Thursday, March 14, 2024


8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Opening and General Session
Conference Welcome, Announcements and Wolf Trap Warm Up

Opening Keynote: Help for the Helpers: Self-Care and Sustainbility
Presenter: John Richardson-Lauve, St. Joseph's Villa
The resilience of our workforce is essential to effective service delivery, the preservation of institutional knowledge, and ultimately the care of our young children. We all need to have tools that support us both today and into the future. In this workshop, we will enumerate the fundamentals of sustainable workforce practices and participants will be given the tools to build a self-care plan that is tailored to the individual. We will focus on self-assessment and awareness of our capacities and our needs. Lastly we will examine some common pitfalls for helping professionals that impede effective resilience.


9:45 – 10:45 a.m. – Concurrent Workshops

All Behavior is Communication
Presenter: Marta Szuba
Co-Presenters: Samantha Hald, Sara D. Barnett

This workshop will focus on and explore the different ways behavior communicates the needs of children, drawing from TeachStones CLASS indicators included in the dimensions of Teacher Sensitivity and Regard for Student Perspectives. Teachers will work together to create a list of child behaviors by age groups and then focus on what children are trying to communicate with that behavior and the responses teachers might want to employ. Based on the idea that there are generally 3 types of behavior children will display throughout the day, emotional, sickness and sensory processing issues. Teachers will be encouraged to adopt an approach that would rule out sickness first, then look at outside influences such as disrupted sleep, changes in family dynamics- such as a new baby, parent separation and other emotional issues and lastly consider sensory or environmental influences on children’s ability to self-regulate. As a final step, the workshop will walk through what types of responses would fit with the CLASS dimensions of Teacher Sensitivity and Regard for Student Perspectives in an effort to give a better understanding of these two dimensions and enabling teachers to adopt responses that will help support children with self-regulation skills.

Embracing Observations for Professional GROWTH
Presenter: Sara Diamond
Are you wanting to have a better understanding of how the CLASS tool can support your professional growth? Join Teachstone, the providers of CLASS, as we consider this further. We will explore preparing for observations by (G)earing up to engage in a (R)eflective process. Next, we will take time to build a deeper understanding of (O)bservations and how you can (W)eave intentional interactions into your daily practice. Finally, we will provide some new strategies for you to (T)ry and share suggestions for continuing to (H)one your skills.

Empowering Educators to Impact Policy through the Art of Storytelling
Presenter: Laura McCarty
Co-Presenters: Dianne Volcansek, Nicole Lazarte
By sharing stories with policymakers, educators provide expert knowledge to inform and change future policy and ensure the needs of all children and the profession are met. In this session, participants will learn strategies to develop and leverage their story, overcome possible feelings of intimidation in talking to policymakers, create a plan to engage policymakers and step into their role as an activist for children and those who support them. Attendees will leave knowing the power of one’s story and ensure that their voice and the voices of others can change future policy to improve outcomes for all children, families, and practitioners.

Expanding Family Choice in ECCE: Recent Trends in Virginia
Presenter: Rebecca Ullrich
Co-Presenters: Alexandra McPherson
Enrollment in Virginia's ECCE programs are at a record high in recent history, meaning more Virginia families are able to choose among a variety of high-quality early learning opportunities for their young children. This session provides an overview of recent trends in expanding family choice among publicly-funded ECCE programs in Virginia. Speakers will discuss how programs are being responsive to meet the needs of Virginia families and provide a high-level overview of efforts to coordinate enrollment regionally. Participants will discuss ongoing opportunities to improve choice in their communities.

Life is One of Our Greatest Teachers
Presenter: Pamela Cobler
Learning life’s most lessons early is important. These early learning experiences have a greater impact and add more value leading to a more healthy, productive life. Dr. Cobler supports educators in teaching relevant, life-long topics to elementary-aged children.  This educational and inspirational talk/workshop will have a lasting effect on teachers and students while providing a five-part strategy for teachers to help children overcome obstacles at an early age and apply and model these strategies to real-life situations. As a result, this will give teachers and children a solid foundation to lay brick-upon-brick a pathway to success.

Understanding Play Schemas to Enhance Your Invitation To Play
Presenter: Emily De Luca
This session will help teachers to individualize instruction in the preschool classroom.  By understanding play schemas and how they can inform the "invitation to play", teachers can make their lessons more relevant to their students.

Understanding Virginia's Medicaid Health Insurance Program
Presenter: Kent Berryman
More than 800,000 of VA's children receive their health insurance coverage through the state's Medicaid system. Taught in simple language, this engaging and entertaining session gives you the tools you need to help your families navigate this complex and often confusing system.  By connecting families to either receive or retain their Medicaid health care coverage, you help children lead more healthy and productive lives. Don't miss this family support session.

VQB5: Using Local and External CLASS Observations and Feedback to Strengthen Quality
Presenter: Melissa Diamond
Co-Presenter: Kris Meyers
This session will focus on how Virginia is using the CLASS tool to strengthen quality in early childhood programs. During this presentation, participants will receive information about the purpose and frequency of local and external CLASS observations and feedback. Program leaders and teachers will receive resources and strategies to support the effective use of CLASS scores and feedback.


9:45 – 11:15 a.m. – Concurrent Workshops

Success for All: Supporting Disabled, Autistic, and Neurodiverse Children
Presenter: Kim Hughes
Discover how to utilize Conscious Discipline to promote social, emotional and academic success for all students, especially those with special needs through enhanced routines, rituals and self-regulation. Transform your educational approach with strategies for creating an educational culture in which all stakeholders thrive. Cultivate a sense of belonging, connection, cooperation and joy, even with students who seem resistant or unreachable.


11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Exhibit Hall Open
Pre-purchased box lunch pick up from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Noon – 1:15 p.m. – Lunch and Learn General Session
Roanoke Ballroom C-H

Shining a Light on Early Childhood Education Policy
Presenters: Mathew Hatfield, State Manager, Save the Children Action Network (SCAN); Cheryl Morman, President, Virginia Alliance for Family Child Care Association; Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Ben Cline (Invited)
Moderator: Dr. Navine Fortune

Pick up your pre-ordered lunch, or grab something from the hotel outlets and join us in this annual information session where legislative and community leaders review current policy and initiatives that impact early childhood education, educators, and the children we serve. Learn how VAAEYC is advocating for you and the field of ECE.


1:15 – 2:15 p.m.  – Concurrent Workshops

Connect With I Love You Rituals
Presenter: Shirley Smith
Come have a blast connecting with your colleagues. Authentic connections actually help to wire the brain for impulse control and willingness. Explore how to use these joyful techniques from Conscious Discipline with groups of children and with individual children, as well as helping children connect with each other.

Don't you get cold? The Outdoor Classroom in all Weather
Presenter: Sarah Maynard
One of the biggest obstacles to taking a class outdoors is the gear.   In this session, attendees will learn about basic cold and warm weather gear that will help create a successful outdoor learning experience for their classroom, whatever the weather.

Kindergarten Readiness In An Inclusive Preschool
Presenter: Amanda Davis
Jessie Thackrey Preschool (JTP) is an inclusive IB preschool located in Falls Church City Public Schools. JTP supports Early Childhood Special Education, Virginia Preschool Initiative, and tuition paying students. In this session, participants will discuss how to design and implement a PreK program that promotes kindergarten readiness and monitors student progress in a play-based environment.

Ready for the Next Step?
Presenter: Heidi Condrey
In this session for seasoned Conscious Discipline practitioners, we will take a deeper dive into Safety, Connection and Problem-Solving. This is a great opportunity to take a closer look at the powers, skills and structures of Conscious Discipline. This session is intended to allow time for Q and A from practitioners who have been using Conscious Discipline for 3+ years.

Storytelling
Presenter: Jessica Skiles
Learn the art of storytelling for the classroom! Storytelling is a wonderful tool that has many different uses! Learn when and how storytelling can be used in the classroom, as well as how it benefits children's growth and community building.

The Family-Teacher Connection: Data Insights From a Longitudinal Study Spanning PK-4th Grade
Presenter: Marianna Lyulchenko
Evidence demonstrates that the connection between families and teachers is vital to children’s development and success in school. Researchers from the University of Virginia will discuss data from across four years of a study capturing family, teacher, and administrator insights on the home-school partnership. Participants will work in small groups to speak on their own classroom experiences engaging with families and contribute to interactive discussion. Presenters will share research on best practices for strong family-teacher partnerships along with other UVA-led efforts for supporting children’s academic and social-emotional development.

What is love? Building Teacher Child Relationships by Creating Supportive Learning Environments
Presenter: Zamora Logan
Attendees will learn new ways of using structured and intentional connecting activities, including eye contact, touch, presence, and playfulness.


1:15 – 3:15 p.m.  – Concurrent Workshops

Techniques for Effective and Engaging Early Childhood Training
Presenter: Jaye Harvey
Do you lead professional development for early childhood educators?  This session is designed to increase the skills of early childhood leaders who have content knowledge but little background in designing and delivering professional development.  Come experience a variety of effective and engaging instructional techniques in order to replicate the strategies in future training that you design. You will gain ideas for openers, closers, memory refreshers, and energy rechargers, and examine how these strategies foster learning.

Understanding the Importance of Social Emotional Learning and Environments
Presenter: Michele Stevens
Let's explore how SEL and environments tie into CLASS and impact other aspects of the classroom.  Join me and we will explore how SEL and environments can help with behavior issues you may be experiencing and how it can make positive differences for you and the children in your classroom.


2:30 – 4:00 p.m. – Concurrent Workshops

A Rose by Another Name
Presenter: Shauna Goldman
Labels are extremely powerful! Therefore, when used especially with young children, we must apply it to the child’s behavior rather than the child. Positive language can make a significant difference in the way we see a child and think about what they can and cannot do. During this session, we will look at the labels we use towards children and how it ultimately impacts their behavior and our interactions with them.

Childhood Outcomes: Partnering With Families
Presenter: Jes Bookout
Co-Presenters: Dr. Leslie Floyd
This presentation will examine the importance of why we must check our own biases and promote family engagement with the goal of eliminating exclusionary practices.

Connecting Readers to Illustrations: Visual Literacy in Classrooms
Presenter: : Ashley Belote
Picture book illustrations take readers beyond the narrative and add essential depth to the overall story experience. During this presentation, we will identify ways to engage students in artistic discussions that will help them develop literacy skills, visual literacy skills, inferencing and prediction skills, reading comprehension, and more! With a strong background in reading imagery, students can utilize visual cues to decode text. This not only assists students when learning to read, but the ability to think critically about imagery encourages students to become more proficient writers, critical thinkers, and lifelong readers.

Managing Generational Differences In the Workplace
Presenter: Bill Stierle
Make practical sense in engaging with and managing people of different generations in order to maximize your organization’s productivity. Let's make your work environment one that maximizes the talents of every generation and supports them to  contribute and communicate in a positive way towards achieving your company’s vision.

Taming Your Classroom: Brain Smart Starts
Presenter: Jessica Flowers
Do you ever feel like you're at your wits end with the children in your classroom? Join Jessica to learn about the importance of the Conscious Discipline structure Brain Smart Start that will help you calm and focus your children through uniting children through a song, breathing to disengage stress, to connect children to each other and finally to make commitments to help keep their classrooms safe.

Tuning in to the Power of Music: Using Music to Foster Social-Emotional Skills in Young Children
Presenter: Mary Anderson
Understand why integrating music into your daily routine with your students is a powerful tool to support building a loving, trusting classroom community of joyful learners. Learn simple and playful ways to use high-quality music throughout the school day to enhance and support communication, social-emotional development, self-regulation and pro-social skills.  Leave with a toolbox full of songs, poems, and movement activities to start using right away.

Young Children Are Natural Scientists: Connecting Multicultural Picture Books and STEAM
Presenter: Diane Schnoor
What makes a natural scientist? Wonder, curiosity, and a sense of purpose. Young children ask the most amazing questions about how the world works, and playful learning and hands-on STEAM can be powerful vehicles for learning. Harness your students’ natural curiosity by fusing inquiry-based learning, hands-on STEAM activities, and multicultural picture books into dynamic and engaging classroom experiences. In this workshop, you will develop a toolbox of practical ideas for creating playful experiences that foster opportunities for reading, writing, math, science, and social-emotional learning throughout the day.


3:45 – 5:15 p.m. – Concurrent Workshops

OCCHS: What's Happening in the World of Regulations?

Presenter: Jeff Williams
This session will provide an opportunity to hear what's happening in the Office of Child Care Health and Safety, in the world of child care regulations and law, and how to stay up-to-date regarding regulations and the Code of Virginia.


4:15 – 5:15 p.m. – Concurrent Workshops

Being Intentional About Learning Opportunities
Presenter: Sara Germansky
Co-Presenters: Christy McKee, Tiara Brown
The purpose of this session will be to help early care and education personnel be more intentional about how to embed instruction into everyday activities and routines within their classrooms. As a recommended practice, capitalizing on children's natural motivations and working on functional skills during typically occurring activities and routines can help all children learn.

Effective Practices for Partnering with Families to Promote Children’s Language Development
Presenter: Stacey Park
Children begin to develop language during the first year of life as they become aware of speech sounds and develop motor control. In this stage, children also learn to communicate their wants and needs, both verbally and nonverbally. Early childhood educators and families play a vital role in supporting language development by engaging in meaningful interactions with the children in their care. In this session, attendees will learn strategies for promoting language development in their classrooms and acquire strategies for educating families on best practices for supporting the development of their child’s language and communication skills.

Journaling your way to a love of Literature and Creative Thinking!
Presenter: Li-Or Greenberg
In this session, participants will be introduced to the idea of Journaling for Young Children. The love of Literature needs to be introduced within a fun, hands on, and interactive way in order to make sure that young children really grasp the idea and importance of it. By giving these young children control of their own Journaling journey, educators are not only able to create a lasting literature foundation but also start to develop a creative framework for young children to believe in their ideas and imagination.

Promoting Diversity in the Infant and Toddler Environment
Presenter: Emily Chase
Join this session to learn how supporting diversity in our infant and toddler classrooms enhances children’s relationships with themselves, their families, and community. We will explore the benefits of exposing children to differences, things that are unfamiliar, and experiences beyond their immediate lives.

Ready Regions:  Get Connected and Help Achieve Virginia’s Early Childhood Vision!
Presenter: Emily Keenum
Virginia is leading the nation, building a premiere early childhood system that works for all families, children, and educators in the Commonwealth. This interactive session will discuss how Ready Regions lead regional activities to build high quality early care experiences, provide resources and assistance for educators, and create opportunities for more families to be involved. Ready Regions are counting on educators as essential partners in a Virginia’s early care systems that works for everyone!

Supporting Virginia’s Educators through a Continuous Quality Improvement Cycle
Presenter: Presenter: Lucy Mitzner
Co-Presenters: Kris Meyers
This session will provide an overview of VQB5’s approach to continuous quality improvement. During this session, program leaders and teachers will learn how VQB5 CLASS and curriculum data can be used throughout the year to identify strengths and target areas for improvement, understand what children are experiencing, and recognize growth. Participants will also receive information about state-funded improvement support options available to VQB5 programs.

Using Storytime to teach literacy skills and Social and Emotional Development
Presenter: Martha Razor
This session will show how teachers set the classroom environment for social and emotional development and can use story time as an opportunity to teach critical skills for both reading and social and emotional development.

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