HiMama academy course catalog

HiMama Academy: Course Catalog

HiMama Academy is a new self-paced, online professional development portal designed to elevate early childhood educators through a wide range of engaging, high-quality training courses. HiMama Academy learners receive IACET-certified Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for all courses completed and Administrators have the ability to enroll, track, and manage course certificates for their entire staff.

All courses are research-based and designed to offer a comparable experience to in-person workshops with a lot more convenience! HiMama Academy courses are engaging, collaborative, and offer strategies you can apply in your classroom today! 

List of HiMama Academy Courses

Theories of Child Development

Duration: 3.5 hours (0.35 CEU)

The aim of this course is to provide professionals, in the field of Early Childhood Education, with a brief but comprehensive review of the core theories of child development that underpin childcare and education. Theories of development provide the pillars for curriculum development, definitions of childhood, and the language that guides and informs our interactions with children. Having a strong grasp of developmental theories helps educators and caregivers better understand, teach, and interact with children. This course will review important definitions in the field of early childhood that will frequently appear in later courses.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define development and its multiple meanings.
  • List the different theories of human development.
  • Recognize the educational benefits of child development theory.
  • Identify concepts introduced by Jean Piaget.
  • Identify concepts introduced by Lev Vygotsky.

Play: How Children Learn

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Play is a defining feature of humankind. All individuals, regardless of culture or age, engage in play. Play is a fundamental tool children use to learn, grow, and create. Early childhood caregivers and educators are responsible for supporting the healthy development of children and what better way to do that than through a play-based learning approach? This course will provide the necessary tools to develop a playful teaching mindset and create a playful classroom environment. Understanding how to identify playful moments and craft playful opportunities will strengthen the relationships you have with children and the community you have created in your classroom.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define the types and stages of play.
  • Understand the role of play in child development.
  • Recognize the difference between play-based learning programs and academic programs.
  • Identify the components of a playful mindset.
  • List the ways to create a playful classroom.

Let’s Get Moving: Motor Development

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

Childhood is characterized by a period of rapid growth, in which the child begins to operate independently from their primary caregiver. Motor development represents a growing sense of autonomy and agency for children as they physically explore their worlds. The development of motor skills emphasizes the interaction between biological processes and environmental conditions. The Early Years Education setting is designed to support children as they learn to move about on their own and engage in everyday activities such as eating, dressing, going to the bathroom, and playing. Having a solid understanding of the workings of motor development will equip teachers with the tools needed to spot developmental delays and encourage the development of fine and gross motor skills. This particular course will be focused on typical motor development.

 Learning Outcomes

  •  Differentiate between muscular, temporal, environmental, and functional aspects of movement.
  • Be able to describe the phases of motor development.
  • Understand the various movement categories.
  • Identify fine motor skills.
  • List activities to support fine motor development.
  • Identify gross motor skills.
  • List activities to support gross motor development.

BFF: Understanding Children’s Friendships

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

We all have friends; many of us are still friends with people from our childhoods. Friendships are an important resource for navigating the social world. As children enter early childcare centers and gain more independence, they will extend the time they spend with caregivers and siblings to time spent with peers. Through social interactions with peers, children develop friendships, directly impacting their social, emotional, and cognitive development.  Friendships provide important opportunities for playing, practicing self-regulation, and developing empathy. How children generate and maintain friendships changes as they age. Childhood friendships represent the beginnings of intimacy and social appreciation. Understanding how children make friends, even imaginary friends, will assist Early Childhood Educators in fostering and encouraging healthy friendships. This course will provide the tools for ECEs to help children make friends, counteract loneliness and rejection, and reduce instances of bullying and peer pressure.

Learning Outcomes

  • Distinguish between friendship and popularity.
  • Understand how friendships develop.
  • Understand the role imaginary friends play in children’s development.
  • Describe bullying, loneliness, rejection, and peer pressure.
  • Understand the role of ECEs in developing friendships.

The Five Senses: Perceptual Development

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

Infants were initially described as being confronted with a world that was a “blooming, buzzing confusion” (William James, 1890). However, research has shown that infants are born equipped with the abilities needed to make sense of the world and the sensations produced within it. This course explores how children develop a sense of taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight. Perceptual abilities are essential for a child to interact with the physical and social world and are directly related to the development of motor, social, and cognitive skills. The early childhood classroom should be a space where children explore and experiment with new sensations. Understanding perceptual development will allow educators to better support children’s sensation exploration and teach children how to read environmental cues using a number of perceptual abilities. This particular course will be focusing on typical perceptual development.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the distinction between perception and sensation.
  • Describe how development occurs in each of the five senses.
  • Identify factors related to hypersensitivity in all areas of perception.
  • Identify strategies for supporting children with perceptual hypersensitivity.
  • List activities to support perceptual development.

Environment as the Third Teacher

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

The first teacher – the parent – guides children through the development process by providing consistent support. The second teacher – the educator – supports children’s development by engaging them in meaningful work and introducing new learning experiences. The third teacher is a flexible and adaptable environment that responds to and supports the needs of teachers and children. The concept of the third teacher is inspired by Reggio Emilia’s practices that challenge educators to see children as competent and capable learners that have an immediate impact on their environment. The environment where learning occurs plays a central role in making learning meaningful and shaping a child’s identity. The environment should assist educators in teaching, encouraging healthy development, and communicating a sense of community. To foster such an environment, educators need to reimagine the environment as not simply a space in which learning occurs but as an active resource to extend learning, build curiosity, and structure children’s thinking.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the role of the environment in child learning and development.
  • Describe the eight principles of environmental design.
  • Identify the various ways environments speak to children.
  • List the essential aspects of creating a supportive learning environment.

How Children Think: Cognitive Development

Duration: 3 hours (0.3 CEU)

Cognition refers to the thought processes and mental activities we use to acquire new information and organize the knowledge we already possess. Early childhood involves learning new cognitive skills and increasing our cognitive capacity. Children’s cognitive skills help them learn, adapt to new situations, understand their physical and social environments, and play. Cognitive development is interconnected with motor, perceptual, and social development. This course explores specific cognitive functions that develop in early childhood and are essential for healthy learning and play. These include attention, memory, metacognition, and problem-solving. In preparation for kindergarten, the early childhood educators are tasked with ensuring school readiness. Assessment and academic attainment are directly related to cognitive skill development. A comprehensive understanding of cognitive development helps educators create developmentally appropriate activities that encourage cognitive growth and future academic success. This course focuses on typical cognitive development.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify various aspects of attention, including sustained, selective, and flexible attention.
  • Understand memory processes, including memory retrieval and memory strategies.
  • Describe metacognition and how it structures children’s thinking.
  • Understand how children learn to problem-solve.
  • List activities to support attention, memory, metacognition, and problem-solving growth.

Look Who’s Talking: Language Development

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

From birth, children begin to communicate, and while there are many forms of communication children engage in, this course focuses on the development of spoken language. In order to be a successful communicator, children learn to perform four separate tasks. First, children experiment with the production of sounds that will make up words and convey meaning. Second, they learn the meaning behind the words produced. Third, children learn to string words together in grammatically appropriate ways. And finally, children learn to use language to communicate with others. Each of these aspects of language development will be explored in this course, as well as useful strategies for supporting learning at each stage. Understanding how to listen to children as they begin to experiment with spoken communication is essential to creating a healthy, supportive learning environment. Implementing the best strategies for language acquisition and engaging in supportive dialogue with children will ensure your classroom incites conversation, supports collaboration, and encourages exploration. This course focuses on typical language development. 

Learning Outcomes 

  • Understand how best to support language development at each stage 
  • Identify the key concepts involved in phonological development
  • Describe the course of semantic development, including fast mapping
  • Describe the course of grammatical development, including bootstrapping 
  • Understand the processes involved in conversational interaction

Supporting Dual Language Learners

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

The term dual-language learner describes a child who is learning two or more languages simultaneously. In the context of this course, those languages include English and a home language. In supporting dual-language learners, it is essential that both languages are respected and well understood. English is the practical language needed to navigate the educational settings of North America. The home language is the “emotional language needed for maintaining family relationships, values, and traditions” (Passe, 2012). North American childcare centers and classrooms have become increasingly diverse, with children bringing culturally rich backgrounds to the educational space. Educators are often faced with the difficult challenge of determining the best ways to teach dual-language learners and the most effective means to communicate with and support the families of dual-language learners. This course aims to provide educators with the tools and pedagogical approaches to supporting dual-language learners in achieving social and academic success in English.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the challenges associated with teaching dual language learners.
  • Understand how to teach English explicitly.
  • Differentiate between receptive and expressive and social and academic languages.
  • List effective teaching techniques for dual language learners.
  • List effective strategies for supporting the families of dual language learners.
  • Describe the steps to planning an explicit curriculum for dual language learners.

Promoting Empathy and Prosocial Behavior

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Sharing, helping, cooperating, and responding to the needs of others are important skills children begin to develop in early childhood. Demonstrating empathy and strong prosocial behavior can help children navigate social situations, make friends, and get the most out of the learning environment. Empathy and prosocial skills develop during play, peer interactions, and teacher-student relationships. It is important that children learn how to work well with others, understand another perspective, and support others in the classroom. Through play and classroom activities, ECEs can help develop these skills and promote their use in the center. In order to fully capture the importance of empathy and prosocial behaviors in early childhood, we must understand the development, characteristics, and occurrences of each. Creating a space that promotes empathy and prosocial behavior will positively impact children’s social and emotional development.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define and identify empathetic and prosocial behaviors.
  • Understand the developmental trajectories and milestones of prosocial behavior.
  • List ways to support empathy and prosocial behaviour.
  • Describe strategies for teaching compassion.
  • Identify the benefits of using literature to promote prosocial.

Modernizing Your Center

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

While not always an overtly visible aspect of the daily workings of society, childcare is an essential part of a thriving economy and modern nation. With an increasing rise in women in the workforce, dual-income families, and understanding of the importance of early childhood education, the demand for childcare and the responsibilities of educators have risen. The childcare center has continually evolved with technological innovations (such as smartphones) and cultural changes (such as the women’s movement). The aim of this course is to explore the evolution of childcare in North America over the last hundred years and take a look at the steps that can be taken today to meet the expectations of staff, families, and children in our modern digital age. Technological devices and programs can increase the organization, accessibility, and accountability of staff and families while improving the learning achievements of children. This course provides guidance on introducing digital programs to staff, transitioning families to digital communication, and utilizing technology in the learning environment. The modern childcare center is one that grows and responds to the changing needs of families and the changing landscape of society.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand significant evolutions in society that have shaped childcare today.
  • List the definitions of a modern childcare center.
  • Identify the steps needed to digitalize your center.
  • Understand what the modern family is looking for in childcare.
  • Identify the benefits of technology for staff.
  • Describe the processes involved in using technology as a teaching tool.

Anti-Oppressive Education Practices in the Early Years

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Oppression is not always easy to recognize. Educators & child care workers have a responsibility to their students to work against oppression in the school or child care center space. This is a daunting task when oppression can be difficult to recognize, especially from a non-marginalized perspective. Whether it be from a feminist, critical, multicultural, queer, or other perspective there is agreeance that oppression is a situation or dynamic in which certain ways of being are privileged in society while others are marginalized (Kumashiro, 2000). However, there is disagreement on the curricula, pedagogy and educational policies that would best combat oppression.  Kevin K Kumashiro’s research around anti-oppressive education practices has found that there are four (4) primary approaches to anti-oppressive education. 1. Education for the Other, 2. Education about the Other, 3 Education that is critical of privileging and Othering, 4. Education that changes students and society. When considering this topic in relation to early education there is even more hesitancy; the exploration of appropriate materials and lessons is crucial. “Schools need to be and provide helpful spaces” (Kumashiro,2000). Learning about literature and practices to help identify and work against oppression starting in the early years, is a great first step!

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what oppression is & its presence in the classroom
  • Describe implicit and explicit biases
  • Identify one’s own biases and how to challenge them
  • Identify approaches that encourage anti-oppressive education in the classroom
  • Understand the types of materials & activities you can use to support an inclusive classroom
  • Describe how to use circle time as a way to encourage inclusivity

Beyond the Binaries: Gender Diversity and Sexuality in Early Childhood

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Early childhood educators have the professional responsibility to create safe spaces that communicate and engage children and families in the practice of respect, equity, and inclusivity. Nevertheless, there is still a reluctance to engage children in discussion about gender diversity and sexuality within early childhood settings. This reluctance further reinforces a heteronormative, sexist, and binary understanding of gender and sexuality, which can create an unsafe space for gender-diverse and 2SLGBTQIA+ identifying children and families. To begin the work to create a safe environment for queer individuals, early childhood educators, especially those who are cis-hetero identifying, need to reflect on their own biases, language, and behaviours around gender and sexuality. Once awareness has been established, educators need to continuously engage in critical allyship to “queer” the learning that occurs within early childhood spaces. This includes having queer children and families represented within children’s literature, disrupting binary perspectives of understanding gender and sexuality, and changing the language used throughout the program to explicitly mention the intolerance for discriminatory behaviours against gender diverse and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals.  

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop a foundational understanding of gender and sexuality development in early childhood.
  • Explain terms such as gender, sex, and sexuality.
  • Understand that gender expression is fluid and is not restricted by certain characteristics.
  • Understand attitudes towards gender diverse and 2SLGBTQIA+ identities within early childhood settings.
  • Foster knowledge in supporting “rainbow families,” and children who are gender diverse and 2SLGBTQIA+.
  • Understand the importance of being an ally to rainbow families and children.

Foundations of Documentation

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

From birth, children begin to communicate, and while there are many forms of communication children documenting children’s learning is an integral piece of quality early childhood practice. It serves multiple purposes, and among its foremost are to 1) invite children into reflection on the events that make up their lives in school, 2) provide educators with deeper insights into the unfolding lives, learning, and interests of the children in their care (in order to both facilitate further planning and bolster their “image of the child”), and 3) to illustrate and illuminate for parents, caregivers, administrators and other invested adults, the beauty, depth, and nuance of childhood. In order to document with intention, educators must become familiar with these purposes of documentation, and begin to understand how they can embark upon the journey of documenting children’s work and life with intention.

Learning Outcomes

  • Define documentation, its purposes, and evaluate current practices in documentation
  • Explain the importance of documentation and observation
  • Describe the Reggia Emilia approach to documentation
  • Identify various audiences for documentation, as well as features that would be most of interest to specific audiences
  • Describe the essential building blocks of a piece and/or panel of documentation
  • Identify examples of how to document and observe children in your center
  • Understand how documentation can be used for reflection and planning

Feeling your Feelings: Emotional Development

Duration: 2 hours (0.2 CEU)

Emotions colour our experiences and are the earliest communicators children have. At the most basic level, emotions inform behaviour and stimulate a person to act in a way that helps them attain a goal. This applies to everything from avoiding a detested vegetable to sharing a favourite toy. In this course, we will explore the processes that cause emotions to support and interfere with a child’s functioning, as well as how emotions can guide social and cognitive behaviour. Understanding how to read children’s emotions at the earliest stages will assist in classroom management and instruction. Broadening our view of emotional expression and regulation will help educators become more responsive and help children become better communicators. Classrooms that place emotions at the forefront, through emotional language, emotion identification, and safe spaces for emotional expression can increase children’s classroom engagement, improve learning, and reduce educator burden. Increasing children’s emotional intelligence through emotional learning will help children better understand themselves and those around them. This course focuses on typical emotional development. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe the developmental course of emotion expression, emotion understanding, and emotion regulation
  • Define emotional intelligence
  • Explain concepts such as social referencing, basic emotions, and emotional display rules 
  • Understand how to apply the RULER method to classroom activities 
  • Identify the value of emotional learning and implement a mood meter

Building Healthy Attachments with Children

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Infants are born with limited sensory and motor abilities, and few cognitive skills. Over the course of human evolution, infants have developed an innate set of behaviors that drive them to create attachment styles and remain physically close to caregivers. Infants use caregivers as a source of comfort when they are distressed, as well as a safe base from which to explore their environments. Children with healthy attachments to their caregivers show improved emotional, cognitive, and social development. A child’s attachment extends to those they spend a great deal of time with, including educators and childcare providers. Research shows that infants may only need to feel secure with one caregiver to reap the benefits of healthy attachment (Kochanska & Kin, 2013). Knowing how to build healthy attachments with children will help you establish safe environments for children’s learning. Children’s attachment styles can extend to material objects and are informed by their temperament. Working in accordance with a child’s temperament can enrich the relationships you establish with children. The aim of this course is to understand the foundations of attachment theory and how to strengthen the relationships you have with children and develop the skills to work with children with difficult temperaments. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Define theories such as attachment, temperament, transitional objects, and goodness of fit
  • Understand the relationship between attachment and development
  • Describe the relationship children have with attachment objects 
  • Identify the differences in temperament
  • List ways to improve your relationship with children with difficult temperaments

Cultivating Emotion Regulation

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Emotions have the potential to organize or disrupt our daily functioning. The extent to which our emotions can overwhelm us is determined by the individual’s capacity to regulate their emotions. Emotion regulation includes the internal and external processes responsible for monitoring, evaluating, and modifying emotional reactions. To begin with, infants require the support of caregivers to co-regulate their emotions. Children then internalize these co-regulation efforts as they learn to self-regulate. A primary role of educators is to teach children how to understand their emotions and regulate them according to the situation. The aim of this course is to provide educators with the tools for cultivating emotion regulation in children and teaching appropriate coping strategies for the educational context. We will also explore emotion dysregulation and its relationship to challenging behaviours. Supporting children with emotion dysregulation takes patience and persistence. This course will provide strategies for co-regulation and helping children move towards independence. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Define emotion regulation, co-regulation, and self-regulation
  • Explain the stimulus-response gap
  • List ways to assist in self-regulation 
  • List and describe emotion regulation skills
  • Identify ways to support children with emotion dysregulation

Early Childhood Socialization: Social Development

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Humans are fundamentally a social species, meaning social development is crucial for healthy functioning. Social development refers to the ways children learn to interact with those around them and is directly related to cognitive, language, and emotional development. A child’s ability to interact with others in a healthy and positive way has immediate and long-lasting effects from feeling safe and secure as an infant to learning new words as a toddler to developing friendships as a child to successfully navigating school as an adolescent. By understanding how infants learn to differentiate themselves from others and how children predict the thoughts, feelings, and desires of another through a theory of mind, educators can engage in more effective teaching practices. The everyday experiences children have with educators are fundamental to a child’s developing social skill-set. Educators model healthy social interaction, provide opportunities for peer engagement and strengthen children’s social skills. This course provides educators with the tools to transform their classrooms with social-emotional learning and facilitate the construction of healthy social interactions for children. This course focuses on typical social development. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Define socialization and group socialization theory
  • Understand theory of mind and Selman’s model of perspective-taking
  • Identify the development of peer interactions
  • Recognize the relationship between socio-dramatic play and theory of mind

Knowing Right from Wrong: Moral Development

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Part of the childhood experience is learning the difference between right and wrong, and good and bad behavior. This distinction is what is known as morality. Morality operates at both the societal and individual levels. Our social and cultural context determines what is regarded as moral or proper behavior. While at the same time, morality is an individual quality embedded into the child’s personal psychology. Children internalize the rules of behavior provided by adults and apply these rules to their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. There are a number of ways in which educators can support children’s moral development and increase their prosocial behaviors. The aim of this course is to provide educators with an understanding of moral development and strategies to promote moral understanding and moral behavior. Every child has the capacity to learn the social conventions of culture and behave appropriately, supporting children through this process is an essential component of early childhood education. This course focuses on typical moral development. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Define moral understanding, moral reasoning, and moral behavior 
  • Identify inductive discipline strategies 
  • Describe Kohlberg’s theory of moral development
  • List self-conscious moral emotions
  • Identify strategies for supporting moral development

Documenting Infant Development: 0-6 Months

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

We see the most observable developmental changes in the first six months of life. Families are placing a great deal of trust in the hands of educators when they bring their young infants to childcare. It is important that educators respect the parenting styles and cultural differences of families and document developmental milestones. Documenting developmental milestones at this age can help create a record of progress to alleviate any parental concerns and determine when an infant is ready to move on to new activities and spaces. At a glance, the first months consist of smiling, watching, reaching, and sitting. The infant is beginning to explore their worlds and develop critical social relationships with caregivers. The aim of this course is to provide educators with an overview of the observable and recordable growth moments of infants between 0-6 months of age. In addition to milestones, educators will learn about activities designed to encourage motor, cognitive, language, and socio-emotional growth at each stage of development. This course focuses on typical development. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how to communicate developmental milestones to families sensitively    
  • Describe documentation as “progress rather than timing”
  • Identify and support the developmental milestones of 0-2 months
  • Identify and support the developmental milestones of 3-4 months
  • Identify and support the developmental milestones of 5-6 months

Documenting Infant Development: 6-12 Months

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Growth drastically accelerates at the sixth-month mark, and the infant’s unique personality begins to solidify. The first year of life includes a number of firsts in the child’s life and can be a difficult time for families to be separated from their children. It is important for educators to be sensitive to the transitions of both infants and their families. Through documentation, educators can ensure families don’t miss out on any developmental achievements and effectively assess the infant’s progression. At a glance, the second six months consist of first words, thumb-forefinger pickups, crawling, cruising, and walking. The infant extends their interests beyond caregivers and eagerly interacts with their environment. We also see the emergence of teeth and the pain, excitement, and advantages of this development. The aim of this course is to provide educators with an overview of the observable and recordable growth moments of infants between 6-12 months of age. In addition to milestones, educators will learn about activities designed to encourage motor, cognitive, language, and socio-emotional growth at each stage of development. This course focuses on typical development.

Learning Outcomes      

  • Understand the sources of developmental differences in timing 
  • Describe the sequence of mobility from sitting to walking
  • Identify and support the developmental milestones of 6-9 months
  • Identify and support the developmental milestones of 9-12 months
  • List the symptoms and remedies for teething

Tackling Challenging Conversations

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Challenging conversations are part and parcel of the life of an early childhood educator, whether you serve as a classroom teacher, center director, or any of the myriad roles in between. When we think about conversations that are challenging, we can often separate them into a few domains: conversations with families, conversations with co-workers and staff, and conversations with children. While each of these conversations requires a different approach and perspective, we can incorporate similar principles to guide us through navigating them. When we learn that difficult conversations are less about avoiding conflict and more about clarifying perspective and unifying goals, we can envision early childhood contexts that are constructive, rooted in dialogue, and promote both honesty and transparency.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand difficult conversations, and situate them within a framework that views difficulty as more of a matter of our own perspective than of the conversation itself.      
  • Explore the “Acknowledge, Frame, Support” framework for difficult conversations.
  • Describe some potentially difficult conversations with co-workers and staff and explore ways that these can be embraced with sensitivity and an attitude of openness.
  • Identify particularly difficult conversations with children and elaborate ways to approach these with sensitivity and honesty.
  • Identify particularly difficult conversations with families (e.g. about children’s needs, ways of interacting with children, identity, etc.) and explore ways to facilitate these with honesty and a sense of compassion.

Children’s Rights in Early Childhood Education

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Honoring and empowering children’s rights in early childhood education is crucial in providing a healthy development in the first 5 years of life. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) was adopted in 1989 and is a legally binding international agreement setting out the civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights of every child. Central to this convention is that every child has basic fundamental rights. Understanding the UNCRC is the first step for educators in creating a rights-respecting classroom for children. It is the backbone for truly understanding how to create meaningful learning opportunities for children that will allow them to actively participate and safely share their own perspectives in the classroom. In the early years, modeling and empowering rights start from infancy and set the foundation for healthy and supportive relationships, empathy development, self-confidence, and awareness of consent and bodily autonomy. Children who grow up understanding their rights and the rights of others will develop a deep understanding of how to interact with others, respect boundaries, advocate for themselves, and know that their voice matters. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the four general principles as outlined for all children.
  • Understand the importance of honoring children’s rights in the early years through modeling consent and validating emotions, and it’s impact on a child’s overall development
  • Identify 4 strategies for putting rights into practice and empowering children in an early childhood classroom
  • List the essential ways children can be active participants in their rights

Infant Care: Sleeping

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Infants spend more than half their day in a sleep state, gaining the physical, mental, and developmental benefits that come with restorative rest. As infants enter childcare settings, they must adjust to the sleeping environments and routines of the center, which may differ significantly from their sleep practices at home. Educators must work with infants and families to ease this transition and create safe, restful environments. Sleep is not a state that caregivers can force on an infant or many infants, for that matter. Sleep must naturally overtake the infant and is necessary for optimal development. Educators can create spaces that invite sleep by establishing consistent routines and rituals and following safety protocols. The aim of this course is to learn the strategies for building healthy sleep attitudes in infants and creating trusting spaces that encourage sleeping. By reviewing safe sleep protocols and frequently asked questions, this course will prepare educators to assist in infants’ sleep routines and safety. This course is designed to prepare educators for working with families and providing care to typically developing infants. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the infant sleep cycle
  • Describe best practices for preparing sleeping areas 
  • Assist in the transition to childcare napping
  • List reasons for a child to wake up early (medical, personal, etc,.)
  • List sleep safety protocols
  • Explain crib safety for equipment, placement, and cleaning practice
  • Understand how to work with families in establishing healthy sleep practices in infants

Infant Care: Feeding

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

Childcare centers are spaces for healthy learning and healthy development, and the key to this is a healthy diet. Having the right food on hand and knowledge of diverse feeding methods creates happier moods and happier families. Eating patterns and attitudes towards eating developed in the infant room transfer to the toddler room as children move through early childhood education and care. Helping infants create healthy relationships with food involves reading feeding cues, having healthy food options, encouraging self-feeding, and working with families to follow dietary needs. Understanding the individual sensitivities, preferences, and needs of infants will provide optimal environments for healthy eating and healthy development. Nursing means comforting and nourishing and can happen by both breast and bottle. Feeding is not just about giving nutrition but giving infants your eyes, your skin, your voice, and your attention. The aim of this course is to familiarize educators with handling breast milk, preparing formula, and introducing solid foods. This course is designed to prepare educators for working with families and providing care to typically developing infants. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe best practices for preparing breast milk and using formula
  • Describe best practices of bottle-feeding
  • Understand how to read feeding cues
  • Identify indicators that the child is ready for solid foods
  • List strategies for introducing solid foods

Infant Care: Diapering

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Caring for basic needs is an important time to interact and build relationships with infants. During feeding, changing, and putting to sleep, infants feel your touch, hear your voice, see your face, and build healthy attachments. Diapering is much more than an infant going from wet to dry but can be an important time to interact and build relationships with infants. Following proper diapering procedures ensures the safety of children and can make the process smooth, routine, and fun. By reserving special facial features, jingles, and massaging stokes for diapering times, infants have more to look forward to than just a clean diaper. By demonstrating patience and sensitivity, you can effectively manage infant diaper rash and make the experience as comfortable as possible. The aim of this course is to review the steps involved in creating a safe, clean changing environment, removing and replacing diapers, and treating diaper rash. This course is designed to prepare educators for working with families and providing care to typically developing infants. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how to make diapering an intimate experience
  • List the steps involved in creating safe, clean diapering areas (sanitation, disposal)
  • Understand what chemicals, cleaning agents and disinfectants can be used for diapering area sanitation 
  • Describe the best techniques for diaper changing (placement, cleaning, safety, timing
  • Identify approaches to caring for various types of diaper rashes
  • Understand how to build relationships during diapering times

Talking to Parents about Development Concerns

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Educators have the opportunity to observe, assess, and reflect on children’s developmental milestones daily through the process of Documentation in their classroom. Early Childhood Educators have the educational background and the practical skills to be able to identify if a child is meeting the ‘typical’ developmental milestones for their age group.  If a child displays potentially delayed developmental capabilities, it is important to speak to the parents about these concerns so proper intervention can take place to ensure the child can be properly supported. These types of conversations can be difficult to have because parents could become defensive or be sensitive to the topic of their child having atypical development, so it is extremely important to feel prepared and confident before approaching the parent. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what constitutes a difficult conversation and the benefits of having those interactions
  • Discuss the various strategies needed to facilitate a challenging conversation with parents
  • Describe what the next steps are following the conversation with the family

Optimal Environment for Infant Development

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

An infant’s environment significantly affects brain-building and healthy development in infants. Optimal environments for infants support healthy attachments with caring and responsive adults and help infants feel safe to explore, learn, and grow. Central to creating optimal environments for infant development is stimulation. The amount of stimulation an infant receives directly affects the number of electrical connections formed in the brain, which enhances curiosity, attentiveness, concentration, and a love of learning. An important consideration when employing developmentally-appropriate stimulation is ensuring that the environment is safe and supportive. Environments should be babyproofed, not children. Children’s care-free exploration enhances development and should not be restricted. This requires childcare providers to create spaces that can assist with safe risk-taking and healthy interactions between infants and children. Many benefits come with allowing children to interact with infants for both the child and the infant. The aim of this course is to highlight the many ways to support infant development using environments, relationships, and other children.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of infant stimulation, emotionally supportive environments, and responsive education
  • List ways to create developmentally appropriate spaces for infants
  • Identify common accidents in childhood that correspond to developmental stages
  • List ways to ensure your center is properly babyproofed
  • Understand the benefits of infant-child interactions
  • Describes the ways to facilitate infant-child interactions

Arts in Education: Making Art Meaningful

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

The Arts are often the first place we see budget cuts take place. With a lack of resources in the Arts students often have less exposure to their creative selves. Integrating the Arts into all types of lessons not only aids learners to perceive knowledge through a new lens but also allows for the Arts to gain significance through more traditional academic mediums. In this course we will explore the concept of the ‘hidden curriculum’ and incorporating Aporia’s into teaching strategies; an approach Patrick Finessey investigates in his research. Finessey (2018) notes the importance of allowing there to be doubt in one’s teaching, being in a state of perplexity, or aporia allows for the confrontation of the unknown. “Creative teaching is a form of improvisational performance” (Lehtonen et al., 2016), using roleplay to evoke thought is one of many ways the arts can be integrated into all subject matter. We will explore activities for Visual Arts, Music, and Drama that encourage integrating these creative mediums into learning and instruction for all subject matter, across all ages.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the importance of the Arts for a child’s development and how to overcome the trepidations of introducing arts into curriculum
  • Understand the idea of the hidden curriculum and how to integrate the Arts into lesson planning
  • Learn how to incorporate Visual Arts, Music and Drama into lessons by using sample activities
  • Identify ways to make arts accessible in your center
  • Understand equitable teaching practices versus equal teaching practices
  • Identify, and navigate barriers to Arts Education

Microaggressions in Early Childhood

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Microaggressions are subtle statements or actions that discriminate against minority groups. They can happen with or without harmful intent but are usually a product of our implicit biases. The effects of micro aggressions are cumulative and can have lasting impacts on the victims. It is the subtleness of micro aggressions that can make them hard to spot, making it important to learn what causes them and how to identify them. It is important to understand how micro aggressions can be psychologically harmful to ourselves and the people we work with. This is especially true for early childhood, where educators are working with many other educators, children, families, and support workers who may be members of various minority and racialized groups. Identifying micro aggressions is the first step in learning how to stop them.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn about the history and meaning of microaggressions
  • Identify who microaggressions affect
  • Identify and describe racism, race, ethnicity, and types of biases 
  • Describe the different types of microaggressions
  • Understand the impacts of microaggressions
  • Identify common types of microaggressions 
  • Identify different approaches to responding to microaggressions
  • Learn how to assist children in identifying microaggressions

STEM Learning Part 1: Science & Technology in the Early Years

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

This is part one of two courses exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the early years. The exploration of Science and Technology activities and methods will enhance confidence in planning and teaching STEM lessons. “Innately curious, infants and toddlers love to explore, investigate, and discover—making the earliest years a perfect time to begin teaching the foundations of STEM” ( Barbre, 2017). There are many organic moments in a young child’s life that allow for the introduction of science and technology concepts. If a child asks why it rains, for instance, this is a naturally occurring opportunity to investigate clouds, rain cycles, weather predictors etc. As an educator beginning to explore STEM lessons there are some important barriers that need to be discussed; such as, equitable access to STEM education, and gender stigmas faced by girls wanting to enter STEM fields. “Although just over half of school students taking A-Level science are female (REF), the representation of women in STEM decreases as you look higher up the STEM career ladder” (S. T. E. M., 2020).  It is important to understand the barriers to any discipline that is incorporated into a curriculum, this understanding can help frame the lessons in a meaningful way.        

Learning Outcomes

  • Basic Understanding of what STEM is.
  • Build confidence in teaching STEM-related activities & lessons.
  • Awareness of barriers to learning/ practicing STEM.
  • Knowledge of Science and Technology Methods & Activities to incorporate into lessons

STEM Learning Part 2: Engineering & Math in the Early Years

Duration: 1.5 hours (0.15 CEU)

This is part two of two courses exploring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) in the early years. “Engineering is an important part of STEM. What is engineering in kindergarten, preschool, and first grade? Well, it’s putting together simple structures and other items and in the process learning about the science behind them. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of doing!” (Engineering activities for Kids, 2022). The exploration of Engineering & Mathematical activities and methods will enhance confidence in planning and teaching STEM lessons. As children engage with the world around them they do not encounter it box by box, they encounter the entire world at once. Similarly, the integration of STEM into lesson planning aims to see learning from a big picture perspective rather than bit by bit. “Learning about the material world of course is also learning about STEM. STEM is about questions that can be explored scientifically; or about technological problems that can be solved through engineering and design” (Grovemeijer. Et al., 2016). One of the greatest mediums for STEM education is the natural environment. Finding ways to naturally introduce STEM into the curriculum is beneficial not only in enhancing the content but also in engaging students’ interest. Allowing students to find a topic helps them feel more ownership over the outcome of the discussion, this is true from a very young age!

Learning Outcomes

  • Build confidence in teaching STEM-related activities & lessons.
  • Knowledge of Engineering & Mathematical Methods & Activities to incorporate into lessons
  • Be able to see topics in a multi-disciplinary manner. 
  • Understand how to use the environment to enhance STEM learning.

Teaching to All: Inclusive Teaching Practices

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

In the context of education, “inclusion” is often associated with the practice of including children with disabilities in typical classrooms. While this definition is true, it is only partially true and ignores the multiple identities and characteristics which affect a child’s school experience and achievement. The aim of this course is to explore a vision of inclusion that goes beyond issues of disability to attend to all the differences children bring with them to school. These include differences in race, ethnicity, language, family composition, gender, religion, size, sexual orientation, dis/ability, social class, and so on. Within the education system, children learn about who matters in the world and what labels they carry with them. As educators, it is our responsibility to break down the barriers between children and create an accepting, open community that supports the learning of all children. This course will provide strategies that cross “categories” of children ensuring that individual needs are met within the context of a shared community. 

Learning Outcomes

  • Define inclusion and inclusive teaching
  • List strategies for teaching for all and to all
  • Explain the key components of inclusion 
  • List the benefits of inclusive practice 

Empowering and Supporting Educators to Succeed

Duration: 1 hour (0.1 CEU)

Educators are a diverse group of individuals, each with their own strengths and struggles, areas of interest and curiosity, and their own ideas about children, childhood, and their roles as educators. It is critical that directors and/or administrators have a plan to support educators in their growth and success. This support and empowerment occur at multiple times and within multiple domains. In this course, we examine a few elements of supporting educators, touching on elements that include but are not limited to relationships (e.g. creating a collaborative culture), trust (e.g. giving educators space to explore their practice), listening (e.g. hearing what educators are interested in and providing opportunities to explore it), and inquiry and growth (e.g. working with educators systematically to learn about their work). This course closes with some considerations of what it means for educators to set goals both within and beyond their classrooms and institutions.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand what it means to be an administrator: emphasizing that the central piece of an administrative role is to support development on a micro and macro levels
  • Identify how a relationship with one’s staff is the quintessential piece to supporting success and fostering investment and ownership within an organization.
  • Describe some potential steps for creating space for educators to explore and inquire into their practice.
  • Examine the ways that working with educators to set goals for growth both within and outside of an organization can be mutually beneficial for educators, the children in their care, and the centers within which they work.
  • Examine educator development through a lens that considers it in parallel with the cycle of inquiry.
  • Describe and identify practices that indicate “listening” to educators and the ideal outcomes of an environment where “listening” is a norm.
  • Consider the benefits of encouraging educators to grow both within and outside of/beyond one’s organization or center.

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