It started with the idea in 2007 to provide parents with the same professional development and speakers that educators, child advocates and social service professionals have access to through their annual conferences. The first conference brought together 84 parents and professionals. Now in its sixth year, the conference has grown to more than 250 participants from 46 Connecticut towns, with more than 20 workshops available, including effective advocacy for children and families, bully-proofing your child, multicultural storytelling and dietary intervention for children on the Autism Spectrum.
The 2012 conference, “Do You Know What Makes Your Child Tick,” takes place Saturday, March 31 at the Hartford-Windsor Marriott Hotel, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The price of the event includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, free parking, workshops and conference materials. On Friday, March 30, educators and parents are invited to a pre-conference expo from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., sponsored by The SEEDS Network.
“For the past six years, Childhood Conversations has brought together parents, educators, and advocates interested in learning tools and thoughts from leaders in the field of early childhood, nutrition, education, child development, parenting, and other disciplines,” said Ken Anthony, CT After School Network. “Our audience has expanded to include professionals in early childhood, social work, and education sectors, while still maintaining our parent base.”
This year’s keynote speaker is Frances M. Carlson, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) author and lead instructor of early childhood care and education at Chattahoochee Technical College in Georgia. In her keynote address, Carlson will discuss the importance of positive touch for children as it pertains to their physical, cognitive, social and emotional development. She will also conduct a workshop at 10 a.m. entitled, “Big Body Play.”
The event is a collaborative effort among numerous partners, including The Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children, Children’s Trust Fund/DSS, CT After School Network, CT Early Childhood Alliance, CT Family Resource Center Alliance, CT Parent Education Network, CT Parent Information and Resource Center, CT Parents as Teachers, State Education Resource Center, The SEEDS Network, The Village for Families and Children, University of Hartford, William Caspar Graustein Fund, Windsor Department of Social Services, Windsor Early Childhood Council and Windsor Family Resource Centers.
“Graustein Memorial Fund is proud to support this conference for the past five years,” said David Nee, Executive Director of the Memorial Fund. “It is a model for bringing together parents and professionals to learn together and improve outcomes for children. We can only secure a brighter future for Connecticut's children when parents and professionals work together."
“These partnerships allow the conference to maintain its diverse workshops and access to keynote speakers from any of the sectors in the partnership,” said Gail Nolan, Alliance for Bloomfield’s Children and co-chair of the CT Early Childhood Alliance. “Likewise, these strong partnerships allow us to reach and invite thousands of people across the state to this conference.”
Registration deadline is March 16. See conference brochure for more information.