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  • Workshops and keynotes that inform, affirm, and energize – online and offline.

     

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COVID-Specific Offerings

Ongoing Topics

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Testimonials

We know that conferences, workshops and parent education look a little different right now. We also know that educators and caregivers alike are busy, overwhelmed and looking for support during this challenging time. They deserve online sessions that bring science, affirmation, and strategies that will help them navigate the unique stressors of this moment.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools, companies, and organizations must lead by finding new and creative ways to partner with families. Learn more about our webinar series and online parenting classes and build connections when we need it most.

“These sessions have been a lifesaver! It helps so much to know that we aren’t alone right now in our struggles. The pandemic is taking its toll on ALL of us in the house and your sessions have been a space for us to take a deep breath and focus on what really matters. Thank you! “

– Keith, Parent

“As an Employee Resource Group leader I would highly recommend Erin and the Spark and Stitch Institute as a resource for supporting caregiver employees. Erin was incredibly engaging and empathetic in her sessions while rooting all of her work in science. Our community valued hearing the research backed findings to help support what’s happening at home. In this odd time of 2020 Erin brought everyone some sense of calm and understanding.”

Haley, Athena Health

“Dr. Walsh kept our school district spellbound for an entire day!”

Dr. Albert Argenziano, Superintendent, Somerville, MA Public Schools

Parenting in a Pandemic Webinar Series

Parenting in a Pandemic: The Many Faces of Stress

It is no surprise to anyone living through the COVID-19 pandemic that kids and adults alike are experiencing a great deal of stress. Whether it is uncertainty, upset routines, economic insecurity or lack of social support, the list of stressors is long and varied. The challenge is that children often express stress through challenging behaviors. Learn more about what stress looks like in kids and teens and ways to respond that build your family’s resilience instead of eroding it.

Working and Parenting at Home: Dreams, Realities, and Survival Strategies

Many parents working from home during COVID-19 are trying to do multiple full time jobs at the same time.  Zoom meeting interruptions are the least of many family’s concerns as they navigate competing demands, overwhelm, and burnout. Parents deserve extra support as they figure out how to focus, build new habits, and sustain work and learning this year. This short workshop is packed full of practical ideas and strategies for coping and staying grounded while working and parenting at home.

Staying Engaged in Learning: The Science of Motivation

You don’t have to go far on the Internet these days to find tips for how to “stay productive” during the pandemic and ideas for how to motivate kids despite changing routines and high uncertainty. The reality on the ground though is that productivity and high motivation become more elusive as the pandemic wears on. Understanding the science of motivation can help us keep our eyes on how to nurture it in our kids – not just for the sake of getting more done but for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Screen time During COVID-19: Three Supportive Insights From the Research

Our reliance on screens has increased as school, socializing, and work move online. It is not useful to add screen time guilt to your list of family stressors. Yet caregivers everywhere are eager to do what’s best for their kids and are worried about the impact of technology on their kids’ learning and social emotional development. Get key insights from the research that will help you navigate screen time struggles and take advantage of digital opportunities while minimizing risks.

Parenting in a Pandemic: Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles

Parenting and working at home during COVID-19 is challenging and we can quickly get pulled into conflict and power struggles with our kids. During times of stress, it can be hard to know when to be flexible and when to hold the line. Learn more about why kids and teens need boundaries in uncertain times and how to be both flexible and firm when your kids need it most.

Parenting Teens in a Pandemic

Parenting teens has never been easy. It is a uniquely turbulent, challenging, and stressful time in the very best of circumstances. Parenting teens during COVID-19 is even harder. Adolescents are uniquely impacted by the stressors of COVID-19 and the data points to rising levels of anxiety and depression for this age group. Take a tour of the teenage brain and learn ways to stay connected, build on your teenager’s strengths, and avoid power struggles.

Educator Series

Stress and the Learning Brain: Too Much, Too Little, and the Resilience Sweet Spot

COVID-19, racial violence, and economic insecurity are causing increasing levels of stress and anxiety in students and staff alike. Learn more about the impact of stress on the learning brain and why “too much” stress hijacks academic achievement and why “too little” stress can make students more anxious and risk averse. Learn what educators can do to protect students from the ill effects of stress and nurture practical strategies for resilience.

iBrain: Learning in an Age of Distractions

Our reliance on screens has increased as school, socializing, and work move online. One of the most precious and valuable resources that students have today is their attention. Explore the brain science of attention, memory and multitasking in the context of a digitally connected world. Learn more about the distraction economy, the seeking brain, and practical strategies for building focus as children shift their attention between homework, YouTube, texting, and each other.

The Science of Motivation

You don’t have to go far on the Internet these days to find tips for how to “stay productive” during the pandemic and ideas for how to motivate students despite changing routines and high uncertainty. The reality on the ground though is that productivity and high motivation become more elusive as the pandemic wears on. Understanding the science of motivation can help us keep our eyes on how to nurture it in our students – not just for the sake of getting more done but for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.

Status Update: Kids, Screens, and Mental Health

What is the impact of escalating screen time on the mental health of children and youth? As the pandemic wears on, paying attention to the protective factors for student mental health and wellbeing matters. In this interactive and energizing presentation, we cut through conflicting messages to explain how technology is impacting mental health. You will leave understanding the key ingredients for digital wellbeing as well as practical tools and strategies to reduce risks and nurture digital strengths during this screen-intensive time.

We don’t believe in a one size fits all approach. From keynote addresses to online workshops, we will tailor the topic and format to fit your audience.

1. Fill out the Book a Speaker form

2. We will get in touch with you to talk through details

3. Engage, learn, & enjoy!

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All of our ongoing topics can be delivered online as well:

We work with parents, professionals, and schools to spark understanding of brain development and stitch insight to practice. Your time and attention is precious. Parent engagement nights and professional development days shouldn’t just be check-the-box events, they should be informative, practical, and moving. Let us know how our guest speakers can add value to your work helping kids and teens thrive.

Screen Time Topics

It's Complicated: Teens, Social Media, and Mental Health

Is Facebook depression real? Is social media use contributing to teen anxiety? Or is social media actually connecting and inspiring us? In this interactive and energizing presentation, our guest speakers cut through conflicting messages to explain how technology is impacting mental health. You will leave understanding the key ingredients for digital wellbeing as well as practical tools and strategies to reduce risks and nurture digital strengths.

Babies, Brains, and Digital Media: Tech in Early Childhood

The youngest among us are no strangers to digital technology. One-third of children under three years of age go online daily and 28% of children under two have televisions in their bedrooms. Families are getting conflicting advice about the impact of these technologies– on one hand companies promise that media can boost their children’s intelligence while on the other America’s pediatricians urge parents to limit screen time in the early years.

In this workshop, our speakers explore the latest research on the power and impact of screen time in early childhood and shares the ingredients that young children need to thrive in a world dominated by screens. Using stories and warm humor, our speakers help parents or professionals identify ways to use technology and media to support children’s learning and development.

From Online Safety to Digital Wellbeing

While news headlines suggest that media and technology are either good or bad for children and youth – evidence suggests that they are powerful. The good or bad depends upon how we use them. In this interactive and energizing presentation, our speakers use brain science, stories, and humor to explain how technology is changing the ways that kids grow up, socialize, and make decisions.

Talking to kids and teens about online safety is important, but not sufficient, for preparing them to thrive in a digitally connected world. Our speakers will help you reclaim your role as media mentor in children’s lives. Media mentors build digital citizenship skills, leap across digital divides, and model digital wellbeing. This workshop can be tailored to includes the following topics:

  • Racism and hate speech online
  • The protective power of media production
  • Cyberbullying and sexting
  • Over-use and addiction
  • Focus/attention/multitasking
  • Monitoring and trust

iBrain: Learning in the Age of Distraction

One of the most precious and valuable resources that children and teens have today is their attention. In this energizing and engaging presentation, our guest speakers explore the brain science of attention, memory and multitasking in the context of a digitally connected world. Learn more about the distraction economy, the seeking brain, and practical strategies for building focus as children shift their attention between homework, YouTube, texting, and each other.

Brain Science and Social Emotional Development Topics

Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain

Based on the best selling book Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain, our speakers explain exactly what happens to the adolescent brain on the path from childhood into adulthood. Revealing the latest scientific findings in easy-to-understand terms, our guest speakers show why moodiness, risk-taking, and miscommunication are so common – all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent brain. Using this information, you will learn three ingredients for working with or parenting adolescents in ways that build on their strengths and gives them the support they need to grow into capable and caring adults.

Stress and the Brain: Raising Resilient Kids

As a culture, we are obsessed with stress. You can buy stress busters, stress exterminators, and stress eradicators. Yet stress is a part of life. New experiences, transitions, real and perceived danger, academic pressure, and unknowns can all evoke feelings of anxiety in children and youth.

We know that too much stress impacts health and shapes the brain’s developing architecture. Yet learning how to handle appropriate stress is a healthy and normal part of development. Kids who haven’t had practice handling stress or taking responsibility for their actions can become more anxious and risk averse. By overprotecting them, we inadvertently make them more vulnerable.

Using warmth, stories, science, and humor, our speakers will explain the impact of stress on the brain and share practical strategies for  resilience.

  • Executive function development
  • Exploring sources of stress including racism, sexism, and other -isms
  • Protective power of relationships and systems change

Disrupting Gender Bias in Children

In many ways, children today are growing up in a world with more expansive understandings of gender than generations before. At the same time, studies show that rigid gender roles continue to be engrained in our expectations, language, and culture. This isn’t without consequence for kids, as decades of research link belief in rigid feminine and masculine norms to lower health, education, and economic outcomes. Many researchers think about gender norms as a “gateway belief system” for children, meaning that when a child internalizes them it negatively impacts other areas of their life as well. Children begin learning these norms right away, influenced not only by family but also by cultural institutions, media, advertising, political coverage, and social observation.

So how can parents and educators tackle rigid gender norms and create a different future for our kids? We translate the latest research in child development into easy-to-understand language to help families see how children “learn gender” and internalize gender bias. Using warmth, interaction, and humor, our speakers help families and educators identify doable and concrete strategies for disrupting rigid gender norms at home and at school.

Setting Limits and Avoiding Power Struggles

It isn’t easy to figure out how to set limits with our kids. This workshop explores why they are critical to children’s healthy development and identify practical strategies for setting boundaries in ways that help kids manage big feelings, build self control, and understand their impact on others. Using stories, warmth, and humor, our guest speakers will facilitate a session where everyone leaves with more practical tools in their parenting toolkit.

The Addicted Brain

How is addiction connected to the brain’s primary mission of keeping us alive? How does addiction “hijack” the brain? Why do addicts continue to seek the drug even as the rewards diminish? How can knowledge of the brain help recovery? Dr. Dave Walsh will explore these questions and more as he connects the dots between cutting edge neuroscience and chemical dependency treatment.

The Brain Goes to School

Recent discoveries in brain science are revolutionizing many fields, including education. Our guest speakers connect the dots between brain science and the classroom to show how educators can improve students’ concentration, boost their energy, and enhance retention and creativity. Special topics include:

  • Stress and the brain
  • Executive function
  • Memory, attention, and focus
  • Digital media/technology and the learning brain

Customized Topics

What do you need?

We have experience creating workshops to help support the specific needs of parents, school systems, and community educators. Contact us with your needs.

Speakers

Book Erin

Book Dr. Dave

Trusted by school districts and organizations across the country, Erin or Dr. Dave has been invited to speak by:

Logo for Learning and the Brain conferences

Logo for the Kansas University Center for Public Partnerships and Research

Logo for Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation

Logo for PBS Kids

Logo for Independent Schools Association of the Central States

Logo for National Association of Elementary School Principals

Logo for Education MN

What audiences say:

 

“As an Employee Resource Group leader I would highly recommend Erin and the Spark and Stitch Institute as a resource for supporting caregiver employees. Erin was incredibly engaging and empathetic in her sessions while rooting all of her work in science. Our community valued hearing the research backed findings to help support what’s happening at home. In this odd time of 2020 Erin brought everyone some sense of calm and understanding.”

Haley, Athena Health

“Erin Walsh was a VERY skilled speaker, I felt entertained, was never bored, and learned a lot.”

– Participant in day-long training

“Erin Walsh is a fantastic guest speaker and I recommend her without reservation. She knows her content and delivers it convincingly and tactfully. Her style is dynamic and methodical. The audience found her to be highly engaging. If you are considering Erin for your events I have full confidence that you will be as pleased as I am.”

– Adam Seaman, Director, Youth Philanthropy Initiative

“Erin Walsh presented information about adolescent brain development and the effects of media on our children. As a behavioral pediatrician, I found her presentation to be incredibly informative and well delivered, making complex and difficult information palatable and understandable. All of our parents were completely engaged during her lecture and found it very impactful for them as to how they would approach parenting their teens in this time of technologically-driven culture. We (parents) are still talking about her presentation. “

– Dr. Timothy Johanson

“Cargill brings in many speakers to talk to employees about important issues. Erin Walsh ranks with the best. She delivered great information and practical advice in an engaging style. Not many speakers can connect with the audience and leave them wondering where the time went!”

– Keith Tvedten, Cargill Human Resources

 

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Watch Erin’s EDTalk: