This year's Opening Minds Conference was a sight to behold.
About 5,000 early childhood professionals came together for four
days' worth of workshops, seminars and focus groups.
I fell head over heels for one in particular.
'Toe Tappin Toddler Tunes' by Carol Stephens (formerly Peterson)
was an interactive 90-minute workshop on how to use music to help
I'm a mother of four. I've been fully through the toddler stage
twice and I'm actively going through a toddler stage with my twin
children. Everything that Carole shared with us was so in tune with
behavior that I have seen at home and within the school system in
You see, I'm a bit of an unorthodox person. I homeschool my
three young children, while I send my oldest to public school. It
just kind of worked out that way, and I like it. At this conference
I was welcomed and informed just like the educator that I am.
One of the activities that we worked on was making sure that
children are moving enough to help foster great gross motor skills
and to nourish their brains. It was a point that she made with each
and every song. Given that I've seen several teachers and educators
move whenever they sing, I didn't realize that it was a
Wait. Let me try to explain.
I KNEW that it was a developmental tactic, just not as deep as
it is. It goes much deeper than making sure that your toddler gets
enough movement, it's all about making sure that their little
brains are moving around and soaking up nutrients. Seriously.
I'm overwhelmed at how much information she packed into those 90
minutes AND the amount of information that was available over a
four-day period in general. So many sessions were taking place
simultaneously that it was hard to choose which ones to attend.
Another highlight of the conference was the expo hall. Between
eco-conscious classroom furniture to books, it was an educator's
dream. Knowing full well that education begins at home and is
fostered between parents, teachers, librarians, social workers and
other workers in the field, the expo hall had something for
I would definitely love to visit the conference again when it
comes back in 2015, but until then I look forward to creating
beautiful music with the two toddlers that live in my house.
Natasha is 1/6 of the Nicholes clan who live in the heart of the city. She's a mother of four and the wife of a husband she met in 8th grade. Passionate about being heard, she started blogging when she found out she was having twins. Now she blogs because she's addicted.
See more of Natasha's stories here.
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