daily program. This workshop will prepare new teachers and seasoned teachers.

Learning Nature-ally
Patty Rice, Sedgwick County Zoo; Amanda Alessi, Grant Plains Nature Center

Interested in moving more of your learning outside the walls of your classroom?  Bringing the Outside in?  What will the parents say?! Come join this fun and interactive session and explore why learning “nature-ally” is not only fun and exciting, but essential.  You don’t need to be a nature buff; you just need to be willing to dig into nature!

Overwhelmed, Overstimulated, and Misunderstood Children
Mariah Warden, North Star Therapy

Do you have a child that gets overstimulated easily? Do you have children who cannot focus on a task? How many strategies have you tried that haven’t worked? Come learn the signs and differences of anxiety, sensory processing issues, and ADHD. You will know how to best to support and advocate for families with children that require referrals, testing, or other treatment options. You will learn strategies to engage children that may be struggling with these problems in your classroom.

Interest Led Natural Learning
Leah McDermott, Developing Your Natural Learner

In this workshop, we look at the Reggio Emilia-inspired notion that children learn best when they are learning based on their interests and in line with their natural development. While many teachers have this belief, they often find it challenging to discover the interests of an entire group of students and adapting the learning experience for everyone. This workshop takes educators through the steps of observation, planning, natural adaptations to the environment, assessment, and documentation – taking the joys of children’s interests and turning them into an actionable plan that allows for smooth classroom days and natural, meaningful learning experiences.

Green and Growing: Establishing “Roots” for Future Reading Success
Jeanine Phillips, Fundamental Learning Center

The U.S. education system is focused on improving school age literacy scores, and improvement begins with early childhood educators. Reading Difficulties in Young Children that has established a roadmap to successfully develop language and pre-literacy skills appropriately for children 3-5. The critical concepts of phonological awareness, oral language development, dialogical reading, print awareness, and letter identification will be introduced using video presentations and interactive fun activities.

Play, Plant, Grow
Kate Sheppard and Laurel Nichols, Botanica

Families, caregivers, and educators recognize the importance of environmental literacy and outside play. Learn how to utilize your outdoor environment as an extension of the classroom. Topics will include 5 areas of emphasis, and participants will take away activity/engagement ideas and resources.

Dance as a Tool for Teaching
Joyce Gedraitis, Arts Partners

Come to this interactive training to learn how to use dance as a tool for teaching. Children love to dance! We will learn the benefits of incorporating music and movement, dance, into your classrooms. We will learn how to capitalize on the different forms of dance. These forms of dance will be utilized in getting children engaged and active in all areas of cognition. You will walk away from this training with tools that will help engage children in math, literacy, and science all through the power of dance!

Granting Children Their Emotions-
Audra Kenneson, Rainbows United

Young children who have not learned emotional regulation skills often respond dramatically with large emotions when they are stressed, angry, scared, sad, excited, or happy. Those dramatic responses may result in something being broken, a child in a meltdown, and a frustrated teacher. Participants in this training will learn how to gran children their emotions and understand why it is important to not punish a child for having emotions. Additionally, participants will explore strategies for increasing trust and consider the effects and ethical issues of not taking children’s emotions seriously. Participants will learn the importance of Granting Children Their Emotions.


Learning Through Unstructured Nature Play
Leah McDermott, Developing your Natural Learner

In this workshop, teachers will see the benefits of play-based learning through unstructured nature play. They will discover how to move beyond the fear of letting children self-discover and trust that children are very capable learners when given the environment and tools to succeed. We will look at the research-based benefits of play, discuss how to set up the environment to promote natural, play-based learning, the role of the educator, and assessment of play-based learning.

Fractions, Feet, and Fun
Joyce Gedraitis, Arts Partners

Do you try and find engaging ways to help your school age children learn? Are your school aged children struggling with math? Come and learn how to integrate dance and math into your classrooms! We will learn techniques that help children identify, read, and write fractions, addition and subtraction, and the benefits of moving their bodies. At the end of this training, you will be ready to help school age children comprehend math in a whole new way.

Tummy Time, Baby Talk and Awesome Infant Hacks
Beth Wolcott and Tiffany Smith, KDHE Department of Child Care Licensing

Being a child care provider is one of the most stressful and most rewarding professions there is. Join us for a class designed to support child care providers dealing with the daily challenges of infant care. Discover valuable tricks to make your life easier. Learn fun ways to help babies enjoy tummy time, sensory play, and discover the world around them. Learn simple activities that encourage growth and development.

Children Are Natural Scientists
Jose Vigil, Exploration Place

Learning science is as natural as any human process because children and adults learn about science while exploring the world around them. Come to this session to learn the Kansas Early Learning Standards for Science and how you can help start preparing children for success in science while having fun.

Move with the Brain in Mind
Elizabeth Bruncheen-Cartagena, Sedgwick County Extension Center

Learn important information about early brain structure and development. Understand how the brain functions and how to enhance children’s learning experiences. Learn and experience activities that can be replicated with children that will stimulate the brain and support skill development.

Adding Wellness to your Wheelhouse
Julianne Walker, Health ICT

Learn evidence-based strategies on how to intentionally design the environment around you to better support the health of your students, coworkers, family and yourself. Help tip the scales by making small adjustments where you live, earn, learn, and play so that you and others can be healthier every day.

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