2020 Cowboy State Virtual Conference Archive

Welcome to Cowboy State Conference Video Archive

The Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative is excited to welcome you to the Cowboy State Virtual Conference Video Archive Now more than ever, we are inspired by Early Childhood Professionals, your commitment to your families, and your passion for your profession. Over the two days of this virtual conference, we had the chance to learn from experts, chat with speakers, other attendees, and take away information, ideas, and inspiration. We hope you  enjoy this Video Archive of the the Cowboy State 2020 Virtual Conference presentations. 

Receive STARS Credit for Viewing Sessions - Complete the Post-Conference Attendance Report & Contact Your Regional Facilitator

Conference Tracks

Leadership Track

Sessions in this track focus on supporting early childhood program leaders including directors, assistant directors, curriculum coordinators, pedagogical leaders, coaches, mentors, and lead teachers. Participants will be supported in better understanding key aspects of early childhood leadership and applying evidence-based best practices in early childhood programs.

Early Childhood Education Track

Sessions in this track are focused on early childhood educators working in center-based childcare and preschool settings, as well as all other early childhood professionals. They will focus on supporting best practices and developmentally appropriate care and education in all settings.

Family Home Childcare Track

Sessions in this track are focused specifically on the unique experiences, challenges, and opportunities in Family Home Childcare. Participants will learn and apply tools of family centered practice along with designing and supporting rich learning opportunities for young children in the home setting.

Sessions Archive

Friday, September 25th 2020

Opening Keynote

Introducing the Wyoming Early Childhood Quality Vision

Speakers
Nichole Parks, Associate Director of Programs, Leading for Children

Effective decision-making about successful child outcomes relies on a well-articulated path to quality. Practitioners, program directors and agency leaders — and the children and systems entrusted to them — thrive when they share a clear vision of what constitutes quality. To improve outcomes for children and achieve high quality results, every level of the early childhood system must have a shared and clear vision of the path to quality. Today we will discuss how Wyoming has partnered with Leading for Children to engage a diverse group of people across the state to use the model of a Coherent Path to Quality to create Wyoming’s early childhood quality vision.

Friday, September 25th 2020
10:30am-12:00pm - Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

Coaching with Powerful Interactions

Speakers
Jill Gunderman, Facilitator, Leading for Children
Judy Jablon, Executive Director, Leading for Children

Instructional leaders balance the role of coach and supervisor all day everyday. In this session we will explore how to use Powerful Interactions among adults to foster Powerful Interactions between teachers, children and families. When the quality of interactions improves, human relationships grow deeper and stronger. Positive relationships are a necessary ingredient for learning and can impact the culture and climate, making them more conducive to change and growth.

Early Childhood Education Track:

Powerful Interactions: How to Extend Children’s Learning in Preschool

Speakers
Christine Shrader, Senior Facilitator, Leading for Children
Jonathan Fribley, Facilitator, Leading for Children

You make a difference! Whether a 30-year veteran or a beginning educator, what you say and do as you interact with children affects how children think and feel about learning. This presentation will examine how to use the three steps of Powerful Interactions to strengthen relationships and extend learning.

Family Home Childcare Track:

Strategies for Building Powerful Partnerships Between Family Child Care Providers and Families

Speakers
Tina Jiminez, Infant Toddler Specialist, State Capacity Building Center
Julie Law, Infant Toddler Specialist, State Capacity Building Center

Children develop in the context of their families. How can you build on what you are already doing to build powerful partnerships to support the children and families in your family child care program? This interactive session will focus on quality communication strategies and resources that can make your work more effective and more rewarding.

Friday, September 25th 2020
1:00pm-2:30pm – Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

5 Commitments of Optimistic Leadership

Speakers
Laura Ensler, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Leading for Children
Judy Jablon, Executive Director, Leading for Children

To create the next generation of critical thinkers and leaders, we must ensure that every child has a sense of agency — that they are problem solvers and decision makers! For this to happen, educators make a difference. Children must learn in settings where all adults define themselves as Optimistic Leaders. Optimistic leaders are committed to thinking about impact, cultivating selfawareness, nurturing relationships, refining communication, and activating curiosity.

Early Childhood Education Track

Speakers
Jill Gunderman, Facilitator, Leading for Children
Nichole Parks, Associate Director of Programs, Leading for Children

Children are born ready to learn. What you say and do as you interact with infants and toddlers affects their brain development and shape how they see the world around them. This session will explore how to use everyday routines and our relationships to extend learning with infants and toddlers.

Family Home Childcare Track:

Speakers
Tina Jiminez, Senior Research Associate, Center for Child and Family Studies
Ronna Schaffer, Infant Toddler Specialist, State Capacity Building Center

Family child care offers many benefits for children and families, including caring for children from birth through school-age. Caring for mixed-age groups provides enormous opportunities as well as significant challenges! This session will provide strategies for meeting the needs of ALL children in a mixed-age group setting; with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of infants and toddlers. Participants will take home multiple strategies for making mixed-age groups work.

Friday, September 25th 2020
3:00pm-4:30pm – Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

Optimistic Leadership: Cultivating Self-awareness to Achieve Quality in Early Learning

Speakers
Laura Ensler, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Leading for Children
Serene Stevens, Facilitator, Leading for Children

What does it mean to know yourself and why is it important in our work with young children? Research shows that child development and well-being is inextricably linked to adult development and well-being. In this session we will explore how Optimistic Leaders cultivate self-awareness to guide thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

We will examine how by cultivating self-awareness, Optimistic Leaders can more effectively think about the impact of their decisions, nurture stronger relationships for learning and collaboration, refine communication to ensure mutual clarity and understanding, and activate curiosity to find connections and continue learning.

Early Childhood Education Track:

Ensuring High Quality Early Learning: A Coherent Vision Matters

Speakers
Judy Jablon, Executive Director, Leading for Children
Nichole Parks, Associate Director of Programs, Leading for Children

Effective decision-making about successful child outcomes relies on a well-articulated path to quality. Practitioners, program directors and agency leaders — and the children and systems entrusted to them — thrive when they share a clear vision of what constitutes quality. To improve outcomes for children and achieve high quality results, every level of the early childhood system must define the path to quality using three dimensions: relationships and interactions, emotional and physical environment and learning experiences. In this session we will examine how the model of a Coherent Path to Quality can support improved program quality and stronger early learning systems.

Family Home Childcare Track:

Embracing the Family Child Care Identity

Speakers
Lauren Carlisle, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Tyler Gonzales, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Jennifer Zook, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

Effective decision-making about successful child outcomes relies on a well-articulated path to quality. Practitioners, program directors and agency leaders — and the children and systems entrusted to them — thrive when they share a clear vision of what constitutes quality. To improve outcomes for children and achieve high quality results, every level of the early childhood system must define the path to quality using three dimensions: relationships and interactions, emotional and physical environment and learning experiences. In this session we will examine how the model of a Coherent Path to Quality can support improved program quality and stronger early learning systems.

Saturday, September 26th 2020

Opening Keynote

Integrating Anti-bias Education into our Thinking and Practice with Debbie LeeKeenan

Speakers
Debbie LeeKeenan, Early Childhood Consultant & Lecturer

Debbie LeeKeenan, Lecturer and Co-Author of Leading Anti-bias Early Childhood Programs: A Guide for Change, will discuss steps in creating a more inclusive and welcoming program. This keynote talk will provide an overview of the core values and goals of an anti-bias education approach and how these address children’s development of identity and understanding of human diversity and bias, as well as practical and integrated approaches to anti-bias education in classrooms for children and support teachers in their own anti-bias adult journey to respond thoughtfully to children’s questions and make decisions about responsive environments and curriculum experiences.

Saturday, September 26th 2020
10:30am-12:00pm – Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

Leadership Essentials for Program Leaders 

Speakers
Liz Goddard, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Stephanie Rino, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

Join us to explore the three components of the Whole Leadership Framework for Energizing and Strengthening Your Early Childhood Program; leadership essentials, pedagogical leadership, and administrative leadership. This session will focus on building leadership essentials; the foundational competencies, qualities, and dispositions necessary for leading. Together, we will discover ways to implement the framework using tools created by elite Wyoming early childhood program leaders.

Early Childhood Education Track:

Talking with Children

Speakers
Rachel Giannini, Early Childhood Consultant

In this interactive workshop participants take a deep dive into the art of engaging in meaningful conversations with children. From serve and return to open ended questioning, practice all the techniques to foster conversations to create higher-order thinking.

Family Home Childcare Track:

The Value of Relationships in Infant/Toddler Curriculum 

Speakers
Char Norris, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Kara Cossel, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

What we say and do, and how we go about it with young children matters. This is how they learn about themselves, others and the world. We will discuss the individual parts that we each play in deepening our relationships with the young children and their families in our care. We will share research on how to strengthen our practices and make relationship building more intentional. We will also look at the tie between the environment and the relationships and connections being made in the child’s spaces that you are providing. YOU make the difference.

Saturday, September 26th 2020
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm – Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

Optimistic Leaders and the Alpha Generation

Speakers
Nichole Parks, Associate Director of Programs, Leading for Children
Valora Washington, President, The CAYL Institute; Former Chief Executive Officer, Council for Professional Recognition

Individualization and responsive care have always been two core ingredients needed for children to thrive. This is an imperative now more than ever as we work with the Alpha Generation--–these are the children born beginning in 2010. Optimistic leaders understand that to truly respond to the unique needs of children, individually and as a group, we must cultivate an understanding of who they are based on their generational experiences. In this session we will get the know the Alpha Generation and begin to explore effective strategies you can use as an Optimistic Leader to ensure they thrive now and in the years to come.

Early Childhood Education Track:

Supporting Children & Families Through Transitions

Speakers
Nikki Baldwin, Director of The Wyoming Early Childhood Outreach Network and Program Coordinator of The Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative, University of Wyoming

Young children experience many transitions in their lives, most of which they have no control over. These can range from life transitions such as the birth of a sibling, moving to a new home, or divorce, to age-related transitions such as entering a new class or going to kindergarten. Often multiple transitions may be happening at the same time. There are research-proven tools early childhood educators can use to support children and families during these exciting and challenging times. Using a developmental model of transitions session participants will explore ways they can be a help and support to children and families.

Family Home Childcare Track:

Home with Rachel

Speakers
Rachel Giannini, Early Childhood Consultant

Home with Rachel uses the web series “Quarantined with Rachel” as inspiration to dive deep into activities that can translate from the school to the home environment. Participants view short one-two minute videos and then unpack the concepts further using the lens of their particular classroom. With a focus on creativity and accessibility, Home with Rachel provides activities applicable to iLearning or school environments.

Saturday, September 26th 2020
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm – Sessions

Early Childhood Leadership Track:

Encouraging Staff Growth/Improvement Through Quality Professional Learning

Speakers
Lauren Carlisle, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Char Norris, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

Come and join the discussion about what different leaders around Wyoming are doing to elevate their programs. Leaders will share their experiences providing program-wide professional learning, partnering with the collaborative, and implementing adult learning principles to make learning relevant and connected to their program’s practice.

Early Childhood Education Track:

When Loose Parts Aren't Working

Speakers
Kara Cossel, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Tyler Gonzalez, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Stephanie Rino, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

You’ve set up a shelf in your program or home full of beautiful loose parts for children to explore and learn with. However, your excitement soon turns to disappointment and confusion when children aren’t engaging with the materials how you’d hoped. In this session, we will discuss loose parts, their purpose, and importance. We will also spend time discussing the importance our relationships with children have when providing and presenting loose parts to young children.

Family Home Childcare Track:

Playing Through Professional Learning in Family Child Care 

Speakers
Liz Goddard, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative
Jennifer Zook, Professional Learning Facilitator, Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative

What do loose parts and professional learning have in common? With loose parts children investigate, build, create and implement new learning through high quality learning opportunities. With professional learning, adults investigate, build, create and implement new processes into a high-quality program. Both loose parts and professional learning can feel overwhelming without the resources, knowledge and understanding that are the foundations. Investing in your program quality can feel overwhelming, but through small intentional steps you can promote the amazing work you are already doing while taking the steps needed to deliver quality through all aspect of your program. In this session we will share resources available to you as a family childcare program.