Past Programs

Since 2003, TECPA has offered hundreds of important professional development opportunities to our audience of early childhood professionals, afterschool group leaders, early elementary teachers, family childcare providers, program administrators, and all who care about children and families. With each year we have invited thought leaders, researchers, and professionals from a variety of fields to share their work with us and allow us all to continue to grow in our professional careers. 

Check out some of our most recent programs here:

Nicole UrmstonGrowing a Child: The Importance of Nature-Based Play in Early Childhood
Presented by Nicole Urmston, M.Ed.

While most early childcare settings recognize the importance of getting children outside, all outdoor experiences are not created equal. Studies show that children’s ability to interact with nature improves their physical health, mental health, social interactions, and academic success. But while science is affirming the importance of nature in child development, children are experiencing it less and less. As a society we have grown more risk averse and impose restrictions and regulations on how children can play, stifling their imagination and creativity. The early childhood years are foundational and, as early childhood educators, we owe it to the children in our care to provide them with the access to nature that they deserve. This training will explore the benefits of nature-based learning and play for children and how you can bring it into your classroom, both easily and inexpensively!

Nicole Ursmton is a Preschool Lead Teacher with ten years of experience in the early childhood field. She has a Master’s degree in education and grow up loving nature and the outdoors. She has helped create nature-based play areas at her school and overseen a large expansion of the school’s gardens. She can often be found looking under logs for bugs, picking herbs in the garden, and soaking up the sun! We’re excited to have Nicole share her passion with us!

Kathy RudinskyMake Way for Dramatic Play!
Presented by Kathleen Rudinsky

Join us as we turn our focus on Dramatic Play. Turn a corner into a castle or a wall into the wild west! Explore ways to expand dramatic play beyond the kitchen area. Incorporate your curriculum into the dramatic play space and you’ll be a believer of make believe! Come for some ideas you can begin to use right away in your classroom.

Kathleen Rudinsky is a former teacher, administrator and owner of early childhood centers and after-school programs. She is the author of ARTphabet, an Early Education Guide to Processed-Focused Art from A to Z.Through her business Creative Workshops, she has developed numerous curriculum trainings which she presents online for early childhood educators. 

Deana TavaresMindfulness in the Early Childhood Classroom
Presented by Deana Tavares & Maggie Sky, M.A.

This mindfulness workshop is not about your typical “belly breathing” techniques and animal yoga poses! Instead, you will learn integrated concepts that are drawn from ancient as well as present-day practices, weaving together somatic awareness, connection with nature, and exploration of the senses. As a result, you can redirect energy and ease tension within the classroom setting. Most of all, you create shared experiences with the children you work with, in which they benefit and so do you!

  • Maggie Sky• Discover how self-awareness and mindfulness can not only enhance the average day, but set a tone of positivity each and every day.
  • • Learn easy to facilitate activities that introduce mindfulness to young children in engaging and exciting ways.

Maggie Sky and Deana Tavares see the world through two very different lenses. However, by merging one’s physiological approach with the other’s experiential journey towards wellness, they arrive at the same destination with a common mission of being in this world more fully, present and with more joy.

  • Maggie Sky, M.A., is the Director of Operations at Roots & Wings Yoga and Healing Arts. For over 23 years, Maggie has been working with individuals and groups to help them find balance in their lives and deepen their mind/body wellness. Maggie has her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and has received certifications in Kripalu yoga, Neurolinguistic Programming, and Hypnotherapy.
  • Deana Tavares is a visual artist, published poet, and performer. Her search for peace through the difficulties of life have helped her to gather many tools along the way. Her exhibitions and performances have a strong focus on nature, social issues, and our interconnectedness with all of humanity and can be found on:, DedhamTV, HCAM Studios Wake Up and Smell The Poetry,,, Art On The Trails-2019 & 2020, and Hope Through Community. 

Science is ElementaryPerfect Partners: Science & Literacy in Preschool
Presented by Science is Elementary

Preschoolers are natural scientists. How can we harness their curiosity and playfulness to teach science? Why should we teach science in preschool? How can we integrate science and literacy? What is the big idea in science? This session will address all these and more. Join us for an interactive,
hands-on, workshop that will include experimentation, suggestions for science activities you can do in your classrooms, and ways to integrate science and literacy.

A not-for-profit based in California, Science is Elementary’s mission is to transform elementary science education for everyone by teaching students, training educators, and engaging the scientific community so that every child has access to exciting, high-quality science every day. Their professional development programs offer:

  • • Customized content to each group of educators
  • • Has strong literacy integration
  • • Emphasizes scientific reasoning
  • • Is taught by educators with advanced STEM degrees.

Join TECPA and Science is Elementary for this very special program just for afterschool educators!

Science is ElementaryElevating Afterschool Programs with Science
Presented by Science is Elementary

Play is science and science is play. What does that mean and how can we make science awesome in our afterschool programs? How do we make science relevant to children? How can we integrate science and storytelling? What is scientific thinking, and how can we help children develop it? Bring your enthusiasm, your curiosity, and your questions. This fun, interactive, workshop will include
hands-on experiments and an engineering challenge!

A not-for-profit based in California, Science is Elementary’s mission is to transform elementary science education for everyone by teaching students, training educators, and engaging the scientific community so that every child has access to exciting, high-quality science every day. Their professional development programs offer:

  • • Customized content to each group of educators
  • • Has strong literacy integration
  • • Emphasizes scientific reasoning
  • • Is taught by educators with advanced STEM degrees.

Larry CohenAnxiety in Early Childhood, and in Parents
Presented by Larry Cohen, PhD

Children—and parents—are increasingly anxious, and this has a big impact on their lives, their education, and their classrooms. This workshop will help educators and childcare professionals understand childhood anxiety and provide practical tools for helping children and parents (and themselves.) Join noted author, Dr. Larry Cohen, for this very special TECPA program.

Lawrence J. Cohen, PhD is a psychologist and the author of two highly popular books, Playful Parenting and The Opposite of Worry. He is also the co-author of The Art of Roughhousing, Best Friends-Worst Enemies, and Mom, They’re Teasing Me. Dr. Cohen offers training and workshops to parents and teacher in the United States and internationally. We are very excited to welcome Dr. Cohen back to TECPA.

Carrie BeckerDiscovering and Uncovering: Observation, Documentation, and Planning for Infants  & Toddlers
Presented by Carrie Becker, BA, M.Ed.

Watching and listening to young children with intentionality, curiosity and wonder allows a teacher to gain deeper insights into each child's interests and development. It is through the thoughtful practice of observation that we show value to the process of learning. In this workshop participants will learn how to observe, document learning, and create individualized learning opportunities for infants, toddlers, and twos.

Shannon FisherTeaching Self-Regulation Strategies & Using Effective Communication to Reduce Power Struggles
Presented by Shannon Ficher

Join us as we explore the importance of, and how to teach, self-regulation skills. Participants in this program will gain practical, hands-on methods to create inclusive environments that reach all children in their programs. And they will take back strategies that utilize effective communication and promote self-regulation in their students to reduce power struggles.

Deana TavaresMindfulness and Self-Care Strategies: How to Find Balance in Mind and Body, as Well as in One's Life
Presented by Deana Tavares & Maggie Sky, M.A.

How do we find our calm place throughout the chaos of life? Is it possible to rewire our brains and adjust our routines to reduce stress, increase mindfulness, and enhance our own self-awareness? Maggie SkyHow do we take back our time? This program will focus on:

  • • Stress Reduction Strategies - techniques to release tension, feel calmer and less stressed
  • • Mindfulness techniques to improve your self-care, create balance, be more focused and feel better about your frame of mind
  • • Shifting from "human doing" to "human being" – how to shift how you engage in your world, including your work.

Maria SargentNeurological Disorders: Assisting Diverse Learners
Presented by Dr. Maria Sargent, Ph.D., M.Ed.

This presentation provides an overview of the neurological processing disorders that cause students to struggle with understanding, play-based activities, and academic content. Problems to be examined include visual, sensory, and auditory disorders, as well as dysgraphia, dyscalculia, and reading disabilities. Dr. Sargent will provide exercises that will show how a child with these disorders views the world to assist in our understanding of these issues. Techniques to assist children, with or without these conditions, will be presented.

Tracy CheneyTime Management for ECE Professionals
Presented by Tracy Cheney, M.Ed.

Do you find yourself running out of time? Often, it seems there are just not enough hours in the day to fit everything in. This workshop explores common mistakes regarding time management (including multi-tasking, procrastinating, not setting goals, etc.) as well as steps you can take to make improvements and finally "get the clock to work for you."

Cheryl Smith TurnerYou're NOT My Friend: Understanding, Addressing, and Preventing Bullying
Presented by Cheryl Smith Turner, Ed.S, Reach TLS, LLC

Bullying behaviors can begin at an early age, disguised as targeted meanness, name-calling, teasing or various forms of aggression. When these behaviors are overlooked or dismissed, they can become habitual and damaging to the children involved, as well as those who observe the behaviors. This session will focus on understanding bullying behavior in order to recognize its signals, intervene quickly and teach children the social skills that will support healthy, respectful relationships.

Jamie ChavesSensory Processing: The Art of Understanding Behavior
Presented by Jamie Chaves, OTD, OTR/L, SWC

Sensory Processing is foundational to how we learn about our bodies, engage with the environment, interact with others, make meaning out of activities, produce motor responses, and participate in learning. It also has direct links with our regulation and influences our behavior. Yet, deciphering Sensory Processing--and the 8 sensory systems that it includes--can be quite challenging. What does sensory processing actually involve? Why is it so vital for behavior responses, development, and learning? How can you better understand and influence the sensory processing needs of children, students, and ourselves? In our time together we will explore these questions and many more so you will be better equipped to recognize and refer when students need more support, provide accommodations and adaptations, and utilize another tool by which to view behavior! 

Sam HealyThe Nurtured Heart Approach
Presented by Sam Healy, LICSW

The return of one of our favorite speakers, TECPA is excited to welcome back Sam Healy, LICSW. The Nurtured Heart Approach™ (NHA) is a social emotional curriculum developed for building relationships in which students are intrinsically motivated both academically and pro-socially. With this approach, teacher-student relationships evolve into a culture in which students become invested and engaged in the learning process. At its very core NHA creates intense positive relationships within the academic context. Through capturing and facilitating first-hand experiences of success within typical everyday routines and activities these relationships provide countless opportunities for social emotional, and character development.

Scott NoyesSuccessfully Working with Challenging Behaviors
Presented by Scott Noyes, Empowering Programs

Spoiled? Manipulative? Stubborn? Obstinate? Pushy? The program with these labels is that they imply that the children's behaviors are contemplated and intentional. We quickly find that the usual reward-and-punishment strategies do not work for these children. And working with challenging children can leave us feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, guilt-ridden, and exhausted. Sometimes we reach the point where we feel like the situation is hopeless. So, what do we do? This session looks closely at children with challenging behaviors and explains how to develop systems that help them, support you, assist their classmates, and empower their parents.

Juanita Allen KingsleyASHI Pediatric CPR, AED & First Aid
Presented by Juanita Allen Kingsley, W-EMT

American Safety & Health Institute (ASHI) Pediatric CPR, AED and First Aid training program provides an ideal training solution for schools, child care providers, youth sports coaches and others required to learn how to respond to medical emergencies involving children and infants. This versatile program is based upon the 2015 CPR and First Aid Guidelines. Participants will receive a 2-year certificate.

Susan McDonaldThe Power of Positivity!
Presented by Susan Macdonald, Inspiring New Perspectives

Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes! Positive strengths-based energy is essential for creating vibrant learning communities where children, families, and educators can thrive. This workshop is designed to support early childhood & school age educators as they begin to emerge from this period of stress and uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This course will provide an understanding of the current positive psychology research to inspire participants. We will explore how these ten forms of positivity can re-energize your work: Joy - Gratitude - Serenity - Inspiration - Interest - Hope - Pride - Amusement - Awe - Love.The vital importance of modeling positivity in daily actions also be stressed.

Susan McDonaldIlluminating the Magic & Wonder in Each Child
Presented by Susan Macdonald, Inspiring New Perspectives

Explore the powerful impact that seeing the best in each child can have! This course will focus on strategies for using the principles of Appreciative Inquiry to illuminate the strengths of each child. When children are seen for their strengths, they become more resilient and confident. Learning how to acknowledge and validate the child's unique gifts will help you to build a more positive learning environment where children can thrive.

Mental Health First AidYouth Mental Health First Aid Training
Presented by Nina Levine, LCSW, MPH Associate Project Coordinator Drug-Free Communities Grant & Certified YMHFA Trainer

Explore Youth Mental Health First aid teaches you how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders in youth. This training gives adults the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents (ages 6-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care.

What does the program cover?

  • • Common signs of mental illness in this age group, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • • Common signs and symptoms of substance use
  • • How to interact with a child or adolescent in crisis
  • • How to connect the person with help
  • • Expanded content on trauma, addiction, self-care, and the impact of social media and bullying

Scott NoyesPositive Discipline – That Works!
Presented by Scott Noyes, Empowering Programs

Teaching children how to behave rather than reinforcing inappropriate choices is the focus of this entertaining and informative session. This talk includes:

  • • why not to use punishment
  • • humorous vignettes illustrating eight child management techniques
  • • a discussion of the challenges in implementing the philosophy

An energetic workshop on helping children learn appropriate behavior.


Sign Up for Our Email List
Connect with Us
Linked In Facebook