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StudentResources


Focus on Children 2020

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    Registration opens Dec. 2
    Register {on or before} Jan. 10 to save!
    Limited scholarships available
    Breakfast & lunch provided

    Questions

    Phone:
    360.752.8478

    Brochure

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The Importance of Authentic Connections in the Information Age

Two children looking and pointing

For as long as there have been infants and young children, there has been advice for new parents. Well-meaning comments from friends and families, a mountain of (often contradictory) books, and an untold number of media segments await new parents, adding confusion and worry to an already exhausting time. Complicating matters, public opinion on such topics as childbirth, nutrition, and sleep, sways like a pendulum as it tries to keep up with new research, even as public policy trails slowly behind. No wonder new parents are exhausted! Fortunately, as professionals working with very young children and their families, we have the power to help them get off the ride

In this talk we will begin to understand how these pendulum swings work and their impact on children and families. A focus on authentic partnerships, individualization, and honoring personal expertise will be central to a discussion of how to work with families as they navigate the early years

We look forward to seeing you at our 36th Annual Focus on Children Conference!

  • Reflect on your practices
  • Gain new resources & strategies
  • Connect & share information
  • Contemplate culture, diversity & early childhood education issues
  • Earn 6 STARS hours or 6 Clock Hours

Keynote Speaker

Carolyn (Carrie) Brennan, PhD
Keynote: The Importance of Authentic Connections in the Information Age

Agenda

Focus on Children Agenda

Workshops

Focus on Children Workshop Sessions

Facilitators

About Our Facilitators

About Our Sponsors:


Bellingham Technical College provides student-centered, high quality professional technical education for today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities.

The Opportunity Council is a private, non–profit human service organization that acts as a catalyst for positive change, both in the community and in the lives of the people it serves.

Pacific Northwest Chapter of WAEYC (Washington Association for the Education of Young Children) acts on behalf of the needs and rights of all young children and their families and provides opportunities to improve professional practice in early childhood education.

Whatcom Educational Credit Union has a strong commitment to the community and social responsibility. Its goal is to support education, health, and community concerns.


A Special Thanks to Our Vendors:


Creation Station
Launching Success
School Art Materials
Words Reflected



In the spirit of Zero Waste, please bring your own water bottle!

This conference is intended for professional development. In order for all participants to be able to devote their full attention to the presenters, we are requesting children do not attend. However, infants are welcome.

Esta conferencia es para el desarrollo professional. Para que se dediquen completamente todos los participantes a los oradores, pedimos que no asisten niños. Sin embargo se puede traer a los bebes.

    Ask BTC
     

    Registration opens Dec. 2
    Register {on or before} Jan. 10 to save!
    Limited scholarships available
    Breakfast & lunch provided

    Questions

    Phone:
    360.752.8478

    Brochure

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Introducing Our Keynote Speaker: Carolyn (Carrie) Brennan, PhD

Keynote: The Importance of Authentic Connections in the Information Age

Keynote speaker pictire

Carrie Brennan began her career in the toddler room of a Reggio Emilia–inspired childcare. Since then she has earned a PhD in Educational Psychology, Human Development and Cognition from the University of Washington and an Advanced Nursing Certificate from the Barnard Center for Infant Mental Health. Now an Assistant Professor of early childhood at Western Washington University, she teaches a range of courses for pre- and in-service teachers. Her research focuses on teacher preparation including student attitudes, beliefs and self-efficacy surrounding issues of equity, teacher- parent partnerships, and the use of video.

    Ask BTC
     

    Registration opens Dec. 2
    Register {on or before} Jan. 10 to save!
    Limited scholarships available
    Breakfast & lunch provided

    Questions

    Phone:
    360.752.8478

    Brochure

    Brochure image link



Agenda


7:45am–8:30am     CHECK IN


    Check in, light breakfast provided, visit vendors & displays


8:30am–8:40am     WELCOME & ANNOUNCEMENTS



8:40am-9:40am     KEYNOTE SPEAKER


    Keynote presenter with Carrie Brennan, PhD


9:50am-4:00pm     WORKSHOP SESSIONS


  • La Resiliencia Triunfa Sobre el Trauma
    Melanie Coyne

9:50am-12:50pm     WORKSHOP SESSIONS


  • Gender is…?
    Francie Gass & Diana Campbell
  • Infusing Routines and Transitions with Language and Literacy for Preschoolers
    Kat Kayser & Jaime Thompson

9:50am-11:20am     WORKSHOP SESSIONS


  • MOVE IT! Using Yoga-Based Movement in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit
  • Playful Learning with Open-Ended Materials: Toddler/Preschool
    Allie Bishop Pasquier
  • Childhood Illnesses: Strategies for Preventing in Child Care Facilities
    Kim Hankinson
  • Engaging Fathers and Men in the Lives of Children
    Ray Soriano
  • Exploring Gender Identity in Picture Books
    Thom Barthelmess
  • Power to the Early Childhood Education Profession
    Sally Holloway
  • Clunky is the New Normal: Strategies to Support the Transition to Motherhood
    Michelle Anderson
  • Art in the Classroom: Seeing the World through the Child's Eyes
    Kim Bogren Owen
  • The Art of Co-Regulation and Self-Reflection in our Work with Young Children
    Olivia Rutherford

11:30am-1:00pm     WORKSHOP SESSIONS


  • Resilience Matters: Mitigate Toxic Stress for Kids & Caregivers
    Kristi Slette
  • MOVE IT! Using Yoga-Based Movement in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit
  • Playful Learning with Open-Ended Materials: School Age (K-2)
    Allie Bishop Pasquier
  • Educaring: Magda Gerber & the RIE Approach to Infant Care
    Darcie Donegan
  • Teacher's Drumming and Rhythm Workshop
    Ray Soriano
  • Playful Literacy
    Barbara Del Wraa
  • The Benefits of Infant Massage
    Janna Uffelman
  • Drawing in the Home & at School: Bridging Emergent Writing!
    Jessica Wallace
  • Since Time Immemorial: In the Classroom & Community
    Heather Jefferson & Cynthia Wilson

1:00pm–2:00pm     Lunch


    Lunch provided, connect with others, visit vendors & displays


2:00pm-4:00pm     WORKSHOP SESSIONS


  • Mobile Technologies for Documenting Nature-Based Experiences
    Dr. Paula Dagnon & Dr. Steph Strachan
  • Building Bridges: Promoting Resiliency in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit
  • Hopeful Children—Thriving Children: What the Science of Hope Tells Us
    Kristi Slette
  • Positive Guidance Strategies You Can Use Tomorrow
    M. Bracken Marren
  • Confidence in Circle Time: 5 Ready Reader Practices
    Melody Leung, Whitney Motley & Marie Guenette
  • Using Diverse & Inclusive Children’s Books to Support Nature-Based Learning
    Jamie Ashton
  • The Art of Making Noise: Music and Rhythm Play with Young Children
    Ray Soriano
  • Hard Kids and How to Reach Them: Strategies that Work
    Patti Hoelzle & Rachel Bowlden
  • Infant & Toddler STEAM
    Jacque Rafferty
  • Seeing Through Rose-Colored Glasses: Promoting Emotional Intelligence and Resiliency in Young Children
    Kim Bogren Owen
  • There’s No Such Thing as 'K Readiness': Debunking the Myth
    Nina Ballew & Jessica Wallace

4:00pm


    Sign out & turn in your Focus Conference evaluation form

    Connect with others & enjoy dessert

    Ask BTC
     

    Registration opens Dec. 2
    Register {on or before} Jan. 10 to save!
    Limited scholarships available
    Breakfast & lunch provided

    Questions

    Phone:
    360.752.8478

    Brochure

    Brochure image link
-->



Workshop Sessions

9:50am – 4:00pm (5-hour length)


    La Resiliencia Triunfa Sobre el Trauma
    Melanie Coyne

    El estudio original de ACE’s investigo la relación entre 10 experiencias negativas en la infancia y la salud y bienestar más adelante en la vida. Nuestro entendimiento de las experiencias negativas a crecido con tiempo. Sabemos que muchas otras experiencias más allá de las 10 ACES’s puedan crear una respuesta de amenaza y puede afectar nuestra potencia para prosperar. La resiliencia puede contrarrestar los efectos negativos. Aprenda sobre el estudio initial de ACE’s y la respuesta de Resiliencia- saldrá con conocimiento y herramientas para ayudarle a hacer la diferencia para niños y padres quiénes han sufrido de experiencias negativas en sus vidas. Esta entrenamiento dura 6 horas, así va ocupar todas las sesiones del día.

    Core Competency: Interactions



9:50am – 12:50pm (3-hour length)


    Gender is…?
    Francie Gass & Diana Campbell

    This workshop will be an opportunity to explore gender identity. Participants will gain a greater understanding of the gender continuum and ways to be more inclusive and supportive of both children and adults. Transgender panel included.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    Infusing Routines and Transitions with Language and Literacy for Preschoolers
    Kat Kayser & Jaime Thompson

    Literacy doesn’t just happen during a read aloud. This session will help you understand basics about how children acquire language and literacy skills. Problem-solve your program’s interest areas or routines by integrating literacy techniques and strategies.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development, Curriculum & Learning Environment



9:50a.m. – 11:20a.m. (1.5-hour length)


    MOVE IT! Using Yoga-Based Movement in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit

    Learn fun and effective ways to increase engagement and decrease challenging behaviors using yoga-based movement activities. Learn why it works and how to use it in your program.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    APlayful Learning with Open-Ended Materials: Toddler/Preschool
    Allie Bishop Pasquier

    This session supports toddler and preschool practitioners in expanding their knowledge of playful learning for young children. Participants will engage in hands-on play with open- ended materials, gaining insight into how to source materials and provoke children’s imaginative, process-centered play.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Childhood Illnesses: Strategies for Preventing in Child Care Facilities
    Kim Hankinson

    Time with a group of children increases chances of getting sick. Join this workshop to learn about infectious diseases and ways to prevent such as exclusion, immunizations, and cleaning. Staying healthy is the goal!

    Core Competency: Health, Safety & Nutrition


    Engaging Fathers and Men in the Lives of Children
    Ray Soriano

    Children benefit immeasurably when they have positive male role models in their lives. Learn practical ideas for making your program more “father friendly,” including ways to more meaningfully engage fathers, and strategies for recruiting, supporting, and retaining male staff and volunteers.

    Core Competency: Family & Community Partnerships


    Exploring Gender Identity in Picture Books
    Thom Barthelmess

    Youth Services Librarian Thom Barthelmess will explore the ways picture books communicate gender norms and expectations. Participants will examine gender reflection in literature and leave with a list of books that affirm a spectrum of identity and expression.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Power to the Early Childhood Education Profession
    Sally Holloway

    What is our vision for all who care for and teach young children? How can we speak with one voice to increase compensation? What steps might we take as a community? Be ready for a lively discussion around recommendations made by the national Task Force. Audience members will increase knowledge of the recommendations made, critically consider implications, and be motivated to engage as professionals in advocating for improvements.

    Core Competency: Professional Development & Leadership


    Clunky is the New Normal: Strategies to Support the Transition to Motherhood
    Michelle Anderson

    In this workshop, participants will learn simple and essential skills to support mothers and fathers through pregnancy and the post-partum period.

    Core Competency: Interactions


    Art in the Classroom: Seeing the World through the Child’s Eyes
    Kim Bogren Owen

    This workshop will guide teachers through the essentials for promoting open-ended art within their classrooms. Each participant will connect with their creativity, leave with curriculum for open-ended art to explore the elements of art, and learn how to communicate the importance of art.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    The Art of Co-Regulation and Self-Reflection in our Work with Young Children
    Olivia Rutherford

    An interactive workshop to facilitate an in-depth dive into the practice and challenges of co-regulation during children’s full spectrum of emotions, with a focus on how we keep our ‘cups full enough’ in our work with young children.

    Core Competency: Interactions



11:30a.m. – 1:00p.m. (1.5-hour length)


    Resilience Matters: Mitigate Toxic Stress for Kids & Caregivers
    Kristi Slette

    Resilience mitigates toxic stress for children and caregivers. Learn how Positive and Adverse Childhood Experiences impact brain development and behavior. Focus on assets and factors that build relationships, capacity and community for wellbeing and strong development.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    MOVE IT! Using Yoga-Based Movement in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit

    Learn fun and effective ways to increase engagement and decrease challenging behaviors using yoga-based movement activities. Learn why it works and how to use it in your program.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    Playful Learning with Open-Ended Materials: School Age (K-2)
    Allie Bishop Pasquier

    This session supports practitioners in expanding their knowledge of playful learning for early elementary children. Participants will engage in hands-on play with open-ended materials, and discuss how to incorporate methods in the classroom.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Educaring: Magda Gerber & the RIE Approach to Infant Care
    Darcie Donegan

    In this workshop, you will learn about the late Magda Gerber’s groundbreaking approach to "educaring" babies authentically with respect and trust. Gerber started R.I.E. (Resources for Infant Educarers) and was called a “poet and a prophet” by Sue Bredekamp (author of DAP books). The importance of the environment, play, consistency, interactions, observation, and involvement in routines will all be covered. The presenter has been working with babies for over 30 years and completed RIE I & II with Gerber.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Teacher’s Drumming and Rhythm Workshop
    Ray Soriano

    As teachers, parents, and administrators, our work with children is rewarding but often stressful. Drumming is a fun, powerful way to connect with others, relieve stress, rejuvenate energy, and express creativity. Join this lively and culturally rich workshop to feed the soul and reconnect with the art of playing. No experience necessary, just ready hands and an open heart!

    Core Competency: Professional Development & Leadership


    Playful Literacy
    Barbara Del Wraa

    Participants will learn how to playfully introduce early literacy experiences, teach explicit skills and understand foundation skills necessary for reading and writing success.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    The Benefits of Infant Massage
    Janna Uffelman

    Together we will explore the history of infant massage, as well as focus on the physiological, social, emotional, and mental development that can be enhanced through touch.

    Core Competency: Interactions


    Drawing in the Home & at School: Bridging Emergent Writing!
    Jessica Wallace

    The audience will gain insights and techniques on how to bridge drawing experiences and capitalize on student strengths to develop emergent writers. We will also define aspects of a developmentally appropriate writing community.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Since Time Immemorial: In the Classroom & Community
    Heather Jefferson & Cynthia Wilson

    The Since Time Immemorial theme kits were created in cooperation with the Lummi Nation and Whatcom County Library System to bring books and activities to schools and families for educational purposes about the local tribes, Lummi and Nooksack. The three theme kits are about Family, Salmon, and the Environment. The books are all related to the themes, and the activities are local in cultural context. The kits will be available, and a discussion of the local culture will be shared

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment



2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. (2-hour length)


    Mobile Technologies for Documenting Nature-Based Experiences
    Dr. Paula Dagnon & Dr. Steph Strachan

    Using mobile technologies, educators will explore how to document nature-based learning in ways that capture both digital and physical experiences. This documentation can help young learners and teachers reflect and expand on their learning experiences.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Building Bridges: Promoting Resiliency in the Classroom
    Pat Cavit

    This presentation will explore the effect of trauma on child development and behavior, and effective ways of modifying behaviors and building resilience in children in a classroom setting.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development, Interactions


    Hopeful Children—Thriving Children: What the Science of Hope Tells Us
    Kristi Slette

    Hope is the best predictor of thriving across a lifetime. Learn and explore how to raise hopeful children, motivate adults for change, and inspire early learning organizations toward a better future.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development, Interactions


    Positive Guidance Strategies You Can Use Tomorrow
    M. Bracken Marren

    M. Bracken Marren will present strategies and techniques to help childcare providers respond to challenging behaviors with positive guidance. Move from "What do I do now?" to "I have a plan." This presentation will address changing behaviors in a real, straight- forward and humorous way.

    Core Competency: Interactions


    Confidence in Circle Time: 5 Ready Reader Practices
    Melody Leung, Whitney Motley & Marie Guenette

    Use your unique strengths to make circle time fun, inclusive, and educational with the Whatcom County Library System. Be ready to add new inspiration to your circle time toolbox with musical instruments, songs, and books.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    Using Diverse & Inclusive Children’s Books to Support Nature-Based Learning
    Jamie Ashton

    Exposure to books that reflect children from diverse cultural backgrounds fosters inclusivity, builds self-esteem, and promotes empathy. Participants will explore the use of high-quality children’s literature that both portrays diverse characters and supports nature-based learning.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    The Art of Making Noise: Music and Rhythm Play with Young Children
    Ray Soriano

    Engaging in music and rhythm play is one of the most joyful and powerful things we can do with children. In this fun, interactive, inclusive, and multicultural workshop, learn songs, rhythm activities, and musical play ideas that Ray has been joyfully sharing with children for years.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environments, Interactions


    Hard Kids and How to Reach Them: Strategies that Work
    Patti Hoelzle & Rachel Bowlden

    Children are coming into our organizations with more and more extreme behaviors due to experiencing trauma. Participants will gain an understanding of where those behaviors come from and will not only walk away with concrete strategies to de-escalate a triggered child, but build trusting relationships with them at the same time.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development


    Infant & Toddler STEAM
    Jacque Rafferty

    This session will explore the development of STEAM skills from infancy through age 2, as well as practical activities that engage children in STEAM thinking.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment


    Seeing Through Rose-Colored Glasses: Promoting Emotional Intelligence and Resiliency in Young Children
    Kim Bogren Owen

    Emotional intelligence and resiliency are being talked about everywhere, and have been identified as key skills in successful people. Come explore what these terms mean, how to develop them in ourselves and the children in our care, as well as why they matter. This training is perfect for teachers in programs to attend together.

    Core Competency: Child Growth & Development, Interactions


    There's No Such Thing as 'K Readiness': Debunking the Myth
    Nina Ballew & Jessica Wallace

    In this session, audience members will walk away with an understanding of what kindergarten really is and what it is not. We will redefine what it means to ‘prepare for kindergarten’ and offer tangible strategies to do so.

    Core Competency: Curriculum & Learning Environment, Family & Community Partnerships

    Ask BTC
     

    Registration opens Dec. 2
    Register {on or before} Jan. 10 to save!
    Limited scholarships available
    Breakfast & lunch provided

    Questions

    Phone:
    360.752.8478

    Brochure

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Get to know our 2020 presenters!

These presenters will lead breakout sessions that focus on age groups and roles in early education:


Michelle Anderson, LMHC owns a counseling practice, Mobile Mama Therapy, in Bellingham. Michelle is a trainer for Perinatal Support Washington and a consultant for the Whatcom & Skagit Nurse Family Partnership Program. Michelle also provides education on perinatal mental health throughout the Pacific Northwest

Jamie Ashton has 30+ years of experience as an early learning teacher and program administrator. For the last six years, she has worked as an Early Achievers Coach and trainer for Child Care Aware of Northwest Washington.

Nina Ballew has been a teacher in grades K, 1, and 2 and has been supporting Bellingham’s early learning teachers for the past five years. As an Early Childhood Specialist for Bellingham School District, she coordinates, plans and facilitates professional development for pre-K–2 teachers, coaches and mentors novice and experienced teachers, and coordinates and supports district-wide programs, including Promise Kindergarten. She has her M.Ed. in PK-12 Literacy from WWU, her NBCT Certification and was the WA State Teacher Representative at the Gates Foundation, working on the transition from half-day to full-day kindergarten.

Thom Barthelmess As a queer librarian with over 25 years of experience serving young people in libraries, Thom has a deep knowledge of the canon of children’s literature and expertise in the ways that literature supports or compromises the healthy development of young children.

Kim Bogren Owen started working in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in 1988. She has worked as a teacher, a coach overseeing programs at the state level and a picture book author and has worked with a variety of programs that serve children from infancy through school-aged. In addition to over 15 years of classroom experience, she has developed curriculum and training for others in topics that include environmental education, leadership and teaching about Native Americans.

Rachel Bowlden Rachel Bowlden is a foster/adoptive parent, and a former child protective social worker who now helps connect resources and support for children and families in the Early Learning program for the Ferndale School District. Rachel has a master’s degree in social work.

Diana Campbell has been a trainer with the Center for Gender Sanity. She has volunteered with Gender Diversity and is part of PFLAG’s speaker’s bureau.

Pat Cavit has a BA in Child Development, MSW, and is certified to teach both adult and children’s yoga. Her social work career centered around working with children and families who experienced trauma and helping to facilitate solutions for the resulting behavior issues.

Melanie Coyne ha estado proporcionando capacitación y entrenamiento a los profesionales de los servicios de aprendizaje temprano en Inglés y español durante 5 años.

Dr. Paula Dagnon is an Associate Professor of Instructional Technology at Western Washington University and teaches the early childhood technology integration class.

Barbara Del Wraa is a former kindergarten teacher, former Early Learning Specialist and current Reading Specialist.

Darcie Donegan has her MA in Human Development and completed REI (Resources for Infant Educarers) training with Magda Gerber.

Francie Gass taught parenting education for 30 years at Bellingham Technical College. She is a parent of a transgender woman and is on PFLAG’s speaker’s bureau.

Marie Guenette has two years of experience adapting storytime to diverse populations as a storytime presenter in the Whatcom County Library System and a downtown bookstore.

Kim Hankinson, BSN RN CIC is a bachelor’s-prepared Registered Nurse with over 10 years of family practice and over five years of public health experience. She currently works in Communicable Disease at the Whatcom County Health Department and serves as the liaison to child care centers and school nurses in the county and is also the Nurse Consultant for Head Start.

Patti Hoelzle is a professional school counselor and foster parent, and is passionate about educating professionals on how kids with trauma learn and act differently in her role as Social Emotional Learning Coordinator for Ferndale Schools. Patti has a master’s degree in education: school counseling.

Sally Holloway is a director of ECE Workforce Projects, where she engages with stakeholders and decision makers on behalf of child care providers and Early Childhood Educators. P2P is an initiative she has been involved with on a national level. Facilitating a local discussion will add value to her work and invite new voices to be heard.

Heather Jefferson is a Lummi tribal member who was raised on the land and has fished the same waters her ancestors have since time immemorial. Her BA in elementary education has given her the privileged opportunity to experience both the traditional way of learning as well as the Western way of learning, allowing her to understand and convey the unique perspective of her experience as a Coast Salish Native.

Kat Kayser has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood Development. She was a Head Start teacher with a love for children’s literature and sharing that love with children. She is currently an Early Achievers Coach working with family child care providers and child care centers.

Melody Leung has a Masters of Library and Information Science with four years of focusing on inclusive and multicultural storytimes for Baby, Toddler, and Preschool ages at the Whatcom County Library System.

M. Bracken Marren has a degree in Elementary and Special Education and has worked in the early learning field for the past 20+ years. She has worked with child care centers and family home child care providers as a behavior specialist in both Child Care Aware of North West Washington and the Early Support for Infant and Toddlers. She is a state-approved trainer for Washington State.

Whitney Motley has a Masters of Library and Information Science with three years of storytime experience at the Whatcom County Library System and has a passion for diverse picture books.

Allie Bishop Pasquier, MS ECE has been teaching young children from 0-8 in a variety of settings for over 12 years. She is the founder and director of Play Lab, a Bellingham-based project engaging children and caregivers in open-ended play with engaging materials. She facilitates workshops for educators around the world.

Olivia Rutherford has experience ranging from childcare and after-school programs to a drop-in center for homeless youth, to working as a home visitor for Nurse-Family Partnership, and personal experience as a parent of a young child. Through professional and personal growth and healing, she has come to learn the importance of ongoing self-reflection and learning new ways to re-regulate within different contexts and time frames. She has a background in social work and nursing and is trained as a Registered Circle of Security Parenting facilitator.

Kristi Slette, M.Ed is the Director of Whatcom Family & Community Network and a leader and trainer in mobilizing resilience in communities to promote wellbeing for children and families. Slette taught at WWU in the Human Services Program for 15 years and has been a local parent educator and coach, most recently relating to why hope, resilience and toxic stress matter.

Ray Soriano has a Master of Social Work (MSW) and 30+ years of experience working with children and families, including preschool teaching, child care administration, Head Start administration, and public child welfare. He has also been an early learning trainer and presenter for over 15 years.

Dr. Steph Strachan is an Assistant Professor of Language and Literacy at WWU and focuses her work on emergent and early literacy.

Jaime Thompson has many years of experience in the early childhood education world. This includes working as an ECEAP and Head Start Teacher and currently as an Early Achievers Coach. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development with an emphasis in Early Childhood. Jaime currently works with family child care providers and child care centers.

Janna Uffelman graduated with her BSN from the University of Washington, and for the last 12 years has worked with women and children, for nine years in Labor and Delivery and newborns in NICU in Seattle, and currently as a Public Health Nurse with Whatcom County doing home visiting for mothers, caregivers, and children.

Jessica Wallace has been teaching kindergarten for five years and is working on her Masters in Language and Literacy at Western Washington University, where she is researching the way drawing can bridge children’s meaning-making/writing from home to school contexts. She attended Teachers College Reading Writing Project Institute in New York City this August and is a National Board Certificate Candidate for 2020. She is currently leading the Bellingham School District Kindergarten Alignment Task Force.

Cynthia Wilson has worked in education for 30 years and enjoys working with children of all ages. She received her master’s degree from Grand Canyon University, and completed an internship with the Lummi Early Learning Center while working towards her CDA certification. Melody Leung has a Masters of Library and Information Science with four years of focusing on inclusive and multicultural storytimes for Baby, Toddler, and Preschool ages at the Whatcom County Library System