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2019 New York City Conference Program


9:00am-12:00pm Half-Day Workshop – Crystal Ballroom

Developmentally Appropriate Practice and Playful Learning

Tarima Levine, MSEd, Director of Content Development & Davia Brown-Franklyn, MS, Senior Director of Partnerships, Bank Street College of Education, NY

There is a plethora of research that highlights the importance of play for young children.  Recently this research has included the connection between playful experiences and brain development, making the need to provide playful learning experiences for children paramount. Thus, teachers can intentionally support children’s growth and development by integrating rich opportunities for play into their daily classroom routines and curriculum. Through the use of video, readings and hands-on experiences, participants will reflect on their current practice and begin to think about next steps for their classrooms.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Gramercy Park

Applying Emotionally and Culturally Responsive Practices to Improve Outcomes for Children and Support Classroom Management

Lesley Koplow, MSED, Director of Emotionally Responsive Practice Projects & Veronica Benavides, MA, EdD, Director of the Center on Culture, Race & Equity, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Supporting children’s social and emotional development and learning is linked to positive outcomes for all children, but particularly for young children in low-resourced communities. Participants will review the foundations of Emotionally and Culturally Responsive Practices in early childhood settings and learn strategies they can apply immediately. This workshop is appropriate for classroom teachers, program directors who are looking to shift institutional policies to increase children’s outcomes, as well as, speech therapists and others working with individual children.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Sutton Place

Coaching for Early Childhood Leaders as they Engage in Reflective Supervision

Wendy Pollock, EdD, Instructor, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Early Childhood leaders are often besieged with administrative and compliance tasks and have difficulty scheduling or creating opportunities to visit classrooms for significant periods of time or for meeting with teachers to engage in conversations around children, curriculum and teacher’s thoughts about their work. Focusing on how to create space in the day/week for meaningful interactions will be the focus of the session.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Herald Square

Speech, Language and Literacy – It all Begins with Hearing

Holly Thomas, MS, CCC-SLP, Head of the Speech-Language Department, The Gillen Brewer School, NY

This workshop will present the process of normal hearing and how permanent, or temporary, hearing loss affects auditory perception and impacts the development of speech, language and literacy. Attendees will be taught a variety of strategies to teach different listening skills to support children’s speech, language and literacy development, including whole body listening. In addition, participants will learn how to incorporate the anatomy of the ear, the transmission of sound, and how to protect hearing into the curriculum for young children.

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Crystal Ballroom

Minds in Motion: Supporting Academic Development and Classroom Management through Creative Movement

Susan Griss, MA, Instructor, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Children love to move! This participatory workshop, grounded in brain theory, demonstrates engaging strategies to integrate movement — children’s natural language — into the early childhood curriculum. Using songs, music, and children’s literature. We will explore how kinesthetic teaching develops children’s understanding of math, scientific concepts, language and pre-reading skills, and can ease transitions and classroom management issues. No previous movement experience is required. Dress comfortably and be prepared to move!

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Gramercy Park

Using Research in Math Development to Plan Differentiated Instruction for Diverse Learners

Jennifer Woodruff, EdD, Assistant Project Director, Bank Street College of Education, NY

Participants will learn strategies for developing math curriculum based on current research around the mathematical development of children. Through video, games and discussion, we will review the different stages of mathematics development and how to plan curriculum activities to support children’s grown based on their abilities and interests. The relationship between development in math and social emotional learning will be woven throughout the session. This session will also address family engagement and how families can support children’s development in math.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Sutton Place

Transforming Learning by Creating an Inclusive Block Building Program for Young Children

Peggy McNamara, EdD, Senior Director of Student Learning Support and Community Initiatives, Bank Street College of Education, NY

This workshop introduces block building and dramatic play as experiences that are central to learning in early childhood learning environments. We will explore the ways block building supports children’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Participants will think about how children explore the physical properties of blocks, explore blocks to represent and learn about the world around them, and create symbolic stories related to their structures. Participants will build with blocks and consider questions related to how observation of children’s block play can serve as an important way of learning about children’s development.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Herald Square

What About the Babies? Professional Development for Infant and Toddler Educators

Rebecca Newman, LMSW, Coach, Guttman Center for Early Care and Education & Lara Seligman, LCSW, MSEd, Instructor, Bank Street College of Education, NY

As Pre-Kindergarten programs are expanding, Educators of children ages three to five are receiving more professional development and support. However, professional development for infant and toddler educators is also much needed.  In this workshop, participants will learn about an innovative professional development program for family childcare and daycare providers in service to children ages birth-three. Rooted in child development and the centrality of relationships in the first three years of life, The Guttman Center for Early Care and Education at Bank Street College provides a combination of coursework and coaching sessions to support child care providers in their practice.  This session will include opportunities for hands-on play activities, reflective exercises, a discussion of self care strategies, and will provide an in-depth description of the coursework and coaching model of our program.

7:30 am – 8:15 am Yoga Class for Attendees – Crystal Ballroom

Zsuzsanna Kiraly, PhD, RYT-500, Director, Hagin School Consultation Centers, Fordham University, NY

8:30 am – 9:20 am Keynote – Grand Ballroom

Early Childhood Professionals with Pizzazz!

Joshua Alvarez, MA, Education Consultant, Kaplan Early Learning Company, CA

Do you feel excited each day you work with young children? Or, are you feeling burned out, tired or can’t wait for the weekend to get here? You will be taken on an exciting journey by putting the PIZZAZZ/spark into your daily responsibilities. When you have that PIZZAZ, positive attitude and excitement, then everybody else around you will be excited and have a positive ATTITUDE too! Learn innovative ways and strategies to keep yourself, children, parents and staff in a positive mode. Your positive thoughts, your positive actions and your positive ATTITUDE will become your destiny. You will be reminded how we play an essential part in setting the foundation for our future. Everything we say and everything we do matters in the lives of children and their families. That is why we have to be intentional and dedicated on a daily basis. Being that intentional professional will keep us committed to the child development principles and will keep us being sensitive to the needs of children and their families. You will leave this keynote fueled and ready to make an impact in our future.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Effective Communication Strategies & Positive Cooperation in Early Childhood

Joshua Alvarez, MA, Education Consultant, Kaplan Early Learning Company, CA

Attendees will explore the importance of being an effective communicator with children, parents, and peers. You will learn innovative, respectful methods of communicating that lead to positive cooperation because the way we communicate influences how others respond to us. By communicating effectively, we can help improve the positivity in all of our relationships and increase our emotional intelligence. Learn techniques that work well with children and those that work well with parents and peers.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Linking Emotional Intelligence and School Readiness: The Impact of an Emotional Intelligence Curriculum on Prekindergarten Students’ Behavior and Academic Development

Andrea Adelman, PhD, Professor & Daniela Fenu Foerch, PhD, Professor, Florida International University, FL

This presentation will focus on an emotional intelligence curriculum comprised of the RULER approach, visible thinking, and global thinking routines, which is currently being implemented in Head Start centers through grant research. The rationale behind the project will be discussed, in addition to the larger impact on early childhood development and improving student outcomes. Participants gain understanding of the RULER approach, visible thinking, and global thinking methods through brief tutorials, followed by active learning groups, and application of the curriculum. Participants will solidify knowledge of the emotional intelligence curriculum and have the ability to apply strategies in their own setting.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Sutton Place

Introducing Young Children to Algebra: Mathematical Patterning in the Early Childhood Classroom

Carmen Sherry Brown, EdD, Assistant Professor, Hunter College, NY

The foundation for algebraic thinking in early childhood begins with the core concepts of comparing and ordering objects and patterning. Patterning is a basic math skill upon which many mathematical concepts are based. Understanding patterns help prepare children for learning complex number concepts and mathematical operations which can be transferred into all curriculum areas. Through understanding patterns, young children learn to make predictions, to understand what comes next, to make logical connections, and to use reasoning skills. In early childhood, identifying and creating patterns is just the beginning of the mastery of life-long mathematical skills.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Gramercy Park

Becoming Digital in the World of Early Childhood: One County’s Journey

Barbara Nemko, PhD, Superintendent & Andrea Knowlton, MA, Director, Napa County Office of Education, CA

Using current research regarding the use of technology and young children, a small county in California will present their journey in establishing a Digital Early Learning process which provides Literacy, Language and Math curriculum in state and federal funded preschools. Additionally the program is accessible to the child in his/her home environment. Join us in a discussion of principles, strategies and lessons learned within the past 4 years. The project is now successfully implemented and has created a great opportunity for administration and staff to do their work in a totally different way.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Herald Sqaure

From Excitement to Anger: Managing Big Feelings

Carrie Becker, MA, Early Childhood Specialist, Transforming Early Childhood Education LLC, NC

None of us are born knowing how to manage our emotions. Young children need our guidance when learning to navigate this often-wild ride. Learn the techniques and strategies needed to help young children regulate their own emotions.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Kips Bay

Creative Settings: Open-ended Art in Early Childhood Settings

Mary Ellen Bardsley, PhD, Associate Professor, Niagara University, NY

Creative art has been shown to be essential in promoting the development of children across numerous domains. However, incorporating visual art into early childhood environments and integrating visual art into activities or lessons often challenges educators. This interactive presentation will provide practical ways to incorporate creative art into the daily lives of children. Participants will be provided with examples of hands-on activities that can bring the benefits of creative art and art appreciation into early childhood settings.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Using Music to Support & Enhance SEL in Your Classroom and Engage Hard to Reach Students

Graham Hepburn, Co-Founder, Quaver Music, TN

Music is a universal language that connects us all, but we may not all be confident using it in the classroom. Attendees will borrow simple tools from the music educator’s toolbox that can help guide their students on the journey to all 5 competencies. Develop your understanding of Music-Based Learning with easy-to-implement tips from longtime educator and SEL curriculum developer Graham Hepburn of

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Give Your Students A Brain Boost with Physical Activity

Chandi Edmonds, MPT, DPT, Founder, Alpha Kids Shine, NC

Growing evidence shows that physical activity does not just improve a child’s fitness, but also self-regulation, attention, concentration, and on-task behaviors. Why? Because physical activity boosts brain function by creating more connections for learning. This presentation will highlight the basic components of brain development in children, provide current updates on physical activity research and how it contributes to learning for children. Participants will also “actively learn” simple mini-movement games that can be used in the classroom with minimal to no set-up time.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Sutton Place

Executive Function, Teaching Thinking Skills through Play, A Vygotskian Approach to Self-Regulation and Learning

Danny Darby, MS, Curriculum Coordinator, Georgia State University, GA

The concept of Executive Function comes from the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. He believed that just as physical tools extend our physical abilities, mental tools extend our mental abilities to enable us to solve problems and create solution. Many child development programs concentrate on providing children with activities that promote cognitive tools. Young children need to learn how to play. Executive Function is the cognitive process that regulates an individuals’ ability to organize thoughts and activities, prioritize task, manage time efficiently, and make decisions. This workshop will present ideas to encourage cooperative play, ideas to help children express emotions, and suggestions for how to conduct activities that can foster social and emotional growth and self-regulation. Skills that learners need to become successful lifelong learners.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Gramercy Park

How Does Understanding Brain Anatomy, Function and Windows of Opportunity Inform Our Practices?

Christine Roberts, BFA, IDME, Founder, Nurturing Pathways, Inc, WA

Learn about brain development and environmental factors that support optimal growth during the formative years. The past decade has brought neuroscience to the main stream and discovered a lot about attachment formation and windows of opportunity in early childhood. This is an opportunity to understand brain development and its application to any learning environment. Knowing how the brain works and what drives learning, helps to prioritize early learning experiences.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Herald Square

Teaching Early Communication Skills: A Behavior Analytic Approach  

Haven Bernstein, PhD, BCBA-D, ABA Clinical Supervisor & Marilena Drakopoulou, MSEd, ABA Director, Los Niños Services, NY

A behavioral approach to language explains words and phrases not only by their literal meaning, but by their purpose (function).  All communicative language functions to have an impact on the environment.  During this workshop, we will discuss the relationship between early language use and the environment in which it occurs, and describe optimal conditions to promote the emergence of first words in young children.  We will discuss the importance of teaching young children with language delays to request (mand), early in the development of their language, and methods of teaching these mands. We will break down the other components, or functions, of language and discuss the importance and optimal conditions for teaching those as well.    

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Kips Bay

Posture: The Key to Development and Why It Really Matters

Efrat Cohen, PT, MPT, PCS, C/NDT, Cert. Schroth Scoliosis Therapist,Owner, ProPostureUs, NY

With this presentation, attendees will learn about posture, definitions and concepts, and its critical role in the development of gross, fine, and oral motor skills, speech and cognitive development. They will learn to identify normal vs. abnormal postural development, assessment tools and techniques that improve the acquisition of gross, fine, oral motor, speech and cognitive skills.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Going Beyond the ABC Song: Fun and Engaging Music Activities that Naturally Support Children’s Developing Language and Literacy Skills

Ellen Acuna, Early Childhood Music Specialist, Music Together Worldwide, NJ

In this interactive presentation, the presenter will explore how and why the content and process of developmentally appropriate music activities can support young children’s language and literacy skill development. Attendees will be introduced to the connections between language learning and music making through analyzing aspects of language learning inherent in music activity. Recent research findings on this topic will also be reviewed. Attendees will come away with a deeper understanding of how to easily use music to naturally support important areas of language learning including: phonological awareness, vocabulary development, print awareness, and active listening skills–all while having fun!

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Raising Emotional Healthy, Resilient Kids: Understanding the Simple Brain Science of Making Mindful Choices

Donna Volpitta, EdD, Director, The Center for Resilient Leadership, NY

Self-esteem is not a gift that we can give to children; it is a neurochemical response that they earn through facing obstacles.  However, so often these days, children’s resilience is undermined by well-intentioned adults. In this interactive session, participants will learn a model, easy enough for young children to understand, that teaches the brain’s response to challenge. This simple understanding will give participants the tools they need to use any challenge as an opportunity to make mindful choices about building resilience.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Promoting a Safe, Positive and Culturally Competent Classroom Culture with Restorative Practices with Restorative Classroom Management

Elizabeth Klein, MS, Clinical Professor, Hunter College, NY

This presentation is focused on how to create a more harmonious, peaceful learning community using Restorative Practices. Restorative Classroom Management is a new and innovative approach to discipline. The old punitive ways are replaced with instructive practices that empower students to make good decisions for themselves. The definition of discipline will be turned “right-side up”. Restorative Practices based on time- honored practices of ancient cultures incorporate circle meetings, individualized restorative conferences and mediations. The focus will be on promoting a safe, positive, inclusive and culturally competent learning community through Restorative Practices and Restorative Justice.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Playground Poetry: Using Movement and Play to Teach Literacy with Neurodiverse Students

Donnie Welch, BFA,Creative Writing Teacher & Allison Johnson, MS, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Rebecca School, NY

“Playground Poetry” is an interactive presentation that teaches attendees how organized movement and play help neurodiverse learners be regulated and present during literacy lessons. The presentation showcases video and anecdotal evidence collected from sensorimotor poetry workshops at Rebecca School, a school for children with neurodevelopmental delays, including autism spectrum disorders. With the sensory systems of the poets in mind, visuals reinforce the movement activity while supporting the group routine. “Playground Poetry” ends with a model of the presentation, allowing attendees to put the theory to practice and understand firsthand the connection between motor skills and literacy development.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Developing a Home-Practice: Bring Mindfulness and Self-Care into Your Daily Life

Zsuzsanna Kiraly, PhD, RYT-500, Clinical Assistant Professor, Fordham University, NY

Having a daily mindfulness practice can bring a transformation in attitude towards our surrounding and ourselves. Such transformation allows us to bring mindfulness “off the mat” – so to speak – into our every day lives; it allows us to live mindfully.  This presentation will address the key components of mindfulness as well as show techniques and strategies to develop and sustain commitment to a daily practice. In addition, simple movement sequences and breathing techniques – that can be easily incorporated into the day – will be taught. Please wear comfortable clothes.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Kips Bay

Creating Early Childhood Environments that Welcome and Support Children with Gender Expansive Behavior, and Families with LGBTQ

Ellie Friedland, PhD, Clinical Associate Professor, Boston University Wheelock College of Education and Human Development, MA

All children need to have their families respected and truly accepted, and all children need to learn to respect families that are different from their own. This interactive session provides educators with knowledge and strategies to create environments in which LGBTQ families are welcomed, the curriculum includes LGBTQ families, and children with gender expansive behavior, and their families, are supported. Participants will develop and practice knowledge, strategies and skills to understand the special issues and needs of LGBTQ families; to create welcoming environments for LGBTQ families and their children; to support children with gender expansive behavior, and their families; and to address heterosexism and LGBTQ+ stereotypes.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

SONGS OF RESILIENCE: Songs for Social and Emotional Development for Preschoolers

David Kisor, BA, MM, Creative Director, Growing Sound, KY

Using resilience theory and research, we will explore songs that promote attachment to caring adults, the initiative to turn mystery into mastery, and tools for self-control. Participants move and sing to our songs and discuss related classroom activities that can accompany the songs and enhance their message and skills.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Using Technology in Early Learning: Promising Practices and Actionable Strategies for Integrating Technology in Early Learning Environments

Heather Sherwood, MA, Research Associate & Naomi Hupert, MA, Senior Research Scientist, Education Development Center, NY

Early learning educators are often faced with a growing selection of digital media resources and technology intended to support the educational needs of young learners. While these resources may serve as important educational tools, experiences using technology can better support learning outcomes when educators feel comfortable and confident in selecting and using it in developmentally appropriate ways. This presentation will present research-based best practices for supporting early learning educators in making informed choices around technology integration, creating a technology-supportive classroom environment, and meaningfully selecting and integrating digital resources to support classroom and learning goals.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Math is More Than Counting: A Hands-On Approach to Teaching Math in Early Childhood Classrooms

Lynette Kohn, MSEd, Early Learning Specialist, Kids Hope Alliance, FL

Teachers will have fun hopping patterns and creating fun activities for their classroom in this research based hands-on workshop! This presentation provides an overview of early childhood math strategies and fun ways for teachers to implement the activities immediately in their classrooms. Early childhood teachers’ knowledge of early mathematics concepts will be enhanced and increased as they participate in interactive activities. Most importantly, they will leave with an excitement for teaching and planning more intentional math activities for their prekindergarten students.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Becoming Trauma Smart

Jennifer Friedman, MS, CCC-SLP, Project Director, Trauma Smart, NY

To support clients more effectively it is helpful to understand the impact of trauma. The presentation will highlight what trauma is, its prevalence, and the long-term mental and physical health impact of ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). Trauma Smart is founded on the evidence-based ARC (Attachment, Self-Regulation, Competency) framework for intervention. Using the ARC model, participants will learn about the importance of connecting to their clients and their families, recognize their own needs to be able to provide the highest quality services, and learn to use a trauma lens. The presentation will help participants think more deeply about creating trauma-informed environments.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Herald Square

The Joy of Communication: Supporting Pre-linguistic Development in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Jennifer Shonkoff, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist, Courtney Latter, MS, Speech-Language Pathologist, Victoria Simmons, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist & Ashley Lyons, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist, Rebecca School, NY

In the realm of Autism Spectrum Disorders, speech-language pathologists often focus treatment on a discrete, easily measured set of predetermined language skills; however, early developing milestones of relating and communicating may not necessarily be supported in this rote style of learning. This presentation will demonstrate the importance of supporting foundational language skills using a child-led developmental approach and its impact on intentionality, language acquisition, and thinking, as well as provide strategies to support these skills.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Kips Bay

How to Promote Young Children’s Social and Emotional Health through Picture Books

Jessica Leonard, PhD, Professor & Joy Voss, PhD, Professor, Saint Louis University, MO

Teachers can promote children’s social and emotional health in many ways, for example, by organizing a material-rich environment to stimulate social interactions among children. Using storytime is a benefit for those teachable moments. Read-alouds are the perfect tool for exploring social-emotional themes with your class. They’re not just for little kids either—there are tons of gorgeous picture books with complex themes and vocabulary that older kids will love too. This presentation will explore many books for teachers to use in their classrooms to promote positive social emotional health.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Music and Math: Clap, Tap, and Sing Your Way to Naturally Supporting Children’s Emerging Math Skills through Enjoyable Music Activities

Ellen Acuna, Early Childhood Music Specialist, Music Together Worldwide, NJ

In this interactive presentation, participants will experience developmentally appropriate music and movement activities that naturally support children’s exploration of math concepts, including pattern, sequence, representation, proportion, and opposite. Participants will be introduced to new songs and chants they can use in their work with children, hear about recent research on the topic, and experience ways to lead music experiences with young children. Regardless of music ability, participants will come away from this session with music activity ideas they can use right away in their work with children to support them in developing a foundation for future mathematical learning.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Understanding Early Intervention Evaluations and Guiding Parents Through the Process

Scott Mesh, PhD, CEO, Los Niños Services, NY

Learn the signs of developmental delays or autism in young children and know when and how to make a referral with confidence. Learn about the most common delays and disabilities to get help the earliest possible. Understand the common objections to special education evaluations and how to overcome the objections by working effectively with parents and other professionals including understand how the evaluation process/system works.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

How to Use Mindfulness Practices with Young Children

John Scardina, EDM, School Psychologist, West Chester Friends School, NY

Mindfulness practices have proven to be effective as tools for focus, serenity, and open-mindedness for individuals of all ages. We will experience simple techniques that work with young children and explore ways in which we can specifically adapt the techniques presented to our individual classrooms and work settings. We will also share research-based data on the effectiveness of mindfulness in schools.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Perceptions of the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based (DIR) Model among Preschool Staff in a Public-School Setting

Susan Smith-Foley, OTD, MPA, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, The University of Kansas Medical Center, NJ

Are you an educator, related service provider, child study team member, or administrator who is interested in using the Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationship-Based (DIR) School Model with children with special needs in a public school? Come learn how this occurs in one public school district.  This workshop will also discuss findings of a qualitative research project that examined perceptions of the DIR Model among public preschool staff who utilize this approach. Researchers included Winnie Dunn, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Principal Investigator and this presenter, Co-Investigator.  The presenter will share three key themes and link these to practical program and classroom considerations.   

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Activating the Brain’s Emotional Systems for “Warp-Speed” Access to Phonics Skills for Reading AND Writing!

Katherine Garner, MEd, Author, Learning & the Brain Research Consortium, NC

Did you know that the brain has a “backdoor” for learning that can be easily hacked into? Good magicians know this and take full advantage of it, as can great teachers! Discover how to target instruction to the social-emotional learning networks and transform tricky letter sound and phonics skills into child’s play! Uncover learning loopholes rooted in brain science and take away multisensory ”brain-changing” teaching tools that will leave you armed and ready for Monday morning!

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Kips Bay

The Truth About Worksheets in Early Childhood: Why It Doesn’t Work

Shauna Woods, MA, Professor, First Presbyterian Preschool, GA

This presentation begins with play and creative hands – on activities that are engaging. Worksheets can be used only one way. Worksheets and coloring books are generally considered convergent materials. They lead children to think that there is only a single correct way to use them, and they require little, if any, higher-order thinking. Our goal as professional educators should be lessons that encourage divergent thinking, not convergent thinking. Hands-on activities rekindle a love of learning and connect abstract concepts to the real world while achieving desired educational outcomes. A worksheet-based curriculum dampens enthusiasm for learning and doesn’t require high ordered thinking in young children.





7:30 am – 8:15 am Yoga Class for Attendees – Crystal Ballroom

Zsuzsanna Kiraly, PhD, RYT-500, Director, Hagin School Consultation Centers, Fordham University, NY

8:30 am – 9:20 am Keynote – Grand Ballroom

Addressing Inequities and Ensuring Excellence: Role of Early Learning Systems and Programs

Iheoma U. Iruka, PhD, Chief Research Innovation Officer, Center for Early Education Evaluation, HighScope Educational Research Foundation, MI

Poverty, race, culture, religion, or zip code should not determine a child’s trajectory, opportunity, and eventual life success. Addressing the achievement gap must go beyond gazing at third grade test scores and blaming children and families, and many times schools. A sole focus on the achievement gap without consideration of the causes will ensure the permanency of this gap. This presentation will delve into how best schools and systems, including early education programs and systems, can be of service to children, families, and communities by dismantling and eradicating barriers to opportunities. Discussion will focus on understanding and addressing inequities and biases in systems and programs with a goal towards equitable opportunities, such as examining how current federal and local policies can be utilized to afford opportunities for those who have been marginalized. Participants will engage in deep reflection about their roles in ensuring that young children and their families are provided with equitable opportunities to meet their potential, especially during the early years.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

ALL Behavior Can Change: Learn the Techniques to Turn Challenging Behavior into Positive Behavior

Marcie Beigel, EdD, Behavior Specialist, Behavior and Beyond, NY

All behavior can change when the right tools and techniques are applied. Sadly, few educators and even fewer parents are taught how behavior works. Resulting in tantrums, meltdowns and frustration that could all be avoided. This presentation will show you how behavior works, how to determine the underlying reason for behavior and how to change any behavior. Specifically we will cover how to Speak with Purpose, so your children will listen; How to Do More, so your children will follow through and How to Choose Honey, so your children will feel celebrated!

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Mindfulness in Yoga: Creating a Safe Emotional Space through Music

Lianne Bassin, MA, Early Childhood Yoga Teacher, Little Flower Yoga, NY

Creating a safe emotional space in your classroom is essential in order for children to learn. A great way to help children recognize their emotions is by using song and rhythm. You will learn songs and chants that help children identify their emotions while also learning how to help children self-regulate through music. These songs will support children in becoming aware of themselves, others, and their surroundings, while helping them realize their connection to the larger world. Come explore how music can create a more emotionally engaging classroom and discover different ways to support your children’s mindfulness and yoga practices.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Sutton Place

Engaging 4 to 5 year Olds in Literacy through Songs

LaDonna Wicklund, MA, Early Literacy Specialist, I CAN READ INC, IA

Joyous songs, gifted to you, will engage your children in learning important literacy skills. Children will learn to read and write 13 words and use their words in simple reading and writing. This presentation is especially for teachers who want to boost their children in both language and literacy.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Gramercy Park

Prompting a “Need to Know” for Prioritized Learning in the Brain

Katherine Garner, MEd, Author, Learning & the Brain Research Consortium, NC

The brain seeks meaning and relevance, learning best on a need-to-know basis. Traditional phonics instruction offers arbitrary rules for letter-sound behaviors with no meaning, only rote memorization and skill-based practice. By taking advantage of learning loopholes rooted in brain science, we can transform phonics skills kids “have to learn” into something that they WANT to know! Discover the secrets to sparking learner-curiosity for learner-driven instruction, and take away powerful and brain-changing teaching tools that are guaranteed to become the most relied upon pieces of your teaching-repertoire!

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Herald Square

Using Children’s Literature to Introduce, Implement, and Ignite STEAM Curriculum

Lauren Lee, EdS, Director, Palms Preschool & Childcare Center, FL

This presentation will provide an overview of dozens of trade books related to STEAM topics that are appropriate for infants through age five. The presenter will explain the content of the books, describe why they should be used in addition to standard curriculum, and illustrate how they can enhance lessons and classroom activities. Attendees will learn how to incorporate these books into their lesson plans to strengthen understanding of STEAM content areas for their students. All STEAM areas will be covered and a handout will be provided.

9:30 am – 10:00 am Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

The Power of Partnerships: Adding Evidence-based Preschool to Boost Children’s Outcomes

Anne Zummo Malone, MA, Chief of Growth and Impact, AppleTree Institute for Education Innovation, DC

AppleTree Institute’s award winning instructional program, Every Child Ready, is implemented in 116 preschool and pre-kindergarten classrooms across 19 schools in Washington, DC and NYC. The model has been adopted in two ways; one in which the LEA partners with AppleTree Institute to provide Preschool/Pre-Kindergarten education, and the second where the school partners with AppleTree for coaching and professional development. Each model has been successful in preparing students for Kindergarten. We will share practices from each, discuss operational opportunities, challenges and lessons learned from building and aligning evidence-based Pre-K programs into various schools in Washington, DC and NYC.

10:30 am – 11:00 am Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

New Era in Science & Nutrition Education with Beetbox

Shazia Choudri, CEO, Holistic Health Coach, LLB (Hons), NY

An eye opening introduction to the fascinating connection between education, early learning standards, food, and STEAM. Learn how beetbox learning kits use the seed to table journey of healthy food to teach STEAM to the Early Education classroom. Kits include all materials, fresh ingredients, and lesson plans. By exploring concepts with an interdisciplinary approach, we have a greater impact than just a stand alone cooking or nutrition program. Through our demo, see how you can help your young learners become school ready in subjects that increasingly matter, while forming lifelong healthy habits.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Effective Strategies for using Music in the General and Inclusion Classrooms

Laurynn Gould, MA, MT-BC, Music Therapist & Justine Chadly, MA, Director, Harmony Music, CA

In this interactive presentation, participants will learn about and experience the benefits of music use in the general education and inclusion classroom. Music has been proven to aid in development in young children in a variety of domains including social skills, language skills, physical skills and cognitive skills. Participants, regardless of musical background, will see how easy and accessible it is to incorporate musical activities into classrooms to assist with curriculum, transitions and in creating a positive and engaging atmosphere. Demonstrations for fun and age appropriate music activities will be provided in addition to adaptations for children with special needs.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Mindfulness In and Out of the Classroom

Bari Koral, Yoga Educator, Bari Koral: Kids Yoga, Music & Mindfulness, NY

The most fun you can have learning Mindfulness and Yoga guaranteed. Relax with ocean breath, listen like a super hero, blast off into outer space and much more. Top Kids Yoga expert Bari Koral is at the forefront of introducing and re-enforcing the incredible benefits of yoga and mindfulness. We will cover over a dozen tools that help children (and adults!) relax, focus and self-regulate. This interactive presentation will also contain some fun kids yoga which prepares us for relaxation. Bari’s popular presentation also includes a self-care portion for your own well being.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Sutton Place

PAWsitive Social Messages with Monty: Supporting Social-Emotional Learners with Animal Assisted Intervention

Tracey Stoll, MEd, BCSE, ACAS, Executive Director, Learning Solutions, LLC, MA

Animal Assisted Intervention inspires young social-emotional learners to connect and communicate in new ways. Working with a specially trained Assistance Dog, educators/therapists are able to model and role play with clients experiencing social confusion, delays and anxiety; the skills needed to access individual and group activities. Young learners identified with challenges such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Social Communication Disorder, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, Anxiety, Sensory Integration Deficits, and other communication deficits; open up to learning non-verbal communication from a predictable, non-judgmental canine partner. Social behavior skills such as eye gaze, awareness and attention when in a group, sharing a group play plan, and exercising impulse control, will be demonstrated with “Monty” as he works with his human partner Tracey to share PAWsitive Social Messages.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Gramercy Park     

Eight Strategies to Create a Positive Climate in the Classroom

Monica Levy, Director, Leapsmart, NY

This presentation gives educators eight strategies to increase the positive climate in the classroom. These include ways to boost communication, give children room to be “wrong”, teach self calming skills, promote emotional awareness and more. This presentation will pinpoint engaging and innovative games that transform the most challenging moments in your classroom into engaging and educational activities. Through self reflection, small and large group discussion as well as hands on activities, educators will come away with practical skills that they can implement within their classroom.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Presentation – Herald Square     

What If the Cow Doesn’t Say Moo?

Liza Bernabeo, MS, Speech-Language Pathologist, ToniAnn Gambella, MS, Speech-Language Pathologist & Raquel Quiñones, MS, CCC-SLP, TSSLD, Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, Rebecca School, NY

Play is important because it allows children to think in the abstract, acquire language skills, build social skills, problem solve, and acquire confidence and a sense of self. One of the hallmarks of DIR®/Floortime™ involves following the child’s lead, making play more meaningful and setting the stage for sharing ideas and complex communication. Through video we will provide examples of how participants can target language skills when engaged in play-based interactions. We will also discuss the implications that lower-level language skills have on higher cognitive development, and how play contributes to pre-academic learning.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Proactive and Reactive Strategies for Reducing Problem Behaviors in Children

Megan Miller, MSEd, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Supervisor & Sonu Sanghoee, MS, CCC-SLP, Clinical Director, Achieve Beyond, NY

This presentation offers an overview of behavior including an in depth discussion of adaptive versus maladaptive behaviors and how to appropriately target the reduction of various challenging behaviors. Participants will learn how to operationally define behaviors, collect and record behavioral data, and analyze data to determine the main functions of behavior. In addition, participants will also learn both proactive and reactive strategies that can be used to prevent and/or reduce and replace challenging behaviors into more socially acceptable behaviors.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Dive Into Deep Play: Empowering Children Through Mindful, Kindful Play

Missy Ruth Brown, E-RYT 500, E-RCYT 500, YACEP, Founder, Deep Play for Kids, CT

DPK provides methodology and practical application of research based yoga, creative movement, mindfulness and meditation for children. This program includes the FUNdamentals of developing tools and strategies in an interactive and educational way. Playfully practice a variety of multi-sensory activities that embrace the multiple intelligences to meet each child wherever he/she is. Help kids cultivate respect for self, others, and community while strengthening emotional awareness, empathy and compassion. Empower self-confidence and self-regulation while exploring social emotional learning, and restorative practices. This program will target developmental considerations which can be woven into the fabric of everyday and anywhere.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Ready Teachers + Ready Environments = Ready Children: Early Literacy Matters

Misty Moody, EdS, Director of School-based Support Services and Early Literacy Matters & Darlene Estes-Del Re, PhD, TDOE Executive Director of Office of Early Learning, Tennessee Department of Education, TN

Early Literacy Matters is Tennessee’s first joint department training pilot for early childhood educators. The Departments of Education and Human Services worked together to create an online literacy training program that can be completed during the school day. Come hear about how this successful pilot was developed and what you can do to implement in your state.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

The Values Factor: Understanding Your Personal Values to Build Confidence in the Classroom

Bridget Borsdorf, MA, Director, Bridge Center for Play Therapy, CO

Personal values are the foundation of all our experiences. When educators become aware of their personal values, it increases their clarity in their teaching styles, interactions, and abilities to handle challenging dynamics in the classroom. Through this gained awareness of personal values, educators can further understand how to work most effectively with their teaching team, have more compassion for difficult students, and overall minimize the opportunity for burnout or increased stress. Through this engaging, interactive and empowering session, educators will be able to identify their own personal values through discussion and exercises. They will understand how the role of values plays into all relationships they encounter. Then, they will be able to address areas in which they may struggle to greater enhance their classroom.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Introduction to the DIR-FCD Goal Bank

Monica G. Osgood, Executive Director, Celebrate the Children School/Profectum Foundation, NJ

The NEW DIR-FCD Goal Bank provides IEP goals in a scope and sequence based on Drs. Greenspan and Wieder’s Functional Emotional Developmental Levels (FEDL’s). This workshop will provide the framework for using the goal bank including how to choose goals, use goals and data sheets to guide staff and parent interactions and track progress. Multiple case presentations from DIR-FCD™ schools will demonstrate how the structure of the DIR-FCD™ Goal Bank yields consistent developmental gains in all students across a range of ages and social-emotional functioning. Although the Goal Bank provides goals in a developmental sequence throughout the FEDL’s, the FCD principles and strategies provide a comprehensive guide to maximizing progress.

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

The National Student Debt Forgiveness Center

Natalie Luongo, Executive Director, The National Student Debt Forgiveness Center, NY

The National Student Debt Forgiveness Center EDUCATES all teachers and administrators who work for the city, state, county, school districts, & non-for-profit organizations on eligibly requirements on federal student loan forgiveness programs, that they are entitled to BUT don’t know if they qualify or have been denied for different reasons. We do a FREE evaluation and help them understand what they do qualify for. Each session will include a detailed loan analysis and an action plan. Plans include Teacher loan forgiveness as well as Income driven repayment plans which usually lowers the monthly payment as well as the term. Leaving the borrower with a balance with gets FORGIVEN TAX FREE!

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Yogarate®: Yoga and Martial Arts for Social Emotional Success

Ron Shuali, MEd, Transformational Speaker, Shua Life Skills, NJ

This presentation teaches participants how to create an environment of positive learning by teaching children how to self-regulate themselves by breathing in various ways and using energy through age appropriate non-contact martial arts. Participants will have the option to fully physically participate in the activities they will learn. Activities like 4 different ways to breathe, a full body dynamic stretching system, self-defense songs and movements, body flowing sun salutations and relaxing meditations. NamastAHYAH!

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Hillary Marra, Educational Consultant, The Edible Gardenist™, NY

How Does Your Garden Grow

If you want to start an edible school garden, already have a garden program you want to grow, or want to learn a few classroom garden activities and healthy cooking recipes, this workshop is for you. Hillary’s hands-on approach teaches how to involve children year-round in an edible garden program. You’ll leave energized, inspired, and ready to implement simple activities for growing and cooking this spring.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

How to Promote Self-regulation Skills in Young Children so They Thrive in Class and at Home

Maggie Lopez, PhD, Child Care Education Director, Child Care Resources of Monmouth County, NJ

Self-regulation skills are linked to productive child mental health. This workshop will discuss why self-regulation is important for mental health as well as provide techniques on promoting self-regulations skills in young children.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Bilingual Birdies’ Global Passport: Embrace Diversity Using Music & Movement

Sarah Blackburn, Associate Director, Bilingual Birdies, NY

In this presentation, participants will learn techniques for infusing rhythm, voice, and hand percussion into the classroom to celebrate language and culture with children. Participants will also learn how to assess diverse backgrounds represented in their classrooms and empower children to be proud of their cultural heritages and build bridges with their classmates. This is ideal for educators with English Language Learners, Dual Language Learners, or classrooms that may have a lack of diversity. Participants should arrive with their favorite children’s book and be ready to sing new melodies and create movement activities. We will build on the musical components and a deeper understanding of how to celebrate diverse cultural backgrounds and languages to create an unforgettable experience for every child.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Understanding How Anxiety, Trauma & Emotional Dysregulation Stops Learning and What to do About It

Natalie James, MS, Licensed Professional Counselor, Oregon State University, OR

When guiding the behavior of young children, it is imperative to have a basic understanding of how stress, anxiety, and trauma impact behavioral and educational outcomes. Come explore the basic physiology of the autonomic nervous system, identify life stressors with impact on development, and the manner in which learning/ behavior is affected. Learn to recognize signs and symptoms of problematic distress, connect this to challenging behavior, and come to understand how traditional methods of responding to distress often exasperate the problem. Tools for appropriately responding to children in distress, and increasing the development of emotional resiliency will also be provided.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Inclusion of All Students Using Music and Movement, Essential Elements in a Comprehensive Early Childhood Educational Program

Sarah Grantano, MA, Assistant Superintendent of Special Education & Health Services & Saundra Day, MEd, Director III- Special Education, Stanislaus County Office of Education, CA

This will be an interactive presentation designed for children 0-5, music and movement with an intentional design for optimum success. The session relies on and conveys information on brain development in a format that is easily understood. Using videos as examples of the established music and enrichment program, already in place, including typically developing peers and students with disabilities.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Reflections of Joy in the Classroom: The Relationship Between Adult Resilience and Children’s Self-Esteem

Paula Barnes, MS, Owner, Resource Connections, TX & Larry Kotch, MA, Contract Specialist, Workforce Solutions, TX

What does a teacher’s emotional well-being have to do with young children? Everything! Research is proving over and over again how important this connection really is. An adult’s resilience directly reflects on the children he/she interacts with on a daily basis. The ways in which adults interact with young children truly sets the course for future social and emotional development as well as resilience and self-esteem. Come discover some exciting tools and strategies that you can use to encourage adults who have such a powerful impact on the lives of children.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Helping Little People with BIG Feelings: Exploring How Trauma Impacts Young Children and Their Families

Neena McConnico, PhD, LMHC, Director & Courtney Bailey, LICSW, Clinician, Boston Medical Center, Child Witness to Violence Project, MA

Traumatic Exposures are a common occurrence for some of our society’s youngest children. Children exposed to domestic violence, community violence and other kinds of trauma exposure can impact children’s behavior, development and learning. This presentation will provide participants with a framework to understand early childhood trauma and the impact of exposure on the developmental trajectory of children. In addition, this session will focus on defining and implementing trauma-informed systems of care. Strategies to build resilience and self-regulation skills for children and provider self-care will be discussed.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

How Does Water Move? Fostering Integrated, Inquiry-Driven Curricula in a DIR Classroom

Rae Leeper, MA, Educational Supervisor, Julia Feltus, MSEd, Educational Supervisor & Tali Cohen Carrus, MSEd, Head Teacher, Rebecca School, NY

Expectations for students with disabilities can tragically be lowered as teachers and educational methodologies focus on rote learning rather than critical thinking. This presentation will highlight the ways in which teachers at Rebecca School have worked to incorporate the foundations of DIR Floortime with rigorous, inquiry-based curriculum. Video examples and student work will illustrate how students with a range of developmental differences come together as a classroom community to approach large curricular questions such as, “How does water move?” and “What does an ant see?” This in depth approach to emotionally meaningful topics supports students in building webs of comprehension across academic domains.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Art as a Learning Experience: Process vs Product

Myriam Aguila, PhD, Professor, Texas State Technical College, TX

This interactive session will include a brief theoretical foundation of how art influences and benefits the learning process. It will also include hands-on activities that will better explain those theoretical statements. Participants will have the opportunity to exchange ideas, materials, strategies, and techniques that involve art and learning in the classroom.



7:30 am – 8:15 am Yoga Class for Attendees – Crystal Ballroom

Zsuzsanna Kiraly, PhD, RYT-500, Director, Hagin School Consultation Centers, Fordham University, NY

8:30 am – 9:20 am Keynote – Grand Ballroom

Identity Leadership and Development Begins in Young Children

Stedman Graham, Chairman & CEO, S. Graham & Associates, IL

Identity leadership is based on the philosophy that you must lead yourself before you can lead others. Your success is based on your willingness to be a leader of your own life.  As self-leaders, knowing who we are and being clear about our identity are necessary to navigate our lives. It is critical that we learn how to adapt without losing our sense of who we are. The key is to know ourselves.  Identity development starts in the earliest years and thus those who work with young children can have a large impact on others. Now more than any other time, we need to be self-learners who are responsible for our work and accountable to the organizations, families or communities we serve. People who are secure in their identity can see beyond.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

15 Minute Circle Times: Engaging Strategies for Large Group Success

Shirlene Law, MS, Director, Utah State University, UT & Elizabeth Montoya, MFHD, Adjunct Faculty, Brigham Young University- Idaho , UT

Large group time can be a challenge. This presentation will share effective strategies for circle time success. Attendees will be able to describe strategies that promote more successful circle times. They will be able to identify effective ways to engage children and share meaningful content during circle time as well as evaluate their own circle time practices and reflect on ways to strengthen them.

9:30 am -10:30 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

FINE MOTOR & LANGUAGE BOOTCAMP:  Using an Interprofessional Practice Model to Address Academic, Fine/Visual Motor, and Language Needs Using Dollar Store or Free Materials!

Emily McCarthy, MS, CCC-SLP & Julie Marzano, MS, OTR/L, Fine Motor Boot Camp, LLC, PA

Educators & caregivers are often “left in the dark” when it comes to fine motor & language interventions they can implement on their own.  During this “hands on” workshop, participants will learn practical strategies & solutions on how to use little to no cost materials (i.e. dollar store, household, & office items) to build language, play, & motor skills. There will be a strong emphasis on differentiating instruction to meet children at their developmental level with hands on experiences.

9:30 am -10:30 am Presentation – Sutton Place

A Clinical Directors Perspective: The Impact of Caretaker Outlook in the Wake of an Autism Diagnosis

Anna Marie Dorelien, MSEd, BCBA, LBA, Clinical Director, A Friendly Face Autism Treatment Services, NY

In keeping with her recent study, Anna Marie will discuss the far reaching implications of the caretakers outlook towards the diagnosis of autism. She will also discuss the inevitable role service providers play in shaping this outlook as families begin their journey. Anna Marie will accomplish this through a combination of anecdotal and documented evidence from the clinic, as well as insights gained from her latest research paper.

9:30 am -10:30 am Presentation – Gramercy Park

STEM in Early Childhood Education

Tamar Andrews, EdD, Preschool Director, Temple Isaiah Preschool, CA

STEM in ECE: Easier than you can imagine and more fun than anything you have probably ever done! Join this hands-on experiential tour through some really exciting and innovative STEM challenges that you can implement immediately into your own ECE-3rd grade classrooms. Modifications for SPED will be highlighted as well.  In one hour, you will experience over three months worth of activities, lessons, and classroom tools that are free or inexpensive but quite impressive.

9:30 am -10:30 am Presentation – Herald Square

Trauma Treatment, Etiology & Current Trends for Children & Adolescents

Tenise Wall, PhD, Clinical Director, Dr. Wall’s ADHD & Wellness Center, NY

The presentation will lay the foundation in understanding how trauma is defined and the ACE study that influences our work today. We will discuss how trauma affects people by examining the symptomology in young people. An exploration of the etiology of trauma and its impact on young people will be examined. Discussion about the importance for providers to understand and listen to those who have experienced trauma will be presented.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Our Littlest Sounders and Movers: Supporting Infant Development through Music

Tori Conicello-Emery, MA, Music Therapist, Music Together Worldwide, NJ

Infants are born sounders and movers. Caregiving that includes developmentally appropriate music and movement experiences for infants supports the infant’s neurologic development and social-emotional development. Infant-directed singing provides essential ingredients for supporting babies’ ability to self-soothe, a foundational skill in self-regulation. Purposeful touch paired with experiences of music promotes a variety of early physiologic and emotional-relational benefits. Participants will learn new songs and deepen their understanding of a developmentally appropriate approach to being musical with their youngest students and gain a fundamental understanding of why singing to (and with) babies is important.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Cultivating Curiosity in Young Learners: Surefire Techniques for Cognitive & Socioemotional Growth

Wendy Ostroff, PhD, Associate Professor, Sonoma State University, CA

Young children gain both cognitively and socioemotionally by engaging and exploring, asking questions and testing out answers. Yet early childhood classrooms are not always places where such curiosity is encouraged and supported. In this presentation, how to foster children’s curiosity through exploration, novelty, and play; questioning and critical thinking; and experimenting and problem solving will be discussed. With techniques to try, scaffolding advice, and relevant research from neuroscience and psychology, this interactive presentation will help teachers harness the powerful drive in all learners—the drive to know, understand, and experience the world in a meaningful way.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Sutton Place

Trouble Your Troubles! Using Lessons Learned to Prevent Crisis

Regina Folks, Consultant, The Early Childhood Education Director’s Network, GA

This presentation will introduce participants to elements of an ECE Crisis Management Plan and increase CM Skills to become proactive in the identification and management of a crisis.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Gramercy Park

Developmentally Appropriate Child Guidance: How to Facilitate Self-Control While Enhancing Self-Esteem

William Mosier, EdD, MD-Retired, Professor, Wright State University, OH

Participants will be asked to describe disruptive behaviors they have difficulty managing. The presenter will then role-play, with participants, 12 specific developmentally appropriate intervention strategies that facilitate young children gaining self-control and greater social competence while nurturing enhanced self-esteem.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Herald Square

Creative Movement for the Mind & Body

Kim Black, Children’s Ballet Director, The Burlington School/Burlington Dance Center, NC

Participants will learn how creative movement is a vital part of a preschool child’s development. They will learn techniques to quickly engage children for optimum participation. Participants will learn creative movement through skits, songs, and presentations. Participants will learn how to use various props that enhance the creative movement experience for preschoolers. Participants will learn how to use creative movement during special occasions and holidays to showcase what they have learned. These techniques and ideas learned in class can immediately be used in the classroom.

10:45 am -11:45 am Presentation – Kips Bay

Successful Intervention Strategies for Children with Visual Impairments

Kathy Boisvert, EdD, Early Childhood Educator, Blackstone-Millville Regional School District, RI

This presentation will discuss a variety of interventions that enable children with visual impairments to be effectively included in early childhood classrooms. Topics that will be discussed will include: simple modifications that make hands-on activities more engaging for children with visual impairments, the benefits of preview/review, how to use task analysis to help develop a greater comprehension of basic concepts, as well as how to use simple craft materials to create multisensory activities. This presentation will focus on several quick and effective intervention techniques that will assist educators in increasing their ability to successfully include children with visual impairments.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Music Activities to Support Social Development in the Preschool Inclusion Classroom

Tori Conicello-Emery, MA, Music Therapist, Music Together Worldwide, NJ

Participants will learn new ways to approach music-making to promote social development. Discover how songs and rhythmic chants can support necessary skills inherent in social development, including joint attention, turn-taking, and formulating greetings and appropriate responses. The presenter will highlight ways to approach making music with young children in the inclusion classroom to support development of social skills for children with differences and any child who needs additional support in social skill development. Participants will also be introduced to relevant social development theories as they apply to children.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Play On!: The Importance of Play on Academic and Social Development

Arefa Mohamed, MA, Head Speech-Language Pathologist, Tara Gordon, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist & Ashley Robertson, MA, Speech-Language Pathologist, Learning Spring, NY

In this presentation, play, which is the building blocks of development, will be explained. Beginning with the importance of play, the presentation will guide attendees through the types and levels of play. Additionally, the impact of play on learning will be explored, including comprehension, narrative development, cognition, self-regulation, and social negotiation. Parents, educators, and clinicians alike will walk away from this presentation with the tools to understand a child’s play level, how to facilitate play, and foster ongoing development for children of all ages.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Conflict Resolution: A Problem Solving Approach

José Velilla, MA, Executive Director, HighScope Educational Research Foundation, NY

Classroom conflicts are a normal part of any preschool environment. This presentation will introduce you to the HighScope Curriculums six problem solving steps that can be used to support children as they develop their social skills and learn how to resolve conflicts themselves. We will explore three styles adults use when responding to conflicts.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Partnering with Parents 201: New Ideas for Efficient and Effective Communication

Dominique Metze, MA, Kindergarten Teacher & Michelle Harrison, MA, Kindergarten Teacher, The Lexington School , KY

Our relationship with parents begins the moment that they find out their child has been placed in our class. Building trust is a crucial piece of very important parent/teacher partnership! Please join us from The Lexington School as we walk you through communicating with parents from day one in order to build that all important trust. This presentation will focus on day-to-day communication, parent night/open house, conferences, as well as those difficult conversations that are sometimes necessary throughout the school year.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Intro to DIR/Floortime 101: Learning How to Work Effectively with Young Children on the Autism Spectrum

Michele Havens, EdD, Educational Consultant, Imagine Academy, NJ

The DIR/Floortime model (Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-Based intervention) is an intervention that is used to promote an individual’s development through a respectful, playful, joyful, and engaging process. The method was developed by the late Dr. Stanley Greenspan, and uses the power of relationships to promote engagement, communication, positive behaviors, and thinking. It is used around the world by teachers, occupational therapists, speech therapists, mental health professionals, parents, and many others that care for individuals with developmental challenges or other related needs. It is an evidence-based approach to working with children with developmental challenges.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Presentation – Kips Bay

ALL ARE WELCOME HERE: Creating a Classroom Environment Where All Children Feel Empowered

Kathy Boisvert, EdD, Early Childhood Educator, Blackstone-Millville Regional School District, RI

This presentation will discuss a variety of methods and interventions that enable children to be effectively included in a variety of early childhood classroom settings. Topics that will be discussed include: peer-mediated instruction, communication interventions that will assist children with disabilities during social opportunities, behavioral intervention methods embedded into a daily schedule that will assist in the reduction of negative behaviors during transitions and throughout the day, specific modifications for children with physical impairments, as well as case studies.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

More Than Just a Game: Exploring the Power of Play Through Teambuilding

Allison Wittenberg, Director of Member Services, American Camp Association, New York

Games are often incorporated into programs to make sure that kids are having fun and as a way to fill down time, but do these activities have a greater purpose? This session will explore how teambuilding exercises can promote confidence, leadership, effective communication, critical thinking, and other valuable skills within youth. Discover new ways to implement meaningful group activities that can aid in the development of children while creating a strong sense of community. Come ready to play!

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Helping to Develop the Emotionally Healthy Child

Eileen Johnson, MA, Director, Alliance for Psychoanalytic Schools, NY

Emotional health is vital for a happy and productive life. Academic achievement is not possible for children with emotional difficulties. This presentation addresses the question: What are the elements of emotional health? This presentation shows the 10 elements of emotional health. The presentation also outlines how teachers can support and develop each of these qualities. Little Missionary’s Day Nursery uses these educational principles in a program of Emotional Education that all teachers can use. This system develops constructive communication and prevents bullying and gives children coping strategies for managing feelings and having good relationships in life.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Brigitte Desport, DPS, OTR/L, BCP, ATP, Interim Chair of the OT Program, SUNY Downstate Medical Center-College of Health Related Professions, NY

The Growing Brain: Understanding and Influencing a Baby’s Developing Brain

The presentation will begin with gathering information about the parts of the brain and their functions to help analyze the effects of stress on brain growth and development.  There will be discussions supplemented by one or two activities to support learning the subject matter.  This session is appropriate for families and service providers who are interested in understanding their influence on development and seek to add to their knowledge and awareness.  Participants will discover strategies and ways they can contribute to helping babies obtain healthy brain connections.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Pedagogy and Space: Design Inspirations for Early Childhood Classrooms!

Linda Zane, EdD, Associate Professor, Slippery Rock University of PA, PA

This presentation will explore ways in which classroom spaces can enrich one’s pedagogy. Participants will analyze photographs of early childhood classroom environments, which will be explored through the lens of recommended architectural ‘patterns’ that create effective learning environments. Participants will also be introduced to a ‘design toolkit’, which will provide specific suggestions to inspire creativity within their classrooms.

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Herald Square

Movement Makes Magic!

Sophia Z. Wastler, MSEd, Managing Director, The Starz Program, VA

With all the learning standards and pressure to make accreditation, now more than ever our children need mental breaks. These breaks should be infused with physical activity! By taking these short periodic breaks your students will become more engaged in learning and magically you will see improvements in both behavior and test scores. With very little equipment we will show you how to transform your classroom in minutes and provide you with numerous activities you can use every day to watch movement create magic!

2:15 pm – 3:15 pm Presentation – Kips Bay

The Role of Telehealth in Diagnosing and Treating Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Boyd Mark, MBA, Director of Telehealth, The Scott Center for Autism Treatment at Florida Tech, FL

Children with autism need consistent care and therapy with caregivers who understand their needs. Unfortunately, many families do not have access to specialized care —they may live too far away from care or simply find it inaccessible based on their circumstances. Telehealth has many advantages, including its accessibility and flexibility. As more professionals become credentialed every year, services provided to individuals with ASD may be limited due to the lack of experts located within the same geographical area, resulting in a lack of access to high quality services. Technological advancements, such as telehealth, can offer an alternative to services provided in-person that may increase access of individuals with ASD to experts (e.g., behavior analysts).

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Get Moving With The Awesome Squad!

Michael Scherer, Performer & Zach Garret, Performer, The Awesome Squad, IL

Come learn songs with fun and engaging movements that cross the center-line, and will shape up your students’ bodies and minds! We want to equip teachers and parents with new strategies that implement healthy physical movements, foster creative imagination and promote healthy brain development. Our philosophy is that children are already awesome. If a child can believe anything is possible for them now, it only further prepares them for success in later stages of school and life. Learn how to motivate your children to stay awesome!

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Out Loud: Building Pre-Literacy Confidence through Storytelling

Rachel Harrington, Storyteller, National Storytelling Network, NY

In this lively presentation early childhood educators will explore how the art of oral storytelling can build pre-literacy skills and ignite a lifelong love of reading and writing in the youngest of students. During this interactive presentation, participants will step into the role of storyteller and leave with a set of stories that build pre-reading and writing confidence in their classrooms.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Understanding How to Strengthen the Parent-Professional Relationship: A Mother’s Perspective

Mariela Adams, MS in Organization Development & Industrial Relations, Regional Coordinator, Parent to Parent of NYS, NY

As a mom of a child with significant therapy needs, Mariela has experienced the impact that a positive or negative parent-professional relationship can have on the results of therapy. Somewhat misunderstood and unappreciated, the parent-professional relationship is often oversimplified with “just be nice” messages. A professional, action-oriented model is necessary to assure that professionals are investing time and effort on skill building activities that will set the foundation to successful parent-professional relationships and improved outcomes for the child.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Sensory Smart Strategies for Real Life Challenges: Helping Young Children with Sensory Issues, Autism and Related Conditions

Lindsey Biel, MA, OTR/L, Occupational Therapist, Private Practice, NY

Most children, teenagers, and adults on the autism spectrum face sensory challenges that significantly impact how they function and feel at home, in school, and in the community. This workshop will provide practical strategies for managing sensitivities to noise, touch, movement, visuals, taste and smell as well as ways to avoid overstimulation and sensory overload.

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm Presentation – Herald Square

The Importance of Play

Bari Keller, PsyD, Clinical Director, Center for Autism, PA

The presentation will review the importance of play in child development. Areas of focus will include the benefits of play across developmental domains as well as the role of the caregiver and including parents/caregivers in play. Individual differences will be processed and discussed, including the impact of the child/caregiver relationship. Building relationships through play will be reviewed. Attendees will have the opportunity to be interactive and explore materials to enhance understanding as well as enjoy some time playing!