2020 Early Childhood Education Conference - Presenters and Workshops

42nd Annual | Friday and Saturday, April 17th and 18th, 2020
In this Section


Workshop times for Friday and Saturday:

Session 1 - 9:00am to 10:15am - Keynote Presentation
Session 2 - 10:30am to 11:45am
Session 3 - 1:15pm to 2:30 pm
Session 4 - 2:45pm to 4:00pm

  • The Music/Literacy Connection
    Lori Lynn Ahrends, EC Trainer/Children's Singer, Overall Buddies

One of the most powerful tools in an educator's toolbox is often the most underused. Music! The research is abundant as to music's power and its positive effects on our brain. Knowing this power, shouldn't we do all we can to harness and use it to serve our students? Participants will learn fun and purposeful ways to intentionally teach early literacy skills to students through songs, poems, and books. They will gain an understanding of the importance of using music and movement to teach literacy skills such as tracking, phrasing, fluency, voice, inflection, rhythm, creativity, vocabulary, sound discrimination, and comprehension. Participants will come away from this session with easy, fun, and practical ideas to use in their classrooms throughout the daily routine. They will know how to align a music activity specifically to a particular literacy skill.
(3 to 5 Years, Adults)

  • Building Blocks to Quality: A Look at QRIS in Wisconsin
    Amy Alt, Program and Policy Analyst, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families
    Chris Lace, YoungStar Technical Consultant, Child Care Partnership

YoungStar, Wisconsin’s quality rating, and improvement system for early care and education has gone lean! A research study on the effectiveness of the states QRIS revealed the quality indicators most related to positive outcomes for children, which were used to update the evaluation criteria for 2021/22. Together we will take a careful look at these quality indicators, considering the research behind each and how they affect quality in early childhood. YoungStar’s new look, the block system will be introduced along with highlights in the most current environment rating scale tools. We look forward to answering questions and having a conversation about how you can meet your program goals.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Freeing Time for Fun!
    Linda Armas, Educational Consultant, Prepare Parents, LLC

Streamline your transitions and everyday activities to free more time for what you and children enjoy doing! Linda Armas' ROUTINE RULES! framework guides children to systematically complete specific adult expectations at arrival, dismissal, nap-time, meal, bathroom and more. Adult-child relationships are nurtured, and minutes are added to each day, as waiting and reminders for task-completion is no longer necessary. Explicit direction and strategic application examples, using Linda’s 7 ESSENTIAL CREATE-A-ROUTINE QUESTIONS will guide participants as they learn how to design personalized and effective routines for their role with children. After doing so, you’ll be ready to enjoy your new-found time for extra activities!
(2 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Closing The School Readiness Gap with Parent-Child Math Talk
    Anastasia Betts, VP of Curriculum Planning & Design

Recent studies have shown that small increases in parent-child math-talk can lead to increased achievement in math. Teachers fill their classrooms with substantial math-talk, but school hours alone are not enough to overcome the wide disparities in students' levels of achievement. In this session, participants will learn how to support parents using the "Four-Cs" strategy (Conversation, Counting, Comparing, and Categorizing), which is grounded in the latest research that reveals the early mathematics competencies that are most likely to lead to later math success. In this session, each specific component of the Four C strategy and examples will be covered, as well as ways to adapt the strategy to different types of parents and home environments, and lifestyles.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • From Playscape to Naturescape: Helping Transform Your Center Into A World of Science Discovery
    Andrea Bierbrauer, Early Childhood Specialist/Naturalist/Volunteer Coordinator

Want to introduce environmental education into your center or classroom? This workshop will provide participants with activities that focus on sensory and science, processed-based art, and simple outdoor activities. Participants will create correlating make-and-take activities that can be used in their centers, making environmental education more exciting and accessible to all.
(2  to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Mindful Breathing and Calm Centering for Young Children
    Ann Biese, Meditation & Mindfulness Specialist, Tufts Floating Hospital for Children

Mindful breathing is the focus on one’s breathing.  This activity can be an ideal first experience of calm, centered awareness for children. The approach of mindfulness is available to all children and can happen through play, games and focused breathing activities. It is within the scope of all children to learn properly guided breathing, by creating and incorporating the concept into their preschool classroom. It helps them be calm and improves self-awareness. It helps the teacher as well! Learn the four stages of mindful breathing and how to incorporate the various pediatric breathing techniques into your preschool setting.
(2 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • More than “Your Child Did Great!” Building Trust and Positive Relationships with Caregivers to Nurture Children’s School Experience
    Ayuko Boomer, Early Childhood Specialist, University of Minnesota, Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School

Participants in this session will develop language and communication skills that will enhance the relationship and trust between parents and teachers. Through discussion and sharing, they will have a deeper understanding of how positive parent-teacher relationships enhance and support the child’s learning, thus furthering the goals to provide the best education and experience for the child.
(Infant  to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Does Your Day SWAG? (Start With a Grin)
    Holly Christian, Educational Consultant, There is a Better Way, Inc.
    Kevin Christian, Educational Consultant, There is a Better Way, Inc.

More than 50% of school-age students are coming to school from poverty with little understanding of the structure in school. This highly interactive session will focus on helping students transition into school each day, by providing them with circle time activities that unite, connect, set goals, release stress, and prepare them for learning.
(2 1/2 to 5-Year-Olds)


  • Differentiation in the Kindergarten Classroom-Inclusive Guided Reading Strategies for All Learners
    Sara Copenhaver, Kindergarten Teacher, Meadowview Elementary, Farmington, Minnesota
    Jenni Olson, Special Education Teacher, Farmington, Minnesota

We will be presenting hands-on and engaging activities that we have developed for our Early Childhood Special Education students. These activities support all levels of learning to meet the needs of students in the all-day kindergarten classroom. Attendees will leave with resources and ideas to implement when they return to their classrooms. Come try our new center-based activities that focus on phonics, guided reading, fine motor, and play-based learning. 
(1 to 5-Years-Olds)


  • Trauma Informed-Versus- Trauma-Sensitive: Creating a Team in and Out of School
    Leah Corso, Early Childhood Education Student, UW-Stout

These session participants will gain an understanding of being trauma-informed versus trauma-sensitive and the importance of working with families to understand and support children who have gone through trauma. Participants will learn about adverse childhood experiences and behaviors that may follow.
(1 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • School-Age Summer Curriculum Planning
    Janet Duening-Macha, Educational Consultant, Chiave Success

It's summer and you are flooded with children who need a little more in their day! Let's work together to develop an amazing, fun, and engaging program for the school-agers in your facility.

  • Toxic Stress of Homelessness and Housing Insecurities: Unraveling the Correlation with Early Brain Development and Possible Behaviors
    Jeanne Erickson, Director, Today Not Tomorrow - Project Babies

Even though we may encounter homeless individuals and families each day, they are often invisible to us. The rate of homelessness is on a steady rise and its impact affects all ages. Participants in this interactive workshop will gain an understanding of the toxic stress of homelessness and housing insecurity and the impact it has on early brain development and how it may manifest through physical, emotional and mental health and subsequent behaviors. The barriers created by homelessness will be addressed, with an interactive discussion on how programming may reduce those barriers.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Love to Move, Move to Learn with Zoo-phonics
    Charmaine Erwin, Educational Consultant, Zoo-phonics, Inc.

This Zoo-phonics workshop will enable teachers to effectively teach language arts based on phonics, taught with kinesthetics and mnemonics. The principle of Zoo-phonics maximizes understanding, memory in a playful and concrete manner. Games, music, and Zoo-Robotics will be presented.
(2 ½ to 5-Year-Old)

  • The Joys of Emergent Learning! What do the kids want to know?
    Michelle Espelien, Director, Elim Preschool 

Teaching children what they have an interest in is so much fun!  Learn about emergent learning and how it can work in your preschool setting. Hear about several topics that our preschool has worked on this school year. Ideas will be presented in all areas with many open-ended art ideas presented as well.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Everyday Science and Sensory for the Classroom
    Michelle Espelien, Director, Elim Preschool

Welcome to a session filled with fun and easy science and sensory activities and hands-on fun! Ideas will be presented that will keep your days busy learning about cooking and measuring, creating projects and doing activities from items in nature, and mixing up many hands-on messy activities that relate to emergent learning and themes. Kids love to make messes and getting messy and dirty is so important for growth and development!
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Infant/Toddler and Preschool Lab Tours
    Allison Feller, Director, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Kalley Bergstrom, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    ngie Gilbertson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Maggie Keenan, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Kristen Korkowski, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Kara Olson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Laura Pitt, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Rachael Stuart, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Amber Syverson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Marcia Wolf, Senior Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Rebecca Wolf, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout 

Tour the Infant/Toddler Lab and Child and Family Study Center (Preschool Lab) at UW-Stout. There will be a short informational session and the rooms will be open so you can explore and take pictures. The headteachers will be available to answer questions.
(Infant to 4-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • REAL: Reflect, Engage, Adjust, Learn
    Kristine Fischbach, Program Director, Kids Grow, Inc.
    Katie Hook, Recruiting and HR Specialist, Kids Grow, Inc.

Turn over in childcare is real. It starts with your culture. Be ready to be REAL! You will REFLECT on your center culture. How are you ENGAGING your staff to develop a positive working relationship? How will you ADJUST your Leadership after LEARNING from your past? Attend this session with an open mind. We will learn from each other and reset to create a positive center culture.

  • Using Puppets in the Infant and Toddler Classroom - Make and Take
    Susan Fulcher - Owner, Suzette's Puppets Build-A-Puppet Workshops​​​​​

Have you always wanted to use a puppet but didn’t know how?  Are you a little intimidated about making it talk? This workshop will take the fear out of using a puppet.  You will learn which puppets are best to use to tell a simple story and/or sing a silly song for infants and toddlers.  You will also learn simple tricks to make the puppet talk and interact with this age group. Each participant will get to make their own sock puppet puppy to tell the story, “Dog’s Colorful Day,” written by Emma Dodd.
(Infants to 2 1/2 Years Old, Adults) (Additional fee to attend this make and take $20.00)

  • Bringing Stories to Life Using Puppets – Make and Take
    Susan Fulcher - Owner, Suzette's Puppets Build-A-Puppet Workshops​​​​​

Puppets are a wonderful way for preschoolers and kindergartners to practice their language skills.  If a child is uncomfortable talking to an adult they WILL talk to a puppet! In this workshop, you will learn about the different types of puppets and how to manipulate them. You will also learn how to choose a puppet to either sing a song, or introduce a book, or tell a story.  In addition, each participant will get to make their own sock puppet puppy to retell the story, “Dog’s Colorful Day,” written by Emma Dodd.
(5-year-olds, Adults) (Additional fee to attend this make and take $20.00)

  • My Journey Implementing Inquiry in the Lab School Preschool
    Angela Gilbertson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout

Join me on my journey implementing bits and pieces of inquiry-based learning in one of the preschool classrooms here on the UW-Stout campus. Our classroom is theme-based with many "pieces to the pie" so this is definitely a great session to attend if you are just first getting your feet wet with inquiry-based learning or wondering about ways you can start to incorporate it more into your classroom. Facts, activities, and reflections will be shared in regards to children and also with trying to teach college students. This journey is still a work in progress but I'd love for you to join me today!
(3 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Classroom Environments for Children with Sensory Processing Differences
    Teresa Gillen, Occupational Therapist, Points of Stillness
    Allison Gilbert, Occupational Therapist, Points of Stillness

This presentation will focus on how to use sensory tools and set up environments for children who have sensory processing issues. Physical examples and sensory tools will be explored by participants.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Shake It Down, Turn Around: Let’s Move Our Bodies & Brains
    Colleen Hannafin, Music and Movement Presenter, North Side Music

Singing and moving during your day can benefit you and your children for healthy bodies while stimulating our brains for new learning! Active involvement through the elements of movement. Materials presented will promote patterning, sequencing, math and literacy concepts as well as listening and following directions. Multi-age.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Props Make the Songs Pop!
    Colleen Hannafin, Music and Movement Presenter, North Side Music

Stories, fingerplays, and songs - need them to pop? Let’s use props! Reaching and teaching all types of learners: audio, visual and kinesthetic! Let's sing, and move with song, add visuals! Bringing a joyful and rewarding learning experience to the children you work with. Book buddies, puppets, felt/velcro boards and more.
(2 ½ to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Why Do They Do That?
    Katie Hansen, S.M.A.R.T. Mentor, A Chance to Grow

Wet sleeves and shirt collars? Meltdowns at clean up time? Explore the "why" behind common behaviors that tend to be labeled as "misbehaviors" in your classrooms. Learning the "why" behind the behaviors can help you better understand what the child is trying to tell you. Along with that understanding, participants will be equipped with tips and tricks to help ease the frequency or intensity of these behaviors ranging from shirt chewers to meltdowns at transitions.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Early Childhood Engineering... It's A Mindset!
    Orinthia Harris, STEM Trainer, Center for Educational Improvement 

Early Childhood Engineering often takes the form of students "building in the block area." Engineering instruction should not be relegated to one center. This workshop will help you "step outside the blocks" in order to create the next generation of problem solvers. Developing an engineering identity in the early years is a significant indicator of educational and professional persistence. This workshop will help attendees build the skills they need to engage young learners in engineering while fostering student-centered, inquiry-based learning.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

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

This workshop will present insights, methods, materials and specific language that will enhance self-concept and promote strategic thinking. Resilience will be presented as a crucial element for emotionally healthy children and a healthy learning community.
(2 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • How Can Parent Involvement Alter a Child's Education
    Tess Haskel, Berkshire School

Parent involvement? Sure! This session will discuss what this can look like and how to get started.  Understand the value of programming for parents and parent clubs and how they contribute to children’s success. Sharing student work with parents through homework activities and assignments can be fun and explorational but can also be educational for both the student and the parent.  With this approach, you are teaching both the parent and the student. This gets them involved in working on a project together and creates a bond that brings the parent and student closer together.
(4 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • I have BIG feelings!
    Haley Hennlich, Owner, Sonshine Learning Center

Our students have big feelings, beginning from infancy! This session will explore a completely new curriculum surrounding those big feelings, in a developmentally appropriate, play-based, hands-on, brain-rich environment. This curriculum will bring to life the big feelings in a way that makes sense to children. This session partners well with WMELS, the CSEFEL Pyramid Model, and Youngstar initiatives. (Complete curriculum will be available for purchase as well.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Projects From All Over
    Julie Hume, Owner, Kind Hearts Day Care

Art is a very important part of a child's day because it hits all the developmental domains in a child's development. Art lends itself to physical development and the enhancement of fine and gross motor skills. Children learn about themselves and others through art activities. Join us for a fun-filled workshop where you will get to see first-hand the skills the children have used to create their own little masterpieces. Our workshop will give you enough ideas to help you fill your lesson plans from fall all the way to spring. At the end of our session, there will be an opportunity to trace the wonderful stencils that we are famous for.
(1 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Building Stronger Foundations: Strategies for Dealing with Challenging Behavior
    Lisa Johnson, 4K Teacher, Building Technology Coach, Black River Falls School District, Forrest St Early Learning Center

16 years of early childhood experience has helped me blend Love & Logic, Pyramid Model, Responsive Classroom, Conscious Discipline, Mindfulness, and other best practices to establish a system of high-quality Social-Emotional Learning skills. In this session explore tips and techniques to use with our most challenging early childhood learners. Bring back ideas and resources to your classroom that will help your students develop SEL problem-solving skills which empower the learners that need it the most.

  • Building Stronger Foundations: Strategies for Preventing Challenging Behavior
    Lisa Johnson, 4K Teacher, Building Technology Coach, Black River Falls School District, Forrest St Early Learning Center

16 years of early childhood experience has helped me blend Love & Logic, Pyramid Model, Responsive Classroom, Conscious Discipline, Mindfulness, and other best practices to establish a system of high Social-Emotional Learning skills. In this session explore tips and techniques to use in early childhood to establish a positive classroom culture. Bring back ideas and resources to your classroom that will help you and your students develop a setting where negative behaviors are less likely to occur.

  • Math Tools in the Lower Elementary Classroom
    Brian Klapperich, First Grade Teacher, School District of Elmwood

Learn what math tools will help lower-elementary students grasp math concepts. Math games will also be played at this presentation.

  • Welcoming OUR Creative Instincts as our Number One Teaching Partner
    Jill Klefstad, Professor, UW-Stout
    Kris Winter, Storyteller, Menomonie School District

What does it mean to you to be creative? Do you ever second guess your creative instincts and hesitate to unleash your innovative and inventive ideas? Join us as we embrace our creative selves to integrate the art of storytelling and music that will enrich your classroom environment and curriculum for young children. This session promises to bring a smile to your heart and inspire you as a creative teacher.
(4 to 5-years-Olds)

  • Strength-Based and Relationship-Focused Strategies to Guide Children to Success and Happiness
    Cheryl (Shari) Larson, Parent Coach, Anu Family Services

In this presentation, we will look at relationship-focused strategies to support children who have intense, pain-based behaviors. We sill explore trauma and what happens physiologically to children in stressful situations. We will explore what human needs children are looking for from their care providers. I will explain 10 strength-based Present Moment Parenting Tenets to support children in their present moment successes in school, on the playground, in transitions or any other child settings.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Don't Assume Anything, Teach Everything
    Lisa Lochner, Preschool Educator, Duluth Public Schools
    Maureen Olek, Inclusion Specialist for Duluth Preschool, Duluth Public Schools

"If a child doesn't know how to read, we teach. If a child doesn't know how to swim, we teach. If a child does not know how to multiply, we teach. If a child doesn't know how to drive, we teach. If a child does not know how to behave, we... teach?...punish?    Why can't we finish the last sentence as automatically as we do the others?" -Tom Herner.  Join us for a session packed with examples in which we will share and discuss tried and true strategies and ideas to help preschool children learn crucial social-emotional skills. Strategies and activity ideas will cover establishing routines, developing emotional regulation, establishing positive relationships, interacting cooperatively with others, and helping children to learn how to solve social conflict.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • The Art of Creating Purposeful, Engaging, and oh so Appropriate Toddler Environments
    Jamie Lynch, Early Childhood Education Instructor, WITC-Rice Lake

Discover practical ways to transform your classroom into a meaningful space that will enrich, guide, and support the toddlers in your care. A variety of ideas will be shared to help you create an interesting, calming, and welcoming environment. Tips will be included on effective room arrangement, furnishings, lighting, sound, organization, activities, color and more!
(1 to 3-Year-Olds)

  • Thinking about Preschool Communities
    Fay Maas, Dr. University of Minnesota-Duluth
    Jeffrey Maas, Education Consultant

Teachers understand the importance of “community” in creating learning opportunities for young children. This interactive presentation will define and explore various characteristics of “community” to help teachers better understand the variables available to them in creating and managing learning communities. We will describe how simple activities in math, language, and science lead to highly complex thinking. We will also examine the roles teachers play in managing and understanding this complex, emergent learning “community.” Special emphasis will be placed on the “habits of mind” that lead to effective learning and problem-solving. It is our contention that teachers must reinvent the lens through which they view learning. We will share the “lens” we are developing in the hopes that others may find it useful.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Bringing it All Together: Inspiring Young Writers Through Dramatic Play
    Lisa Mader, Adjunct Professor/4K Tacher, UWO/Kaukauna Area School District 

Dramatic play comes naturally to preschool children! Why not use it to inspire writing in your classroom? Attendees will learn how to take children's dramatic play and use it to encourage various types of writing. Examples will be shown of functional writing, compositional/bookmaking, journals/thoughtful logs, environmental print and a developmentally appropriate word wall. Ideas will be shared on how to set up dramatic play/writing areas, how to find low-cost materials, how to extend young children's writing and how to use interactive
writing with children.
(4 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Using Children’s Literature in Teaching Science
    Kevin Mason, Professor of Science Education, UW-Stout
    Emily Hines, Associate Professor of Literacy Education, UW-Stout

Discover how elementary teachers in Wisconsin are using children’s literature to introduce science concepts and engage students in science and engineering investigations. The Using Children’s Literature in Teaching Science (UCLTS) project partnered 40 teachers from 13 school districts in Wisconsin with faculty members from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. This presentation will share the background and goals of the project and three specific examples of how children’s literature was used by teachers to introduce students to science concepts, including the needs of plants and animals (NGSS K-LS1-1, K-ESS3-1), bodies of water (NGSS 2-ESS2.C), and forces and motion (NGSS K-PS2-1-2). In addition to addressing science standards, the teachers also integrated several literacy strands from the Common Core State Standards in English and Language Arts (CCSSELA) into their science lessons, including strategies for reading, writing, creating, and responding to science content presented in informational texts (CCSSELA RI.K1-3, W.K.2, RI.2.3, W.2.2).
(3 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Family, Friends, and Feelings: Supporting Emotional Growth through Music, Movement, and Literacy
    Fran McKinney, EC Teacher/Music Specialist, Fran Mckinney & Friends

Children need support in acknowledging and coping with their bodies and emotional responses to the world around them. Music is a universal language that reaches all learners and levels of development. It is the language of emotions and speaks to the heart. Music is also a vehicle for learning self-regulation, early literacy, and emotional awareness. Come explore these areas while playing, singing, moving and enjoying these teaching tools that will bring you and your students' joy and connection.
(1 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Neuro-Nurturing: Potential Realized
    Deborah McNelis, Founder, Brain Insights

When the brain feels a sense of trust and security it is then able to relax and is ready to learn. This security is essential to establish from birth, preparing the brain for learning, self-regulation, critical thinking, resiliency, empathy, problem-solving, and getting along with others. Beginning with a newborn it is essential that physical and security needs are met, and nurturing interaction and an abundance of play is consistently provided. This is Neuro-Nurturing®.
(2 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Behavior Burnout? Essential Skills to Love Work Again
    Samantha Moe, Certified Parent Coach, Mad2Glad

Do you wake up dreading the toughest child in your class? On top of state standards, budget cuts and paperwork, it seems there are more children than ever who have extremely challenging behavior. Kids who are impulsive, controlling, and have emotional outbursts that escalate quickly tend to have a highly reactive “fight or flight” stress response. Learn positive behavior skills, rooted in neuroscience, that is proven to be effective with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder and Trauma. You'll walk away with a deeper understanding of what YOU CAN DO to make a meaningful impact on children’s lives and love your work again.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Tips and Tools to Promote Self-Control Skills in Early Childhood
    Raelene Ostberg, Director, Thriving Together, LLC

Gain insight into the development of the higher-level thinking skills needed for impulse-control and self-regulation in young children. Explore strategies that foster these “Executive Functions” and help children develop the self-control needed to behave well. Discover hands-on tools, games, and fun activities you can implement in your environment to help young children improve self-discipline and manage strong emotions. Learn strategies that will build the child’s capacity to succeed in your care, in school, and in life.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Taming Those Terrific Toddlers
    Raelene Ostberg, Director, Thriving Together, LLC

Gain insight into typical toddler development and learn what drives toddlers’ negative behaviors. Collect proven hands-on strategies to effectively redirect challenging behaviors and get toddlers to follow your directions. Unlock the secret world of toddlers and explore guidance strategies that really work. You will increase your joy and decrease your stress while caring for these wonderful humans.
(Infant to 3-Year-Olds)

  • Decrease Stress, Enhance Your Joy, Increase Your Success - Today!
    Raelene Ostberg, Director, Thriving Together, LLC

Identify three top strategies you can easily apply to reduce stress and enjoy more of your work and personal life. Learn a fascinating model gleaned from the latest neuroscience research that leads us to tangible methods to train our brain to find more joyful moments and connections with others. Discover practical methods to foster joy in your life while and increase success, both personally and professionally.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • I Heart Reading!
    Amber Osterman, Kindergarten Teacher, Osseo-Fairchild School District
    LuAnn Neuenschwander, Kindergarten Teacher, Gillett School District

Fill your day with opportunities for your students to enjoy learning to read. Amber and LuAnn will share tips and tricks for getting your kids excited and confident about reading. Leave with ideas, games, strategies, and more to lead your students to the love of reading.

  • I Heart Math!
    Amber Osterman, Kindergarten Teacher, Osseo-Fairchild School District
    LuAnn Neuenschwander, Kindergarten Teacher, Gillett School District

Get ready to leave this session with a collection of hands-on, engaging and fun activities to help your young learners grasp the basics of number sense. And, return to your classroom with math ideas that you can implement immediately. Come join Amber and LuAnn as they share some easy-to-use tips and tricks for filling your classroom with math activities they will love.

  • Heart Everything About Kindergarten!
    Amber Osterman, Kindergarten Teacher, Osseo-Fairchild School District
    LuAnn Neuenschwander, Kindergarten Teacher, Gillett School District

Give every child the opportunity to love to learn and explore in an inspiring and joyful environment. Make learning fun, as your students learn through activity and play. Amber and LuAnn will teach you strategies that will promote energy in your classroom that help children develop skills in a fun way. Leave with dozens of ideas to have your best year ever!

  • Cooking is Cool
    Laura Pitt, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Amber Syverson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout

Come enjoy seeing some of the fun creations with food at the Child and Family Study Center. We will share our experiences and what we have learned along the way with making snacks with children. Come on in and create your very own snack with us!
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Building Our Capacity for Curiosity, Compassion, and Courage: Critical Elements of Leadership in Early Education
    Hannah Riddle de Rojas, Trainer, Semillitas Training
    Jamie Bonzyck, Executive Director, Hopkins Early Learning Center

The fundamental changes and conversations, which accompany the professionalizing of early childhood education, create an environment conducive to feelings of isolation and opposition. At this time in our field, we are required to engage in hard conversations – of which the stakes are too high not to share our opinions. In many ways during our collective journey, we have wandered away from the practice of three powerful character traits: curiosity, compassion, and courage. Rediscovering and exploring the power and impact of these traits and how to use them in our lives, serves as an essential tool for strengthening and unifying our voice.

  • Nursery Rhyme Math
    Terrie Schmoldt, Reading Teacher, Math Resource, Advanced Learner Teacher, and Presenter, Evansville Community School District

We’re going beyond phonemics and rhyming! We are measuring, estimating, graphing, and having fun. We will conclude with a field day of Nursery Rhyme Olympics!
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Bubbles 101
    Terrie Schmoldt, Reading Teacher, Math Resource, Advanced Learner Teacher, and Presenter, Evansville Community School District

Are you ready to get your hands wet and participate in bubble experiments? This is a hands-on, hands wet, participatory session of fun and exploration as we conduct a plethora of bubble experiments.
(2 ½ to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Take Back Time!
    Stacey Schultz, Elementary Educator, Spring Grove Public School

It's time to TAKE BACK LEARNING TIME in the elementary classroom scheduled day. How much time do you spend 'lining up'-'waiting in the hallway'- 'reteaching behaviors'- get ready for tips and tricks on how to MOVE and SHAKE and LEARN 'on the move' in our ever-changing - high expectation learning day!
(5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Morning Meeting Up and Moving
    Juanita Skubal, 4K Teacher, St. Mary's School

How to keep students attending at your morning meeting time. I have ideas to help students get moving, clapping, singing during the morning routine. I will show you ways to implement brain breaks, songs and movement all while learning. The students are involved, having fun and engaged while learning the days of the week, the weather, letters, numbers, nursery rhymes and more. Attendees will leave with new and fun ideas to implement into their morning routine.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • From Story Time to Snack Time
    Rachael Stuart, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Kara Olson, Instructional Specialist, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout

In this presentation, attendees will learn ways to connect engaging storytime with healthy and fun snacks for toddlers. Cooking with young children teaches many different developmental skills, such as fine motor, math, science, language, and social-emotional skills. Come learn how to engage children from storytime to snack time, along with how to make some delicious snacks.
(1 to 3-Year-Olds)

  • Beyond Sharing: Teaching Generosity and Multicultural Awareness to Young Children
    Pam Thompson, Early Childhood Educator, Mahtomedi Public Schools

Many of us believe that the future of the world depends upon our children’s spirit of generosity. We also fear that if we don’t remind children to share, they might become selfish, stingy outcasts. So… we tell children to “share”. If generosity and empathy are values that we want to pass along to kids, how do we do it? You will leave this workshop with ideas, resources, and activities that you can use with the children in your class as well as with their parents.
(2 to 5-Year-Olds, Adults)

  • Leaping Into Literacy and Kid-Friendly Math Centers
    Julie Torkelson, Owner, Katie and Company

Find new ways to develop and enhance literacy with young children. We will be using music and movement and flannel board activities to reinforce readiness skills. Learn how to create math centers that really work and children will love.
(3 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Language Facilitation Strategies in Early Learning Programs
    Shucrea Victor-Cameron, 1st Grade Teacher, Broward County Public Schools

Children come to school with a wide range of exposure and language experiences. Research on language developments has become a touchstone for practitioners attempting to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged children. One way to close the gap is through language nutrition. Language nutrition refers to language-rich interactions that facilitate language development. Participants will learn how to utilize language facilitation strategies from the Talk With Me Baby initiative to support individualized growth and development.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Experience Play
    Shawna Wilde, Owner, Raising Stars Child Care

Creating meaningful experiences through play is essential for young children. We will discuss how to do this, see examples of this and have the opportunity to see, touch and play as our children and would.
(2 ½ to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Teacher-Made Materials
    Becky Wolf, Lead Teacher, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout
    Kalley Bergstrom, Lead Teach, Child & Family Study Center, UW-Stout

In this presentation, learn how to better utilize multiple household objects in your classroom as well as how to differentiate their purposes for children of varying ages and stages of development.
(Infant to 4-Year-Olds)

  • Music and Mental Health: Building a Strong Foundation for Early Learners
    Marcia Wolf, Senior Instructional Specialist, UW-Stout
    Julie Bates-Maves, Associate Professor, UW-Stout

This presentation will address early brain development and the impact of music on those processes that extend beyond infancy into the school-age years. Information around how the use of music can support the mental health of young children will be discussed as well as the known impact of music in the brain. Examples of music activities, songs, and lesson plans will be provided.
(1 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • 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. Learn how to incorporate science into all areas of the classroom. Explore this “hands-on” workshop that contains easy and inexpensive science experiments, science activities and science tabletop props that you can do with children from two years old through one hundred plus years old.
(2 to 5-Year-Olds)

  • Brain Architecture and Development in Early Childhood
    Nora Ziburski, Early Childhood Education Instructor, WICT-Superior
    Amy Pennington, Early Childhood Education Instructor, WITC-New Richmond
    Tracy Jacobson, Early Childhood Education Instructor, WITC-New Richmond
    Jamie Lynch, Early Childhood Education Instructor, WITC-Rice Lake

During this session, we will discuss the importance of positive early childhood experiences for brain development. Participants will have the opportunity to explore these concepts by creating their own brain by playing "The Brain Architecture Game". The Brain Architecture Game "is a tabletop game experience that builds understanding of the powerful role of experiences on early brain development– what promotes it, what derails it, with what consequences for society" (The Brain Architecture Game, 2017, para. 1). Participants will receive important handouts on brain development and early experiences.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

  • TIPS! Thrifty, frugal, organizational, inexpensive tips for Your Center
    Tabitha Zimmer, Owner, and Teacher, Sturgeon Lake Clubhouse Daycare
    Amanda Zimmer, Assistant, Sturgeon Lake Clubhouse Daycare

This session is for those who want a sneak peek – be a fly on the wall in someone else’s home/childcare. I have been a childcare provider for 28 years and a babysitter from my home town as a child. I’m pack full of ideas of being thrifty, frugal, organizing, advertising, display, recycle, time-saving, food, and cheap-on-budget TIPS. I like to call myself the child development toy analyst.  I will share the children’s favorite songs/toys that last from year to year. I guarantee you will take several ideas from this class and begin to generate new ideas for your home/workplace. Please bring and share your favorite idea tips with us, we can all learn from each other.
(Infant to 5-Year-Olds)

Registration Rates

2020 Registration Fees

General Participation Rates

One Day

Two Days


Early Bird General Rate to April 1, 2020




Rate after April 1, 2020




Group Rates

One Day

Two Days


Early Bird Group Rate to April 1, 2020




Rate after April 1, 2020




Student Rates

One Day

Two Days


Early Bird Student Rate to April 1, 2020




Rate after April 1, 2020





  • Early Bird rates are valid until 12:00 midnight on Wednesday, April 1st, 2020. 
  • Group rates are for 3 or more participants from the same organization. Please contact Denise at wysockifreebergd@uwstout.edu or 715.232.5022 for assistance in registering groups.
  • Student rates are for full-time students attending any higher education institute.
  • The 2019 Early Childhood Education Conference has been approved for .5 CEU’s (continuing education units) per day of conference.
  • The 2019 Early Childhood Education Conference is listed with the MN Center for Professional Development and The Registry (Wisconsin).

Attendee Registration

Registration Open
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