In my last post, I talked about an upcoming very special conference. Well, we held the Educating the Heart Conference this past Saturday, January 31, for Early Childhood Professionals in the Philadelphia region. Over 280 caregivers attended. Our goal was to support these valuable professionals who give of themselves every day for the children in their care. The Conference was co-sponsored by Montgomery Early Learning Centers (MELC) and us, Lakeside.
Child education professionals learn brain-based techniques for helping children in their care
At the Educating the Heart conference, we attempted to emphasize the importance of being more sensory with our children. We acknowledged the nature of children as lacking judgment and being impulsive and egocentric, and therefore very fragile and vulnerable to an array of emotional responses.
When you add learning, trauma, and temperament issues on top of all the normal stresses of childhood, you can easily visualize how fragile children’s emotions and equilibrium can be in any given day.
We really wanted to honor these professionals with a unique learning experience
We intentionally emphasized education surrounding the emotional, relational and sensory issues in a typical classroom setting. But more than that, we recreated the sensory experiences to illustrate them for the attendees, thus providing realistic situations and approaches of applying the learning and principles we were presenting.
We showed videos of children who were calming, focusing and playing sensory activities. We had drummers, the American Veteran’s Tribute Band, exhibitors, keynotes and lots of great workshops. We sensed participants gained a deepening of understanding of the sensory nature of children, and we made sure everyone at the conference knew how to create safety areas in their classrooms.
It was a privilege to meet with such dedicated professionals.
We believe there will be lots of changes in the attendees’ perspectives on children as we also witnessed many who formed “new lenses” on what contributes to the behavior of children, ways to create safe classrooms, and how to use sensory tools to help children regulate.
Without regulation there is no possibility that children can learn with any degree of effectiveness.
We are looking forward to the feedback as well as hearing of the new experiences and changes effected in many of our regional Early Childhood Centers.
I do want to thank the staff of MELC, our Lakeside trainers and staff, our exhibitors, those who presented workshops, the attendees, and all those who supported our conference. We hope the experience will launch a new movement for sensory care for our children throughout our region. It was an amazing day!
Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network