Meet Our Featured Speakers

FRIDAY KEYNOTE 8:30-9:30 am

Lisa GuernseyLisa Guernsey, Deputy Director, Education Policy Program at New America with Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens.

With young children gaining access to a dizzying array of games, videos, and other digital media, will they ever learn to read?  The answer is yes -- if they are surrounded by adults who know how to help and are introduced to media designed to promote literacy instead of undermining it.  In this presentation, Lisa Guernsey, co-author of the book Tap, Click, Read shows how child care professionals, teachers, and parents can develop the skills and mindsets they will need to help children become strong readers and critical thinkers in fast-paced, 21st century world.  Grounded in a vision is human-centered first and tech-assisted second, Lisa will take the audience on a video-and-science tour of new approaches to early literacy in homes, libraries, and classrooms around the country. 

Saturday EarlyEd Speakers 8:30-9:30 am

This gathering of all conference attendees will kick off our Saturday workshops.  In four brief presentations we call EarlyEd Talks (similar to the familiar TED Talks), four topics will be explored:  Anti-Bias Early Education, Reflective Practice in ECE, Outdoor Play and Learning, and Transforming the Status and Well-Being of the ECE Workforce.  Conference attendees will then be offered the opportunity to explore one of these topics more deeply for the next 2 hours. Selections will be made on site, based on what one finds most compelling among the EarlyEd Talks. A workshop for Spanish speakers will be offered as a fifth choice. 

Core: PRO   Age Group:  ALL   Target Audience: ALL

Linda Dykstra and Esther Emmerich Linda Dykstra and Esther Emmerich, Instructional Specialists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Child Development Lab with "Get Out of the Classroom, Past the Playground and Into the Beyond - Working with 2 to 5 year-olds outside in nature every day of the year."

Long for children deeply engaged in their play, discovering the world around them and eager to be part of their own learning? Come see how we use an inquiry, play-based program with children 2-5 years old. You will see how we set up our program and get pointers that will help you build yours, all while WMELS are supported and achieved.  You will learn how to develop healthy risk-taking to promote strong bodies and self-confidence.  Finally, you will see how Mother Nature is an ever-changing teaching partner, giving you opportunities for hands-on learning that are not possible or practical in a classroom.

Peggy HaackPeggy Haack, Outreach Coordinator, WECA Workforce Initiatives with "Transforming the Status and Well-Being of the Early Childhood Workforce: Our Role in the Change."

Achieving the quality of care that we know will impact a child’s life trajectory will not happen without transforming the status and well-being of early childhood educators. Telling the stories of why we do what we do, why it matters that we do it well, and what we need to support children’s success is at the heart of this transformation process. Reaching our goals will take the work of many, both inside and outside of our field, but like all good struggles it begins at the heart, so bring yours to this conversation.  You’ll hear about some lessons we’re learning, some efforts underway, and some ways that you can contribute to creating change.

Abby HalloranAbby Halloran, Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist at The Rainbow Project with "Reflective Practice: Deepening Our Understanding of Ourselves in Our Work and with the Families We Serve through Relationships."

Reflective Practice is an integral part of teaching and working with infants, young children, and their families.  Reflective Practice is made up of a supportive relationship with a supervisor or consultant to explore feelings, responses, and experiences that arise when working with young children and their families.  It is typically easy to see how children develop, learn, and grow within the context of relationships.  However, it is also easy at times to forget that dults learn and develop within the context of relationships as well.  Reflective Practice is not a problem-solving strategy, but it does help providers find solutions and pathways to challenging situations by building a space to explore how feelings and experiences impact and are important to the work.  This workshop will explore the essential structure and qualities of Reflective Practice, the evidence base for its effectiveness and benefits to our work and how it can help us feel more confident and effective in working with children and families who present with big challenges.

Ijuuma JordanIjumaa Jordan, Early Childhood Education Consultant at Harvest Resources Associate with "Beyond Books and Baby Dolls: Practical Ways to Integrate Anti-Bias Education into Playing and Learning with Young Children."

This session is a co-learning experience for anyone who work in early care and education in supporting their ethical responsibility in creating and sustaining early education programs that are play based, inclusive, culturally responsive, and equitable. Using the Anti-bias education goals for children and adult participants will examine the popular “diversity activities” through an anti-bias education lens to refresh and align classroom experience with Anti-bias education goals. Additionally, participants will study and use a culturally responsive framework to analysis current early childhood education policies and practices using real-life scenarios. Cross-cultural communication and problem-solving skills will be discussed and practiced supporting individual and group shifts in early care and education culture. The session will end with a strategy session where participants will develop ways to integrate the goals of Anti-bias education in their program and practices.