College to Host Early Childhood Education Forum

Garrett College will host the Early Childhood Connections Conference on Saturday, May 3, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. Described as a conference for anyone who touches the life of a child, this event will feature author and educator Peggy Campbell-Rush. Workshops will cover all areas of Child Care Core of Knowledge, approaches to be used with special needs students, nutrition, health and safety, and professionalism. Participants will get .5 CEUs. Registration fees will include breakfast, lunch, and participation in two workshops.

Rush-Campbell will deliver a keynote address titled “H.U.M.O.R. - Helping Us Motivate Our Resilience.” In her books and at seminars Rush-Campbell frequently uses humor to help mitigate the challenges that are often faced by professionals working with young children.

Workshops that will be offered cover a range of topics. Campbell-Rush will lead a workshop titled Success for Struggling Learners in which she will explore behaviors that can interfere with learning by young children, especially those with special needs. Approaches to dealing with these distractions will be discussed and include practical interventions that teachers can employ.

Tips & Tricks of the Trade will be another workshop led by Campbell-Rush. This session will point out how little things can cause the biggest problems for those working with young children. She will offer tips on making things run smoother by not let tattling, transitions, walking in the hall, and more derail the day.

Dr. Megan E. Bradley, Professor of Psychology, Frostburg State University, will offer a work shop on infant massage in which she will explore the benefits of infant massage and demonstrate massage techniques. These techniques will be practiced on baby dolls. Participants of this workshop are encouraged to dress comfortably for relaxing on the floor and to bring a doll.

Common Core in the Early Childhood Classroom is the title of a workshop which will be led by Michelle Saville, a kindergarten teacher in Allegany County. She will present information on how school readiness is measured in the public pre-school and kindergarten settings and what areas are being evaluated. Saville will also speak about how public schools are implementing the Common Core Standards and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) lessons, and strategies that may promote and support these areas.

Lisa McCoy, MS, RDN, University of MD Extension Educator, will lead the "Cooking with Kids" workshop in which participants will discuss ways to involve young children in preparing healthy, nutritious snacks and meals. She will underscore the concept that teaching nutrition at a young age can be an important first step to a healthy life. This class will involve hands-on food preparation.

Parent Café is a workshop that will be offered by Darlene Schmidt, MD EXCELS QAS and Tonya Helbig, APPLES for Children. These presenters will provide ideas on building a strong community by sharing ideas about how to keep oneself, one’s children, and one’s family strong. Topics to be addressed by Schmidt and Helbig include having conversations around the protective factors such as resilience, relationships, knowledge, support, and communication. They will provide techniques for implementing such conversations with other groups of people.

The Development of Fine Motor & Pre-Writing Skills workshop will be facilitated by Cynthia Erzkus, OTR/L Occupational Therapist who will talk about fine motor development and strategies needed to develop a mature pencil and scissors grasp in children. She will also address the need for good foundational skills to meet the writing demands on young students (Pre-writing skills for ages 3-4 and Writing Components for Kindergarten), and practice various gross and fine motor tasks to understand typical development of fine motor and pre-writing skills.

Maryland EXCELS Overview

Sharon Vance, a Maryland EXCELS Quality Assurance Specialist, will present a workshop titled Maryland EXCELS Overview which will outline of the goals of Maryland EXCELS, and examine the standards, criteria, and the benefits of participation. There will be time allotted for questions and answers.

The Early childhood Connection conference is sponsored by Garrett College, Garrett County Community Action’s Child and Family Development Programs, APPLES for Children, Inc., and. Garrett County Early Childhood Professionals Association.

For more information on this conference, including cost, or to register one may call the Garrett College Continuing Education and Workforce Development office, at 301-387-3064.