‘Early Childhood Collaboration Conference’ to highlight ‘who we all are and how we all fit together’

Photo by RomoloTavani / iStock / Getty Images Plus; St. George News

ST. GEORGE — In an effort to bring together the many partners and providers of the Southern Utah early childhood care and education community, Care About Childcare is putting on the 17th annual “Early Childhood Collaboration Conference” at Dixie State University Sept. 22-23.

There are still spaces available, but they are filling up quickly. Carrie Sigler, director of Care About Childcare @ Five County, told St. George News Monday they had originally planned on 200 attendees, but the immense response has prompted them to increase their accommodations.

The goal of the Early Childhood Collaboration Conference, according to a press release, is to “educate those in the field on who we all are and how we all fit together.” Organizers hope to provide opportunities to establish linkages and highlight resources available in the different communities so attendees can work effectively together improving the quality of life for our youngest citizens.

As previously reported at St. George News, Care About Childcare is a program funded through the Child Care and Development Fund through the Utah Department of Workforce Services and the Office of Child Care. While the program helps parents throughout the state, the Southern Utah branch is housed by the Five County Association of Governments.

Sigler said one of their biggest goals is to help parents understand what options they have.

“We can’t recommend one (facility) or the other,” Sigler said, “but what we do is educate them on what to look for. That’s probably one of the most important things we do.”

Care About Childcare also does all of the training for the Child Care Professional Development Institute, a career ladder for child care programs.

Read more: Help is here: Care About Childcare offers resources, referrals, summer activities

The Early Childhood Collaboration Conference will feature some of the best presenters coming from many areas of the state, the press release stated, including a few favorites from previous years. Past attendees have given rave reviews about the quality of the workshops. This year’s workshops will be no exception, addressing many areas of early childhood, including:

  • Challenging behaviors.
  • Active learning strategies.
  • Infant and toddler activities.
  • Teaching literacy, math and art.
  • Curriculum strategies.
  • Working with special needs children.

For a complete program of events and workshops, click here.

The conference keynote presentation will be given by Nathan Cureton, author of “Empowered: A Teacher Tale of Classroom Culture Creation.” Cureton is a passionate teacher, author, speaker and leader. With teaching and leadership experience at all school levels, his influence extends throughout the region as a sought-after researcher, author and keynote speaker at schools, conferences and universities on the subject of creating a classroom culture of student success.

In addition to the keynote, Keri Allred will be speaking at a “Lunch-and-Learn” event. Allred is the executive director of Rural Utah Child Developmental Head Start, as well the Director Tri-Chair for the Utah Head Start Association.

Also this year, event organizers hope attendees will come prepared with stories of advocacy. The press release for the conference states that too often advocates for children – the “most vulnerable in society” – are motivated by fear. The advocacy statement reads:

We are afraid of what parents will think. We are afraid our children won’t be ‘ready for school.’ We are afraid we won’t meet the right benchmarks and our funding will be affected. We are afraid we aren’t doing enough. And we are afraid we won’t say or do the right thing if we do try to educate and advocate. But standing up is easier than we think. Standing up can be as simple as telling your story. … Make it more than about numbers and tests. Make it personal.

As part of the Early Childhood Collaboration Conference, the conference committee will gather attendees’ stories and use them as part of advocacy efforts at local, state and national levels.

Although the majority of the events will take place Saturday, “Provider Night” will officially kick off the conference Friday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the Edith S. Whitehead Education Building. Bring a mat or towel to relax with Hannah Rothlin.

Rothlin holds master’s degrees in kinesiology (exercise physiology) from Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California, and consciousness studies (world religions, psychology and philosophy) from the Holmes Institute in Santa Rosa, California. She is a certified fall-proof balance and mobility specialist and has held a variety of fitness certifications over her 30-year career in the health and wellness field.

Saturday’s events start with registration at 7:30 a.m. Registration costs vary depending on whether an attendee is a current child care provider. For more information on registration, go to the following Five County Association of Governments webpage.

Event details

  • What: “Early Childhood Collaboration Conference.”
  • When: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 22-23, 2017 | “Provider Night” takes place Friday at 6:30 p.m. | Saturday events start at 7:30 a.m. with registration. Full schedule available here.
  • Where: Dixie State University Gardner Center, 225 S. University Ave., St. George.
  • For more information on registration, go to the following Five County Association of Governments webpage.

Email: pdail@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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