Afternoon Lectures

Fri, Nov 14


Beyond the Spoken Word: Music, Musical Activities and Musical Instruments To Connect With Children

Paul Williams & Cary Cromelin

Music can help to create a non verbal bond between a child and a teacher. This workshop will focus on musical activities with a large variety of instruments and songs that strengthen the student/teacher relationship in a fun and stimulating way.

Clay & Little Hands: Introducing Clay to Early Childhood Classrooms

Christina Bingal

Become familiar with both the importance and versatility of using clay in early childhood education. Learn how using clay can be an invaluable for multiple aspects of a curriculum and kinesthetic development.


Sarah Mostow

Collage allows ready-made shapes in a variety of textures and colors to be sorted and selected, layered and arranged. In this hands-on workshop, participants will explore this rich medium, and learn best practices for leading art-making experiences with young children. We will consider how to assemble, prepare and distribute materials, what prompts to use with various age groups and how to speak with children about their artwork.

Communicating the Enchantment and Magic of Books to Young Children: Choosing and Reading Aloud Meaningful Books in the Nursery School Library or Classroom

Louise Kurshan & Hope Prosky

This workshop will address: choosing and organizing books for a library or classroom; choosing books to read aloud, and ideas for presentations: singing, engaging multiple senses, using felt boards, other props, and more. Learn how to involve parents and communicate the value of reading to children. There will be hand outs, with book titles and organizational methods as well as books and props to peruse.

Connecting with the Enchanter in you!

Karina Zilberman

When we connect with the magic within us, Jewish life becomes a playground and educators become “enchanters.” The 92Y Shababa approach explores the joys and wisdom in Jewish tradition. Through puppetry, music, creative movement and community building, Karina Zilberman inspires and empowers educators to develop fresh perspectives and create unique, engaging experiences for young children and their families. The workshop will include interactive activities with time for debriefing and discussion.

Cultivating an Appreciation of Social and Emotional Expression in the Classroom: Constructing an Image of Competence and Strength

Lisa Fiore

Celebrating and guiding children’s social and emotional abilities is essential for their success as learners and citizens inside and outside the classroom. We will identify concepts and strategies to help teachers integrate social-emotional learning into curriculum, classroom culture, and communication with school personnel and families. Video clips, examples of documentation and case studies will enhance our group experiences and anchor the session in children’s development.

Early Reading Instruction: WHY? Short Term Gains and Long Term Losses

Joan Almon & Nancy Carlsson-Paige

Increasingly educators and policy makers in the U.S. are convinced that reading early is the key to success. Common Core standards call for children to read with “purpose and understanding” in kindergarten, and this is reshaping preschools as well as kindergartens. Yet studies have not found long-term gains for children who are taught to read in kindergarten rather than first grade. Teaching reading in kindergarten means taking away valuable time needed for play and hands-on experiential learning. It's time to counter the movement for early reading instruction and advocate for healthy, play-based experiential learning in preschools and kindergartens.

Establishing Trusting Relationships within the Classroom

Renee Dinnerstein, Katie Rust & Andrew Mastin

Three early childhood educators describe how their decision to move from a highly structured social studies curriculum to an inquiry based approach encouraged the children to trust themselves and each other as independent and collaborative learners. Educators will describe their own process of learning the importance of trusting themselves and the children.

Friendship, Fear, Fairness, and Fantasy: Lessons in the 4Fs of Early Childhood from Vivian Paley

Patsy Cooper

Renowned educator and author Vivian Paley has long argued that young children instinctively act to manage three great ‘F’ concerns of early development—the need for friendship, fear of abandonment and the search for fairness—through a fourth ‘F’—fantasy play. This workshop explores the significance of Paley’s work for educators attempting to address young children’s needs in classroom practice and curriculum.

Helping the Quiet and Shy Child Find Their Voice in the Classroom

Steve Kurtz

There are children in every class who are uncomfortable in groups, separating, sharing, performing, mingling and interacting that they actually avoid doing it. Some even don’t talk—literally—the ones with selective mutism. Join child anxiety expert Dr. Kurtz from the Child Mind Institute for a lively and interactive discussion about what’s normal, what’s not and how to help youngsters develop their brave muscles so all can find their literal and figurative voice in the classroom.

How Early Childhood Directors Can Nurture the Family-School Relationship

Lydia Spinelli

An optimal education for young children is achieved when schools and parents work as partners towards the same goals for the children. What can directors do to nurture the family-school relationship? Facilitating the teacher-child relationship and the teacher-parent relationship certainly play an important part in this process. Creating a school atmosphere of warmth and mutual respect is key to both. Lydia Spinelli will share her approach, but this will be an interactive session where directors can share what approaches they have found effective in their schools and what challenges they have faced.

How Gender Dynamics Impact the Preschool Classroom

Elaine Winter

This workshop will look at ways that gender plays out in the preschool classroom. We’ll ask questions such as: How do children identify themselves by gender? How does this enrich or limit their classroom experiences? Why are some activities considered “gender specific” and others neutral? How can we, as their teachers, extend their choices and opportunities? Participants can expect research-based findings, rich anecdotal material and practical guidelines. We will look at ways that we can support parents through the language we use and the tone we set. Everyone will share in problem solving activities.

How the Classroom Environment and Routines Shape Children's Learning

Julie Diamond

This workshop will focus on classroom environment and routines that facilitate the development of strong relationships between teachers and children. What do different environments and routines communicate? How do our decisions in shaping the environment and routines affect children's learning?

“I have a child who …”: Identifying Developmental Concerns in Young Children

Barbara Schwartz & Marilyn Rubinstein

Every teacher has a child who is a puzzle, or a child who concerns them because of their actions, behaviors or lack of involvement in the ongoing activities in the classroom. This session will present information on risk factors and observable behaviors that will help caregivers to determine if these are indicators for a referral to early intervention, special education or other therapeutic services.

Improvisational Music and Drama Techniques for Children with Autism, Learning Disabilities, and Developmental Disabilities

Gabriel Lit & Aaron Feinstein

This workshop will utilize improvisational approaches to Music Therapy, the works of developmental psychologist Stanley Greenspan's Floortime Model and the unique creative musical theater approach of Actionplay. The workshop is interactive, and will be appropriate and helpful for all teachers.

Incorporating Vivian Paley’s Storytelling/Story Acting Approach in Your Classroom

Suzette Abbot

This practical workshop uses real experiences of how teachers can bring Story-Telling/Story-Acting techniques into their classrooms. Through active participation and directed discussion, teachers will discover how this fun and exciting methodology enhances literacy, and expands the teacher’s understanding of the whole child. As every child can participate and succeed, Story-Telling /Story-Acting becomes a high point of the week for teacher and students alike.

Initiating the Conversation and Continuing the Support for the Child Who Has Special Needs in the Classroom Setting

Dena Warren & Tracy Birkhahn

This workshop will address how you as teachers describe to a parent that their child has special needs within the classroom setting. This workshop will focus on how you build trust, describe the child's needs and maintain the relationship with the parent.

It’s not me—it’s him! Using puppets to help the children in your classroom talk about feelings, resolve conflicts and face life’s challenges

Susan Linn

This workshop explores the use of hand puppets in early childhood settings as a tool for helping children talk about feelings and gain a sense of competence in facing life challenges ranging from the birth of a new sibling to coping with chronic illness. Participants will learn how and why puppets are powerful tools for self-expression, explore constructive ways them in the classroom and learn some simple puppetry techniques.

Let's Get Cookin'

Gaby Greenberg & Wendy Goldstein

In this engaging hands-on workshop teachers can learn and/or share their expertise in cooking with preschoolers in a classroom setting. We will be making several delicious recipes that will help illustrate how we set up and present "the cooking activity of the day" here at the 92Y Parenting Center's "Kids in the Kitchen" classes. We will also hope to pick up some helpful hints from each other as we share our experiences cooking with young children.

Preparing Children to Learn

Marilyn Bisberg

This workshop will present specific techniques that strengthen the teacher child relationship. Learn about deliberate regulatory and self-control tools and techniques that will reframe your ability to help children manage waiting, turn-taking, persistence and relationships.

Puppetry with Young Children

Joan Almon

Throughout time children (and adults) have been deeply touched and amused by stories and puppet productions. The simplicity of the nature tales and fairy tales told with minimal props and puppets enrich the imaginations of young children, whose eyes open wide when they hear those magic words, “Once upon a time.” Rosie Raccoon (the raccoon puppet who is beloved by many) and her friends will be part of the workshop and will open doors for teachers to imagine and create and bring their own puppets into their classrooms.

Putting Self-regulation at the Core of School Readiness

Rosemarie Truglio

A critical component of school readiness is a child’s ability to self-regulate and at the core of self-regulation is executive function skills: working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility/attention shifting. These are all learned behaviors and the capacity to learn these skills begins shortly after birth, with the most rapid stage of development occurring during the preschool years. During this session, we will discuss the operational definitions of these skills, as well as the developmentally appropriate strategies to learn these skills, including age progressions for 2-to-5-yr olds.

Seeing Meaning in the Art of Young Children

Barry Goldberg

Using many examples taken from the classroom, this workshop will explore the notion that art is idea made of paint, cardboard and glue. The presentation will provide a wide array of creative possibilities and focus on how to talk to children about the art they make. Images of projects will be shown throughout.

Storytelling, Songs and Rhythmic Games: Bringing Oral Traditions into the Classroom

Nina Jaffe

Nina Jaffe will share and demonstrate rhyming chants, circle games and interactive storytelling techniques drawn from world folklore and oral traditions through the lens of social-emotional learning and relationship-building in early childhood settings as well as models for incorporating linguistically diverse family and community resources as part of ongoing program and curriculum development.

Teachers and Children Constructing Learning Together

Lella Gandini

In Reggio Emilia, teachers—through exchanges and conversations—construct learning experiences with their toddlers, preschoolers and five year old children that can be shared through documentation. The daily classroom experiences in Reggio classrooms are all in welcoming spaces that are prepared with a variety of natural and inexpensive materials.

The Block Area: Where Collaboration, Imagination, and the Fundamentals of Science, Engineering, and Math Take Root

Betsy Grob

Teachers will build together as they explore and discover for themselves the multi-layered learning that takes place in the block area. This hands-on workshop examines the essential role of the teacher in enhancing block play in the classroom. We will also explore what the teacher can learn about the children through observation and assessment as the children build together.

The Case for Make Believe: Saving Play in a Commercialized World

Susan Linn

Young children are bombarded by marketing for everything from junk food to junk toys. Excessive commercialism is a factor in many of the problems facing children today, including the erosion of creative play. Early childhood educators have a critical role in carving out the commercial-free time and space essential for children’s make-believe. In this workshop, participants will explore the depth, breadth and harms of a commercialized childhood, and develop strategies for advocacy, for limiting commercialism and nurturing play in their classrooms, and for helping parents cope at home.

The Empowered Playground

Rose Coffield & Michael Weiner

This workshop will focus on the importance of rough and tumble play in the pre-school classroom and on the playground. It provides detailed and practical methods of how to use video of this type of play to engage children in discussions about their choices, their feelings and their awareness of others. We will show how the introduction of "choice" and "rules" around rough and tumble play, gives children a voice in how they would like to be played with while keeping everyone safe. The workshop also develops ideas to increase teachers’ sense of competence and decrease their sense of frustration with regard to the rough and tumble play that appears in their classes.

The Wisdom of Tradition and the Wonder of Technology: Rebooting Preschool in the Digital Age

Catherine Steiner-Adair

This workshop will weave together new research on both positive and negative uses of technology in early childhood education, as well as research on the impact of digital devices on children's intellectual, social and emotional, neurological and physical development. We will look at areas where tech can enhance early childhood education, and how to use tech without threatening to delete the core aspects of the indisputably powerful relationship that teachers have with their students. Teachers will learn about how to make informed decisions about the role of technology in their classrooms, as well as best ways to effectively communicate to parents the wisdom behind the choices they make.

WonderDance: Dances & Kinesthetic Explorations for Your Early Childhood Dance Curriculum

Ann Biddle, Deborah Damast & Jen Katz Burk

Learn how you can reach and teach all the movers and shakers in your classroom. The 92Y WonderDance curriculum employs best practices of early childhood education and gives teachers a flexible model that inspires young children to explore ideas through dance.


Adventures in Outer Space in the Pre-K Classroom (for 4 year olds)

Kim Johnson

This workshop will provide concrete ideas to develop and implement an integrated unit of study on the solar system in your Pre-Kindergarten classroom. Hands-on activities, visuals and a take home packet will help you bring outer space into the hearts, minds and imaginations of your students.

Exploring Emotions & Feelings (for 4 and 5 year olds)

Roberta Willenken, Heather Egert & Jan Abell

This workshop presents a framework and concrete ideas for teachers to help children develop self awareness and empathy, explore their feelings, and learn to understand, appreciate and recognize the feelings of others. Learn about the teacher’s role in making this happen within a classroom setting.

Home Visits: Exploring Our Uniqueness and Making Connections (for 4 and 5 year olds)

Sara Liebowits

In this workshop, we will explore Manhattan Country School’s radical home visit curriculum in which the 4-5s children and families actively become the curriculum. Through these visits, the children research each other’s special cultural, geographical and family structure differences while, at the same time, discover the many similarities that connect us as a community. We will discuss the reasons for this social studies unit as well as the step-by-step logistics of the curriculum.

Superheroes in the Classroom (for 3 and 4 year olds)

Lora DelPonte, Lauryn Karmitz & Jackie Kristel

Batman - Superman - Wonderwoman! Day in and day out, our class would run around on the terrace playing superhero games. Inevitably, these imaginative games would turn rough and someone would get hurt. As a teaching team, we asked ourselves, do we ban superheroes from the room? If we don’t, how do we change this dynamic? Then we discovered something amazing: superheroes have the qualities and characteristics that we wanted our children to develop as well. Superheroes help other people; they persevere where things are tough; they are confident and strong. In this workshop, you will learn about how superheroes transformed our classroom and the children, and will leave with ideas and specific tips on how to incorporate this curriculum into your classroom, including book lists, art projects, gross motor skill activities, literacy activities and more.

The Language of Lines-Beginning a Dialogue with Young Children about Drawing (for 3 year olds)

Jennifer Zeebooker

The Language of Lines encourages young children to begin to think about lines, and helps them discover that wherever they are, and whatever they are able to create, is interesting and unique to them. This workshop is geared to both the child who is on the verge of drawing representationally as well as the child who is reluctant to hold a pencil.


Classroom Language Dynamics: The Power of the Words We Choose

Lydia Soifer

Teachers are often overwhelmed by the demands of today’s parents. This workshop will help teachers lessen parental anxiety, establish positive rules of communication between parents and teachers, and present concrete strategies to use with parents at drop-off and pick-up times, at parent-teacher conferences, on-line and on the phone. These strategies have been developed from countless discussions with teachers, parents and school directors.

Fifty Shades of Anxiety: How to Handle Parental Stress, Worry, Expectations, Over-Involvement and Anger in the Pressured World of Nursery School

Ron Taffel

Teachers are often overwhelmed by the demands of today’s parents. This workshop will help teachers lessen parental anxiety, establish positive rules of communication between parents and teachers, and present concrete strategies to use with parents at drop-off and pick-up times, at parent-teacher conferences, on-line and on the phone. These strategies have been developed from countless discussions with teachers, parents and school directors.

No Child Left Unkind: Practical Classroom Strategies to Increase Kids' Empathy, Compassion and Kindness while Lessening Social Cruelty

Ron Taffel

Kids learn and have fun when they feel safe. But educators too often observe behaviors among young children that are hurtful to their peers, exclusionary and demonstrate a lack of empathy, compassion and kindness. This workshop will provide teachers with new, proven ways to immediately change this negative social dynamic in the classroom and to engage young children in a meaningful understanding of friendship and caring for others.

What the Research Says About the Importance of the Child/Teacher Relationship

JoAnn Deak & Terrence Deak

Experienced educators realize that their connection to children is integral to their success as teachers. Now the neuroscience and research provides data to support this and underscores the importance of a teachers' behavior, language and empathy. Practical ideas and applications will be provided.


Debriefing the Morning Keynotes

Panelists: Sam Meisels & Gillian McNamee; Moderator: Sherry Cleary

Please join our morning keynote presenters, Sam Meisels and Gillian McNamee, for in-depth discussion and reflections on the morning keynotes. Teachers are encouraged to bring their questions and ideas into the discussion. Sherry Cleary from the Professional Development Institute at CUNY will moderate the discussion.

Teacher as Advocate

Panelists: Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Sherry Cleary, Regina Gallagher; Moderator: Lisa Fiore

To advocate means to promote the interest of another, support a cause or policy, or defend an idea or program. Panelists will describe the different ways that educators take on the role of “advocate,“ from speaking up for an individual child and parent in their classrooms and school communities, to engaging in heated debates about educational policy at the local, state and federal level. Panelists will discuss their accomplishments as advocates and the many challenges they have confronted.

Sat, Nov 15

Children Are Citizens: Examples of Reggio Inspired Practice from Providence and Boston

Ben Mardell


Open Minded Materials: Thinking with “Loose Parts” – Blocks, Natural and Recycled Materials

Karen Hewitt and Anna Craycroft


Pockets of Light: Reflections from Reggio; Inspired Public School Teachers in NY

Renée Dinnerstein


Pockets of Light: Reflections from Reggio; Inspired Public School Teachers in NJ

Barbara Berger Brill


Reggio Inspired Schools in NYC

Noah Hichenberg


Reggio Emilia Approach on Roosevelt Island: Building Community First

Leila Vujosevic


Reggio Inspired Schools in NYC: The Parents’ Experience

Parents from JCC Manhattan, Steven Wise, TriBeca Community School and Beginnings Nursery School


Reggio Inspired Teachers (for experienced and new graduates)

Lella Gandini


Why Reggio? How the Approach Aligns with Child Development Research and is Essential in the Current Climate of Standards and Testing 

Maris Krasnow, Susan Hershman and Rebecca Light