In addition to the fifteen Foundational Courses embedded within the six primary Tracks of the Virtual Lab School, we also offer a series of Focused Topics. Each focused topic course is centralized around a specific topic, offering in-depth content and resources. These courses help staff members strengthen their knowledge and practices relevant to a specialized content area – such as supporting language diversity, identifying stress and stress-reduction techniques, and essentials for food service staff.
There are key factors and practices, called universal supports, that benefit all children, however some children with challenging behavior also benefit from individualized supports. Caregivers who intervene early to address challenging behaviors are fostering positive outcomes for children, their families, and society. This course builds upon your foundational knowledge of developmentally appropriate behaviors, prevention strategies and providing individualized care. The final two lessons address practices for coaches and program administrators.
Sexual development and behavior follows a developmental path and is influenced by children’s diverse environments and experiences. This course will guide your understanding of factors that shape sexual development, how to build a program that promotes healthy sexual development in children and youth, and developmentally appropriate responses to all types of sexual behavior, including sexual behavior challenges or problematic sexual behavior.
Approximately twenty-five percent of children have or will experience trauma, the effects of which can impact developmental growth and healthy outcomes. Learn about the different types of trauma and how to identify symptoms of trauma exposure. Understand how a trauma-sensitive environment and trauma-informed practices can mitigate the effects of trauma on children and youth. Learn about the impact of caring for those affected by trauma and distinguish the difference between job stress and burnout as you develop your own wellness and self-care plan.
Staff members in care settings are often stressed. When staff members learn strategies to identify and manage their stress, it increases their overall well-being. This course helps people reflect on how stress works in their bodies, how they typically respond to stress, and introduces stress-reduction strategies such as belief disputation, emotional reappraisal, controlled breathing and visualization. Learn ways to help build resiliency in yourself, and support a resilient workplace for your coworkers and the children in your care.
Given the large number of languages spoken in the U.S, it is very likely that you will serve children, youth, and families who speak a language that is unfamiliar to you. Your own communication skills and language strengths will be called upon frequently. If you speak a language other than English, this course will help you use those strengths in your work with children. If you do not speak a language other than English, this course will give you strategies to build a language-rich classroom and program.
Given the large number of languages spoken in the U.S., it is likely that your program will serve children, youth, and families who speak a language unfamiliar to you or your staff. Capitalize on the strengths that bilingual and multilingual staff bring to your program by fostering a culturally diverse and language-rich environment for children and families. Help mono-English speaking staff members create language-rich programs that support children and families from a range of backgrounds.
The Essentials in Child Care Food Service course provides training for food service staff working in child development centers or school-age and youth programs. The seven-lesson course details important aspects of food service in child care settings and covers the following topics in detail: menu planning; family-style dining; preparation & presentation; inventory management; hygiene & sanitation; temperature control; and pathogens & allergens.
Learn the facts about gender identity and development. This course contains information, strategies, activities, and resources to construct inclusive programs for all children, including those who are gender-expansive or LGBTQ. Create spaces where all children feel authentic and safe to ensure the development of healthy self-esteem. Lessons one through five provide key information for all program staff, while lesson six provides additional details for administrators and training & curriculum specialists.