2017 UnConference: Mindfulness

2017 UnConference: Mindfulness

Compassion fatigue is inevitable in the early childhood profession. Teachers and administrators become invested in their children and families. But, it’s important that you not only take care of your children but also take care of yourself.

Co-hosted with Let’s Move Pittsburgh at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, this UnConference dives into topics related to mindfulness – a state of being present and aware – including: the need for a healthy environment, how different factors affect infant mental health, how to use meditation to help children self-regulate their behavior, the importance of good nutrition, and more.

Keynote Speaker

PAEYC is excited to host this UnConference with our co-host Let’s Move Pittsburgh at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The day begins with renowned compassion fatigue expert Patricia Smith. Watch Ms. Smith’s poignant TEDx talk on “How to Manage Compassion Fatigue in Caregiving” here.

Download Patricia’s Keynote slides.


8:00 am – Registration
8:30 am – Welcome & Keynote
10:00 am – Break
10:15 am – Workshop #1
11:45 am – Lunch & Tour of Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
1:15 pm – Workshop #2
2:45 pm – Break
3:00 pm – Yoga & Wrap-Up
4:00 pm – Conference Ends

Professional Development Credit

Qualifying educators will receive 5 PQAS/DHS credits or Act 48.

Workshop Descriptions

Download workshop descriptions.

What the Children Have Taught Us: Listening to The Stories of Grieving Children

Presented by: Andrea Lurier, Highmark Caring Place

This workshop will draw from the stories and lessons of the children who attend Highmark Caring Place. It will address questions including: What is grief and what is unique about the grief of children? How can we, as adults, invite the stories of grieving children and why is our presence so important for children in deep emotional pain? Finally, we will consier the impact of these stories on us and the importance of taking care of ourselves as we do this difficult work.

Creating Healthy Environments

Presented by: Chelsea Holmes, Women for A Healthy Environement

Pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and consume more food than adults. They ingest, inhale, and absorb environmental toxins found in everyday settings, including the school and home environments. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on Environmental Health has state that “those who care for children (child care staff, parents or guardians, physicians, schools) should make every effort to minimize negative health and developmental effects of toxin exposure. Caregivers in particular must take precaution, become informed about environmental hazards, and make efforts to reduce or eliminate certain toxins in their environments.”

In this workshop, providers will learn about the environmental hazard (and solutions!) that can be found in large and small early learning centers and in houses of home-based centers, all impacting the health and development of children.

Teachers Guide to A Fall Garden

Presented by: Let’s Move Pittsburgh and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Teachers often want a garden to share with their students, bo do not realize how much potential a cool weather garden has and how rewarding it can be! The talk will cover different types of gardens, varieties of cool weather plants, and tips and tricks for planting and basic care. We will also discuss healthy activities that can be done in and around the garden during the grow season.

Mindfulness and Contemplative Art in Early Childhood Education

Presented by: Bonnie Weiss, The School of Mindful Arts

This workshop offers a brief overview of the history of Mindfulness in Education and the neuroscience behind its contribution to many key factors of successful SEL development and community building. Participants will practice three basic breathing exercises/games and a song appropriate for the toddler-K age group. Then the session features a Mindful World lesson appropriate for grades K-5 which teaches body awareness through a Chinese Folktale, simple Chi Gong movements, and a hands-on art project. Each person will make a stick a shadow puppet and create a short play or vignette with fellow attendees.

Yoga with Krystle Fitzpatrick

Learn more about yoga with Krystle.