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2018 New York City Conference Program


= Autism & Special Needs Track


= STEAM Track

8:30 am – 4:30 pm Full-Day Workshop – Crystal Ballroom

Advanced Topics in Teaching Language to Children with Autism

Vincent J. Carbone, EdD, BCBA-D, Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctorate, Carbone Clinic, FL

B.F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior has inspired important research and clinical applications for teaching language to children with autism. The purpose of this presentation is to describe two current topics in the behavior analytic approach to teaching verbal behavior and how this information can be used to improve the instruction of children with autism. Research and clinical applications related to complex behavior such as understanding what others say and following multiple step directions will be discussed in the context of joint stimulus control.  The second topic will focus on the selection and teaching of alternative communication methods for children with autism who fail to develop speaking as their primary form of verbal behavior.  Within the discussion of each topic a review of the current research and conceptual analysis will precede an overview of clinical application.  In addition, numerous video illustrations of implementation of instructional methods in educational settings will support the discussion.

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

Classroom / Group Management Through Behavior Management

Carlena Vaden, MEd, Education Consultant, Divine Illumination Agency, LLC, VA

Participants will engage in an interactive presentation where strategies are explored for working with students in large or small groups.  Learn new methods to make those challenging behaviors of students into progressive points throughout the day.

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

Supporting Learning: Strategies to Address Sensory Processing Disorders in the Home and Classroom

Brigitte C. Desport, DPS, ATP, OTR/L, Associate Dean for Strategic Initiatives, SUNY Downstate Medical Center-College of Health Related Professions, NY & Sandra M. Duarte, MS, OTR/L, RYT-200, New York Department of Education, NY

This workshop will include an overview of different types of Sensory Processing Disorders (SPD).  Participants will learn strategies that can be easily integrated into a child’s day.  Therapists collaborating with parents and teachers is critical for the carryover of therapeutic interventions and for helping their children develop self-awareness of their sensory needs.  Participants will have a better understanding of SPD and the children in their lives, building relationships that are supportive and affirmative.  Age groups covered range from toddlerhood to elementary school age.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Kips Bay

StepUp to Learn!

Nancy Rowe, MS, CCC/A, Audiologist, Neuronet Learning, FL

NeuroNet Learning has developed a new streaming service to deliver movement-based learning curriculum, assessment, and analytics to help early learning educators improve student engagement and performance. StepUp to Learn ( combines kinesthetics with academics for early learners. This workshop provides an overview of the neurological process that takes place in the brain as young children develop fluency in gross motor and academic skills. Participants will earn CEUs and receive a one-year software license to the StepUp to Learn curriculum platform. 

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm Half-Day Workshop – Gramercy Park

Teaching Emotional Intelligence:  It Is About More Than Mad, Sad, Happy, Scared & Surprised

Cindy Terebush, CYPFC, Early Childhood Consultant, Independent Early Childhood Consultant, NJ

Prioritizing lessons about emotional intelligence demonstrates our respect for the whole child and helps children to feel more confident in their abilities. Learn to increase your use of emotion vocabulary when interacting with children and discuss techniques that teach mindfulness and self-regulation. When we tell sad children not to cry or scared children not to be afraid, we invalidate their normal human emotions. This presentation will help you to improve your responses to the emotions that we find every day when we work with young children

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

Helping Parents Understand the Importance of Early Sensory Motor Experiences

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

Why is parent education for the earliest years so critical?  How can we deliver information in a way that it can be easily heard and readily applied?  What are the key messages that we need to convey about early sensory motor development and attachment?  Join Christine to learn about delivering “Brain Bites” that teach in the moment and give parents information that is vital for the healthy development of their child.  Learn key messages that turn off technology and turn on the play!

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

Best Practice Dual Methodology Programming: ABA and DIR- Perfect Together

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

There are many models currently utilized for educating students with autism. This presentation will focus on two of them, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) and Developmental, Individualized, Relationship-Based Intervention (DIR).  These two models are often considered contradictory and opposing in nature, but can work collaboratively. This presentation focuses on the collaboration of professionals in the use of the ABA and DIR models together in Autism Spectrum Disorder programs to promote student success, in the public and private sector.  Presenters will share techniques and strategies in the use of dual methodologies, including staffing, administration and working with families in this joint model.


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

Play’s the Thing: Using Humor and Fun to Uplift Your Workplace

Holly Elissa Bruno, JD, Author, Holly Elissa Bruno Keynotes & Team Building, MA

Lighthearted and playful educators set a tone for creativity and joy in the workplace. Humor frees our brain’s executive function to invent new approaches, solve problems effectively and stay optimistic no matter what. Work need not be the opposite of play. Learn how to restore fun and passion around you to chase the blahs and restore enthusiasm for our invaluable work. Did you know that laughter is the shortest distance between two people, unless humor is being used to harm rather than to uplift? Even when you are at your most worn out, on your last nerve, or ready to bolt for the hills, laughing kindly at yourself can and will uplift you to the balcony of perspective. According to adults-at-play expert, Dr. Stuart Brown, “we become truly powerful people” when we whole-heartedly play at work. What’s holding you back? Perhaps it’s time to kick that to the curb. Your executive function awaits and will thank you plentifully!

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

Anxiety, Trauma, and Emotion Dysregulation in Children: Where Learning Stops

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

When working with learners of any age, it is imperative that educators have a basic understanding of how stress, anxiety, trauma, and an individual’s unique method of emotional regulation impact behavior and educational outcomes. This workshop provides empirically supported information on the neuroscience behind the human stress response, coping behaviors, and methods for increasing emotional resiliency in young children. Strategies for guiding the development of healthy emotion regulation skills in children of all stages of early learning and development are presented.

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

Climate Change is Good!: How to Enhance Your Classroom Experience

Laura Maniglia, MA, Education Consultant, Handle Associates, LLC, CT & Charles A. Maniglia, PhD, Education Consultant, Handle Associates, LLC, CT

The first step to establishing a warm classroom climate is effective behavior management. Providing each child with unconditional positive regard and establishing behavior rules can set the climate of your classroom on high!

9:30 am – 10:30 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Early Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Framework for Observation

Patricia Towle, PhD, Senior Psychologist, Westchester Institute for Human Development, NY

This presentation will describe the key behaviors of ASD in the areas of social-communication, repetitive behaviors, and atypical play for children 15-30 months. This information will be very useful for early intervention providers and childcare staff who are working with young children and in a position to refer for evaluation. It will also be valuable for medical and psychological professionals who wish to acquire or add to their knowledge and skill in this area.

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

Supporting Young Children’s Communication Through Teaching American Sign Language

Jade Burris, EdD, Assistant Professor, West Chester University of PA, PA

This presentation will discuss strategies for teaching practical signs to encourage and facilitate communication.  Specific signs will be demonstrated and the presenter will discuss relevant research connected to using sign language with young children.

9:30 am – 11:30 am STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Fun with Shapes: Guiding Young Children to Explore the World of Geometry

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

The foundation for children’s mathematical development is established in the earliest years. Mathematics learning builds on the curiosity and enthusiasm of children and grows naturally from their experiences. Appropriate mathematical experiences challenge young children to explore ideas related to patterns, shapes, numbers, and space with increasing sophistication. They find shapes in their environments and describe them in their own words. Exploring, experimenting, and discussions can expand the geometric and spatial knowledge children bring to school.

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

Behavior Goes Where Reinforcement Flows: Using the Matching Law to Understand Behavior

Lauren Kryzak, PhD, Clinical Director, Above and Beyond Learning Group, NJ & Celia Heyman, MA, Clinical Manager, Above and Beyond Learning Group, NJ

Children are frequently faced with choice about how to behave. Do I brush my teeth or run away from mom? Do I ask for a snack or scream and point? Adults often wonder why a child may engage in one behavior more often than another. The answer is likely related to the Matching Law. The Matching Law indicates that a child will usually choose the behavior that has a higher rate of reinforcement.  This means that, by carefully considering rates of reinforcement, parents and professionals can directly impact behavior without punishment. This presentation will outline a description of the Matching Law, provide “real life” examples, and recommended intervention strategies.

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

Discover the 5 Secrets to Catapulting Communication, Engagement, and Motivation

Candace Moore, MS, Speech-Language Pathologist, Shallowater and Lubbock Independent School Districts, TX

Boosting the engagement, motivation, and communication of our children requires collaboration amongst parents and professionals, innovation, and implementation of brain-based research.  The diversity of available resources, research studies, activities, and strategies leaves parents and professionals mind-boggled, overwhelmed and seeking answers. What’s the one thing we can do to improve communication and engagement?  How do we apply brain-based research to the playroom, classroom, dinner table, and play ground? Why is collaboration important. At this presentation, you will learn 5 surprising, inspiring, free, and evidenced- based secrets that can easily be implemented in parent and teacher training in order to achieve extraordinary results.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

The Benefits Of Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) Use To Promote Language Development

Michelle Attardi, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, ASHA, NJ

This presentation will expose the need, benefit, and challenges of successful AAC use.  Talking and language, although go together, are two different things.  If we can effectively use Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) to support access to language, we allow for improved regulation of the child, improved access to learning for the child, and improved socialization of the child.  We need to educate so their is less fear around AAC use.  The more robust access to language the more empowered the child.

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

Teacher, Teacher What Do You See? I See A Self-Regulated Student Looking At Me!

Lindy Gaudiano, MEd, Academic Program Manager, Grand Canyon University, AZ & Stacy Rucker, MEd, MS, Program Lead Instructor, Higher Education Educator, AZ

Participants will gain a perspective look into fostering intrinsic motivation, conscious learning and self-regulated characteristics supporting learner’s knowledge and skills while developing a vision for learning in early childhood environments. This interactive presentation encourages a reciprocal relationship between students and those responsible for the partnership in fostering learner autonomy in the classroom.  The session will help participants gain insight on encouraging students to invest in their own learning preferences and develop life-long self-regulating habits and include a synergetic discussion on strategies to better serve the resiliency of students impacted by external trauma and how we as partners perceive them.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm Keynote – Grand Ballroom

To Succeed Later, Start Earlier

Shael Polakow-Suransky, MSEd, President, Bank Street College of Education, NY

When it comes to education, the United States has historically focused attention and resources on K-12 schooling, while far too often failing to meet the early care and education needs of infants, toddlers, and their families. In fact, on a per capita basis, we spend roughly 10 times less on education for our youngest children than we do on K-12. You can find the opposite pattern in every other wealthy nation in the world. That misplaced emphasis is contributing to deep inequities. Recent findings in neuroscience research are underscoring how critical a child’s first 1,000 days are for brain development. If the United States is serious about addressing the achievement gap, it is critical to invest in early childhood education and ensure that all children establish a foundation for academic progress and healthy social-emotional development. Drawing on his experience as a teacher, principal, senior administrator for the largest school system in the United States, and now president of Bank Street College, Shael Polakow-Suransky will review the latest research and explore how educators, administrators, elected officials, and philanthropic leaders can collectively elevate the prominence of early childhood in the educational landscape.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

A Restorative Framework Teaching and Supporting the Whole Child

Michele Hamilton, MA, Founder, Pear Tree Community Schools Oakland, CA

Young children use their behavior to tell us what they need.  Over the past five years the Pear Tree Community School has developed a research backed methodology to support struggling children to meet their needs, make academic gains and build connections with their peers.  Understanding the needs behind problematic behavior takes careful observation, an understanding of the stress to trauma spectrum, and strategic interventions.  In this workshop we will share our framework to re-frame problematic behavior as an unmet need for the child.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Conflict Resolution: A Problem Solving Approach

José Velilla, MA, Highscope Field Consultant, HighScope Foundation, NY

Classroom Conflicts are a normal part of any preschool environment. This presentation will introduce participants to the HighScope Curriculum’s six problem solving steps that can be used to support children as they develop their social skills and in time learn how to resolve conflicts themselves.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Learners: Establishing Independence, Encouraging Self-Regulated Learners, Motivating the Unmotivated

Lindy Gaudiano, MEd, Academic Program Manager, Grand Canyon University, AZ & Stacy Rucker, MEd, MS, Program Lead Instructor, Higher Education Educator, AZ

This presentation provides a comprehensive look at establishing a successful learning culture in the early childhood learning environment. The whole child is the foundation of a successful learning experience. The teacher strives to create a learning environment that models independence through academic and behavioral goal setting. The motivation behind student learning is magnified through engaging instruction, modeling strategies, and a classroom fostered around the guise of developing life-long learners. This interactive presentation will share strategies to improve behaviors and academics in the classroom environment, while encouraging participants to develop practical strategies to produce independent, self-regulated, and motivated learners.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Developing Wellness Policies to Promote Positive Eating and Physical Activity Habits

Brianna Holmes, MA, Technical Trainer, Nemours Children’s Health System, District of Columbia
Let’s get kids moving and nurture healthy eaters! This interactive presentation provides information on the best practices for healthy eating and physical activity, the importance of wellness policies and strategies to increase healthy habits in early childhood programs serving children birth to five years. During the presentation, participants will develop 1-2 wellness policies they would like to implement in their program based on the information learned. Participants will leave with the knowledge of how the development and adoption of a center wellness policy and integrating positive healthy eating and physical activity habits are important for creating sustainable change.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Teaching the Language of Tomorrow: How Play-Based Coding Can Set Preschool-Aged Children on the Path to Success

Helen Hadani, PhD, Director of Research, Center for Childhood Creativity, CA & Deborah Weber, PhD, Director, Fisher-Price, CA

As technology plays an increasingly central role in our daily lives, coding is quickly becoming the second language of choice for young students. But how early should children begin learning this new language, and is it an important skill for modern learners? In this panel discussion, you will explore classrooms seeing gains in STEM achievement—including significant improvements in spatial reasoning and sequencing tasks—through play-based coding. Panelists will also discuss the importance of coding skills for the jobs of the future, and the STEM-based education for preschool-aged children.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Empowering Adults to Work with Children from Trauma

Kristie Adams, MEd, Vice President Programs & Services, Family Scholar House, Inc, KY

“Only children who feel safe, dares to grow forward healthily.”  This quote by A. Maslow is the foundation for working with children exposed to domestic violence.  According to the NCADV, one in fifteen children are exposed to domestic violence each year.  This presentation will provide a brief overview of children exposed to violence, information on working with children in a trauma-informed way, using a two generational approach, and will include activities that can be in included in any classroom.  Other practices that will be introduced will be mindfulness, growth mindset, and consistency.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Energize Young Minds

Santana Morris, MBA, Executive Director, Jamaica Intensive Reading Clinic, FL

It is important that we empower children into becoming powerful beings that will contribute greatly to our nation. That said, this presentation will be an interactive presentation to help students to unleash their fullest potential. I will also use my success story about how i struggled as a child to the position that I am currently in as a successful woman. Individual and group activities will be given to facilitate group motivation where each person will be inspired by their peers success stories. I plan to use handouts, powerpoint presentation, interactive life changing activities that will be life skills, improve self esteem, confidence and faith towards the future.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

SELF-CARE. Put Your Oxygen Mask on First! A Mindfulness-Based Practice for Caregivers

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

Caring for others is one of the noblest yet challenging missions we are called to do in life. It is noble and challenging for the same reason: we give ourselves to the task. In the process, however, often the best intensions and efforts result in feeling overwhelmed or burned out because we neglect to take care of ourselves: to put the oxygen mask on first! Understanding that the wells of resources are not bottomless, self-care becomes an integral part of caregiving. This experiential workshop will address the importance of self-care and teach a 30-minute mindfulness-based movement practice that can help replenish our inner resources. It consists of a sequence of simple breathing / yoga / chi-kong techniques, derived from my many years of personal experience with these techniques. A step-by-step practice guide, with useful modifications, will be provided. Please wear comfortable clothes.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Project Based Learning (PBL) in Prekindergarten? Yes We Can and Yes We Do!

Cathy Surowka, MEd, Specialist, Virginia Preschool Initiative Expansion, VA & Julia Wilmouth, MEd, Teacher, Virginia Preschool Initiative Expansion, VA

Have you ever wondered how to incorporate the 4 “Cs” (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) into your PreK teaching? Project based learning (PBL) is the way to go! Come join two PreK educators and see how they help students develop life skills, make real world connections and build community both within and beyond the school.  You will discover how to engage young students as they take ownership of their learning while collaborating with their peers. Be sure to catch this “ball” of fun and learn how to get the “ball” rolling with PBL.


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

Re-examining Our Practice as We Deepen Our Commitment:  Early Childhood Educators Rising to the Challenge

Suzanne Carothers, PhD, Former Professor of Early Childhood Education, New York University, NY

The early childhood classroom cannot be seen as a haven from the real world realities which surround it.  As early childhood educators, how are we meeting the challenges of addressing the “hard to talk about topics” such as race, class, and gender in the environments we create that serve young children and their families?  By engaging in meaningful conversation, the goal of this session is to incite a broadening and deepening of our thinking and practice as early childhood  teachers, leaders, and policy makers who shape the educational landscape for all children. 

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

Designing Classrooms that Inspire Playful Learning

Mariah Bruehl, MS, Founder, Playful Learning, NY

The classroom environment plays a critical role in children’s behavior and ability to learn. In this presentation, teachers will learn tried and true techniques for designing a classroom that encourages exploration, nurtures independence, and that provides playful learning experiences in literacy, numeracy, science, art, and dramatic play. We will also discuss, educational theory, organization, and selecting materials for different ages and stages of child development. All participants will leave with practical classroom inspiration that can be put to good use the next day!

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

Effective Strategies to Ensure the Implementation of Common Core Standards in Early Grades

Tonya Cooper, EdD, Instructional Leadership Director, Shelby County Schools, TN & Angela Nichols, EdD, Principal, Shelby County Schools, TN

This interactive presentation will focus on the importance of reading meaning-based skills that are aligned with the National Common Core Standards.  Participants will gain access to the standards and come to understand how standards-based instruction can be applied to early childhood growth and development. The Common Core Shifts in ELA will also be explored for the purpose of assisting participants with identifying key levers in the acquisition of reading meaning-based skills. Professional learning strategies used to accomplish the session’s goals will include brainstorming, cooperative learning, discussions, collaboration, and active learning.

9:30 am – 10:30 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Interdiciplinary Programming For Kindergarten Students with Communication, Self-Regulation and Social Learning Needs

Christine Holdren, OTD, Occupational Therapist, Southern Elementary School, DE, Melissa Eger, MA-CCC/SLP, Speech Language Pathologist, Southern Elementary School, DE, Whitney Barrera, MEd, Special Education Teacher, Colonial School District, DE

This presentation will discuss the development and implementation of a programming model used in a public school district for kindergarten students who have communication, self-regulation and social learning needs while still following general education curriculum.  The CASL (Communication and Social Learning) Program uses a strong interdisciplinary team approach which includes a special education teacher, occupational therapist, speech language pathologist and school psychologist. Current and effective research-based methods and resources for improving communication, social skills and self-regulation skills within a kindergarten classroom will be reviewed.

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

Let’s Lead By Example: Healthy Educators Help Build Healthy Students

Dawn Susi, Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, Common Threads, NY

Become a healthy role model for your students, school, and community! Nutrition education and healthy cooking expert, Common Threads, will facilitate this hands on (and edible!) workshop to empower educators to improve their personal health and wellness as well as experience simple lessons and tools to bring relevant nutrition education to PK-1st grade classrooms. Participants will be able to immediately use tools from the workshop in their classrooms via Common Threads’ new free website,, which includes online resources, recipes, and games for educators to bring nutrition and cooking education to their students.

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

Pediatric Behavioral Feeding Disorders

Sonu Sanghoee, MS, CCC-SLP, Clinical Director, Achieve Beyond, NY

This presentation will focus on describing assessment as well as evaluation criteria for pediatric behavioral feeding disorders, from the DSM –V and the NY State Motor Clinical Practice Guidelines.  In addition using detailed caregiver feeding history questions, observations of parent child interaction, looking clinical cues for behavioral feeding problems in children will also be discussed. Participants will learn specific reinforcement intervention techniques such as shaping, differential Reinforcement of alternative behavior etc. that are used to treat the broad spectrum of pediatric behavioral feeding disorders. Importance of structured feeding schedules and safe feeding guidelines for parents will also be discussed.

9:30 am – 9:45 am Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

Product Demonstration

New Era in Science Education with Beetbox

Shazia Choudri, LLLB (Hons), Holisic Health Coach, CEO, NY

An introduction and product demo of beetbox and how it can positively impact the lives of teachers and children. Beetbox’s flagship product is a complete teaching solution in a box, providing 3 to 6 year olds a robust science curriculum that explores food from seed to table, and includes all materials, fresh ingredients, and lesson plans. Our solution meets both STEAM and Nutritional education requirements and fosters enthusiasm for science through hands-on activities. Ultimately, this connects children with natural food and encourages healthier eating habits.

10:00 am – 10:15 am Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

Technology-Enabled Assessments in Early Childhood Development

Tammy Kwan, MBA, CEO, Cognitive ToyBox, NY

Observation-based assessment is the most prevalent assessment approach in early childhood education programs, but it is flawed. Teachers spend hours per week writing notes on student development, transcribing the notes into a digital form, and then subsequently scanning for patterns within these anecdotes to guide instruction. Cognitive ToyBox (CTB) is developing a new paradigm for early childhood assessment: five-minute touchscreen games to assess early language, literacy, math, and social-emotional development. This presentation will discuss how Head Start and Pre-K programs are using CTB’s formative assessment games to better understand student learning and to adjust instruction.

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

Ritualizing Social-Emotional Learning through Creative Expression

Katie Fallone, MEd, Program Director, Move This World, NY
In this presentation, participants engage in simple exercises to identify how emotional states influence the way we work and interact with others and how to use this information to create safe, supportive, and effective learning environments. Move This World uses creative expression to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of individuals and school communities. Through a series of exercises, rooted in positive psychology and creative arts therapy, educators and school leaders will begin to form a common language surrounding emotions and mental health. Participants will leave the presentation with tangible strategies to better address the emotional wellbeing of themselves and their students.

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

Keep Calm & Teach On

Susan Lovato, MA, Teacher, School Climate Consultant, Delran Board of Education, NJ

This presentation will help participants discover how to utilize common sense, research based classroom management techniques that can be implemented into the classroom and school-wide, with positive and observable results. This presentation is designed to presents some of the most common mistakes educators make, followed by suggestions as to what we should do instead. Participants will learn how to create and maintain a positive, productive classroom atmosphere conducive to learning, and how to deal with a wide variety of behavior challenges. As a result, you can and increase instruction time throughout the day.

10:45 am – 11:45 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Fine Motor Boot Camp, Using an Inter-Professional Practice Model to Address Academic, Fine/Visual Motor and Language Needs Using Dollar Store or Free Materials!

Julie Marzano, MS, Occupational Therapist, AOTA, PA & Emily McCarthy, MS, Early Intervention Provider, ASHA, PA

This is a hands on and engaging presentation by a twin sister occupational & speech therapy duo that embraces the inter-professional practice model.  Attendees will learn about play, fine/visual motor and language development/skills.   Learn how to implement and differentiate instruction using SIMPLE and inexpensive (dollar store or free) activities.

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

Your Growing Child & What to Expect; Advice from an Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon

Christen Russo, MD, Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, NY & Tara Liddle, MPT, Regional Director of Pediatrics, MOTION PT Group, NY

A pediatric orthopedic surgeon sees patients with special needs and developmental delays. She may provide gentle reassurance, prescribe orthotics, braces and physical therapy, or offer surgery. In conjunction with an orthopedic surgeon, a pediatric physical therapist guides children and parents toward proper motor skill development, along with the use of early exploration and effective play to help achieve goals to give children a greater sense of self and decrease physical limitations. Such a combined practice treats each patient holistically, acknowledging the complexities of being a child and unique family dynamics. Today, we hope to educate parents regarding common pediatric orthopedic conditions.

10:45 am – 11:45 am STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Engaging Young Students in Science

Lindsay Frank, MS, Science Specialist, Port Chester- Rye Unified School District, CT

During the presentation, the participants will actively engage in lessons, projects and activities to bring back to their classrooms of young students.  For the duration of the time together, the participants will learn techniques to actively engage young scientists into the world of science and learn about the importance of parent participation in science education and talk about workshops to include parents. Through multiple modalities of teaching and learning, participants are able to take the knowledge back to their classrooms to make all students lifelong scientists.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm Keynote – Grand Ballroom

Lessons Learned from My Social Work with the Poor Children in Rural India

Dr. Abraham George, Founder, The George Foundation, NJ

After 25 years of corporate life in America, Dr. George set out to improve the socio-economic conditions of the poor in rural India, especially among the 250 million Dalits or the so-called “untouchables” — families who have been living in extreme poverty and indignity for generations and have practically no way out. This mission is now embodied in Shanti Bhavan, a residential school that I started 20 years ago. Dr. George firmly believes that if you give impoverished children the same tools and educational opportunities their wealthier peers have, while modeling for them strong humane values and civic engagement, there is no limit to what they can achieve. This keynote will review the encouraging successes of the children so far. Graduates from the school are now working in multi-national companies like Mercedes Benz, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs and Amazon. They have gone on to help their families rise out of poverty. It is the hope of the Shanti Bhavan community that these young men and women will one day transform their communities and reach out to many more in need, creating a multiplicative impact on poverty and social injustice. The school has achieved worldwide recognition through the acclaimed Netflix film “Daughters of Destiny” which highlights the struggles and remarkable achievements of 5 girls over a 7 year period.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Make Time for Science! 10 practical Ways to Integrate Science into your Classroom

Nermeen Dashoush, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor, Boston University, MA

Only 19% of children in the U.S. receive any form of science instruction regularly before 2nd grade (N.A.S.T. Learnings Report, 2015). Why is science instruction, beloved by children, being omitted during critical foundational years? Reasons include teacher discomfort with science or a sense that they just don’t have enough time to teach science throughout the day. This interactive presentation is great for teachers with various comfort levels of science who want to learn practical methods of incorporating science into their classrooms. Methods such as exercise, singing, games, show and tell, and much more will be explored.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Learning Styles Really Do Matter!

Lakisha Best, MEd, CEO Pre-K Consulting Firm, CDA Council, OH

Learning Styles Really Do Matter! an interactive training where participants will be able to identify their own learning styles as well as their student’s. At the end of the presentation participants will be able to plan proper observation strategies based on the child’s learning style. The participant will be able to plan an inclusive learning environment for all learning styles. The participant will also be able to list adaptions that could be made to the environment based on the individual child.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Picky Eating and Play-Based Learning

Megan Haupt, Founder, Hungry Education, PA

Picky eating is a challenge for both parents and educators with frustrations seeming to outweigh results. Hungry Education has take a different approach to get picky eaters to try novel foods. By setting lessons in a play-based context, children have the ability to try novel foods in ways that are appealing to them, through art, music, movement, and storytelling. Educators will learn how picky eating presents at different stages of development, why some children seem more resistant to try new foods, and how to adapt lesson plans to include play-based learning.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Cultivating Teacher Resiliency through Self-Care

Sascha Longstreth, PhD, Associate Professor, San Diego State University, CA 

New research suggests that early childhood teachers experience chronic job-related stress, which in turn affects students well-being and achievement. Researchers at the University of Virginia, for instance, have found that teachers who showed higher levels of stress at the beginning of the year were more likely to use punitive forms of discipline and less likely to create a stimulating classroom environment for students, compared to teachers who reported lower levels of stress. These findings indicate a need for programs that provide teachers with concrete strategies for practicing self-care in the classroom. Teachers who practice self-care techniques (e.g., mindfulness) are more likely to be fulfilled in their work. The purpose of this presentation will be to introduce several evidence-based strategies shown to help teachers identify their feelings, strengths and challenges and regulate their emotions in a stressful context.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Beyond the Classroom: Using Community-Based Interventions to Improve Early Literacy and Math

Megan Carolan, MPP, Director of Policy Research, Institute for Child Success, NJ
Parents are children’s first teachers, but often our efforts to improve academic and social-emotional outcome are focused solely on classrooms. Parents, extended family, and adults in the community can play a critical role in fostering early math and literacy in young learners if they have access to resources and knowledge that fit their daily lives. This workshop will introduce research on building early math and pre-literacy skills, including long-term outcomes, and highlight promising, innovative literacy and math programs outside of the classroom, including two-generation and light-touch approaches which use existing structures of everyday family life.

2:00 pm – 2:15 pm Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

STEM Product Demonstration

New Era in Science Education with Beetbox

Shazia Choudri, LLLB (Hons), Holisic Health Coach, CEO, NY

An introduction and product demo of beetbox and how it can positively impact the lives of teachers and children. Beetbox’s flagship product is a complete teaching solution in a box, providing 3 to 6 year olds a robust science curriculum that explores food from seed to table, and includes all materials, fresh ingredients, and lesson plans. Our solution meets both STEAM and Nutritional education requirements and fosters enthusiasm for science through hands-on activities. Ultimately, this connects children with natural food and encourages healthier eating habits.

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm Product Demonstration – Kips Bay

Technology-Enabled Assessments in Early Childhood Development

Tammy Kwan, MBA, CEO, Cognitive ToyBox, NY

Observation-based assessment is the most prevalent assessment approach in early childhood education programs, but it is flawed. Teachers spend hours per week writing notes on student development, transcribing the notes into a digital form, and then subsequently scanning for patterns within these anecdotes to guide instruction. Cognitive ToyBox (CTB) is developing a new paradigm for early childhood assessment: five-minute touchscreen games to assess early language, literacy, math, and social-emotional development. This presentation will discuss how Head Start and Pre-K programs are using CTB’s formative assessment games to better understand student learning and to adjust instruction.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Muppets and More: Tips for Using PBS Kids to Excite, Engage, and Educate in your Early Learning Classroom

Norah Jones, MEd, Associate Producer, WNET, NY

Join WNET (New York’s PBS Station, THIRTEEN) for this hands-on workshop where you will discover easy ways to engage and educate with PBS Kids content in your classroom. This interactive presentation will feature resources and activities from your students’ favorite shows, like Thomas & Friends, Curious George, and Sesame Street.  Walk away with a new set of techniques for using videos and games in your lesson planning, tips for how educational media can bridge the parent/provider connection, and a suite of free digital resources from PBS KIDS.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Making Mindfulness Stick with Kids

Christopher Willard, PsyD, Faculty, Harvard Medical School, MS

So many of us know the value of mindfulness, but how can we make mindfulness really stick beyond the brief hour we spend with our clients each week?  This presentation explores best wisdom and research for supporting a mindfulness practice by considering a more holistic model of teaching. Examining all angles, including deepening our own practice and creating a community of support around our clients, we will also examine best practicing for sharing practices together in presentation and as a foundation for helping our clients cultivate independent practice outside of our time together.  Participants should be prepared for an interactive presentation spent adapting and practicing a variety of mindfulness exercises using senses, visualization, movement, games, and more that can be practiced by professionals and clients of all levels of experience.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Sutton Place

Autism & Special Needs Track

A Teacher Walks Into A Bar: Using Humor to Teach Foundational Academics to Children with Special Needs

Andy Kleiman, MSEd, Advanced DIR/Floortime Provider, Rebecca School, NY

Everybody laughs, that is a universal truth. Laughter brings us together.  Heals us.  Regulates us.  We build relationships through laughter and humor.  Through videos, cases studies, and a couple of jokes, this presentation demonstrates how to use humor to teach foundational academics to a child with special needs throughout their development.  It offers a crash course in the developmental intervention model DIR/Floortime and shows how humor is a valuable tool in unlocking higher thinking. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn the power of the joke.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Connecting Educators and Families: Engaging Tips and Activities to Foster and Improve Children’s Literacy Skills

Marcie Aboff, Children’s Author, Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature, NJ

Children’s author Marcie Aboff believes literacy skills at home in a warm and nurturing environment. She’ll share engaging ways to integrate literacy throughout a family’s busy day at home, in the car, on outings, and more. Other literacy strategies feature favorite books/stories and family-time activities. Many activities can also be used in the classroom or group setting. Educators and childcare professionals share the activities with families at open houses, literacy nights, teacher-parent conferences, parent e-mails/newsletters, etc. The busiest of parents, as well as ELL parents, will discover practical and easy ways to foster literacy development.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Math in the Early Childhood Classroom: Preparing Young Children to Succeed

David Banzer, MEd, Doctoral Candidate, University at Chicago, IL & Jennifer Asimow, MEd, Associate Professor, Harold Washington College, IL

Participants will learn about the importance of early math and about the urgent need to include math in their own work with children in the early childhood classroom. The NO COST Math at Home: Early Math Matters professional development website and courses will be explored and the newest research about the effectiveness of the online courses will be presented. All participants will gain access to the free PD as well as a free math manipulative for use in their own schools and centers. This is a grant funded project at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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

Communication Excellence in Early Childhood Settings – The Journey Upward, Outward and Inward

Ken Welsh, Communication Coach, Australia

From the moment we are born one of our strongest desires is to communicate ….. to communicate clearly, coherently and completely. Ken’s work revolves around the ability of a single word or phrase to change the way people behave, with his key premise being that language has the ability to create physiological change resulting in behavioural change. Every time we talk with someone we create or break a bond; we promote the production of neuro-transmitters, hormones, endorphins (and more) in the people we speak with, and ourselves. For many years these elements of neuro-psychology have been applied to the corporate and political world; yet they are equally relevant to our personal lives and to early childhood development. Consider the power these forms of messaging could have for a child; guiding their early development and setting the scene for the adult that is yet to come. Consider how thirsty a developing mind can be, how each word, each phrase can inform both its present and future choices. Each and every one of us creates our own reality through the morphing of our experiences, ideas and imagination. Let’s discuss how our communication choices can impact on ourselves and our children; helping or hindering their Journey Upward, Outward and Inward. 

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

Positive Emotional Climate: The Future of Behavior Management

Erin Browder, MEd, MS, Education Consultant, CA

Grounded in research from the fields of education psychology, emotional intelligence and neurobiology, this presentation will offer a toolkit for educators, principals, health care staff, and school counselors whose work serves large populations exposed to varying levels of childhood trauma and adversity. Participants will unpack the concept of emotional climate, emotional awareness, and mindfulness, in addition to providing strategies and techniques that support the well-being of adults and children. Participants will have the opportunity to collaborate and build off each others’ expertise.

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

The Glamour of Garbage: Utilizing Everyday Items to Create Independent Tasks for Young Children

Mindy Small, Coordinator of Autism Services, Birch Family Services, NY & Lori Volpe, PhD, Coordinator of Autism Services, Birch Family Services, NY

Professionals that educate students on the autism spectrum spend large amounts of time and money creating meaningful tasks for their students. We have found that by recycling and repurposing everyday items, that would otherwise end up in the trash, we can decrease the amount of money spent. This presentation will focus on what materials to save, where to get them and most importantly, how to transform them into visually clear independent tasks for young children. An overview of the three components needed to create visually clear tasks (visual instructions, visual organization, visual clarity) will be provided.

9:30 am -10:30 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Au-mazing Gift: A Journey to Autism Acceptance

Alisha Griffith, AuD, Autism Parent Coach, ASHA, NY

This presentation gives parents, professionals and caregivers essential tools on how to embrace, equip and empower themselves to be dynamic trailblazers in the sometimes overwhelming and exhausting world of autism. Presentation will include tools that include It will also identify key “success ” factors that can be introduced and  applied for other caregivers. 

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

Peer Mentoring…Raising Children’s Emotional IQ as a Means to Resolve Conflict in the Classroom

Rhonda Duff-Baptiste, MSEd, Guidance Counselor, The Rainbow Affect, NY

Give your students the tools to create a peer mentoring culture in the classroom.  This presentation will demonstrate peer mentoring techniques to coach your students to resolve conflict amongst themselves through practical lessons and activities directly addressing the typical situations that arise in the classroom setting. Building the emotional language to resolve conflict empowers children and raises their self-worth barometer while simultaneously decreasing the amount of instructional time lost to emotional breakdowns and conflict.

9:30 am -10:30 am STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Blending Tablets with Hands-on Instruction to Build Early Mathematics Knowledge

John Schacter, PhD, Professor, San Jose State University, CA

Math knowledge in Kindergarten is the best predictor of a child’s high school achievement.  In this interactive session, educators will play with a variety of preschool evidenced-based math apps.  Teachers will review important early math skills (e.g., subtilizing, counting strategies, matching collections to numerals, number decomposition, etc.) and practice how to integrate this math content into small group instruction.  The workshop will conclude with practical ideas for how to organize your classroom so that tablets and hands-on math activities together build fluency with numbers.

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

The Effectiveness of Early Intervention

Michael J. Guralnick, PhD, Director, Center on Human Development and Disability, WA

This presentation provides a comprehensive perspective of the conceptual framework for and effectiveness of early intervention for children at risk for and those with established developmental disabilities. Pathways influencing child developmental outcomes that are part of the Developmental Systems Approach are described establishing a basis for intervention. Research that illustrates the effectiveness of early intervention for various groups of vulnerable children within this framework is summarized. The presentation concludes with a discussion of challenges faced by researchers and community programs to integrate developmental science, our knowledge of the developmental patterns of risk and disability, intervention science, and practice.

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

How Children Thrive:  The Practical Science of Raising Independent, Resilient, and Happy Kids

Mark Bertin, MD, Developmental Pediatrics, New York Medical College, NY
One of the newest discoveries in child development is the importance of executive function, a set of cognitive abilities responsible for self-monitoring, life management, and emotional regulation. It is also critical for social development, family relationships and academic success. For parents and teachers, understanding executive function supports everything from decision-making around sleep routines, technology and discipline, to understanding the benefits of mindfulness. This presentation includes a practical discussion of current research that supports wise decisions from infancy through young adulthood, fostering resilience and setting children up to thrive.

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

Pocket Stories: Developing Social and Emotional Competencies with Simple Stories in Early Childhood

Rachael Harrington, BFA, Storyteller, National Storytelling Network, NY

In this energetic presentation early childhood educators, workers, and parents will get on their feet to become storytellers, learning short and lively stories that encourage self-awareness, empathy, and responsible decision making in young learners. Participants will explore how interactive storytelling and dramatic play within these stories can bolster Social and Emotional Competencies in children. Participants will leave the presentation with a pocket full of big-impact stories that are easily unfolded and brought to life at a moment’s notice!

10:45 am -11:45 am Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Routines-Based Intervention: Supporting Children with Autism and Families within their Natural Environment

Chad Grossman, MS, CCC-SLP, Clinical Supervisor, TheraCare, NY & Dawn Ricci, MA, Clinical Supervisor, TheraCare, NY

This presentation will outline specific coaching strategies to facilitate child learning through family-centered, routines-based intervention occurring within the natural environment. Drawing support from state and federal regulations, as well as the current research base, evidence in support of natural routines-based intervention will be discussed, and practical strategies will be provided to increase family involvement and child skill development. Participants will build their capacity to identify and resolve barriers that undermine effective parent-professional partnerships, and acquire practical coaching strategies to build parent/caregiver capacities and increase child learning through natural routines, with a specific focus on working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

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

CLASS Plus Rigor Equals School Readiness

Carolyn Harvey, PhD, Early Childhood Advisor, Shelby County Schools District, TN

School Readiness is the state of early childhood development that will result in a child’s successful readiness into a social and educational environment.  To ensure that children are adequately prepared for school and lifelong learning, the implementation of rigor is paramount. Creating a supportive environment in which each child is expected to learn and demonstrate what they’ve learned at high levels is vital to achieve educational excellence.

10:45 am -11:45 am STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

STEM for Babies and Toddlers: A Powerful Foundation for Language and Literacy

Rachel Payne, MSEd, MLS, Coordinator, Early Childhood Services, Brooklyn Public Library, NY, Jessica Ralli, MA, Coordinator of Early Literacy Programs, Brooklyn Public Library, NY & Saroj Ghoting, MLS, Early Childhood Literacy Consultant, PA

STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and math) are critical to success in our society, but the emphasis in programming and education has traditionally started with school-aged children, and more recently, preschoolers. Now there is a growing body of research showing that STEM skills begin to form at birth, with many heightened opportunities for discovery and learning in the brain-building 0-3 years. But what does STEM look like in practice with babies and toddlers? Learn to create developmentally appropriate STEM curricula for babies and toddlers by finding the “hidden STEM” in everyday play, exploration, and interactions.

11:45 am – 1:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm – 1:50 pm Keynote – Grand Ballroom

Developing the Kindness Muscle

Orly Wahba, Founder, Life Vest Inside, NY

Orly shares her personal journey of overcoming adversity through her childhood and adolescent years and how kindness played a huge role in developing her sense of self value and self love. Orly addresses the deeper meaning of kindness and how even the smallest gesture can result in powerful connections; the greatest being a connection to oneself. Orly explains that dealing with social issues such as bullying, depression, substance abuse and violence from the “anti” approach, issues are only heightened. Through her story, she illustrates how we can prevent those said issues from materializing. “The answer is simpler than you think,” she explains. Audience members will be left with a greater understanding of their inherent value, realizing that while we all have insecurities we all play a significant role and are an important piece of the puzzle.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

Word Walk: An Engaging Vocabulary Strategy for Young Children

Katherine Beauchat, EdD, Associate Professor, York College of PA, PA & Katrin L. Blamey, PhD, Associate Professor, DeSales University, PA

This presentation will describe an instructional procedure for explicit vocabulary instruction in the context of storybook reading designed specifically for young children. The presenters will present the research base for the vocabulary protocol, called Word Walk. In addition, presenters will discuss how to implement the instructional sequence and outcomes of using the protocol with preschool children from diverse backgrounds, including a large population of children learning English as a second language. Attendees will leave the session with the knowledge of how to plan and implement a new vocabulary instructional sequence in their early childhood classrooms.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

The Place of Story and Storytelling in Early Childhood Settings

Elizabeth Cummings, MSc, Authors, Australian Society of Authors, AL

Storytelling is a powerful means not only of sharing but also of empowering and enabling the reader to view their world and the world of others from a different viewpoint. Storytelling can be used to help engage young people in discussions about tough topics such as eating disorders, depression, cancer and death. By examining the world from a child’s perspective, adults working with and caring for children going through traumatic experiences may reflect on the context that the child is living within and thus work on developing effective strategies to best support the child and help them to develop the resilience needed to cope in their daily lives.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Mindfulness and ADHD

Mark Bertin, MD, Developmental Pediatrics, New York Medical College, NY

Far more than a disorder of attention, ADHD is a heritable developmental disorder that affects executive function, a set of cognitive abilities for managing our lives. Living with ADHD often increases stress, strains relationships, and affects everything from academics to general health. The practice of mindfulness influences all of ADHD care.   Mindfulness is a proven technique to manage stress, improve cognitive flexibility, change habits, facilitate communication, and more.  Research even links mindfulness to direct improvement in attention and executive function. This presentation provides an accessible overview both of ADHD and of mindfulness, emphasizing practical tools for parents, teachers and providers.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Preparing Children for School Success through Parent Engagement at Home

Andre Eaton, MSW, MDIV, New York State Director, New York State Parent-Child Home Program, NY

Community-based home visiting provides critical connections to school readiness for families isolated by poverty, language and literacy barriers, supporting them in preparing their children to enter school ready to succeed. This session focuses on how community-based early learning specialists, who share a linguistic and cultural background with families, can help build learning-rich environments, increasing parent-child interaction, and develop the pre-literacy and social-emotional skills essential for school success. In addition, we will explore how home visiting can play a key role in building local school readiness/success continuums for families and be a connector to other services not being accessed.

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

Striking a Chord with the Common Core: Using Musical Activities as a Catalyst to Support Learning in Early Literacy and Math Skills

Meryl Cullom, Professional Development Specialist, Education Through Music, NY

In this hands-on, engaging music presentation, participants will learn ways to use music and musical activities to support the NYS Pre-K Common Core principles that require ALL preschool students to have “rich and varied early learning experiences that prepare them for success in school and lay the foundation for college and career readiness.”  We approach these standards with an eye toward the critical thinking and problem solving skills inherent in quality music education.  Participants will leave the session with many ideas they can implement in their classrooms right away.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Grand Ballroom

WOW: Kids Love these Physical Activities!

Nicholas Kline, MSEd, NBCT, Manager, US Games, NY

Attend this presentation and be ready to be engaged in physical activity techniques that pre-school students will love!  Each activity is divided into six categories, some of which include movement concepts, social/emotional development and healthy behaviors. Lessons are aligned with Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework and span a wide-range of interest levels. A NEW and FREE curriculum resource ( will be highlighted. The goal of this session is for participants to say “WOW: Kids Love these Physical Activities!”

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Crystal Ballroom

Home Visitor Safety

Sandy Darveau, MA, Early Childhood Consultant, Heartland AEA, IA

This presentation intends to emphasize key components related to ensuring safe home visits. The presentation will be useful in identifying and applying strategies to increase protective factors and reduce or eliminate risk factors associated with home visiting. In addition to exploring strategies for each phase of a home visit, this presentation will also examine issues related to self-care and personal well-being. Culturally competent practices are also embedded into this learning: a way for participants to discern and discuss what may be (culturally) different and distinguish this from what may actually be dangerous. A significant byproduct from the Home Visitor Safety presentation will be the opportunity to return to your organization(s) with a “blueprint” of practical tools and strategies that can assist in developing, strengthening or enhancing your agency’s policies and procedures around home visitor safety.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Autism & Special Needs Track

Presentation – Sutton Place

Let the Words Sing: Poetry and Self-Advocacy in Autism Education

Donnie Welch, BFA, Creative Writing Teacher, Rebecca School, NY

This presentation will showcase the ways poetry can be used as tool for self-expression and self-advocacy for students with Autism. The Rebecca School runs six poetry workshops throughout the school, including two workshops for young learners. This presentation will break down the lesson plans of those young workshop groups to offer a practical, replicable curriculum that teachers and administrators can take back to their own schools. These lessons incorporate sensory play, movement, and social-problem solving activities with the fundamentals of poetry to create an environment where students feel successful creating and communicating.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm Presentation – Gramercy Park

Eco-Healthy Child Care®: Protecting Children from Environmental Health Hazards within Early Care and Learning Environments

Hester Paul, MS, National Director, Eco-Healthy Child Care®, Children’s Environmental Health Network, District of Columbia

The environmental health of an early learning setting can significantly impact a child’s health and ability to learn. Emerging science is linking chemicals commonly found in children’s early environments to asthma, lower IQ, and developmental disabilities. Toxic chemical exposures can cause, worsen, or contribute to these conditions. Children are at risk because their systems are still developing and their behaviors increase their exposures. The Children’s Environmental Health Network’s Eco-Healthy Child Care® program is working to protect our nation’s youngest. Attendees will learn what makes children uniquely vulnerable to environmental toxicants and how to incorporate preventative actions.

3:15 pm – 4:15 pm STEAM TRACK

Presentation – Herald Square

STEAM Activities in the Infant Room

Donna Grover, Educational Support Specialist, Goddard Systems, NJ

Let’s brainstorm some fun and exciting ways to bring STEAM into the infant room!  Can we do it?  We will discuss, share, and learn how to incorporate STEAM into the Infant curriculum – ideas that can be immediately brought back to the classroom and be implemented with the babies.  We will also learn some fun ways to turn everyday materials into educational learning materials for babies.