Thursday November 30, 2023
Helping Early Learners Build Social Competencies Using the We Thinkers! Curriculum Series
ages 4 - 7Keynote speaker Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP will kick off this newly updated conference day on teaching early learners (ages 4–7) foundational social concepts. Michelle will share her latest thinking and insights on the role of emotions in building a platform upon which Social Thinking Vocabulary can unfold. Ryan Hendrix and Kari Zweber Palmer, coauthors of the award-winning We Thinkers! storybooks and curricula, will then take attendees on a journey of how flexible thinking, social language, self-regulation, and social emotional development are vital for collaborative play and learning in a group setting. This day will provide attendees the knowledge and skills to use one assessment tool, two curriculum books, and 10 supplemental storybooks.
Course Content Disclosure: While this course includes information about other products and the work of other authors, it primarily focuses on the content included in the We Thinkers! Volume 1: Social Explorers and We Thinkers! Volume 2: Social Problem Solvers curriculum guide and storybooks to teach this information with fidelity. This course, while a new offering, is a combination of two previously offered courses focusing on the We Thinkers! Series.
Educational standards highlight the importance of collaboration, group learning, cooperation, and building relationships young children. This strategy filled conference day focuses on the fundamental aspects of how to facilitate social learning in preschool and early elementary-age students (ages 4-7+), including flexible thinking, social language, self-regulation, and executive functioning for group learning experiences, both on the playground and in the classroom. You will learn how research on early social competencies can translate into best practices in the classroom through implementing our award winning We Thinkers! curricula. We will also explore the Social Thinking - Group Collaboration, Play, and Problem Solving (GPS) Scale to understand and support different levels of problem solving and play in the classroom. Attendees will leave with practical strategies and examples to integrate social, academic, and emotional concepts into existing teaching methods.
We will share key strategies and innovative practices for helping early learners who have average to strong language understanding and use develop critical social competencies, including:
- A research perspective on executive functioning and self-regulation and their impact on social communication.
- Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts that have been adapted for social learners ages 4-7 including: group plan, thinking with your eyes, flexible thinking and recognizing the size of the problem.
- Implementing with fidelity our award-winning curriculum, storybooks, and music collection when using We Thinkers! Volume 1: Social Explorers and We Thinkers! Volume 2: Social Problem Solvers
- Exploring concepts such as the role of play and working as part of a group in the development of self-regulation, social problem solving, and executive functioning.
- Using the Social Thinking - Group Collaboration, Play and Problem Solving (GPS) Scale, to understand and support different levels of play and how they relate to classroom
Throughout the conference day, you will learn not just the “why” behind the concepts we teach but the “how” with practical strategies and examples that you can start infusing into the things you already do and say.
Participants will be able to:
- Identify at least two key milestones that underlie the development of social cognitive skills from birth to age five.
- Describe two ways to structure learning experiences in preschool and early elementary settings to promote social emotional academic learning.
- Describe at least three ways to teach Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts to students ages 4–7.
- Define two different strategies to provide differentiated instruction of interactive play abilities.
- Describe two strategies that support flexible thinking.
This agenda may change without notice.
||Use social competencies to problem solve how to sign in, find a seat, and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while getting to know fellow attendees
||Exploring the difference between a skills-based approach and a social cognitive-based approach in teaching social concepts to young learners.
||Introduction to the key components of social cognitive development from birth to age five.
Explore shared, collaborative, imaginative play (SCIP): how it develops, the relation to social executive functioning, the connection to academics and classroom learning
||Introduction to Social Thinking’s Group Collaboration, Play and Social Problem Solving (GPS) Scale
Best practices for teaching Social Thinking curricula to early learners using Social Thinking Vocabulary.
||Practical strategies to teach these concepts through storybooks, music, structured activities, and play
The tenets of teaching and related strategies embedded in the units of We Thinkers! Volumes 1 & 2
At this conference, earn continuing education units/credits/clock hours at no additional cost! Each course offers 6 hours of instruction and each attendee will be given a certificate of attendance and a course agenda for their records.
We are proud to be a continuing education provider for Speech-Language Pathologists, Social Workers, Marriage and Family Therapists, Clinical and School Psychologists, and Certified Counselors, such as Licensed Professional Counselors, Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors, and others.
We offer continuing education units/credits/clock hours through:
- ASHA: American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
- CES: Commonwealth Educational Seminars
- NBCC: National Board for Certified Counselors
- And more!