Presenters and Workshops

Early Registration 

Early Registration Deadline:
April 1st, 2016

 Contact Information

Professional Education Programs and Services
221 10th Avenue East, Suite 140
Menomonie, WI 54751

Phone: 715.232.2793
Fax:      715.232.3385

ECE Conference logo

The 38th Annual Early Childhood Education Conference

Make Your Mark: Early Childhood Health,
Happiness, & Success

Save the date! April 22-23, 2016

The Early Childhood Education Conference has been approved for .5 continuing education units (CEUs) per day of conference.

Daily Schedule

 Session 1

9:00 am to 10:15 am (Keynote Speakers)

 Session 2

10:30 am to 11:45 am


Noon to 1:00 pm

 Session 3

1:15 pm to 2:30 pm 

 Session 4

2:45 pm to 4:00 pm 

Signing in Signs!
Lindsay Barnhart, Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Singing and the use of sign language (ASL) are two amazing teaching tools. Put them together for a high level of student engagement and learning. Participants will actively participate in learning signs to infant/toddler/preschool appropriate songs.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool)

The Toll of Childhood Trauma: What happens, what it looks like behaviorally, and what we can do!
Julie Bates-Maves, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout

This presentation will discuss the impact of childhood trauma. Information will include education around trauma, the impact on brain development, and a discussion of behavioral cues that may indicate trauma or abuse. Strategies and tips for how we as adults and educators can help will also be included.
 (New teachers, Administrators)

English Learners in the Elementary Classroom
Rebecca Bauer, M.ed, University of Minnesota
Melanie Pesarchick, University of Minnesota

This session will focus on ways to support ELS in the elementary classroom (K-5). Specifically focusing on literacy, EL writing samples, strategies and diverse children's books will be discussed.
(Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers)

Digital Media and Our Little Ones
Brook Berg, Family Living Educator, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Technology is everywhere, including in the hands of our little ones. We know that relationships are key to working with young children, so understanding how to use digital media as a tool to strengthen relationships and guide children is important. Join us to learn how digital media can enhance your skills in working with children and how to support growth and development of our little ones through digital media.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, New Teachers, Administrators)

Further Explorations of the Practice of Mindfulness
Ann Brand, Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Stout

This session is a follow up to my keynote address where participants will learn mindfulness practices to support well-being as well as discuss opportunities and challenges to integrating mindfulness into daily life. This is your chance to ask questions, discuss with each other, and learn how mindfulness practice can be a part of your life, both personally and professionally.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

App's for Early Childhood Education
Melody Brennan, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Kaitlyn Orrock, Northpoint Elementary, Spring Lake Park School District

Learn how to utilize applications (apps) in a manner that is engaging and entertaining for young children. Use of modern technology can enhance curriculum instruction for Early Childhood Education. Emphasis will be an exploration into the use and development of apps being used in the classroom. Kaitlyn and Melody will recommend apps, classroom management tips for iPad use and more.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

The Power of Synthetic Phonics
Sue Brunson, Owner/Consultant, Bee Reading Company

In synthetic phonics, the 42 sounds of English are taught, not just the alphabet, as some sounds are written with digraphs, such as ee and or. It's a method used around the world and has been found to have consistently great results teaching reading & writing skills. Geared for ages 3-8 on through adults, it uses hand motions, inter-active sounds, and stories to help children crack the code of reading. Find out how you can help your students, especially Special Ed., Early Childhood, and ESL students become successful and self-confident readers and writers!

Happy Teachers, Happy Children
Kym Buchanan, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

Teaching should be good for our soul, but sometimes our jobs take more than they give. Learning should be a joyful adventure, but sometimes children experience more anxiety and reluctance than courage and discovery. In this interactive workshop, we'll use a variety of playful activities to explore the alchemy of happy classrooms. We'll share promising strategies for rediscovering our happiness as teachers, and how to help students of any age find their bliss. Learn hot ideas from positive psychology and cool tools you can use immediately. We also welcome your wonderings and wisdom.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)
Bookmaking Experience for Students
Carol Carlin, Adjunct Professor, Viterbo University

Hands on activities engage students. Bookmaking spans all developmental areas. Resources for bookmaking are readily available. This combination prides an interesting approach to mastery of standards throughout early childhood grades. Observation and assessment of student learning, cultural diversity, and creative expression are central to this process. Participants will leave with a bag full of sample books and ideas to use them in their PreK through 3rd grade classrooms.
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Integrating Drama Across the Elementary Curriculum
Jennifer Chapman, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Come join us for a fun and interactive workshop session that will give you resources for leading process-based drama activities in classrooms, grades 1st - 5th. No previous experience with drama is necessary! Session participants will engage in a drama lesson that incorporates multiple arts disciples, and will be given a lesson plan structure than can be adapted for a variety of subjects and teaching contexts. The session will be led by Dr. Jennifer Chapman, Coordinator of Theatre Education at UW-Eau Claire, along with several Theatre Education students from UW-Eau Claire.

Did I See What I Thought I Saw?
Greg Cleveland, Parent

As the number of children with disabilities grows, the early childhood years are frequently when the first signs begin to surface. What can you do when you see something that doesn't seem or feel right? The presenter, a parent of children on the autism spectrum, will share his experiences of working with teachers, administers and doctors regarding the early childhood years on into elementary school and beyond of his children, and how those experiences can be helpful to you. Points of interest will include communicating with parents and strategies/best practices of working with other teachers.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool)

Technology and our Children
Linda DeMoe, Professional Motivational Speaker
The impact of technology on our family life and our world in general is becoming more and more a topic of great concern.  A most recent study found that 24% of teenagers say they go online "almost constantly".  And in a typical day, children consume over three hours of media.  And as a group, children under the age of eight spend an average of 25 minutes per day just playing video games.  Are you concerned?  Maybe we need to take a closer look.  This presentation will discuss the effects of technology on our families, on our relationships, on our lives.  Learn the positives and the negatives.  What is too much and what kind of controls do we need to set to ensure the best environment for our children?
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Parts of me are Excellent!
Linda DeMoe, Professional Motivational Speaker

The one thing we all strive for daily is … happiness.  What we may not realize is that maybe we need to stop the pursuit of happiness and just be happy.  Harmony and contentment could be much closer than you realize.
(Adults, Administrators)

And How Are the Children?
Linda DeMoe, Professional Motivational Speaker

We all know that there are very few things in our lives that we would classify as priceless, precious and irreplaceable.  For most of us, our children are the one thing that does however.  So we must ask ourselves….And how are the children?
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Make your Mark: Become a Cooperating Teacher!
Jill Klefstad, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Program Director, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Tracy DeRusha, Coordinator of Field Experiences, University of Wisconsin-Stout

As educators, we know that it takes a "village to raise a child". At the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the ECE faculty and staff recognizes that it takes a village to nurture teacher candidates to become outstanding professionals. The purpose of this session is to introduce UW-Stout's conceptual framework and assessment system to future cooperating teachers. Topics covered will include expectations of the student teaching triad: (student teacher - cooperating teacher - university supervisor) and current licensure requirements. This workshop satisfies DPI's requirement of training in the supervision of student teachers. A certificate of completion will be issued to all who attend.
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, Administrators)

It's All In A Day! Fantastic Ideas for Everyday In Preschool!
Michelle Espelian, Director, Elim Preschool

Welcome to a fun class loaded with daily classroom activities for a  preschool setting. Come and see new ideas for your classroom in fine motor, large motor, open art, process art, music, stories and so much more. New tried and tested activities that children love to do and challenge our little ones minds! Fun and child centered learning in all areas of a preschool classroom. 

Off to a Great Start With the Alphabet!!
Michelle Espelian, Director, Elim Preschool

Come and enjoy a fun and encouraging environment filled with great new activities to help preschoolers learn and letters and words. There will be many ideas for learning letters and sounds as well as great ideas for a print rich and word rich environment. Learn great ways to expose children to letters and words and finally sentences all in a preschool setting. See many activities that have been used in classroom settings with children ages 3-5! Come prepared to share! 

Building Your Bounce:  Six Habits of Effective Early Childhood Professionals
Judy Gifford, Director, Child & Family Study Center, University of Wisconsin-Stout

This session focuses on six habits effective early childhood professionals develop to create an optimum environment where young children, families, colleagues and they, themselves, thrive. Tips for managing and enhancing one's own self-esteem are included, as well as the importance of participating in lifelong professional development, balancing work, family, and relationships.
(New Teachers, Administrators)

Garden-based Learning . . . With or Without a Garden
Beth Hanna, Training and Outreach Specialist, Community Groundworks

Whether outside in a raised bed or in the classroom window sill, gardens help children develop life-long positive relationships with fruits and vegetables.  Join us in discussing ways to bring gardening and garden-based activities into your program with or without a traditional garden.  Dig into resources for hands-on lessons, tasty recipes, and engaging activities in this interactive session.   
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary) 
Circle of Friends: Songs, Games and Dances
Colleen Hannafin, Performer, North Side Music and Colleen and Uncle Squaty

Come join our circle! it may not be perfect, but it's packed with learning opportunities and fun! Let's "Ring-around the Rosie" and "Sail to the Sea" with our Circle of Friends.

Resiliency Training for Emotionally Healthy Children
Ruth Harris, Director, Northwest Reading Clinic

This workshop will present insights, methods, materials and specific language that will enhance self-concept and promote strategies thinking. Resiliency will be presented as a crucial element for emotionally healthy children and a healthy learning community.
(Special ED Teachers, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

Reading Strategies for Student Engagement and Success
Emily Hines, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout

In this session, evidence and research-based reading strategies will be shared.  Engaging ideas and easy-to-implement strategies for guided reading, shared reading, and independent reading will also be addressed.  Come for interactive learning and share your successes from your classroom.
(Kindergarten, Primary)

Student Made Journals Celebrating Nature
Madeline Huston, Associate Professor, Viterbo University

Music and movement songs presented in a circle setting, adaptable for individual, partner, outdoor and small spaces.
(PreK through 3rd Grade)

Understanding and Guiding Children's Challenging Behavior
Kaye Ketterer, Scholarship Counselor, Wisconsin Early Childhood Association

Our understanding of guiding children is shaped by our own experiences, the beliefs and values we hold, and the quality of our relationships with children, families and colleagues. This session will engage you in personal reflection, share "best-practices" as defined by our profession, and build your repertoire of tools and techniques.  Re-energize as you learn new strategies for delighting in the work you love: caring for and supporting the growth of children through positive child guidance. 

Differentiation Strategies for the Preschool Classroom
Melody Krouse, 1st and 2nd Grade Teacher, Trinity Lutheran School

Do you have students who refuse to participate or run away from teachers? Maybe you have a student who blurts out or won't sit still. In this session, we will collaborate and discuss how behavior can guide differentiation in the early childhood classroom. The key is to understanding that not all students will do the same thing at the same time. When we accept this, then we move forward to try strategies that help meet the needs of all students.
(Preschool, Kindergarten)

Hitch Your Wagon to a Star
Chris Lace, YoungStar Technical Consultant, Child Care Partnership
Holly Hale, Family Provider, Holly's Little Red Wagon Childcare

Wisconsin Providers - Would you like to be part of a network of child care professionals? Would you like to be valued and recognized for the work you do? Would you like to dream a little, discover new tools to use in your daily work, and receive support as you accomplish your goals? Let YoungStar connect you with early childhood resources, business supports, low-cost credit classes and high quality furnishings and materials for your program. (No Wisconsin shares enrollment? You're still eligible!) Quality improvement efforts always enhance children's growth. Invest in our future, the children's - and yours - with YoungStar.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool)

They Are Talking, Are You Listening?
Maggie Machesky, Instructor, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Meghan Wolf, Preschool Teacher, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Infants and toddlers speak to us in a myriad of ways which many adults overlook.  This presentation will shed light on how the littlest among us do communicate their needs and wants.  The presenters will also engage the attendees in interactive techniques to make it a two way communication, including using simple sign language.
(Infant, Toddler)

Pesticides: What Have Researchers Found About How They Affect Children?
Lynn Markham, Land Use Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Extension

Where are pesticides found? Do you know if there are pesticides in the food or water you serve? In this session, we'll discuss what scientific
researchers have found about how pesticides affect children's learning. Then we'll explore tools to identify low/no pesticide food and design a menu.

(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Advancing Science Learning: Teaching Elementary Physical Science Concepts Through Engineering Problems
Kevin Mason, Associate Professor in the School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Stout

The Advancing Science Learning (ASL) project, funded by a Wisconsin Improving Teacher Quality Grant, partnered 12 school districts in northwestern Wisconsin with faculty members in science, engineering, and education from the University of Wisconsin-Stout to improving teaching and learning in science.  This presentation will briefly share the background and goals of the ASL project.  Next, the presentation will describe how teachers effectively used engineering problems to teach students about a wide variety of physical science concepts (NGSS, K-5-PS1-4) and the engineering design process (NGSS, K-5-ETS1-1-3).  Finally, the results of the grant evaluation will be provided.
(Kindergarten, Primary)

Moving into Spring and Summer with Music and Literacy
Fran McKinney, Songwriter and Author, Screen Porch Music

Movement, singing, instruments and books will fill your spring and summer learning when you participate in this energetic workshop.  Seasonal activities will be expanded, such as trips to the farm, zoo and pond.  Simple partner dances, circle dances and movement will be paired with songs and literacy to enrich your curriculum and engage all learners. Some example of class-made books will be demonstrated for use in your program   Come join the session and be ready for spring!

Brain Insights: You Really ARE Making a Difference!
Deborah McNelis, Founder, Braininsights
The human brain is an amazing and complex organ that allows each of us to think, feel, act and learn. Experiences in the early years have a
critical impact on the way a brain develops. You have the wonderful opportunity to contribute to optimal development. This presentation provides you with an easy to understand and fun overview of brain basics from birth through adulthood. You will be inspired by how much more you understand about how you positively impact behavior and learning for the children in your life!
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

SCREENS: Success or Sabotage for Schools?: A Discussion of Children, Screens & Learning
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, Pediatrician, Children's Librarian, Public Health Professional and Child Health Advocate
Dr Navsaria will review the contemporary state of electronic screen usage by children, including television, computers, and
handheld devices, placing it in a historical context.  A discussion of developmental principles and research around screen usage will follow,
highlighting the basis for recommendations for families as they navigate this topic.  A review of marketing to children and how this is also a concern
will follow.  Digital media and line-blurring topics such as e-books will also be examined.
(Toddlers, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

Play is the Way!
Deborah McNelis, Founder, Braininsights
Through visual demonstrations you will gain inspiring brain insights on the critical importance of learning through play. The
concepts will create realizations on how you can have a positive impact on learning in the important early years through fun easy ideas. With this
invaluable understanding, ideas are also presented on how provide smooth transitions with young brains in mind.
 (Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary, New Teachers, Administrators)

Play With Me...I'll Play & Learn With You!
LuAnn Neuenschwander, Kindergarten Teacher, Gillett School District
Amber Osterman, Kindergarten Teacher, Osseo-Fairchild School District

Teach how children learn best...though play! Amber and LuAnn will share ways to make learning effective and efficient for both you and your students.  Using their creative educational games and ideas, you’ll be able to support your students’ independence while helping them develop a sense of responsibility for their own learning.  Your students will look forward to coming to each day!
(Preschool, Kindergarten)

Calming Chaos in the Classroom
Amber Eckert, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Maggie Olson-Keenan, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Come see the ways chaos is redirected in the 4 and 5 year old room at the Child and Family Study Center.  From transition times, lining up, large group activities, individualized help for children and much more.
(Preschool, Kindergarten)

My Favorite Themes!
Angie Gilbertson, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Maggie Olson-Keenan, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Bring your notepad and join Maggie and Angie two creative head teachers in the Child & Family Study Center at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. Make your classroom come alive on Monday with their new themes and ideas!
(Preschool, Kindergarten)

Preschool/4K Lab Tour
Angie Gilbertson, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Maggie Olson-Keenan, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Come and meet the lab teachers and tour the developmentally appropriate setting for preschool and kindergarten children. Camera are welcome!
(Preschool, Kindergarten)  

Hands On ABC's and 123's
Laura Pitt, Head Teacher, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Come and get ideas for hands-on preschool activities with items you may already have at your center.  Feel free to bring ideas to share.
(Preschool, Kindergarten)

Freedom of Movement
Phyllis Porter, Master Trainer, Educarer, Inc
Using the teachings of Dr. Emmi Pikler and Magda Gerber, this class demonstrates the advantages of allowing infants freedom of movement.  We discuss the dangers of too-early placement of infants on their tummies and into containers.
(Infant, Toddler)

How to Create and Sustain Your Rock Star Team
Kristy Prunty, YoungStar Technical Consultant
Leslie Thomas, YoungStar Technical Consultant

This session will focus on the three main pillars of an effective staff; recruitment, relationship building and sustainability.  Participants will learn how to work with different types of employees, where to find quality employees and how to show employees appreciation without using money as an incentive.  Participants will walk away with concrete strategies and helpful handouts that they can begin using right away! 

Organizing Your Child Care Program
Kristy Prunty, YoungStar Technical Consultant
Leslie Thomas, YoungStar Technical Consultant

As a director or owner of a child care program we can sometimes become overwhelmed with the endless list of things to do.    This session will focus on how to organize your space, schedule and documents so you can begin to work smarter and not harder.  Participants will be encouraged to share organizational dilemmas they face and be able to get answers from the group.  Presenters will also have sample organizational models to present to participants.  This interactive session will get participants motivated to make a change!

Inquiry Based Lesson Plans
Jody Shong, 2nd Grade Teacher, Eau Claire Area School District

This presentation is based on integrated inquiry based lesson plans for students. As a teacher I have struggled with the small amount of time given to science and social studies during the school day. I have been developing a science lesson that crosses over academic disciplines while incorporating the benefits to students while discovering science. The presentation will begin with my lesson on the life cycle of a frog and the ways I have incorporated math and reading and end with the presentation participant getting into small groups and creating lesson plans for other animals indigenous to Wisconsin.
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Working with Puppets can be Fun!
Shelley Silkey, Owner, Silkey Pets

This class will familiarize early childhood educators with the history of puppets, the variety of homemade and commercial puppets available and the best practices for engaging young children in conversation with puppets in both one-on-one and group settings. We will use hands on instruction to create a puppet and practice using it as our voice. We will explore how you can improve your classroom curriculum by integrating puppets into your daily activities to promote language development and literacy and how these techniques can be extended to other areas of your curriculum.

Making Books With Kids!!!
Jeanne Styczinski, Kindergarten Teacher, School District of Menomonie, JeanneKay Publishing

Making books with kids is sooooo much fun! Learn new ideas of how to set up your classroom to promote successful writing and illustrating for all students. Jeanne will share with you the joys of writing and illustrating books with children. You will leave with many creative book making ideas for the whole year and ideas of how to integrate art into your literacy time.  Your students will love these activities.  Come join the fun!!!
(Preschool, Kindergarten, New Teachers)

The Healing Touch: Understanding Trauma in Young Children in the Aftermath of Nepal Earthquake
Sapna Thapa, Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin-Stout

This presentation will introduce attendees to the different kinds of trauma that affect children especially after a natural disaster. It will deliver tools and strategies to recognize and deal with children who are unable to adjust comfortably into regular life. The presentation will also confer real life stories of families and communities that underwent the devastating earthquake in Nepal on the 25th of April and 12th of May, 2015.

Aesthetic Literacy in Early Childhood Education
Tami Weiss, Associate Lecturer and Program Director, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Re-humanizing education through aesthetic literacy.  The greatest emphasis in education today is placed on literacy; a student’s ability to read and write print-text is considered the most essential learning component of his/her success in school and in life.  As a component of literacy, language is used as a means to convey, describe, interpret, analyze, etc.  Language can encompass the spoken and written word. But language can also be present without words. The language of lived experience expressed in painting, music, etc. can communicate and generate knowledge and understanding in ways that speaking and writing cannot.
(Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Teaching Tolerance through Respect for Diversity
Rhondalyn Whitman, 123 Look at me Early Learning Center

This presentation will highlight the free materials available for teachers from the Southern Poverty Law Center specifically designed for early childhood educators.  The DVD "Starting Small" will be shown, highlighting practical early childhood classroom lessons and materials to use to teach tolerance while enhancing multiculturalism and diversity  in the classroom and community.  All materials are free to educators.  Come and learn how to access and use  these free materials for your early childhood environment.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten, Primary)

Tools for Supporting Healthy Social and Emotional Growth
Jennifer Wickham, Psychotherapist/Outpatient Behavioral Health, Mayo Clinic Health System

This presentation will introduce 3 tools for infants to very young children that will support and encourage social and emotional health. The three tools are emotion coaching, mindfulness and games that teach self-regulation.
(Infant, Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten)

Arts Integration for Infants and Toddlers
Allison Feller,  Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Rachael Stuart, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Marcia Wolf, Senior Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
This session will explore the integration of the arts, specifically music and movement, into all developmental areas of an infant and toddler curriculum.  The presenters are current participants of the Arts Integration Menomonie (A.I.M.) grant which matches teachers with professional artists.  The presenters will demonstrate how music and movement can be used as a teaching tool to enhance and deliver a curriculum.  The attendees will be presented new ideas through pictures, video and active participation.
(Infant, Toddler)  

UW-Stout Infant/Toddler Lab Tour
Allison Feller, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Rachael Stuart, Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Marcia Wolf, Senior Instructional Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Stout
Join us for a tour of the UW-Stout Infant and Toddler Lab. There will be a short information session and then the rooms will be open for exploring and picture taking. The head teachers will be available to answer any questions.
(Infant, Toddler)

Science Time
Sherry Wolfer, Owner, Let's Dig In

You don’t have to be a scientist to do or have science in your classroom. Explore this “hands-on” workshop that contains easy and inexpensive science experiments, science activities and science table top props that you can do with children from two years old through one hundred plus years old.

Time to Teach
Jacqueline Woods,  Middle School Teacher/Educational Consultant

Classroom management is something all teachers struggle with.  This doesn't have to be true!  Learn a simple, effective, and logical way to deal with 80% of your pesky behaviors.  Participants will learn strategies that change behaviors such as diffusers, self control (for the teacher!), prompting techniques teach --to's and refocus.  The best part?  You will learn techniques and strategies that work--and don't cause extra work for the teacher!  Teachers will find themselves with more time to teach, parents will hear more "good" things ( and less "bad") about their children, and administrators will see significant drop in discipline referrals.
 (New Teachers)