Pre-Institute Workshops

Each of these four Pre-Institute workshops on May 9th at 9:00 a.m. includes free breakfast and lunch, as well as all workshop materials. We cap these concurrent workshops at 40 people each. You can register for a Pre-Institute Workshop regardless of whether you're attending the rest of the Institute, and more information for each workshop is below.

Encounter the World of Learning: Reggio Emilia's Approach to Children with "Special Rights"

Presenter: Sharon Palsha

You will visit the international traveling exhibit, The Wonder of Learning: The Hundred Languages of Children, which features the work of the young children, educators, families, and community of Reggio Emilia, Italy, a town that has more than a 50-year history of operating the best inclusive infant-toddler and preschool programs in the world.  The interactive exhibit serves as an educational tool for educators, families, policymakers, and the community at large for understanding the strong potential of all children and gives voice to advocacy for children's rights. In Reggio Emilia, children with disabilities are children with "special rights," who receive, among other special rights, top priority in enrollment in the municipal schools.

The session will also include a vividly illustrated presentation on Reggio Emilia's approach to inclusion and discuss how local children with special rights have engaged with the atelier spaces that are part of the exhibit. Participants also can engage in the ateliers and discuss how to incorporate Reggio Emilia's approach to working with children with special rights into their own work.

Note: Participants must provide their own transportation to the workshop, which will be at Northgate Mall in Durham, NC (not at the UNC Friday Center in Chapel Hill). We will provide more details shortly before the event.


Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop only.

Learning through Adventure

Presenter: Stephen Mullaney

During this mobile, interactive workshop we will discuss the importance of adventure for both children and staff. We will explore how to use traditional and non-traditional spaces to create adventure and learning for children and adults with different needs. We also will explore the meaning of “adventure” and how it can fit it into the culture of a classroom, a teacher, and the child.

In addition, we will discuss and practice planning for adventure for all children, including children with disabilities. We will take part in lessons and reflect, and we will ask questions that guide educators towards best practices in “adventure learning.”


Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop only.

Making Friendships: Fostering Connections for Children with and without Disabilities

Presenters: Katherine King and Anna Luther

The best thing that a child can gain from your program is a quality friendship. Many times, children with disabilities struggle with initiating and maintaining friendships. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn how to help all children develop their friendship skills by practicing activities to remove the barriers to friendships and by applying a social mapping tool to examine friendship interactions.


Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop only.

Addressing Challenging Behavior in Diverse and Inclusive Settings Across the Workforce

Presenters: Neal Horen and Sangeeta Parikshak

This session will provide participants with concrete strategies that address challenging behavior across roles and in a range of inclusive settings, including Early Head Start, Head Start, Child Care, PreK, and Special Education classrooms. Participants will learn the reasons children engage in challenging behavior and identify strategies to employ to address these behaviors effectively.  In addition, presenters will cover policies and practices on preventing suspension and expulsion and provide helpful resources

Come prepared to actively engage colleagues. Video vignettes illustrate key points, and discussion sections foster learning. Presenters will share resources, and you will learn strategies to put into play when you return to your work.


Register here for this Pre-Institute Workshop only.