A Workshops

Please remember to list a 1st and 2nd choice for each workshop block when registering, as workshop spaces are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis.


A1. Cultivating Equity through Self-Compassion – “For someone to develop genuine compassion towards others, first he or she must have a basis upon which to cultivate compassion, and that basis is the ability to connect to one’s own feelings and to care for one’s own welfare… Caring for other requires caring for oneself.”- Tenzin Gyatso

Have you ever felt shame, anger, or fear arise when engaged in diversity and bias work?   This presentation highlights the topic of self-compassion and how it can be a useful way to make sense of life experiences. Experiences are constantly occurring externally and internally. While we can’t control external experiences, we can work on being aware of our own internal process and giving ourselves what we need in the moment. Self-compassion builds connection to community and self. It provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves and others, and motivate ourselves with kindness and care for others.

We will learn the 3 components of self-compassion, and the benefits of treating yourself with warmth. Hear practical tips and tools for including self-compassion in your life and learn how it strengthens resilience. We will also explore the connection between compassion, interpersonal relationships, and social-emotional learning.

This presentation will include experiential self-compassion practices, specific examples of when self-compassion can helpful in different areas of life, and group discussion.

Target Audience: Parents, Parent Educators, Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Early Childhood Administrators, Elementary Teachers, Mental Health Providers, After School Professionals

Strand: SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias, Trauma/Mental Health, Administrators and Teachers

PresenterAmanda Votto, The Divine Within, LLC and Emily Williams, Emily Williams, LLC


A2. Self-Awareness and SEL Skills to Manage Adult Professional Interactions – Our hearts are in the right place when we endeavor to work towards the success of youth in quality programs. However, we must often contend with anxious parents, demanding administrators and overwhelmed colleagues. How do our innate values, beliefs and biases impact the daily work we do in working with other adults? Join us in this workshop to explore how social-emotional learning can support our work and provide the skills we need to contend with challenging circumstances and interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

Target Audience: Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Elementary Teachers, Early Childhood Administrators, After School Professionals, Preschool Special Education Provider

Strand: SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias

PresenterEbony Grace, NJSACC: Statewide Afterschool Network for NJ’s Afterschool Committee


A3. Trauma and SEL Best-Practices for Childhood Emotional and Academic Well-being – This workshop will focus on what trauma-informed best practices and Social-Emotional Learning informs us how to best intervene with children so that they can thrive emotionally, relationally and academically.

Target Audience: Parents, Parenting Educators, Elementary Teachers, Mental Health Providers, After School Professionals, Preschool Special Education Provider

Strand: SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias, Family Engagement, Trauma/Mental Health

Presenter: Noel Casiano, PsyD, LMFT, Catholic Charities, Institute for the Hispanic Family


A4. Building a Culture of Understanding – This session will focus on meaningful family engagement.   We will address the effects of culture and bias on meaningful family engagement including working with fathers, the language that we use to communicate, cultural humility, and the role each of these plays in a child’s social emotional development.  We will also look at the effects of all of this on the classroom climate.

Target Audience: Parents, Parenting Educators, Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Elementary Teachers, Early Childhood Administrators, Mental Health Providers, After School Professionals, Early Intervention Provider, Preschool Special Education Provider

Strand:  SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias, Family Engagement: Addressing Equity and Bias through an SEL Lens, Community Collaborations to Address Equity and Bias, Parent Education and Advocacy, Equity and Bias in Early Childhood Education, Administrators and Teachers, Social Justice, Equity, and Bias

Presenter: Commissioner Beth Bye, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood


A5. Character-Building: 10 Crucial Concepts Regarding Character Education for the Early Childhood Classroom – The early childhood years provide a solid foundation for what a child needs to learn regarding social, moral, and intellectual development. By attending this workshop, participants will learn how to develop the type of environment, and daily learning opportunities that teach children character values such as respect, responsibility, and courtesy. Participants will share their own ideas for promoting character building, and will learn new strategies along the way to take back to their classrooms.

Target Audience: Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Early Childhood Administrators, Mental Health Providers, After School Professionals, Early Intervention Provider, Preschool Special Education Provider

Strand: SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias

Presenter: Tracy Cheney, Three Cheers Consulting


A6. Supporting the Social and Emotional Development of Dual Language Learners – An increasing number of young children are learning more than one language during early childhood. This session will explore equity and bias as it relates to dual language learners, focusing on how language learning and culture connect to social and emotional development. Strategies and resources for building community, planning curriculum and connecting with families will be shared. Connections between WIDA Early Years resources and the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (CT ELDS) will be highlighted. Come share your own successes and gain new strategies for promoting equity for young dual language learners and their families.

Target Audience: Parents, Parenting Educators, Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Early Childhood Administrators, Mental Health Providers, Early Intervention Provider, Preschool Special Education Provider

Strand: SEL and the Connection to Equity and Bias, Equity and Bias in Early Childhood Education, Social Justice, Equity, and Bias

Presenter: Michelle Levy, Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and Paquita Jarman-Smith, SERC


A7. Innovations to Support Families – Preparing all children in South Carolina to start school ready to reach their highest potential with engaged support from their parents, caregivers, and communities is the mission of SC First Steps. In every county across the state, First Steps invests in high quality programs and services that prepare young children for long-term success. Through a network of 46 non-profit local partnerships, communities are equipped with funding and resources to reach the state’s most at-risk children. Recent statistics show that in South Carolina,21.4% of families live in poverty, more than 80% of children have two or more risk factors for school failure, and many live in underserved communities. This workshop will highlight three innovative and collaborative projects developed to demonstrate a positive impact on high-risk children in South Carolina.

Supporting Care Providers through Visits is Parents as Teachers curriculum used with child care providers. This curriculum is designed to help provider educators discuss with care providers the individual needs of children in their care while being respectful of individual family cultures. In South Carolina we are piloting this curriculum in 11 counties with home based and family, friends and neighbor child care providers.

Countdown to Kindergarten (CTK) is a home visitation program pairing the families of high-risk rising kindergartners with future teacher during the summer before school entry. Six visits are completed with each family centered upon relationship-building and classroom and content expectations. CTK establishes home-school bonds, enhances family awareness of kindergarten expectations, and ensures a smooth transition to school

SC First Steps outreach to special populations is supported by collaboration with PASOs through the Connections for Child Development program, a comprehensive, culturally tailored, early identification and referral model that addresses the specific health and education needs of Latino families with young children. The success of this program is seen in increased referrals to early intervention among children with demonstrated need, as well as increased access to early childhood education programs for families.

Target Audience: Parents, Parenting Educators, Early Childhood Teachers/Caregivers, Elementary Teachers, Early Childhood Administrators

Strand: Family Engagement: Addressing Equity and Bias through an SEL Lens, Community Collaborations to Address Equity and Bias, Equity and Bias in Early Childhood Education

Presenter: Gina Beebe and Janice Kilburn, South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness


For a full list of our presenters and their bios, visit the Presenters page.