I currently offer the following interactive workshops for Edmonton and area child care conferences and in-service presentations:
Creating Circle Time
This is a fun, interactive workshop presentation designed for childcare providers. Participants will learn the benefits of regular circle time activities, how to capture and maintain children's interest, many different finger games, action songs and games, rhythm activities, infant lap games, and much more! With tons of different ideas including old favorites and new wonders, there is something for everyone presented here. Each participant will receive a copy of all songs and games covered, plus a hands-on knowledge of program planning and content that can be implemented with children in care right away.
Companion CD available for participants at an additional cost; see below for images.
More than just a discussion of awesome and creative gross motor events indoors and out, this course gives you the opportunity to experience the fun yourself! In this interactive workshop, we will discover games and activities that can be done for free, with the materials you may already have in your dayhome, and also with inexpensive projects you can make yourself. Come prepared to move your body and have some fun!
What is an emergent curriculum? How can I use this in my program, and what are its benefits? What would planning and documenting look like? What is my role, as teacher and facilitator? All these questions and more will be answered as we discover the amazing new world of emergent curriculum, where children's own ideas and free play are the curriculum.
Inspirations and Provocations
Discover the fascinating world of inspirations, where groups of materials are presented to children in an attractive manner to inspire learning. This encourages free play and curiosity, while enlivening your space at no additional cost. We will look at examples of provocations for each age group and area of development, and examine the best ways to present them, as well as pitfalls to avoid. Participants will view many inspiring ideas, and leave with tons of their own!
The Outdoor Learning Environment
No matter what the ages are of the children you are caring for, you can offer them a stimulating and enriching outside play area, with experiences and activities that will nurture their growth and development in all domains. We will explore how to design the environment in a more natural way, what loose parts are most helpful to foster wonder and learning through play, and some amazing and simple tricks to add a sense of wonder and beauty into our outside play places.
Sensory Bins and Messy Play
Three letters describe this hands-on course: F-U-N! We will play with many examples of sensory bins and sensory materials, and go over lots of ideas using natural materials and easy recipes you can feel safe offering to young ones. Three main types of bins will be explored (wet, dry, and messy), and in addition to using our hands to feel, we will use our eyes to look at tons of examples from other educators. Sensory bins encourage development across the domains, and are an easy way to get children engaged for hours on end.
Multiculturalism and Diversity
We all know how important it is to include multicultural activities in our programming, but when we are dealing with young children, how is this possible? This presentation examines developmentally appropriate ways of introducing diversity to the children in our care. Multicultural activities for all age groups will be discussed, and we will explore materials that can be placed in every play area to encourage multiculturalism in daily life at the child care centre.
Encouraging Parent Participation
When parents are an active part of the childcare centre, it benefits everyone involved - the families, the educators, and of course, the children. While there are definite barriers to increasing parental involvement, there are also many ways to overcome those concerns. By educating ourselves and parents on the importance of collaboration, we increase the chances of it happening - and taking this course is the first step. When parents contribute ideas, come into the centre, and help out, accreditation standards are met and we all benefit! Many ideas and examples for increasing communication, asking for help, and getting parents involved will be discussed.
Brain Development and Risky Play
In this intriguing workshop, based on the lecture given by Dr. Ian Pike in October 2015, we will explore the details of risky play. Questions about what risky play is, how it fosters children's growth and development, and a detailed look at what the true risks are in adventure play will be the focus. Dr. Pike is the head of Injury Research and Prevention in B.C., and he is dedicated to sharing this knowledge - by allowing our children to freely play, we are keeping them safe and healthy!
Let's take a 360 degree view of our childcare spaces and be invigorated with new ideas, as well as opportunities that can be found in our existing spaces. Filled with tons of engaging images, we will explore how all areas of the room, including ceiling, walls, windows, and floors, can be used to interact with each of the five senses. This workshop has ideas for all age groups.
All in-services are 60 - 90 minutes long, and the fee per agency or organization is $250 per presentation.
Fees for conferences are $450 per presentation.
Please contact me with any workshop suggestions!
Here is what people are saying about past presentations and the CD:
"Thanks Laura for a fabulous inservice that was both fun and practical. So glad you got your cd out and I used it this morning to help me sing. :) " -Christie Harty
"Wow...that was the best presentation I've been to so far in the last 5 years of the conference . . . I just wanted to thank you." -Heather
"I had so much fun at your presentation . . . It's so nice having someone present who is an actual child care provider, not just some OT." -2013 Caring That Counts workshop participant
Due to a large demand from Creating Circle Time participants, I have produced a CD called Creating Circle Time. It has 37 songs, and a booklet with written lyrics and action instructions for every tune.
The CD's are available for $15 each, or two for $25, and can be purchased by calling Laura Armstrong at 780-450-4188.
I do offer bulk pricing on the CD's as well; orders of 10 more are only $10 per CD.
I have worked in the child care field for over a decade now, and have been running my accredited Waldorf dayhome since the fall of 2009. I am also the proud mother to three children of my own, two boys and a girl. I obtained my Early Childhood Educator diploma in August of 2014, and am currently working toward a degree in Child and Youth Care.