Conestoga news

March 13, 2003 9:28 AM

Early Childhood Educators Conference at Conestoga

Early childhood education and care is receiving a higher profile these days, acknowledged for its importance to our society. And ECE professionals are committed to making the most of opportunities to enhance their skills and keep up to date with developments in their field, the better to serve children, parents and communities.

"Early Childhood: Where It All Begins" is a conference for approximately 500 early childhood educators set for Conestoga College in Kitchener on March 21 - 22. The event, which will attract ECE practitioners, managers and educators, is co-sponsored by kids LINK/NDSA Preschool Support Services, the Region of Waterloo Child Care Division and the Child Studies Department of Conestoga College. kidsLINK is a not-for-profit child and family service organization offering services ranging from information, education, prevention and early intervention through to clinical therapy and intensive school and residential treatment.

"Early Childhood: Where It All Begins" is the largest annual conference of its kind in Ontario. All conference sessions are at the Doon campus of Conestoga College.

Friday night is devoted to registration, networking and a keynote address by author and educator Bud LaBranche -- "What You Believe ... You Become". Using visual aids, magic and sometimes music to illustrate his message, he will speak of the personal empowerment and professional achievement that can result from positive thinking and a positive approach to life's challenges. He has won numerous awards and successfully presented workshops to educators at all levels -- elementary through university -- school boards, health care groups, government agencies and business associations. His flair for homespun stories and wisdom have earned him comparisons to Will Rogers. His address begins at 8 p.m. on Friday, March 21.

Saturday, March 22 is devoted to workshops, as each participant will choose a morning and afternoon session from a menu of 30 available sessions. Topics cover a wide variety of professional concerns: bullying, literacy programs, nutritional planning, the importance of creative play, moral intelligence, autism and working with adopted children, just to name a few. Morning sessions are from 9-11:15 a.m., afternoon sessions from 1:15-3:30 p.m.

Workshop presenters come from postsecondary institutions, resource centres, community agencies, public health units and private practice from across Ontario.

An additional feature of the conference will be displays by nearly 50 exhibitors during the lunch break on Saturday from 11:15 a.m. - 1:15 p.m. On display will be information on community resources and agencies; toys, books and other learning materials; and child care products. Among the companies and organizations represented will be Usborne Books, Discovery Toys, The Palmer Group (arts and crafts supplies), Wintergreen Educational Materials, the Rotary Children's Centre (Waterloo) and the Region of Waterloo Community Health Department.

CONTACT: Judi Neufeld, kidsLINK/NDSA, 519-741-1122,