Conestoga news

March 23, 2005 1:02 PM

Early Childhood Education the Focus of April Professional Event

Southern Ontario's largest conference for early childhood education practitioners, administrators and future professionals takes place at the Doon campus of Conestoga College in Kitchener on April 1-2. And, more than ever, the spotlight is on the vital importance of early learning of the highest quality, in light of the recent federal budget commitment to provide $5 billion over the next five years to build a national structure for early learning and child care.

More than 600 participants are expected for Early Childhood . . . Where It All Begins. The event is sponsored by kidsLINK Preschool Support Services, the Region of Waterloo Children's Services Division and the Early Childhood Education program of Conestoga College.

This is the 17th annual professional development conference for early childhood educators.

The Friday evening session includes opening remarks, and the presentation of awards to two exceptional local early childhood educators and achievement certificates to regional child care centres that have participated in Raising the Bar on Quality, a voluntary, peer-driven accreditation program which has placed increased emphasis on staff professional development in pursuit of service quality and excellence.

Also featured on Friday night is the conference keynote address by the multi-talented team of Jonathan and Janet Kramer. The Kramers will combine their talents for humour, music, anecdotes, practical insights and group motivation to speak to the topic, Putting Yourself First -- Without Being Selfish. It promises to be an invigorating evening of finding ways for busy, conscientious ECE professionals to create balance, new time and renewed energy in their lives. The Kramers address the conference at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday consists of 32 workshops, presentations and seminars, from which participants choose. The day begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Topics are varied, reflecting current issues, techniques and approaches relevant both to the practice of early childhood education and to the personal and professional development of practitioners in the field. Examples of this year's agenda include childhood obesity, promoting resiliency in children, counteracting bias and discrimination, dealing with the impact of parental separation and divorce, creative uses of drama and science, ways to turn childhood stress into positive and creative energy, and the value of play activities, arts and crafts in the lives of young children.

A feature of the Saturday program is a resource and retail display, scheduled for 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m. On hand will be representatives of more than 40 manufacturers/suppliers of early childhood education books, toys and products, and of community agencies associated with early childhood education.

CONTACT: Judi Neufeld, 519-741-1122,