Opening Minds Early Education Social & Emotional

Series of Continuing Education Courses

Opening Minds Early Education Social & Emotional Development Series: Social Emotional Learning is all about learning how to identify and manage our emotions, form healthy relationships, set and achieve positive goals as well as feel and show empathy for others. Young children’s social and emotional skills are learned through interactions with adults. What have young children learned from their family and community influencers long before meeting us? What are we teaching young children through our day-to-day interactions?

This Series will address Adverse Childhood Experiences; Trauma, Stress and Resilience; Understanding Children’s Behavior; Feeling Vocabularies and Social Communication, and tools to help children express their strong emotions in healthier ways when words aren’t enough: Art Therapy, Yoga, Mindfulness.

Preview of Sessions Planned

Through the Eyes of a Child

Through the Eyes of a Child is an interactive presentation that focuses on child processing skills, cognitive abilities, reasoning, and emotional reactions to life situations. Participants will learn about typical development, special needs indicators for very young children, effects of child abuse, and intervention strategies for common behavioral and emotional issues. Reality-based techniques for participants to actually feel and remember what it was like to be a child are offered.

Dr. Kittie M. Weber

Dr. Kittie M. Weber has a Ph.D. in Professional Psychology, specializing in Child Development and Creativity. Research Interests have focused on infant and early childhood development. Currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at New England College, Henniker, NH.  She presents Through the Eyes of the Child throughout New Hampshire, New England, the USA and Internationally, geared for specific populations and targeted issues. She has worked in residential treatment, partial hospitalization, community mental health clinics with children from newborns to adolescents, included therapy – group and individual, family reunification, crisis intervention, family-caregiver support, evaluation, court ordered treatment and training for families and youths.

More About Dr. Weber:

Prior to coming to New England College, Dr. Weber was the Program Director for the MainSail, MTFC (Multi-dimensional Treatment Foster Care) program at Butler Behavioral Mental Health Services in Hamilton, Ohio. She piloted the MTFC program in Ohio and incorporated treating youths with both juvenile delinquency records and known mental health diagnosis.

She presented at the Oxford Round Table, Oxford University, in Oxford, England, on the issues surrounding youth who have been in intensive treatment foster care and the reunification process with their natural families.

Dr. Weber has worked in residential treatment, partial hospitalization, community mental health clinics while working with children from newborns to adolescents. Her work included therapy – group and individual, family reunification, crisis intervention, family and caregiver support, evaluation, court ordered treatment and court ordered training for families and youths. She has presented numerous professional development workshops, seminars and conferences for front line workers, i.e. therapists, social workers, case managers, police officers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, firefighters and teachers.

Her research has studied infant’s behaviors, preference to learning style, creativity and adaptability. She found distinct styles of behavior for infants and identified those as predictors of future learning preferences.

She discovered a link between increasingly high agitation of infants and length of time they were not exposed to tobacco smoke, suggesting the infants may be experiencing nicotine withdrawal. Her theory, “Secondhand Addiction” has been presented at conferences, distributed to expectant mothers through an OB/GYN and considered in the development of legislation for the protection of children.

Other research looked at development stages as described by Jean Piaget, using literature as a measure of development. Her results showed moral reasoning appeared earlier than previously believed in some children. The overall outcome of the study supported Piaget’s stages of development for the majority of the participants.

Dr. Weber also studied creativity in children ages 5 – 12 in three different populations and sociocultural backgrounds. She incorporated the use of imagery and relaxation techniques five days a week over a three week period of time. The children were asked to follow the guided imagery and then to draw what they had seen and experienced followed by writing a short story about their journey. The results showed increases in creativity and indicated great therapeutic benefits to many of the participants. There was no difference between African-American, Latino or Caucasian children regardless of economic status, environment or IQ.

Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery including Psychological First Aid (3 Hours)

Dr. Neal Horen, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development

 Xochitl Salvador, National Center on Early Childhood Health and Wellness

Trauma and Attachment

Dr. Dora Wolfe

Dr. Dora Wolfe is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the areas of trauma and attachment. For over 20 years Dr. Wolfe has worked with both children and adults in a variety of settings, including hospitals, schools, residential treatment centers, the department of corrections, and private practice. She is currently the CEO and Clinical Director of Wolfe Behavioral Health, PC. Dr. Wolfe is trained in EMDR, Biofeedback, Neurofeedback, and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

“PAWsitive Social-Emotional Messages:”

Using Animal Assistive Intervention to Teach Social Communication

Have you ever worked with a group of students who benefit from external motivation? Do you know a child who needs a dose of “furry sunshine” and a caring soul to connect with? Incorporating a trained Social-Emotional Assistance Dog into your educational or therapeutic environment of instruction can prove to be the active tool you need! Working with Monty our Social-Emotional Assistance Dog, we motivate and model for students experiencing social confusion, Autism Spectrum Disorder, developmental delays and anxiety; to learn prosocial behaviors and communication. Come discuss the benefits of incorporating a trained Social- Emotional Assistance Dog into your school, district or therapeutic practice with struggling learners.

Tracey L. Stoll, MEd, BCSE, ACAS

Monty, Social-Emotional Assistance Dog

Tracey L. Stoll is the Founder and Executive Director of Learning Solutions, LLC, a Social-Emotional Learning Center located in Norwood, MA. As an Educational Consultant, Tracey offers more than 20 years professional experience and is professionally licensed in Special Education PreK-9/ Elementary Education 1-6. She has accomplished study in Speech Communication, Therapeutic Recreation, Masters of Education (Special Education), Board Certification in Special Education, and Advanced Certified Autism Specialist. Tracey has completed clinical training in differentiated instruction, inclusive best practice, social-emotional development and Social Thinking®. Tracey is the Creator of Social Fit (R) Program for social-emotional learners (SEL) who strive to integrate into their recreational community for increased health and overall social competency. This three component social learning program focuses on strengthening Body, Mind and Self through supportive social executive function instruction (S.N.A.P. Social Notes about People® templates). Her work and programs have been awarded DCF Community Partnership Award, the #1 Family Favorite Best of Boston: Boston Parents’ Paper ™; and Outstanding Early Intervention Provider Margaret L. Bauman, M.D. Award for Excellence.

Monty is a 3 year old, Yellow Labrador Retriever, canine colleague to the staff at Learning Solutions, LLC in Norwood, MA. Monty was trained by NEADS (National Education for Assistance Dog Services,, Princeton, MA) as a Social-Emotional Assistance Dog to assist learners and their caretakers in emotional support, therapeutic relationship support, living and loving life! His training is aligned with his counterparts placed within classroom, school and facility environments. He works daily with his partner Tracey to help struggling learners understand communication, emotional regulation, anxiety management, and to access social experiences.

Using Mindful Communication to Deepen Understanding, Strengthen Relationships, and Support Development

This session will explore communication patterns used with children and the relationship between communication and social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development.

Presented by Molly Gerrish, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-River Falls

“My roots are in Head Start, it all began there, as I witnessed firsthand the impact that meaningful relationships and positive support can have on children and their families. Being a home visitor brought me into people’s lives in a way that no other profession could. From there, I worked in several schools as a teacher and director. Being able to see the vast differences in opportunities in various school settings, made it clear to me, that regardless of the location of the program, the teacher and the relationships facilitated are vital to the children and families in their programs. I am now a professor, a teacher-educator working to educate the highest quality educators for every classroom and every child.”

Trauma and Art Therapy
What is art therapy? How does it work?

Join Tanya Peters for this 3 Hour Interactive Session

“These days it seems there is no shortage of adverse childhood experiences which leave a lasting impression on young children, and sometimes gets in the way of children’s ability to pay attention, behave appropriately, or learn. Art Therapy can be a valuable tool to help you recognize the cues and clues which indicate children are harboring trauma, and how to use art to get children back on course”

The Language of Mindfulness for Young Children, 18 months-6 years (3 hours)

Lisa Clarke, E-RYT-200 & CCYT

Lisa Clarke is a Registered Yoga Teacher with over 1000 hours of teaching experience, a Certified Children’s Yoga Teacher*, a Yoga Alliance Continuing Education Provider and the owner of laLa wellness – yoga and mindfulness programs for children and educators. She was named one of Brampton’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2017 and is actively involved in the Physical Literacy Champion Networking Group with the Region of Peel. As an advocate for the love of mindful movement, Lisa has written I’m a Growing YOGI to encourage children to move and play through its story.

Learn how to share mindfulness with very young children, and how small shifts in communication, both verbal and non-verbal, can make a big difference in how children see you, themselves and the world around them.

The language you use around children in their early years provides a foundation for all areas of development, but is yours a stable foundation? Or is it missing some important scaffolding? Young children can begin a deeper development of self-awareness, self-confidence and self-regulation when the language you use around them is mindful and intentional.

A Lifetime of Survival: The Six Skills of Survival of Young Children

Shayna Torres

Participants will learn the six survival skills that are critical to a young child’s development. These six skills of survival include: attachment, belonging, self-regulation, collaboration, contribution, and adaptability. In this presentation we will talk about each skill and what they may look like both developed and underdeveloped.

“A child’s social-emotional development impacts his/her growth across all other domain areas. Research shows that children’s success in school is inextricably linked to healthy social and emotional development (Jones & Kahn, 2018).”

This is just a preview of what’s planned. More sessions, descriptions, and presenters will be added, regularly. Follow us on Facebook, to get updates in real time. The full schedule of listings will be available in January.