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Annual Early Childhood Conference

Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning & Development

  • two guys working with materials

    Exploring different approaches to working with materials

    Pre-Conference Session: REGGIO - Connecting Ideas and Building Relationships through Materials in Preschool

  • creative hands on

    Getting creative during hands-on session

    Pre-Conference Session: REGGIO - Connecting Ideas and Building Relationships through Materials in Preschool

  • bus tour departure

    All aboard! Bus tour prepares to depart.

    Bus Tour to Reggio-Inspired ETSU Child Care Program

  • exhibitor spaces

    Opportunities abound for making connections.

    Non-Profit exhibitors at Fireside Foyer

  • building structures with pipe cleaners

    Teamwork helps with problem solving.

    Session: Building Strong Brains: Overcoming Adverse Childhood Experiences

  • learning through song

    Using creativity in the classroom.

    Session: Investigating the Exciting World of Young Creative Thinkers: Inspiring, Nurturing, and Valuing the Process

  • marty silvers

    Ranger Marty Silvers on observing nature.

    Session: Nature Nearby

  • hands on learning

    Science prompts language exploration.

    Session: Science and Language: A Natural Fit

  • Learning by doing

    Developing language and literacy by studying mealworms.

    Session: Science and Language: A Natural Fit

  • Cheryl Turner

    Cheryl Turner discusses the principles of self-regulation.

    Session: Power of Self-Regulation: Helping Children Manage Emotions, Impulses and Behavior

  • Jennifer Daniels

    Jennifer Daniels demonstrates music for literacy development.

    Session: Songwriting IS Writing/Literacy Skills Workshop


ETSU Center of Excellence in Early Childhood Learning would like to thank all of the attendees, exhibitors, and the presenters who participated in the 57th Annual Early Childhood Conference at Meadowview Conference Center.

We hope to see you again in July 12-14, 2018!!!


Handouts are available on the Presenter's Page.

Brady Rymer photo




Let's Get This Party Started with Songs from Brady Rymer!

Friday Opening
8:30 - 9:15



Meadowview Marriott Conference Resort & Conference Center
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, Tennessee 37660

Visit Meadowview Website



Special Highlights

Friday Bus Tour: For a small fee, have an educational ride in a new, luxurious motor coach Friday morning to two Reggio-inspired ETSU child care programs tours, and be back in time for complimentary lunch and afternoon sessions. Numbers are limited! Please register here.

Research Poster Session: Beginning this year, we have a research poster session presented by faculty and graduate students at the East Tennessee State University.

Exhibitors: We have a variety of exhibitors in the Exhibitor Hall with music, books, classroom materials, early childhood themed clothing, and technology for all early childhood classrooms.

Scholastic Bookfair: Back again this year! Participants in previous years had very positive comments about the selection of books and appreciated the opportunity shop the wide variety of titles, authors, and age groups.


 Thursday July 13th All Day Pre-Conference Sessions:

Beth Van Meeteren photo

STEM: Using Games and Pattern Blocks to Develop Spatial Thinking and Mathematical Reasoning in K-3

Presented by Beth VanMeeteren, Ed.D. 
(Full-day session)


Patricia Hunter McGrath photo

REGGIO: Connecting Ideas and Building Relationships through Materials in Preschool

Presented by Patricia Hunter McGrath, M.A.
(Full Day session)


Infant/Toddler: Let them Inspire Us: Observing Infants and Toddlers to Plan Curriculum with Everyday Materials

Presented by Rosemary Geiken, Ed.D.,Stephanie Stephens, M.Ed., & Laura Barnett, M.Ed.
(Full Day session)

geiken/stephens/barnett photo


July 14-15 Featured Speakers:

Jennifer Daniels photo

 Jennifer Daniels is a writer and performer from Lookout Mountain, Georgia.
She loves to move and sing and laugh. She also holds a Master of Arts in counseling and certification in Autism Movement Therapy. Jennifer tours year round, performing for all ages and presenting concepts of music and movement to parents, educators, and early childhood professionals.


Three-time GRAMMY nominee Brady Rymer makes joyful, rootsy rock ‘n’ roll for kids and families. His trademark smile lights up the band’s live performances, and it shines just as brightly in his recordings,expressing the warmth, fun and positive spirit he finds in the family experience.

Brady Rymer


Patricia Hunter McGrath

Patricia Hunter McGrath is the Executive Director/Atelierista of Branches Atelier in Culver City, California. Over the past 18 years she has developed an innovated early childhood program inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach. Using clay, wire, paint, dance, etc. children enter into relationship with the materials and express, clarify and modify their ideas and theories. She also taught at the Growing Place in Santa Monica for 7 years. Patricia is an artist and has over 20 years experience in Early Childhood Education. Patricia has taught the Reggio Emilia Class at Santa Monica College and at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia. Patricia graduated with a Masters degree in Human development from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. She also speaks at conferences throughout the United States and abroad and has visited Reggio Emilia, Italy six times.


Cindy Hoisington is an early childhood science educator at Education Development Center Inc. in Waltham MA. with more than 20 years of experience teaching young children, developing educational materials, and instructing and mentoring early childhood teachers in language, literacy, and science education. She is a featured speaker in the STEM Track.

Cindy Hoisington photo


For additional information contact: 


Sonia Yoshizawa, Conference Coordinator
ETSU Center of Excellence in
Early Childhood Learning and Development



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