Childcare University 2022-Carroll-Lee-Whiteside

This event has been canceled.

Child Care University supports child care practitioners in providing quality child care and advancing professional skills. Join us for this conference to learn and share ideas to enrich the quality of care you provide to the children and families in your programs.

Masks required and social distancing guidelines will be followed.

CCU 2022– March 5, 2022
NEW LOCATION-Loveland Community Building | Dixon 


AM Session 1:  8:30-10:00 (1.5 hour session)

1.  The Power of Observational Drawing Part 1: Supporting Early Science Skills

Dr. Melissa Clucas Walter and Kendra Nenia, Northern Illinois University Child Development Center

It is often said that children are natural scientists, but research shows they need support in developing their “natural” science skills. Observational drawing is one powerful tool that early childhood teachers can use to help children practice these skills, such as describing observations and asking questions. In this first of two interactive sessions, we will discuss the scientific inquiry skills underlying observational drawing and discuss ways you can use observational drawings in your classroom to support early science skills.

2.  Fun on the Farm - Animal Agriculture 

Diane Baker, Whiteside County Ag in the Classroom

Does chocolate milk come from a brown cow? Is there a baby chick inside the eggs we buy at the store? Kids are curious about the animals that live on farms and the food and fiber that they produce. Discover the truth behind the questions at this hands-on workshop featuring many of the free lessons and activities available from Ag in the Classroom.

AM Session 2:  10:00-11:45 (1.5 hour session)

3.  The Power of Observational Drawing Part 2: Meeting Children Where They Are

Kendra Nenia and Dr. Melissa Clucas Walter, Northern Illinois University Child Development Center

Observational drawing can be a powerful tool for teachers. Using observational drawing can be one of many ways for early childhood teachers to meet children where they are developmentally and build upon their existing knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. In the second of 2 interactive sessions you will be able to see how children show what they know and are interested in. You can use this to build your curriculum and support your student’s development and learning.

4.  Mindfulness in the Messy Moments

Dr. Laura Gumbiner, Florissa Pediatric Development Center

Research supports the use of mindfulness as an intervention in educational settings, but what is it and how does it work? During this session you will learn about the science and practice of mindful meditation. You will have several opportunities to practice various forms of mindfulness, as well as learn ways to teach mindfulness to the children with whom you work. Age-appropriate resources will be provided.

5.  Helping the Child with ADHD Succeed

Dr. Kelly S. Flanagan

This session will provide information about attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young children and how it may manifest in childcare settings. Strategies from the research literature will be reviewed to enable providers to coach children in learning appropriate behaviors to succeed in the future.

Lunch and Networking:  11:45-12:45

Lunch Keynote: 12:45-2:00 (1.25 hour session)

Title: Staying Positive in our Current Reality

 Dr. Anni Reinking

Keynote Description:   

Staying positive in the current reality of childcare, especially with the impact of the pandemic, can be difficult. However, toxic positivity can also be harmful to the overall work and learning environment. Therefore, in this keynote we will "get real" about our reality in childcare while also understanding our strengths to overcome the hiccups so we can continue to positively impact children and their families. Overall, we will continue our process of changing mindsets to stay positive, yet also realistic. 

Keynote Bio:

Dr. Anni Reinking has been in the field of education for over 15 years. She has been a classroom teacher (nationally and internationally), college professor, professional development provider, and most recently a full-time researcher. Her background is in equity-focused education, specifically in early childhood but also spanning the educational trajectory of learners. She focuses her work on creating equity-focused environments as well supporting educators in the continuously changing dynamics of education. 

PM Session: 2:15-3:30 (1.5 hour session)

6.  Thinking Outside Gender Boxes: Supporting Gender Expansive Expression in Young Children

Dr. Emily Padgett, Florissa Pediatric Development Center

In this session, attendees will learn research regarding healthy gender development in young children as well as up-to-date terms associated with gender and gender expansiveness. Strategies for creating a safe, nurturing environment that is inclusive of all gender identities will be explored at a program level and at an individual level. Relevant resources will be provided.

7.  Sauk Valley IRIS Community Referral Platform

Diana Merdian, Regional Office of Education #47

Sauk Valley Community IRIS referral system. Join our meeting to see what and how the IRIS referral system can do for your program. The IRIS referral system is funded by the Governor's Office of Early Childhood to help local communities bridge the gaps between community referrals. This referral system is FREE to community agencies! Have open slots you need to fill? This platform allows you to indicate to community organizations you are accepting families! Have a family that comes to you needing services like counseling, Headstart, early intervention? You can send the referral right from your phone to those providers!

8.  Looking Past the Heartache

Laura Rodriguez, YWCA of the Sauk Valley

This presentation will explain the effects domestic violence has on victims, survivors, and their significant others. How to identify if a child is experiencing a violent situation and how to navigate the process of assisting them.