Past Conferences

2018 Conference

“Music and Mindfulness”

Keynote Presentation: Keys to Musical Interaction with Young Children—Vibrant, Relational, and Developmental

Music captivates children in almost every imaginable setting. As mind and brain growth meld with early experience, musical sounds offer natural, effective sparks for motivation, social relatedness, and learning that engage with unique identity. This presentation’s foundation is compromised of comprehensive perspectives of about overall music development as well as early relationships. Additional discussion will focus on supportive measures and practical, playful implementations to those invested in early education, intervention, and care giving.

About Speaker Kaja Weeks

Kaja WeeksKaja Weeks is a clinic-based Developmental Music Educator, author, and mentor in the field of interactive music for young children. Her career began over forty years ago with a degree in music education and as a classical singer, which she methodically integrated with training in human/infant development and certification as a Fellow, Trainer and Practitioner of the Floortime and DIR (Developmental, Individual, Relational) model created by Stanley I. Greenspan, MD and Serena Wieder, PhD. Her innovative approach—The Relational Voice—benefits infants, toddlers and preschoolers, particularly those with special needs. Ms. Weeks has worked at an integrated clinic in conjunction with therapists in the Washington, DC region since 2002 and has a lively practice of teacher, caregiver and clinician training internationally. Formerly, Ms. Weeks was Associate Chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at Levine School of Music; Musical Facilitator at the National Institute of Health-Children’s Inn; and President of the Greater Washington, DC chapter of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association. Ms. Weeks has studied with music neuroscientist Jessica Phillips-Silver, and her scholarly ideas about communicative musicality within the developmental path of young children have been presented in numerous journal articles, lectures, and training in the United States and Canada.

Featured Presentation: Trauma, Empathy and Learning

As teachers and home visitors, you are being asked to understand trauma, be empathetic, and ensure children are learning. Is it possible to do it all? Is it possible to do it all? How do you decide what to prioritize so that you are not overwhelmed? This session will begin to explore how trauma manifests itself in behavior and strategies we can use to help children who are struggling.

About Speaker Tonia M. Spence

Tonia SpenceTonia M. Spence, LCSW, MSEd, believes in the power of healthy relationships in shaping young children’s lives. She is a clinician, educator, presenter, and advocate who has served children and families for 15+ years. As a new clinician, Tonia’s passion to learn led her to a Fellowship program at Yale’s Child Development Center Outpatient Clinic in New Haven, where she was able to strengthen her clinical understanding of young children. Being in New Haven, where the dichotomy of wealth and poverty was so evident, Tonia began to develop an understanding that without the lens of race, class and privilege she could never truly serve children and families well. She began to recognize how racial tension and stress added an additional layer to the trauma of the children and families she was serving.

Tonia is a leader in the field of zero to three who has worked tirelessly to integrate her knowledge as a social worker and educator into an interdisciplinary approach to teaching clinicians, educators, and students how to assess, diagnose, and treat young children who have experienced trauma through the lens of racial stress. She is passionate about supporting families through challenges and firmly believes that engagement is the foundation of social work. Tonia has a Master’s in Special Education from Bank Street College and a Master in Social Work from Columbia School of Social Work.  She is currently the Senior Director of Early Childhood Services at The Jewish Board (JB). Her work at JBFCS expands to her role as the co-leader of the Administrators of Color where she, along with colleagues, works to impact all staff’s racial literacy.

Workshop Highlights:

  • Block Building with Toddlers | Facilitator: Judi Gentry
  • Engaging with Families Through Thick and Thin | Facilitator: Chris Tucker
  • Including Families in the Curriculum in Toddler Classrooms | Facilitator: Carolyn E. Tebbetts
  • The Developmental-Interaction Approach in an Infant/Toddler Classroom | Facilitators: Michael Amaral and Cristina Mendonca
  • The Discipline Dilemma: Setting Limits with Toddlers and Twos | Facilitator: Yasmin Dorrian
  • Play as Regulation | Facilitator: Gilbert M. Foley
  • Math with Infants and Toddlers | Facilitators: Robin Hummel and Alexandra Salomon
  • Powerful Interactions: Supporting a Strength-Based Work Environment for All | Facilitator: Kristina Satchell
  • Adult and Child: Still Mind, Calm Mind, Learning Mind | Facilitators: Wendi S. Williams and Quiana Jackson
  • Teaching from the Right Side of the Brain: Yoga-Based Strategies for Supporting Infant Mental Health | Facilitator: Laura Grant
  • The Power of Documentation | Facilitator: Rachel Warren
  • Center Visits: Adaptive Design, Bank Street Family Center, Basic Trust Infant/Toddler Center, Rita Gold Early Childhood Center at Teachers College, Rockefeller University Child and Family Center, Roosevelt Island Day Nursery