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*Early Birds: Save $5!  

 $30 before 11/10

 $35 on 11/11 and later

Workshops for Parents

and Caregivers of Toddlers and Young Children

Saturday, November 16

8:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Registration Fee* Includes Lunch

Heart and Hand Workshops 2019

Are you a parent, grandparent, au pair, or daycare teacher? Looking for ideas on how to foster independence, inspire creativity, and nurture empathy in children under five?


Join us for this half-day conference designed to provide you with a “toolkit of skills” that you can put to use right away, as well as useful information on child development and Montessori education. Topics covered by Wellan faculty will range from tantrums to tinkering trays to teaching a second language—and more. Register now and bring home the “magic of Montessori”!


Register by 11/10 to save $5 on registration.

Conference Sessions

Attendees will benefit from all of the following sessions, plus two breakout workshops of their choice (below):

“Heart and Hand”: The Genius of Maria Montessori


Our conference will kick off with a short keynote presentation on Dr. Maria Montessori’s insights into child development and key features of Montessori education.


Presented by:

Beth Black, Wellan Head of School


Dress with Success: Creating and Reinforcing Daily Self-Care Routines


“Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.” Maria Montessori is famous for this quote, which advocates parental and teacher patience with a child learning self-care. Sounds great, but when you’re trying to get everyone out of the house in a hurry, it’s tempting to just do everything for the child who might struggle for a long time with a zipper.


We’ll explore ways to assess a child’s capabilities and identify the skills and resources needed for independent success. You’ll discover ways to teach and support self-care routines. There will be an opportunity to make an “anchor chart” you can take home and use on winter mornings when getting ready to go involves extra outdoor clothing.


Presented by:

Beth Black, Wellan Head of School

Becky Alukonis, Beginner Division Leader


Crossing the Midline: Why It’s Important (20 minute mini-session)


Imagine that the left and right sides of your body are separated by an invisible “midline.” Every time you reach across your trunk to use your right hand on the left side of your body or vice versa, you are “crossing the midline.” Difficulty crossing the mid-line makes it difficult to execute cross-body movements required for everything from putting on socks to hitting a baseball to visually tracking from left to right when reading. This ability typically develops from infancy to age 8 or 9, but it requires core strength that some children lack.


Learn ways to support children’s development of bilateral coordination with “midline crossing” activities.


Presented by:

Sarah Donnelly, Wellan Learning Specialist


Screen Time in Early Childhood: How Much Is Too Much? (20 minute mini-session)


Tech devices with screens displaying electronic media are a ubiquitous feature of contemporary life. What is the impact of screen time on children during early childhood? How can you manage a child’s screen time and establish healthy norms for technology use?


We’ll highlight research-based recommendations and how to balance raising a “digital citizen” with setting limits on screen time.


Presented by:

Beth Black, Wellan Head of School

Breakout Workshops

“Heart” Workshops: Social-Emotional Learning (Choose One)


What Makes Your Heart Happy? Preschoolers and Big Emotions

Young children typically need assistance with impulsive behavioral choices and emotional regulation. Often, what leads to less disappointment and greater happiness is the ability to anticipate how behavior choices will impact mood.


Learn how using this one simple question can help children reflect on their wide range of emotions and choices. You’ll be able to help children develop a frame of mind to “think before they leap,” choose actions that are healthy and kind, and better manage their “big emotions.”


Priya Venkateswaran

Wellan Primary Teacher

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Image by Lesly Juarez

Mindfulness 101: How to Regulate Your Actions and Reactions as a Caregiver

We all want to raise more connected, conscientious and compassionate children. But let’s face it: Caring for young children is stressful and sometimes we just don’t have the emotional resources to be our “best selves.” How might mindfulness help us as caregivers?


Join us as delve into the world of social-emotional development in early childhood. We’ll explore the impact that adult actions and reactions have on children and ways you can use mindfulness strategies to stay calm when the pressure’s on.

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Erin Conway

Wellan After School Teacher


Rachel Friebe

Wellan After School Teacher

Image by Max Kleinen

Help! How Do I Manage Severe Temper Tantrums?

Most young children have both meltdowns and tantrums. A meltdown occurs when a child loses control due to feeling overwhelmed by change or sensory stimuli. A child having a meltdown can usually be comforted with affectionate reassurance. A tantrum is different: it’s also an emotional outburst, but the child’s behavior is typically louder, more physical, and more difficult to stop. Most tantrums stem from children’s frustration at not getting their own way, with tiredness and/or hunger as additional triggers.


What can you do when a child is screaming, thrashing around on the floor, running away, throwing objects, or hurting others during a severe temper tantrum? It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose control of the situation. Come learn strategies to deal with tantrums and violent behavior in the moment as well as ways to prevent them from happening in the future. 


Elyse Kalins

Wellan Beginner Teacher


Christiana Jamroz

Wellan Beginner Teacher

“Hand” Workshops: Active Learning (Choose One)

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Open-Ended Art: How to Promote Creativity (while Controlling Chaos)

In the abstract, it sounds wonderful to let your child be creative at home; in practice, open-ended art has the potential to make a big mess. Fear not! There are ways you can prepare the environment and set up an art activity that won’t lead to paint on the furniture!


Learn how to design open-ended art opportunities for different age and skill levels. Come away with practical tips for preparing your home or classroom environment so you can nurture your budding artist without having a mess to clean up afterwards!


Amanda Cusanno

Wellan Primary Teacher

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Second Language Learning for Toddlers: Make it Hands On!

Want to teach a second language in your home or classroom environment? Interested in ways to create an engaging, hands-on lesson that will expand a child's vocabulary?


Come observe a Spanish lesson designed for toddlers. Learn how to maximize young children's enthusiasm and focus in a language lesson, as well as how to create your own educational materials that can be used to teach vocabulary in any language.


Margarita Londono

Wellan Spanish Specialist

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Tinkering Trays: Because STEAM is for Toddlers and Preschoolers, Too!

A tinkering tray is a shallow tray filled with interesting materials that can be explored and combined in open-ended ways. Having a limited set of materials to manipulate and put to use helps to develop a child’s creativity, curiosity, and decision-making skills. Independent tinkering allows children to associate feelings of freedom and joy with problem-solving, which is a great early introduction to STEAM activities (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math).


Learn how to easily create your own “early engineering” tinkering tray for children’s use in a class or home environment. You may want to tinker with it yourself!

*This workshop has reached capacity.


Merav Rosen

Wellan Design Lab Specialist

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Using Music and Movement to Develop Early Literacy Skills

Teaching children “Itsy  Bitsy Spider” is more important than you might think! “Story songs” with hand motions help children recall a linear sequence of events, which facilitates the comprehension of narrative. Finger-play rhymes help children learn to isolate sounds within words, which supports their developing phonological awareness. Being able to recognize the same vowel sounds or word endings in different words will aid them later when they start to sound out words as emerging readers. Using hand and finger movements in singing also strengthens the fine motor skills needed for writing.


Join us to learn some rhyming activities and “story songs” with hand motions that children love. We’ll talk about how to teach a song; we might even make up a few songs together! You’ll go home with a handout so you can build your music and movement repertoire.


Sarah Chadwick

Wellan Primary Teacher


Wellan Primary Division Leader

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