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Annual Early Childhood Conference

Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning & Development

Schedule of Events

Conference Sessions 2020

 A partial listing of 2020 sessions should be available in the early part of the year. We're currently hard at work lining up another outstanding group of presenters, musicians, and educators for our 60th anniversary conference July 9-11, 2020 at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport, TN.

Make plans to attend now!


More details will be available as schedules permit. In the meantime here's a short clip of Cheryl Turner describing her experience doing a long-form session at the 2019 pre-conference.



The following is the schedule of sessions from 2019.


 All Day Pre-conference Sessions 
9:00 am – 4:15 pm
Registration Opens at 8:00 am


12:00 – 1:15
Served in Grand Ballroom


The Social Emotional Connection: Changing Classroom Culture by Rethinking Classroom Discipline – Cheryl S. Turner (Behavior) (Preschool - 3rd Grade)
-----Cattails Ballroom A,B,C


How We Learn: Understanding Sensory Learning and Sensory Processing in Infant & Toddler and Preschool Classrooms - Yasmin Dorrian (Infant/Toddler & Preschool)
------Meadowview Ballroom B, C, D


STEM for All Learners: Chutes and Silos (mornning) - Sherri Peterson & Mary Donegan-Ritter (STEM) (All Attendees)

STEM for All Learners: Ramps and Pathways (afternoon) - Sherri Peterson, Beth VanMeeteren, & Mary Donegan-Ritter (STEM) (Preschool - 3rd grade, SpEd, Admin/Director)
 -----Cattails Ballroom D, E, F


Featured Presenters/Authors’ table after lunch
(at Fireside Foyer Area)

Exhibitors Set-up begins 1:30 PM at Convention Centers A & B


Conference 8:00 am - 4:15 pm
Registration Opens 7:00 am
Exhibits Open
 7:00 am

Keynote: I Am The Sunshine of My Life

What does it take to like yourself and then help others see your goodness? So many times people look at themselves in terms of what they can’t do rather than what they can do. Telling people about “you “ is not conceit if it is the truth. Lets have fun discovering who we are. - Daniel Hodgins

9:30 - 10:30

Documentation of Children’s Learning during STEM Experiences, Mary Donegan-Ritter

Spectrum Safe: Effective Teaching Techniques for Special Needs Students in the Inclusive Classroom, Alexis Turner

Emotionally Responsive Practice in a Multi-Age Classroom, 
Amber Bentley & Beth Huber

The More We Come Together: Intentional Circle Time & Morning Meeting, Carrie Becker

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and Implications to Community Health and Special Education, Arnold Nyarambi & Dumisa Nyarambi

Connecting Play and Mobility to Enhanced Gross Motor Ability, Balance, and Core Strength, Tom Schlitt & RaRa Schlitt 

Critical Literacy for Critical Change in Early Childhood, Rebekah Taylor

Building Relationships with Children Using Affirmations, Heather Logan

Landmarks: A Place-Based Guide to Cultivating Community, Misha Davydov

WIIFM-”What’s In It For Me”: Making the Most of Professional Development, Jessica McWilliams & Ashleigh Stocton

 10:45 - 12:00  

Bucket Filling - Singing Our Way to Kinder, Happier Classrooms with Bucket Filling, Red Grammer

Money is Elementary: Making Early Connections Between Money and Math, Marci Hethmon

Leadership: “Speed-Dating” Format, Dr. Pamela Evanshen & PhD Students

USDA Grow It, Try it, Like it Fun! Fun with Fruits and Vegetables at Family Child Care, Elizabeth Renfro et. al 

Cultural Proficiency Scale: Teaching Teachers to be Effective in Cross-cultural Learning Environments, Arnold Nyarambi & Mohammed Alkurd

Inviting Creativity-Fostering Community Art in Infants & Young Toddlers,Laura Ruth Furches & Kirstin Tipton

Be Proud, Get Loud, Become and Advocate! Let’s Work Together to Be the Change We Wish to See! Glenna Jones & Brandy Phillips

Beyond the Basics: Creating a Culture of Self Care, Helen Nonn

Taming the Tiger: Helping Young Children Manage Great Big Emotions, Cheryl Turner

Setting Limits with Infants and Toddlers: What should discipline look like for young learners? Yasmin Dorrian 

12:15 – 1:30
Served at Convention Center A


1:15 -2:45

Working with Children Who Take Us to the End of Our Rope, Daniel Hodgins 

Using Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness to Replenish and Rewind Kimberly Cassidy, Melissa Nelson, Darlene Lee, Leah Brooks

Learning to Love the Rain: Creating an All Weather Play
Program, Helen Nonn

Exploring Geometry Through Block Building, Beth VanMeeteren

Building Classroom Community, Building Children’s Competencies, Building Curriculum, Melody Kay Hobbs & Sarah Neesse, Kathy Fitzgerald

Using ACES Research to Nurture and Develop Early Childhood Educators, Laurie Clements

Take a Walk on the Wild Side, Marc Bradley

Soothing the Young Children’s Brain: Regulating and Engaging Children Using Theraplay-Informed Activities, Jana Dobesova

Three Strikes You’re Out...Now What? Rethinking the Effectiveness of Consequences, Cheryl Turner

Arguing with a Bowling Ball, Michael Garrett

3:00 - 4:15

Bucket Filling - Singing Our Way to Kinder, Happier Classrooms with Bucket Filling, Red Grammer

Everyone Can Learn More About the Brain, Jennifer Rayman

More Than a Babysitter: Appreciation, Empowerment, and Motivation for the Early Childhood Educator, Cassandra Caffee Morelock

Engaging Early Math Experiences Using Loose Parts, Gwen Robertson

I love Bears: Lovies at School!Curriculum for Supporting Social Emotional Development in the Classroom, Gabriel Guyton & Gabby Matayabas

Bringing STEM to Your Early Childhood Programs, Sarah Ransom & Elizabeth Renfro

Inspiring Spaces in Early Childhood, Alexis Turner

Technology Use: To Do and Not to Do in Early Childhood, Patience Mensah-Bonsu, Narges Sareh, & Olubowale Olawale

The Young Artist as Scientist: What Can Leonardo Teach Us? Mary Jo Pollman

What's on Your Walls? - What your hall displays say about your teaching? What do they say about your learners? Kathryn Sharp


Conference 8:00 am – 4:15 pm
Registration Opens 7:00 am
Exhibits Open 7:00 am


8:00 - 9:30 

Who is in Control Here? Power Struggles and Young Children, Daniel Hodgins

The Young Artist as Scientist: What Can Leonardo Teach Us? Mary Jo Pollman

Nature Nearby, Marty Silver

To the Moon and Back: Exploring Space Science with Preschoolers, Alissa Lange, Lori Meir, Renee Murphy, Candy Clevinger & Daisy Tian

Exploring Blocks with Infants and Toddlers, Sherri Peterson

Take a Walk on the Wild Side, Marc Bradley

Parental Discipline and Child Development in a Developing Country: Parents’ and Children’s Perspectives, Prince Laryea, Emelia Amartey, Emma Murumbe Fynn, & Emmanuel Abbam

Powerful Poetry for the Classroom, Katheryn Sharp

Incorporating Yoga and Mindfulness into the Early Childhood Classroom, Laura Grant

9:45 - 11:00

Hello World! Embracing and Celebrating Diversity through Music and Movement, Red Grammer

What Does Consent Look LIke to a Child? Susan Taylor St. Lawrence & Beth Huber

The Highs and Lows of Type 1 Diabetes: Managing Blood Sugar in the Classroom, Donna Fraysier

Social Structure of Children’s Play: Children’s Perceptions of Status and Roles,Jane Broderick, Narges Sareh, & Patience Mensah-Bonsu

The Three R’s: Recognizing and Responding to Red Flags in Child Development, Amy Jenkins

Discipline Disparities in Preschool: Equitable Discipline Practices for Disruptive Preschoolers, Katherine Madison & Tsitsi Nyabando

Don’t Waste the Film - An Argument for Making Filmmaking Part of the Classroom, Jared Smith

More Than a Babysitter: Appreciation, Empowerment, and Motivation for the Early Childhood Educator, Cassandra Caffee Morelock

CAUTION? Children at Play: Changing Our Perspective on Risky Play in the Outdoor Classroom, Laurie Tucker & Aarin Haga

11:00 - 12:15
Served at Convention Center A


12:15 - 1:45

Creating the "Thinking" Child, Daniel Hodgins

Developmentally Appropriate Circle Time Techniques for the Early Childhood Classroom, Alexis Turner

Engaging Early Math Experiences Using Loose Parts, Gwen Robertson

Creating Authentic, Integrated STEM Learning Projects for Early Childhood Teachers Using the TN State Science Standards, Alissa Lange, Laura Robertson, Ryan Nivens, Jamie Price, Sarah Casteel, Elizabeth Salyers, Kathryn Rambo, Erin Rice & Elizabeth Schock

Teaching Emergent Literacy to English Language Learners in the Early Years of Education in St. Paul’s R/C Basic School (Kpehe) in Accra, Ghana, Emma Murumbe Fynn, Emelia Amartey & Elorm Fiifi Tamakloe

Be Present, Connect, Extend Learning: Powerful Interactions for Children and the Early Childhood Community, Rachel Jamieson & Beth Huber

Using Scenario-based Dialogue in the Classroom for Strategic Thinking and Rigorous Instruction, Kimberly Cassidy, Charles Kemp, Ronnie Manis

Mindfulness Practices for Young Children and Adults: What, Why, and How, Susan Lachman


2:00 - 3:00

S o U N o (SUN) Safety! Retha Gentry and Lisa Ousleu

Save the Children! Ashleigh Stocton

Using Assessment Strategies to Address Challenging Behaviors, Heather Logan

Blended Preschools are a recipe for success. Bring your appetite for learning, and leave full of ideas, Amanda Wilkins

Learning a New Language: Using Your Words to Inspire a Growth Mindset, Positive Self-Esteem and Deep Connection, Helen Nonn

Camp Wakawalu: The Importance of Inclusive Play and the Entire Family, Rebecca Aslinger & Theresa Nix

You Are What You Eat, Shannon Donahue & Sharee Curley

Fostering Relationships in a Toddler Classroom: How to Create a Culture of Community among Young Children, Susan Taylor St. Lawrence

Creating Connected Classrooms, Janet Parks & Jazmine Wiles

Closing 3:15 - 4:00

Every Teacher’s Best Friend: Music! Red Grammer




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