Early Childhood Education Professional Development Programs

2021 Training Dates

Nebraska Extension’s The Learning Child team is pleased to offer live, interactive, online professional development opportunities throughout the months of April and May. These classes will be FREE, as we do our part to support our communities during this unprecedented time. All classes offer NDE APPROVED in-service hours!


Date | Time Topic Description Cost | Hours Contact
Dates TBD
8 session series
Cultivating Healthy Intentional Mindful Educators (CHIME)

The CHIME Program provides education and guidance on how to incorporate mindfulness and reflective practice into your daily routine, teaching and care giving. Engaging in mindfulness and reflective practice has many benefits for health and well-being of both providers and young children — including reduced stress, improved emotion management, better sleep quality, increased focus and attention, and enhanced relationships.

This fall, we will be offering CHIME for FREE to early childhood educators that work with children ages 3 – 6 in child care centers or preschool settings, as part of a research project about the effectiveness of the program.

Please click here to complete this quick form to let us know you are interested in participating in CHIME.

Click here for more information.
Click here for information about research data collection.

Presented by Leanne Manning and Lynn DeVries
FREE | 16.0 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
2021 Dates TBD Cultivating Healthy Intentional Mindful Educators (CHIME) 8-week CHIME sessions will be offered virutally in Winter and Spring as part of an exciting research opportunity. Participants will be able to take CHIME FREE of charge, earn 16 NDE approved DHHS in-service hours and will also be eligible for up to $300 for participating in the research study. If you are interested in CHIME, please contact Katie for more information. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Dates: March 2, 9, 16, 30, April 6, 20, 27, May 4
12:00 – 1:30 pm
Circle of Security Classroom At times all parents feel lost or without a clue about what our child might need from us. Imagine what it might feel like if you were able to make sense of what your child was really asking from you. The Circle of Security Parenting™ program is based on decades of research about how secure parent-child relationships can be supported and strengthened.


Learning Objectives of the Training:

  • Understand your child’s emotional world by learning to read the emotional needs
  • Support your child’s ability to successfully manage emotions
  • Enhance the development of your child's self esteem
  • Honor your innate wisdom and desire for your child to be secure

Download the Flyer

Register in advance for this meeting by February 22, 2021.
Contact Lynn DeVries at ldevries6@unl.edu to register.
First come-first served, space is limited to 3 participants only.
Presented by Lynn DeVries
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Lynn DeVries - ldevries6@unl.edu
Wednesday, March 3rd
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Planning Summer Experiences for Young Children; combining fun and learning While school is out for the summer, our early childhood and school age out-of-school providers are still hard at work. During this session we will share a variety of ideas for engaging children and youth in fun and educational summer experiences, both on and off-site. You will have time to discuss your plans and ideas with colleagues, and special considerations due to Covid-19 concerns will also be discussed.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause, Jaci Foged, Stephanie Thorson and Tiffany Sessions
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Series: March 4th, March 18th, April 1st | 1:00 pm
Registration Deadline: February 19, 2021
Big Questions for Young Minds Virtual Book Club Discover how to meet children at their individual developmental levels and stretch their thinking by reading Big Questions for Young Minds: Extending Children’s Thinking. This virtual book club meets three times—March 4, March 18, and April 1. During this time you will reflect on assigned readings, learn new concepts and strategies to implement in your setting, and network with others in your profession. 4 credit hours. First 10 to register receive a free book!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Presented by Jackie Steffen and Sarah Roberts
FREE | 4.0 hrs. Jackie Steffen - jsteffen2@unl.edu
Monday, March 8th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Gardening with Young Children: Preparing for the Gardening Season It may be early March, but many gardeners have already been hard at work planning their gardens for this years growing season! Learn some of the basics about planning and starting a vegetable garden in your program, and ways to connect the gardening experience to Early Learning Guidelines/Standards.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by John Porter and Katie Krause
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Monday, March 23rd
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Continuing to supporting our youngest learners: Infants and Toddlers This session is geared specifically towards those working with children ages birth to age three. Participants will take time to explore their image of young children, observe very young children and better understand the crucial role they play as adult caregivers in the development of our youngest leaners. (If you took the class we offered in Summer 2020, this class is not a repeat and will compliment what you learned in that class!)
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Monday, April 5th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Focus on School Agers: Positive Youth Development Children and youth in out-of-school settings can reach their full potential as a result of positive youth/adult interactions, purposeful learning experiences, and safe environments.   In this session, you will gain practical strategies for creating meaningful learning experiences that will keep youth engaged and ready to learn.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Stephanie Thorson
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Thursday, April 8th
@ 1:00 pm
OR
@ 7:00 pm
Supporting High-Level Questioning with Young Children Questions are powerful tools. Asking rich, thoughtful questions can spark young children’s natural curiosity and open a completely new world of possibility and insight. But what are “big” questions, and how do they encourage children to think deeply? Join us to find out!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Jackie Steffen and Sarah Roberts
FREE Jackie Steffen - jsteffen2@unl.edu
Thursday, April 15th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Read for Resilience Caregivers play an important role in young children’s emotional development in addition to helping them cope. Using children’s literature in an interactive way, caregivers can help children heal. Using an engaging format, Read for Resilience may help children better understand their experiences and improve their coping skills.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Jackie Steffen
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Jackie Steffen - jsteffen2@unl.edu
Thursday, April 22nd
@ 1:00 pm
OR
@ 7:00 pm
Tales of Tails STEM Workshop Feeling disconnected with nature? Celebrate Earth Day by discovering how you can incorporate the 2021 STEM Imagination Guides in your programming. Explore a variety of animal habitats using children’s literature, hands on experiments, and nature connections.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Jackie Steffen and Sarah Roberts
FREE Jackie Steffen - jsteffen2@unl.edu
April Date Coming Soon! Summer Reading Program Presented by Sarah Roberts and Jackie Steffen Sarah Roberts - sarah.roberts@unl.edu
April Date Coming Soon! Connecting Animals and Children Presented by Sarah Roberts Sarah Roberts - sarah.roberts@unl.edu
Tuesday, May 4th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Seeds of Compassion: Embracing a Growth Mindset What motivates a person to work hard? Research indicates that it is the relationship between mindset and achievement. Attend this training to learn more about what it means to foster a growth mindset. Participants will also learn how to celebrate mistakes and gain some tools for supporting children in understanding their brain and the power of persistence.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Jaci Foged and Katie Krause
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Monday, May 10th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Outdoor Learning Environments Over the last decade there has been a huge movement in response to the lack of time children spend in the outdoors. During this class, we will talk about the many benefits of children spending time outdoors and talk about the barriers we experience in getting children outdoors more often. We will also take time to think about our own outdoor spaces and brainstorm ideas to make them more natural, comfortable and engaging for children. Some programs may be interested in following up with additional assistance to create a design for a naturalized outdoor space, including how to find funding and grant opportunities!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Thursday, May 13th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Focus on School Agers: Making STEM Fun - Overcoming fear of STEM Description coming soon!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Tiffany Sessions
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Tiffany Sessions - tiffany.sessions@unl.edu
Thursday, May 20th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Intergenerational Connections in ECE Settings Description coming soon!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Kara Kohel and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
June Dates TBD
1:00 – 2:00 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:00 pm
Fun at the Fair: County fair inspired curriculum ideas County fairs are a fun and engaging summer event across Nebraska and across the country. During this session, we will share a variety of 'county fair inspired' ideas that you can implement with the children in your care! You might even get inspired to plan a field trip to the fair. FREE | 1.0 hr. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Tuesday, June 15th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Reggio Series: Introduction to the Reggio Approach The early childhood programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy are world renowned for their philosophies around the care and education of young children. We will explore concepts of the Image of Children, Environment as the Third Teacher, loose parts and child-led curriculum. Be inspired and see how easily you can incorporate some of these ideas into you own practice.
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Tuesday, June 29th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Reggio Series: Emergent Curriculum Learn how to identify the interests of the children in your classroom and discover how tailoring your curriculum to follow children’s interests will help create a higher quality learning experience, as well as reducing problem behaviors and your stress level! Come prepared for a great discussion with your fellow participants!
Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Tuesday, July 13th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Reggio Series: Documenting Children's Learning Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Tuesday, July 27th
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Reggio Series: Environment as the 3rd Teacher Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
Presented by Katie Krause and Jaci Foged
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Tuesday, August 3rd
1:00 – 2:30 pm
OR
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Reggio Series: Loose Parts Register here for the 1:00 pm course
Register here for the 7:00 pm course
FREE | 1.5 hrs. Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu
Coming Summer 2021!
  • Exploring Bugs
  • Summer Gardening with Young Children
Have a topic you are interested in learning about - email katie.krause@unl.edu Katie Krause - katie.krause@unl.edu



Early Childhood Development training is held at the Nebraska Extension Office in Douglas-Sarpy Counties at 8015 W. Center Rd. Omaha, NE 68124. A minimal class fee is charged to cover costs. Preregistration is strongly recommended, due to small class sizes.

Classes are held at the Douglas County Extension Office, 8015 West Center Road, Omaha, NE 68124. For more information or to register for a class, contact Katie Krause at (402) 444-3338, katie.krause@unl.edu, or fill out and submit the form below.

Class Registration and Information Request Form
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