Conestoga news

March 17, 2009 9:45 AM

Early Childhood Education Event Focuses on the Very Best for Our Youngest

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 20-21.

Education in the early years is as much as ever a topic of concern and debate locally, provincially and nationally - both in terms of its value in preparing the way for future learning success and in terms of its necessity as a feature of our economy. The March 20-21 event will look at specific approaches, initiatives, programs and professional considerations associated with innovative and effective early childhood education.

More than 650 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 21st annual professional development conference for early childhood educators presented by kidsLINK.

The Friday evening session opens with remarks from three distinguished individuals: Sonia Pouyat, CEO of kidsLINK; Mary Parker, 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 and performance by Waterloo-based Deb Loyd, proprietor of a business named Dramantics. Her topic is "You Misplaced Your Yin . . . Now Where’s Your Yang?" By combining humour, storytelling, anecdote and personal experience, she will explore seven practical ways to achieve a happy, balanced life - a skill of great value to early childhood education professionals, who must constantly balance the needs of family, friends, colleagues and the children they teach. Her presentation starts at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Saturday consists of 38 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 workshop schedule include helping children deal with stress, the importance of character development, the virtues of storytelling, environmental health and safety measures for children, the ECE practitioner’s role in child protection, helping children and families deal with grief, and formulas for fitness.

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 numerous 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: Sonia Pouyat, 519-741-1122,

A complete schedule of workshops and descriptions is online at: