Early Childhood Educators


Paul has provided keynotes and workshops at many regional, state and local affiliate early childhood conferences.  His keynotes are always entertaining and fun and get the audience actively involved—and are guaranteed to get you laughing.  But they are substantive, as well.  He provides two different kinds of keynotes, although he is asked to do the first keynote listed below 90% of the time.

Lighten Up! Humor is FUNdamental to Providing Quality Education and Care to Young Children.

This keynote shows how humor helps cope with the stress associated with teaching or caring for young children and helps you continue to provide quality education and care day after day—even on your toughest days.  It is entertaining and fun and guaranteed to get you laughing, but also discusses substantive issues related to the education and care of young children.  Paul always gets the audience actively involved in fun activities related to the substantive part of his program.

The Abandonment of Play in Early Childhood Education: How Humor Can Save it and Support Learning

This keynote focuses on the progressive loss of the use of play as a tool in supporting early childhood learning (currently mainly in kindergarten, but beginning to extend to the preschool years, as well) in favor of more structured, cognitively-based curricula.  The short-term gains in this approach are noted, but the greater and longer-term losses in response to the abandonment of play are emphasized (especially among low-income children).  The key learning benefits associated with play are summarized and the risks of continuing the ongoing trend of abandoning play as a learning tool in K and pre-K classrooms are emphasized.  Special attention is given to how using humor (a form of mental play) in the education of young children can help resurrect the perceived value of play in learning.


Head, Shoulders, Knees and . . . Peanut Butter.  What Makes Young Children Laugh?

Paul’s workshop for early childhood educators and care providers focuses mainly on basic developmental changes in children’s sense of humor from early infancy until about age 8.  More limited attention is given to the ways in which humor contributes to young children’s social, emotional and intellectual (including the promotion of literacy) development.  The program is based on his discussion of children’s humor in his book, Understanding and Promoting the Development of Children’s Humor: A Guide for Parents and Teachers.

Paul is uniquely qualified to offer this workshop.  He is internationally known for his own research on children’s humor and has published five books on the topic.  Humor is argued to be just one of the many forms of play shown by young children; it is mental play—play with ideas.  As children’s underlying mental development continues to expand with increasing age, children play with the new mental abilities that emerge.  This is what drives developmental changes in children’s humor.

This one- to two-hour workshop is provided with no increase in speaking fee as a “value-added” addition to his keynotes.

Partial Client List
Blue Mountain AEYC (WA)
Breezy Point (MN) Early Childhood Trainers Conference
Bucks County AEYC (PA)
Capital District Child Care Council Education Conference (NY)
Capital District Child Care Coordinating Council (NY)
Caregivers Conference (NJ)
Cen-Clear Child Services (PA) (Head Start and related family service programs)
Child Care Management Services (TX)
Childcare Resource & Referral (ND)
Child & Family Resources (NJ)
Child Life Department, Children’s Hospital, Philadelphia. (PA)Cooperative Educational Services (CT).  (Early childhood educators)
Dayton AEYC (OH)
Delaware AEYC
Delaware Tech Early Childhood Conference
Division of Child Support, Delaware Department of Health & Human Services
Early Years are Learning Years (PA)
Early Years Conference (ID)
Fairfield AEYC (CT)
Greater Fort Worth (TX) Licensed Childcare Association
Head Start (PA)
Houston Area AEYC (TX)
Humboldt Child Care Council (CA)
Kansas Child Care Resource & Referral Association
Kenyon chapter AEYC (NJ)
Macomb County AEYC (Mich.)
Mid America AEYC (KS)
Minnesota AEYC
Minnesota Childcare & Resource Referral
Northern California Early Childhood Education Association
Presbyterian Weekday Ministries Conference (TX).  (Early childhood educators)
Singapore (Malaysia) Parenting Conference
Smart Start of Salina/Parents as Teachers (KS)
Southeast Alaska AEYC (AK)
Southern Illinois AEYC
South Dakota AEYC
South Fairfield AEYC (CT)
Tapestry Early Childhood Conference (WA)
Texas Licensed Childcare Association
The Playful Brain (Pierce County AEYC)  (WA)
Vermont School Age Care Network
West Virginia Annual Early Childhood Conference (WV)
Wyoming Early Childhood Association
York Area AEYC (PA)