Early Childhood Conference Set For Oct. 5

DEWITTVILLE – “Walk on the Wild Side” is the theme for this year’s Early Childhood Conference to be held on Saturday, Oct. 5, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Camp Onyahsa in Dewittville.

The 24th annual conference will be co-hosted by the Chautauqua County Association for the Education of Young Children, SUNY Fredonia College of Education; and the Chautauqua Child Care Council – a program of Chautauqua Opportunities Inc.

Teachers, students, staff from child care programs and family child caregivers serving infants through school-agers, family members, and anyone interested in helping young children learn to enjoy moving and being outdoors are invited to attend.

Pre-registration is $5 for students; $10 for CCAEYC/NAEYC members; and $15 for non-members. Cost at the door is $10 for students and members and $20 for non-members at the door.

Keynote speaker, Andrew Krenzer, physical activity specialist for the Chautauqua Child Care Council and former public school health and physical education teacher, brings a wealth of knowledge and experience on getting children active. His keynote address and workshop will offer early childhood professionals fun and interactive ways to help prevent childhood obesity by getting kids and their parents involved in movement skills and physical fitness.

Additional workshop selections will include a sensory walk to help get children more active by developing their appreciation for nature. The workshop and walk will be conducted by David Anderson, former kindergarten teacher and current adjunct instructor for SUNY Fredonia and staff conservationist for the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy. Possible methods to use for documentation of the experience and alignment with New York State Learning Guidelines will be shared by Anderson as well.

Jennifer Berke, Ph. D., assistant professor and coordinator of the Early Childhood Program at SUNY Fredonia, will offer a hands-on adventure to inspire children’s connections to the natural world around them through books and science materials.

Berke, who is also a former department chair of the Early Childhood Program at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, has been involved in the early childhood field for more than 40 years and has presented at more than 100 local, state, and national conferences.

Natural materials and art will be the topic of a workshop presented by Tina Nelson-Scherman from the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Nelson-Scherman brings to this event more than 30 years of experience in nature education through her work experience at public schools, summer camps, Jamestown Audubon Nature Center, Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy and RTPI. Her workshop presentation will include painting with mud; leaf rubs and berry juice; rock sculptures and more.

All conference participants should dress comfortably enough to go outdoors and maybe even get a bit dirty. For more information or to pre-register, contact Brandee Mortimer, technical assistance provider specialist, at Chautauqua Opportunities Inc., at 661-9430, ext. 295, or bmortimer@chautopp.org.