Best Practices for Teaching Pre-K & K

  • For Pre-K and Kindergarten educators—teachers, teacher assistants, administrators, directors and other early education practitioners. You can benefit whether you work for a public school district, a community-based organization or a private school. 

    November 5, 2019
    8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (Registration: 8:00 a.m.)

    Breakfast and lunch included

    Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury

    Registration fee: $95 per person “early bird”; $125 per person after 4 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2019. No online registration after 4 p.m. Friday, November 1, 2019. Group rate: 10% discount for groups of 20 or more. No on-site registration. 


    Keynote: Early Childhood Expulsion & Bias – How We Can Do Better For Our Children

    Presenter: Walter Gilliam, Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychology, Yale University, and Director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy

    This presentation will discuss the latest findings regarding expulsion and suspension practices in early education settings, gender and racial disproportionality, and potential causes for these disparities, including the role of implicit bias. Although the presentation will review research findings, you will also be provided with emerging information about how early educators understand implicit bias, how preschool and expulsions and suspensions are understood and how we can avoid further excluding young children from early educational opportunities.

    A dozen break-out sessions on topics of importance to early educators including literacy, family engagement, mindfulness, movement and gender equity.

    You will learn about the newest products and services for early childhood from our line-up of national and local exhibitors and sponsors.

    Streamlined schedule:
    Based on teacher feedback, we’ve simplified the conference schedule to improve your professional development experience.


    Creating a Family Engagement Action Plan
    Families and educators share one vital goal: they care about children and want them to reach their fullest potential. Building partnerships among families, school leaders and teachers is critical, and educators need to know how to effectively plan for authentic collaborative opportunities. This interactive working session will provide participants with the tools and resources to create a formal structure for a school’s family engagement initiative. Educators, administrators and leaders will assess their current capacity, engage in goal setting, and exchange family engagement tools with a focus on academics, behavior/school culture, relationship building and professional development.

    Presenters:Jacob Dixon is CEO of the social justice nonprofit Choice for All, which focuses on advancing the well-being of children and families. Lynette Batts is the Director of the Family Leadership Network (FLN) at Choice for All, a statewide network providing tools and resources for families to positively impact their communities. Danielle Asher is Director of Curriculum and Training for FLN, where she facilitates core training and advocacy opportunities for families, schools and community leaders.


    Engaging Our Families and Students Across Language and Culture
    It’s important for schools to be welcoming and inclusive for all families. Join this workshop to learn about programs that support the engagement of families and students across language and culture. You’ll hear from a panel of experts in the field and can consider what could work best for your school.

    Presenters:Danielle Asher, Director of Curriculum and Training for Family Leadership Network at Choice for All, a statewide network providing tools and resources for families to positively impact their communities; Ana Figueroa, Policy Council and Volunteer Supervisor for Long Island Head Start; Martha Maffi, Executive Director, SEPA Mujer; and Paola Navarrete, Facilitator, LIU.


    Ten Essential Practices in Early Literacy
    This workshop will identify a set of ten research-supported instructional practices that improve children’s literacy skills. The focus will be on literacy knowledge and skill development in the preschool years that predict later achievement. Research suggest that each of the ten practices can have a positive effect, and you’ll learn how using these practices daily in your classroom can make a measurable difference—regardless of the specific framework or program being used. You will leave with suggested activities you can use immediately. This workshop courtest of Kaplan Early Learning Co.

    Presenter: Connie Gorius is a former first grade teacher who has been working in education for more than 30 years. Her passion is working with Pre-K teachers and she has supported teachers across the country in the classroom implementation of best practices and in using curriculums with fidelity.


    Gender, Sexuality and the Family
    During the preschool years, children are beginning to develop their understandings of gender, sexuality and the family. Often, there are few spaces for early childhood educators and families to talk about the questions and behaviors that come up in their homes and classrooms. This workshop is an introduction to the topic and is designed to spark discussion, facilitate the creation of shared language, and provide educators with some of the resources they need to make their classrooms supportive spaces for the development and expansive exploration of identity. Participants will learn to define gender and to reflect on the development of gender stereotypes.

    Presenter: Helen Frazier is Director of Early Childhood at the City University of New York’s Early Childhood Professional Development Institute. For the last 20 years, she has worked in early childhood education as an infant/toddler, preschool and kindergarten teacher, professional development provider, and coach.


    Get to Know the New York State Learning Standards—and Video Resources That Support Them.
    In the context of literacy demands for 21stcentury learners, you will be introduced to the recently released New York State Prekindergarten and Kindergarten Learning Standards. You’ll also get a special screening of new videos that provide examples of high-quality early learning environments and instructional practices.

    Presenter: Meg McNiff is from the New York State Education Department’s Office of Early Learning, where she works on policy, technical assistance and resource development for Kindergarten through third grade.


    The Leadership Initiative: Developing Long Island’s Early Childhood Leaders
    Launched this fall, The Leadership Initiative is led by the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute (PDI) in partnership with Nassau BOCES. It is designed to support the professional development and success of current and prospective leaders in the early childhood field on Long Island.  The Initiative provides resources and opportunities to engage with peers around the region and throughout New York State. In this session, you will learn about Initiative membership, which is free and provides access to events and webinars as well as to coaching and mentorship for individualized leadership development goals. Finally, you will hear about career development support, which includes career advisement and planning as well as job search assistance.

    Presenter:Claudine Campanelli is the Director of Career Development and Higher Education at PDI. Prior to joining the CUNY Research Foundation, she was the Director of HR for a multi-site Head Start program in the Bronx and Brooklyn and was the Director of the CA Montessori Children’s Center in Islandia.


    Learning Stories as Authentic Assessment—What, Why and How
    New Zealand early childhood educators use “learning stories” as an ongoing formative assessment, and they are now being used in some programs in the U.S.   These collections of photographs, videos and narratives help educators make child-specific instructional decisions. These learning stories are shared with parents regularly and used to provide better outcomes for students. Hear how using observations and narrative can make our teaching and learning more visible. This workshop is courtesy of Educa.

    Presenter:Rachel Silva has had over 20 years working with educators in Pre-K to 8 classrooms around the country. She is currently with Educa, an online early education platform.  She enjoys collaborating with educators in order to effectively increase student and teacher achievement.


    Movin’ and Groovin’ Through Pre-K and Kindergarten
    This will be a hands-on experiential workshop designed to provide teachers with a toolkit of engaging, fun and age-appropriate dance activities. You will learn how to introduce developmentally specific dance activities into your classroom to enhance your curriculum. In addition, information on current brain research and the impact that dance and movement have on cognition, brain development and language will be discussed.

    Presenter:Andrew Jannetti has had a distinguished career as a choreographer, dancer, educator, and producer. He is currently a dance educator with the New York City Department of Education and the Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and is the past president of the New York State Dance Education Association.


    Nurturing the Brain: Risk and Resilience
    Participants will be introduced to the effects of stress on young children—especially the effects of toxic stress on early development. In the aftermath of both natural disasters, such as a hurricane, or man-made trauma, such as a terrorist attack or school shooting, educators are confronted with the challenging question of how to help their students and families cope and recover. As a result of this workshop, you will gain insight into how the brain develops in young children, how the stress response functions, and how resilience can be defined. Finally, you will learn how to encourage the caregiver-child relationships that build resilience.

    Presenter:Stephanie Dockweiler has been in the field of early care and education for 35 years. She is the Founder/President of QS2 Training and Consulting, and currently is President of the Board of Directors of the New York Association for the Education of Young Children (NYAEYC).


    Resources and Supports for Special Education—for Teachers, Parents and Children
    Whether they’re from general or special education settings, in this workshop early childhood educators will learn about evidence-based strategies that benefit all students. You will be introduced to Long Island’s new programs that are replacing the Early Childhood Direction Center, the Parent Center and the Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Center (RSE-TASC).  Other topics will include the differences between disability, delay, learning differences and cultural differences in young children. And you will hear about MTSS—Multi-Tiered Systems of Support—and how this approach supports transition and interfaces with the Pyramid Model. Together, these initiatives and resources will assist early childhood educators to best support all students, with and without disabilities, and to create opportunities for inclusion.

    Presenters:Faith Kappenberg, is the Early Childhood Resource and Referral Specialist at Long Island University’s (LIU’s) Center for Community Inclusion (CCI); Other CCI staff presenting: Catherine Cueva, Behavior Specialist; Debra DeMarchena, Literacy Specialist; and Tina Messina-Dillon, Special Education School Improvement Specialist/Literacy Specialist.


    STEAM: Hot for Teachers, Cool for Kids
    STEAM careers are the future, so let’s get students excited now! STEAM provides an engaging and exciting approach for students to connect Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics. Successful STEAM implementation is not just about the resources, but how the resources are used and for what purpose. In this workshop, we take the time to determine curriculum connections, intention and best practices for implementation. You will experience the engineering design process while collaborating with colleagues to create STEAM projects. We will explore and develop open-ended questions to guide children to a deeper understanding of STEAM concepts. We’ll discuss the importance of providing growth-minded feedback, allowing children’s natural curiosity to drive their learning, and providing hands-on experiences to support children in developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Bring your creativity, this is going to be fun! This workshop is courtesy of Lakeshore Learning.

    Presenter: Jessie Olson is a Professional Development Specialist for Lakeshore Learning. She has been a special education teacher and spent time overseeing Head Start and Early Head Start programming.


    Understanding the Out-of-Sync Child
    We have many more senses than five in our body, and they affect the way we take in information, process it and express it. In this workshop, you will learn about sensory processing challenges—what to look for and what can be done to help the child function with less difficulty and more confidence, including exercises to help refocus attention.

    Presenter:Cheryl Haiken is a Supervisor at Kidz Therapy in Suffolk County and has over 35 years of experience as a behavior analyst and marriage and family therapist. She still works with children and will as long as she can get up from the floor without too much support.


    Using Sports and Movement to Enhance Learning
    Early childhood education often means moving and learning. We will cover strategies to incorporate everyday fine and gross-motor development to create an exciting learning environment for young children.  Approaches presented will be developmentally appropriate and can inspire learning in domains from health and wellness to literacy and math. Additionally, you will be introduced to examples of quality physical education curricula that simultaneously address many early learning standards.

    Presenter:Nayeli Calle-Sousa, LCSW, is director of The Harlem Child Development Center Outpatient Clinic, and is a leader in the field of mental health, including leading workshops for parents and professionals to enhance their understanding of child development. She is passionate about supporting other professionals in their growth and helping them develop their strengths.