Conestoga news

March 16, 2006 3:30 PM

Early Childhood Education the Focus of 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 March 24-25.

Education in the early years is, as much as ever, a topic of concern and debate locally, provincially and nationally. The March 24-25 event will look at specific approaches, initiatives, programs and professional considerations associated with innovative and effective early childhood education.

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 18th 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 memory skill expert Bob Gray. His topic is "Turbo Charge Your Brain", and he will speak about the untapped potential in each of us. He will deliver powerful memory demonstrations and impart to the audience techniques for memorization and recall, both forwards and backwards! Gray has his own consulting company, is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for his memory prowess, and has given amazing memory skill demonstrations in countries on four continents. His presentation starts at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Saturday consists of 33 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 conflict resolution, making fitness fun for children, obesity prevention, the art of storytelling, helping strategies for immigrant and refugee children in a child care setting, and licensed home child care.

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. These displays will be set up in the E Wing foyer of the main building at Doon.

CONTACT: Judi Neufeld, 519-883-2111, ext. 5419,

A complete schedule of workshops and descriptions is on-line at: