KEARNEY – The third annual University of Nebraska at Kearney Early Childhood Conference is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 at the Nebraskan Student Union on campus.
This year’s theme is “Promoting Well-being for Children and Families.”
Keynote speakers for the event are Jo Mascorro, an independent education consultant from San Antonio, Texas, and Nefertiti Poyner with the Devereux Center for Resilient Children in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Mascorro, who is also an author and public speaker, will present “No! Don’t! Stop! So How Exactly is That Working for You?” This seminar addresses challenging behaviors in children that disrupt learning.
Mascorro provides staff development and presentations in the areas of behavior intervention and communication practices for both general education and severe/profound populations from birth to adult. She also provides instruction on community-based independent living and work training, parenting strategies and workplace behaviors.
The author of the audio CD series “Don’t Look Now, YOUR Behavior is Showing!” Mascorro has more than 30 years of experience in education.
Poyner, a national trainer and early childhood specialist at the Devereux Center for Resilient Children, will present “Facing the Challenge: Working with Young Children with Challenging Behaviors.”
Also an author and public speaker, Poyner provides professional development and presentations that focus on educating parents, teachers and administrators about the importance of paying attention to not only how children perform academically, but also how they’re doing socially and emotionally. She is co-author of “Building Your Bounce: Simple Strategies for a Resilient You” and the award-winning “Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure: 50 Activities to Promote Resilience in Young Children.”
Additional sessions will be presented by UNK faculty and early childhood experts on a variety of topics related to early care and education.
The conference, which is open to the public, is geared toward child care providers, preschool and elementary teachers, staff and administrators, Head Start and Early Head Start staff, parents, college students and anyone else who cares for or about children. Sessions are approved for Department of Health and Human Services in-service hours.
For registration information, visit unk.edu/ec-conference
The Early Childhood Conference is sponsored by the UNK College of Education and Child Development Center, Buffett Early Childhood Institute, Nebraska Department of Education Early Childhood Training Center, Educational Service Unit 10, Central Region Early Learning Connection, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Kearney Area Chapter of the Nebraska Association for the Education of Young Children and Kearney Child Care Association.
UNK Early Childhood Conference
Nebraskan Student Union
FRIDAY, OCT. 19
7:30-8:30 a.m. – Registration and check-in
8:30-8:45 a.m. – Welcome
8:45-9:45 a.m. – Keynote speaker Nefertiti Poyner, Devereux Center for Resilient Children, “Facing the Challenge: Working with Young Children with Challenging Behaviors.” This presentation will help early childhood educators better understand, prevent and plan for challenging behaviors. The main areas of focus will be defining challenging behavior, learning why kids misbehave, exploring prevention and intervention strategies and following a child through the behavioral planning process with the use of real classroom footage.
9:45-10:15 a.m. – Break and exhibits
10:15-11:45 a.m. – Session 1 (concurrent presentations)
“Your Journey Together. Building Resilience in Children and Families,” Nefertiti Poyner, Devereux Center for Resilient Children. Building resilience is essential to support children and families who confront risk and adversity. This session will introduce strategies designed to promote the resilience of children and families. Participants will leave with a strong understanding of how to support children and families using everyday routines, activities and interactions as ideal opportunities to strengthen resilience.
“Promoting the Well-being of Children Through Bilingualism,” Ladan Ghazi Saidi, UNK assistant professor of communication disorders. In this session, participants will learn about the many lifelong well-being advantages of raising bilingual children. Common myths about raising a bilingual child and ways to distinguish between language disorders and normal language development patterns in bilingual children will be discussed.
“Quality of Communication in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder,” Phillip Lai, UNK assistant professor of communication disorders. Children with autism spectrum disorder use a variety of channels to communicate. Patterns that are observed when children are verbal or nonverbal will be discussed.
“Budding Scientists: Using STEM with PK-3 Learners,” Dena Harshbarger, UNK associate professor of teacher education. This hands-on session is intended to “plant the seed” for educators and participants so they may grow in their understanding of STEM instruction. Participants will partake in various hands-on STEM activities that can be used with PK-3 learners.
“Building Groups: From Student to Early Childhood Professional,” Toni Hill, Shaylee Nelson, Griselda Ramirez and Sharon Obasi, UNK Department of Family Studies. Using Buffett Early Childhood Workforce information, this presentation will explore the connection between collegiate organizations and ongoing issues in the recruitment and retention of a qualified and competent early childhood workforce in the state.
11:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. – Lunch break
12:45-2:15 p.m. – Session 2 (concurrent presentations)
“Calmer Classrooms: Working with Traumatized Students,” Whitney Kaminski and Chloe Younger, St. Paul Public Schools. Collaborative relationships between general education teachers and special education providers play a vital role in every child’s success. This teaching team will share their collaborative efforts and strategies they have found to be successful when supporting children and their families.
“Aquaponics Growing Systems: An Innovative Approach to Health and Science,” Katelyn Unvert, Paula Zakrzewski, Jourdan Ringenberg, Nate Bickford, Angela Hollman, Richard Meyer, Matthew Bice and James Ball, UNK and Northeastern Illinois University collaboration. An aquaponics growing system is one innovative tool that can be used to teach healthy lifestyle habits and nutrition to elementary school students while also stimulating interest in science education. By demonstrating activities that can be conducted using the aquaponics growing systems, teachers will leave with a better understanding of how they can incorporate this tool in their classrooms.
“Let’s Talk,” Jill Wilson and Denise Wolf, UNK Department of Communication Disorders. The purpose of this presentation is to share quality interactions that promote speech and language development in children up to age 5. Ideas of how to provide engaging and hands-on activities, purposeful play interactions and quality-enriched environments will be included.
“Early Childhood Workforce Development,” Sheryl Feinstein and Carol Renner, Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission. In this session, participants will learn about the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Commission, which is an initiative of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Hear how the institute is promoting evidence-based research and how it is addressing Nebraska’s early childhood worker shortfall and identifying funding sources to serve Nebraska’s needs.
“Self-care and Resiliency,” Jennifer Auman, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. This presentation take on the complex emotional state of compassion fatigue in early childhood home visitors, teachers and caregivers. Activities to build resilience through relationships, internal beliefs, initiative and self-control are exemplified.
2:15-2:30 p.m. – Break and exhibits
2:30-4 p.m. – Session 3 (concurrent presentations)
“Practicing Mindfulness with Young Children,” Laura Mar, Liberty Elementary School in Omaha; and Amy Schmidtke, Buffett Early Childhood Institute. Through the practice of mindfulness, we learn to practice gratitude, empathy and kindness in the classroom community; critical to academic success for both students and educators. The participants will identify benefits of mindfulness training for students and educators and develop strategies for practicing mindfulness with young children.
“Fostering Positive Relationships Through Play and Creativity,” Jennifer Joy and Marissa Fye, UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology. Children learn and grow through play. This presentation will teach educators and parents strategies that help facilitate positive relationships in the classroom and at home through strategies for fostering positive relationships with the children in their lives, and, hopefully, a renewed excitement for play.
“The Temperament Toolbox,” Katie Miller, Nebraska Department of Education. Helping children understand their own emotions and interact well with others can benefit children, parents and teachers alike. In this session, you will learn some basics about temperament theories and how to use that knowledge to help children build emotional, prosocial and empathy/compassion skills.
“Social Emotional Learning in China,” Kathleen Gallagher, Buffett Early Child Institute; Matthew Mims, UNK associate professor of counseling and school psychology; Toni Hill, UNK associate professor of family studies; and Chinese educators. This presentation will focus on the preliminary research by Buffett and UNK researchers to explore social emotional learning (SEL) in China from several diverse perspectives. Programmatic developments and issues will be examined related to SEL in the classroom. And, the role of the family will be explored related to SEL in Chinese early childhood programs.
4-4:30 p.m. – Closing session
4:30-5 p.m. – Visit exhibits
SATURDAY, OCT. 20
7:30-8 a.m. – Registration and check-in
8-8:15 a.m. – Welcome
8:15-9:15 a.m. – Keynote speaker Jo Mascorro, independent education consultant, “No! Don’t! Stop! So How Exactly is That Working for You?” Frustrated? Do you often feel like you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work? This presentation will provide strategies to assist in responding to challenging behavior demonstrations that interfere with learning, teaching and transitions. Information presented will align with best practices for determining interventions while keeping in mind how the young brain learns. Techniques will emphasize enhancing all of your present instructional strategies.
9:15-9:30 a.m. – Break and exhibits
9:30-11 a.m. – Session 1 (concurrent presentations)
“Teaming with Parents/Guardians,” Jo Mascorro, independent education consultant. Working as a team can be much easier said than done. This presentation will provide strategies to assist in recognizing what specific factors create communication challenges and how to enrich the productivity of your next meeting opportunity.
“Sensory 101: How to Meet Sensory Needs and Create an Environment to Foster Success in Children,” Nora DiGregorio, Alpha Rehabilitation. This session will provide a general description of what sensory needs in children are and how to address them; through identification and strategies to create a sensory supportive environment for the children in your lives from birth to school age.
“Beyond Milestones: How to Promote Development in a Baby’s First Year of Life,” Kellie Gossman, assistant professor in the Division of Physical Therapy Education, UNMC College of Allied Health Professions at UNK. This presentation looks at various reasons why infants show such diversity in motor skills. Should babies crawl a certain way or do babies even need to crawl? We will discuss the environment, tummy time and equipment.
11-11:15 a.m. – Break and exhibits
11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. – Session 2 (concurrent presentations)
“Building the Brain,” Paula Thompson, UNK assistant professor of teacher education. During this session, we will build a brain using the “The Brain Architecture Game.” We will explore what promotes brain development, what derails it and the consequences for children, families and society.
“Fostering Positive Relationships Through Play and Creativity,” Jennifer Joy and Marissa Fye, UNK Department of Counseling and School Psychology. Children learn and grow through play. This presentation will teach educators and parents strategies that help facilitate positive relationships in the classroom and at home through strategies for fostering positive relationships with the children in their lives, and hopefully a renewed excitement for play.
“Lively Letters,” Judy Lauby, Educational Service Unit 10. “Lively Letters” is a supplementary reading program that turns abstract letters and sounds into lively, colorful characters. The program addresses the needs of students with various learning challenges, through phonemic awareness, speech production and phonics.
“Self-care and Resiliency,” Jennifer Auman, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. This presentation takes on the complex emotional state of compassion fatigue in early childhood home visitors, teachers and caregivers. Activities to build resilience through relationships, internal beliefs, initiative and self-control are exemplified.
12:45-1 p.m. – Closing