BELFAST — Registration is open for an online professional development program, Teaching from the Heart: Nonviolent Communication in the Classroom, through the University of Maine Hutchinson Center in Belfast.

This three-day professional development program for educators, teachers and those working with preschool to third grade children will be held Jan. 11-13, 2021, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. The cost is $125. More information is available on the Hutchinson Center website.

Instructor Gina Simm has taught in early childhood education for over 30 years. Her background in Montessori education and children’s theater launched her into the world of public schools, where she spent most of her career as a first grade teacher (including a year spent teaching English in China).

Simm worked closely with Miki Kashtan, a co-founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. Simm’s knowledge of nonviolent communication has transformed her classroom into a place where systems of the heart create a child-centered environment for moving through conflict. Simm lives in the Pioneer Valley Cohousing Community in Amherst, Massachusetts. More information about her work is online.

Participants in the Hutchinson Center online course will learn how to manage classrooms and learning environments with a practical, simple curriculum based on Simm’s book, “Heart to Heart: Three Systems for Staying Connected (A Manual for Parents and Teachers).” Skills that help maintain the heart-to-heart connections that support children’s ability to self-regulate and improve their emotional intelligence are at the core of this course. Participants will also learn how to use children’s literature to implement Nonviolent Communication.

The ongoing implications of the COVID-19 pandemic require teachers to think in new ways in order to support their students. The reliable systems taught by Simm will provide participants with training to help children in the classroom and beyond.

Lorrie Heard, a recent participant, says, “I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to build community in their classroom, especially, after all of the disruptions to students’ lives and learning this past year. A lot of feelings are coming up and many students lack the skills to talk about them and express their truest feelings and needs. They need a program like this that teaches them the language and communication skills to deal with conflict and allow them to feel comfortable and safe in their learning community.”

Participants will receive a certificate of completion, and 0.6 CEUs/6 contact hours are available.

For information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Michelle Patten, um.fhc.pd@maine.edu or 338-8002. A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for people who live or work in Knox or Waldo counties. For more information about upcoming professional development programs, scholarships or to register, go online. Early registration is recommended as spots are limited.

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