Afternoon Workshops

Seminar/Lecture Topics

Playful Learning with Technology: Making Little Robots to Explore Big Ideas

Marina Bers

In this workshop, spanning both afternoon sessions, we will explore how to integrate technology into the early childhood classroom, creating various robotic artifacts that integrate arts, movement, computational thinking and engineering with a developmentally appropriate approach.

Block Building - A Core “Building Block” of Early Childhood Learning

Betsy Grob

In this hands-on workshop, participants will have the opportunity to construct buildings together, while learning about the critical thinking skills and math skills that result from ongoing block building in the classroom. We will also outline the necessary ingredients, and the role of the teacher in developing a rich block building curriculum.

Bringing Vivian Paley's Approach to Your Staff and Your Classroom: A Discussion for Administrators, Curriculum Directors, and Head Teachers

Patricia Cooper

This workshop focuses on how to transfer Vivian Paley's signature work on play, storytelling, fantasy, and fairness into the everyday life and competing demands of the early childhood classroom, including academic sub-skills and other curricula.

"Tam ni pú! Tam ni bé!”: Magic and Wonder in Children’s Songs, Games and Folklore

Nina Jaffe and Asher Delerme

Renowned author and storyteller Nina Jaffe and Latin jazz percussionist and teaching artist Asher Delerme draw on their repertoire of Afro-Puerto Rican, Sephardic and taíno lore and music with interactive, highly participatory group techniques to enrich and support dual-language learning, cultural competency and social-emotional well-being in the early childhood classroom.

All About Me: A Unit About Growing (Geared to 3-4 Year Olds)

Jennifer Zebooker

The period between three years old to four years old in a child's development is often accompanied by ambivalence about growing up. When children transition into "big beds" and master potty training they often reluctantly leave bottles, diapers and cribs behind. This unit will show how we create a hands-on approach to help children revisit their babyhood and embrace their new independence as an "almost four year old".

Be the Air, Be the Wind: Teaching Through the Language of Wonder

Richard Lewis

This reflective workshop will explore the possibilities of wonder as the source and language of our learning and teaching. We will reach into the expressive nature of playing and imagining in childhood in order to build a literacy of what it means to be alive – a vocabulary of those evocative questions and astonishments, those elemental leaps and gestures of thought – that bring each child into its unique and tantalizing conversation with the world.

Bilingual Education for Young Children: Windows of Opportunity and Realistic Options

Celia Genishi

As the public becomes more aware of “global citizenship” and the advantages of knowing more than one language, educators ask what bilingual education might be like for children of preschool age. In addition to presenting several approaches to bilingual education for young children, we will explore what researchers and early childhood educators have learned about, whether there is a “best” age range (window of opportunity) for children to learn a second language. We will also discuss what options for early bilingual schooling are, and what expectations may be realistic for becoming bilingual within those options.

Creating School Community 21st Century Style: For School Directors

Ron Taffel

School directors strive to create a highly functional school community based on mutual respect between parents and educators. Dr. Taffel presents a well-established and concrete approach that enables school directors to lead while fostering parent effectiveness with children, increasing cooperation from parents and encouraging fuller participation in fundraising. This approach is easily shaped to fit the needs of different schools. Concrete materials will be provided.

Rough and Tumble Play: Using Video as a Tool to Build Self-Awareness and Empathy

Rose Coffield and 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. 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.

Building Bridges with Parents: Developing Supportive and Trusting Relationships

Jean Schrieber

Do you find that it is easier to build positive relationships with the children in your class than with their parents? When parents “push your buttons”, how do you react? When hearing difficult information do parents feel supported or defensive? We will focus on the many delicate issues that teachers and parents bring to the classroom setting. You will learn techniques that foster mutual trust, understanding, openness, and respect so that the child’s needs remain at the forefront.

The Imagination Playground Blocks: Learn How These Blocks Provide Endless Possibilities for Open-Ended Play

Jean Schrieber

Come and experience the magic of the Imagination Playground Blocks -- a unique block system of loose parts designed by the architect David Rockwell -- where children are encouraged to interact with their environment on a large scale. Be prepared to delve into a play session using your imagination and creativity. You will learn how these blocks enhance the development of motor skills, spatial relationships, problem solving and higher level thinking, collaboration, and reward children of all ages with a sense of confidence and competence. The Imagination Playground Blocks will add new meaning to “open-ended play” both indoors and outdoors at your school.

Collage and Construction for Young Children

Ann Schaumburger

A hands on workshop in collage and construction focusing on colored paper and the material of cardboard. Included will be a discussion of how art experiences foster children's growth.

The Book Corner: Creating and Maintaining a Dynamic Classroom Book Corner

Elaine Winter

Join this conversation about creating a lively classroom reading corner: how to organize it, keep it fresh, and connect it to your curriculum. We will explore location, class-made books, and why the book corner occupies such a special place in the lives of young children. Expect handouts, both practical and fun.

Singing, Songs, and What You Get For Free When Children Play With Music

Betsy Blachly

Experiencing the open nature of a child or a group of children in the act of singing and making up words is inspiring, funny, and diagnostic-and, at the same time, playful. In the context of music, play is words, sounds, imagination, and the interaction of teacher and children. Simply put, the structure of simple songs gives free rein to play. In this workshop we will be able to watch some videos, share personal observations, and play with music ourselves.

Supervising Student Teachers: What Does it Mean to be a Mentor?

Sara Wilford

Professional teachers who welcome student teachers into in their classrooms face the challenge of mentoring an adult with little experience, while they also carry out the daily responsibilities of working with children and families. This panel will explore ways to clarify expectations; create a dialogue; delineate roles and goals; and embrace the process of mentoring a new candidate in the field of early childhood education.

Learning Activities for Group Times & Transitions: For 4 and 5 Year Olds

Roberta Willenken and Heather Kaplan

This workshop will be a discussion of the importance of building community during group time, and will include many ideas for activities that can foster development of language, cognitive and social skills. This workshop will be interactive and done on the rug "meeting style."

The Why & How of Music, Instruments, and Movement in the Early Childhood Classroom

Paul Williams

This workshop explores using easy musical instruments in the classroom and how to be an accompanist for yourself and your students, while exploring music and all of its benefits. A practical “hands on” workshop, you will leave knowing how to accompany songs on a variety of simple instruments.

Materials in a Reggio Inspired Art Studio

Caren Shayne

The Brick Church School art studio, inspired by the Reggio Emilia Philosophy, is equipped with a variety of materials intended to invite, inspire and motivate children to be creative, work independently and to feel confident about their work. This workshop will explore the use and display of natural and recycled materials as well as high quality art supplies.

Building Community: Best Practices for Preventing Hurtful Behaviors

Jessie Klein

This workshop will help teachers and parents develop a community for young children that both prevents hurtful behaviors and helps children resolve their conflicts constructively. The attitudes which commonly develop into school bullying behaviors will be examined in light of best practice prevention models.

Global Citizenship Begins at an Early Age: What Does Global Education Mean to a Young Child?

Drew Alexander, Twylla Alexander and Lenae Madonna

This workshop will provide a forum to explore the benefits and responsibilities of global citizenship. The participants will define international mindedness (the key ingredient of a global education) and explore how educators can develop and promote it even in the early years of a child's education.

Starting the Conversation with Parents About Early Intervention

Tracy Birkhahn and Dena Warren

The process of guiding a parent through the early intervention process begins in the classroom with a teacher. There are many choices that a parent has when looking for support for their children. The Department of Education offers comprehensive evaluations and on-going therapy. Using a working vocabulary this workshop will describe and discuss all the workings of EI (Early Intervention ages 0-3) and CPSE (Committee on Pre School Special Education). The focus on this workshop is to give teachers the skills they need to start the conversation with parents about their child needing outside support.

Clay & Little Hands: Introducing Clay to Early Childhood Classrooms

Christina Bingel

An opportunity to become familiar with both the importance and versatility of using clay in early childhood education. See how using clay can be an invaluable medium throughout multiple aspects of a curriculum.

Another Way of Thinking: Art Projects for 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.

Investigations in the Classroom: Strategies for Supporting Teaching and Learning

Beverly Falk

This workshop will present strategies for conducting investigations that teachers can use with their students to develop and extend curriculum and that teachers can use for themselves to problem solve their own dilemmas/issues of teaching. Early childhood teachers from NYC schools will share how classroom-based inquiry practices help them to strengthen their teaching and support children’s learning.

Co-presented with Megan Blumenreich

Megan Blumenreich is Associate Professor of Childhood Education and Director of the Childhood Education Program at The City College of New York, CUNY. Her research interests include urban education, teacher inquiry, and qualitative research methodologies. She is co-author of The power of questions: A guide to teacher and student research, Heinemann, 2005 and Teaching matters: Stories from inside urban schools, The New Press, 2012.

Circle Time for Twos & Threes: Developing Inquiring Minds While Building Language and Community

Alison Snow

This workshop will demonstrate how to go beyond the routine of circle time by using provocations to engage very young children, promote discussion, and get them to think. Participants will leave with new, creative ideas to invigorate their classroom’s circle time and learn how to create a dynamic community atmosphere. This workshop will be interactive and take place on the rug, in a circle.

Expanding Language: Making Room for Conversation in the Classroom

Lydia Soifer

Let’s talk about talking to young children. It is fascinating how we learn to be conversational. We will discuss the thinking, social-emotional dynamic, the crucial difference between comments and questions, the role of silence, pace and the use of your voice and how “corners” are goldmines of opportunity.

Puppets: Self Expression, Mastery and Modeling

Susan Linn

Children’s creative play is simultaneously window into their hearts and minds and the means by which they naturally wrestle with life to make it meaningful. Puppet play is a particularly potent medium for helping children cope with life challenges. It can also wreak havoc in a preschool classroom. This workshop explores the power of puppetry and provides practical suggestions and techniques for using puppets in preschool classrooms.

Building a Responsive Early Childhood Program Through Observation & Recording

Jean Mandelbaum

This workshop will provide teachers with effective and efficient ways to record children’s behavior as they are observed in an early childhood setting. Participants will be helped to use their observations to set specific goals for individuals and to create an environment that is responsive to the dispositions and the interests of the children.

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

Ann Biddle, Deborah Damast and Jennifer Katz

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

Bringing the Kitchen into Your Classroom: Cooking with Threes and Fours

Gaby Greenberg and Wendy Goldstein

An engaging hands- on workshop in which we demonstrate how to set-up and present an interactive cooking experience with preschoolers. While making several delicious recipes together, we will discuss the learning that occurs throughout the process.

Out of the Classroom and into the World: The Essential Role of Trips in the Curriculum

Salvatore Vascellaro

The presentation will show how simple trips into the school’s immediate neighborhood can spark children’s imaginations; engender questions and the desire to find out, explore and discover; link children to each other, their teachers, and to the social and physical world in which they live. It will illustrate how back in the classroom, children’s experience of the trip can become a stimulus for rich dramatic play, discussion, block building, artwork, and reading and writing. In essence the presentation will show how purposeful and well-planned simple trips can vitalize and deepen a child’s—and teacher’s—experience of the curriculum.

Designing a Classroom Environment: Which Comes First: The Furniture or the Program?

Katie Winter & Patricia Zuroski

Whether it's your first classroom or many years since you've moved into your classroom, teachers are always challenged to balance program goals and physical environment. How do you incorporate large motor activity when there is little open space in your classroom? How do you encourage active learning while maintaining supervision and a sense of order? Join us for an interactive discussion about teacher decision-making that supports program goals while optimizing the use of available and potential environmental resources.

Designing a Classroom Environment (Part 2): Blurring the Line Between Indoors and Outdoors

Katie Winter & Patricia Zuroski

Classroom environments and outdoor play spaces have traditionally been treated as two separate aspects of a child's education. Today, two particular concerns influence the way we think about outdoor environments: the need to enhance children’s relationship to the natural environment, and concerns about children's physical well-being including obesity. This workshop will provide a way to constructively re-evaluate your school’s approach to outdoor play spaces, and will provide models that encourage a seamless relationship between what takes place inside classrooms and outdoors.

Recognizing and Supporting Sensory Needs in a Classroom Setting

Joan Avallone


Honing Your Observational Skills: For the Child Who is Developing Differently

Ruth Bettelheim

Parents often turn to teachers to ask about their child’s development. In this workshop we will review the range of developmental benchmarks (social, emotional and physical). This will help teachers identify children who are not in an age appropriate range of development. Tools for observation and documentation will be discussed which will help teachers prepare for parent conferences.

"I Would If I Could, But I Can't (Yet)": Helping Children Get Past Anxiety

Steve Kurtz

We often have children in our classes who are anxious in social situations. They are reluctant to speak in meeting, seek help from a teacher, or join in play with their peers. How do we best support and encourage these children so that they gain the confidence they need in social settings/situations? We will also discuss how to address this issue with parents.