Conestoga news

March 17, 2010 1:06 PM

Major Early Childhood Education Conference at Conestoga March 19-20

The importance of early childhood education is coming to the fore with the introduction of all-day kindergarten in Ontario.

Presented by kidsLINK, Early Learning & Child Care is the 22nd annual professional development conference for early childhood educators. Serving practitioners, administrators and future professionals, the conference is the largest of its kind in southern Ontario and will take place at the Doon campus of Conestoga College in Kitchener, March 19-20.

More than 600 participants are expected for Early Learning & Child Care. 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.

The Friday evening session opens with remarks from three noteworthy individuals: Sonia Pouyat, CEO of kidsLINK; Judi Neufeld, Acting Director of the Region's Children's Services Division; and John Tibbits, President of Conestoga College.

Also featured on Friday night is the conference keynote address by "Canada's Diamond Coach," Adele Alfano. An award-winning professional speaker, she is also a successful author and publisher, and recently was nominated for the list of Canada's 100 Powerful Women. She has a self-declared weakness for anything big, sparkling and shiny, and proclaims that she lives by the "Diamond Rule" . . . whoever has the most diamonds, rules. Her topic, Embracing Your Inner Bling, will help her audience discover, recognize, acknowledge, embrace and celebrate the gems contained in their own lives and characters. Her presentation starts at approximately 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, participants will choose from 35 workshops, presentations and seminars. The day begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 3:30 p.m. Topics are varied, reflecting current issues, techniques and approaches relevant to the practice of early childhood education, and to the personal and professional development of practitioners in the field. Some of this year's workshop titles are: Developmental Screening in Early Learning and Care Programs, Incorporating Inclusion and Diversity into the Everyday Classroom, and the Importance of Early Learning for Lifelong Success.

The Saturday program will include numerous representatives from early childhood community agencies and manufacturers/suppliers of early childhood education books, toys and products. These displays will be set up in the E Wing foyer of the main building at Doon and will be open from 8-9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

CONTACT: Sonia Pouyat, 519-741-1122,

A complete schedule of workshops and descriptions is online at: