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SB01: Nurturing Deep Roots for Infants and Toddlers through Serve and Return, by Becky Sughrim and Dani Hoffman
Session Description: Please join us as we dive deeply into establishing deep roots through responsive caregiving. Research has now shown the most optimal way to foster healthy brain development and a healthy social emotional foundation is through interactions called “serve and return”. During our time together we will focus on ways to promote and support children’s language and social emotional development through responsive child-led interactions. Through lecture, videos, small group discussion and activities, participants will be able to identify and describe examples of serve and return. Finally, participants will reflect upon opportunities to grow and deepen the relational roots between them and the infants and toddlers they care for.
About the presenter: Becky Sughrim graduated from Western Washington University with a BA in Early Childhood Education. With 12 years of experience working with infants and young toddlers, Becky is especially passionate about respectful care for infants; she recently completed her practicum with Resources for Infant Educators® (RIE®) and is currently on the Friends of RIE® Seattle committee. In her free time, Becky enjoys quilting, coloring and spending time with friends and family. Dani Hoffman has a BAS in Early Childhood from North Seattle College, and has been an infant and toddler caregiver for over 10 years at programs across North Seattle. She enjoys camping, gardening and travelling in between Early Learning advocacy and mentoring efforts. As Infant and Toddler Coaches with Child Care Resources, Becky and Dani work with programs across King County to promote and foster nurturing and responsive caregiving in birth-to-three settings using FIND video coaching and other strengths-based strategies.
Age Group Addressed: Birth to Age 3
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Child Growth and Development
Who Should Attend: ALL

SB02: Toy Adaptation with HuskyADAPT: Learning How to Make Toys More Accessible to a Diverse Population, by Alyssa Spomer and Avry Freaney
During this event, participants will listen to a short talk about the developmental importance of toys and the need for adapted toys, and learn a little about what HuskyADAPT is doing at the University of Washington to improve the availability of adapted toys in the Seattle community. Participants will then be led through a hands-on workshop in which they will adapt battery-powered toys to make them switch accessible. This process involves installing a universal headphone jack into toys to allow for toys to be activated using a wide variety of switches and buttons that
best meet the needs of the user. During this activity, participants will work in teams of two to open toys, assess the electronics to identify how the toy activates normally, and install the headphone jack. By completing this workshop, participants will learn basic engineering concepts and hands-on skills and leave with the understanding necessary to begin adapting toys on their own. Participants of all skill levels and background are encouraged to participate!
About the presenter: Alyssa Spomer is a second-year graduate student in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Washington. Originally from Fort Collins, CO, Alyssa received her undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. Upon graduation, Alyssa accepted an opportunity to pursue a graduate degree in Mechanical Engineering to perform biomechanics research to improve rehabilitation outcomes for individuals with neuromuscular disorders. Outside of her studies, Alyssa is the Toy Adaptation Chair for HuskyADAPT. HuskyADAPT
is a student-run organization that works to foster an inclusive, multi-disciplinary community on the UW campus focused on developing and improving the accessibility of technology for a diverse population. She is a part of a dedicated team of board members who organize opportunities for students to learn about accessibility and develop basic engineering skills to address challenges in accessibility. In her role, Alyssa organizes bimonthly toy adaptation events for students, clinical partners, and community members during which battery-powered toys are made switch
accessible. She is always looking for ways to start conversations about accessibility and inclusivity in the community and is excited to share her work in toy adaptation during WAEYC.
Age Group Addressed: Birth through Age 8
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Child Growth, Development and Learning
Who Should Attend: All
This session has a $30 Materials Fee.

SB03: Adding Math to the Preschool Classroom: Using Board Games to Teach Early Numeracy Skills, by Clarissa Alfes, Jessica Anderson, Kathleen Meeker, and Kristen Missall
This session will discuss using board games to teach preschoolers math through a naturalistic approach during center time and play. The session will provide an overview of early math milestones and typical numeracy skill development. The evidence base in support of math learning through structured board game play will be discussed. Methods, procedures, and findings from the research literature will also be considered. The Great Race Game, shortened Snakes and Ladders, and other early numeracy games including dice, playing cards, and dominos will be introduced.
Participants will have the opportunity to practice administering instruction during hands-on board game play. Session participants will learn how to design and implement board-game learning into preschool classrooms. Caregivers will walk away with a range of new applications for incorporating math into preschool learning, scripts for board game intervention delivery, and resource handouts.
About the presenter: Kristen Missall, PhD, and Kathleen Meeker, PhD, are Associate Professors in the College of Education at the University of Washington. Dr. Meeker is also the Director of Research at the Haring Center for Inclusive Education and Dr. Missall is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Early Intervention. Clarissa Alfes and Jessica Anderson are graduate students in the UW College of Education school psychology PhD program. Their experience and research interests center on early childhood development, school readiness, and effective academic and social-emotional assessment and intervention.
Age Group Addressed: Age 3 through Age 5
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment
Who Should Attend: ALL

SB04: Promoting Nature on an Urban Playground, by Laura Chandler
This session is designed for teachers of young children who want to bring more nature to their urban playgrounds. Laura Chandler has years of experience doing this and will share her failures and successes. The workshop will have many ideas large and small, so participants should find the ones right for their situations. We also will discuss ways to fund improvements.
About the presenter: Laura Chandler has 30 years of experience teaching children two to 12 and has been a STARS trainer since 2000. She worked for 28 years at a childcare center with an asphalt surface play area for the children. As a nature lover she looked for ways to bring natural elements into this space.
Age Group Addressed: Birth through Age 8
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment
Who Should Attend: Leadership/Administrators | Child Care Center | Parents/Relatives

SB05: STEAM-y Fairy Tales, by Vickei Hrdina
Fairy tales are a ‘phenomenal’ way to provide context for early learners in science, technology, engineering, arts and math...not to mention literacy and social studies. Characters in our cherished fairy tales all confront problems that can be addressed through investigation and problem solving using the engineering design process. This workshop will lead teachers through a unit that has students investigate Goldilocks’s juicy problem and design a solution based on their STEAM knowledge. Multiple examples will be provided with access to materials, and coaching for developing other fairy tales into integrated units will also be provided.
About the presenter: As STEM Director, Vickei Hrdina collaborates with ESD112 districts, SW WA STEM, OSPI, LASER and Washington STEM to craft strategic approaches to deliver STEM learning that meets the needs of each community in the ESD112 region. Vickei began her career as an archaeologist and worked for more than a decade as an education program manager with the Field Museum in Chicago, translating field research directly into classroom instruction and coaching teachers on using authentic science and engineering practices with students. Vickei went on to develop a statewide integrated STEM curriculum based in archaeology and cultural anthropology with the University of Nevada Las Vegas and 19 Native American tribal organizations before continuing on to complete her teaching credentials, and eventually teach middle school STEM in Chicago and Northwest Indiana. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Educational Anthropology, and teaching endorsements in elementary, middle level science and CTE. In 2014, Vickei joined ESD112 as Regional Science Coordinator and has helped to grow the STEM program in that region ever since.
Age Group Addressed: Age 5 through Age 8
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment
Who Should Attend: Interested Professionals

SB06: Staying Mindful in Stressful Moments, by Susan Burham
What can you do when you’ve reached the end of your rope? How can you care for yourself while meeting the needs of the children? In this class you’ll reflect on what “pushes your buttons” and develop strategies to regroup when those buttons get pushed. This class will include discussion, reflection, activities, and strategies that will help you better connect with children. Come increase your ability to be present and responsive so you can best support the growth of children in your care.
About the presenter: I believe adults and children learn best through hands-on experiences. I strive to create a learning environment that is safe and stimulating, providing learners with many opportunities to practice new ideas and challenging each us to see multiple perspectives. I have worked as both a teacher and a manager, creating early learning environments that are child centered, play based, and developmentally appropriate. As an early learning coach and trainer, I provide hands-on learning experiences, best practices and research, support, and appropriate challenges to help providers reach their goals.
Age Group Addressed: Adults
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Professional Development and Leadership
Who Should Attend: ALL

SB07: Letting STEM Loose in the Classroom, by Samantha Stevens and Molly Daley
If you don’t already use loose parts in the classroom, you might have no idea just how easy and fun it can be to bring math, science, and engineering to life for your students. With loose parts, children take the lead in their own learning, exploring nature and everyday objects as they build understanding of essential STEM concepts. Join us for an interactive and playful session and be reminded of just how joyful learning can be!
About the presenter: Samantha Stevens is the Relationship-Based Professional Development Manager in the Early Care and Education Department at ESD 112 in Vancouver, WA. Samantha obtained her Bachelor’s degree and teaching license in Elementary Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with an emphasis working with children aged birth through age 12. She is currently working toward an advanced degree in Early Childhood Education. The opportunity gaps evident across Washington in regard to developmentally appropriate and highquality early mathematics experiences drive her passion for offering STEM content and trainings locally and across the state. She has a passion for working with other adults and engaging collaboratively to explore evidence-based practices that promote positive child outcomes, build confidence and creativity, and support positive self-image for young children.
Age Group Addressed: Age 3 through Age 5
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment
Who Should Attend: Teachers| Therapists | Home Visitors | Interested Professionals

SB08: A Safe Place for Risky Play: Strategies for the Play Yard , by Leon Smith
Play often involves risk! Appropriate risk-taking can be a vital part of learning boundaries, control, and selfregulation. This workshop will provide a deeper understanding risky play and strategies to maintain a safe play environment. We will examine topics such as loose parts, hazards in the landscape, evaluating and managing risk, as well as communicating with parents.
About the presenter: Leon has spent his career designing and building natural play environments for preschools, childcare centers, and communities around the country as part of Earthplay He has lead trainings, hands-on workshops, and keynote presentations focusing on how to improve outdoor play spaces by inviting nature into the yard. Through the years, Leon has also served as a volunteer board member and president of the Community Built Association, a national non-profit supporting community involvement in public projects, and a member of the
Leadership Committee of the International School Grounds Alliance. He also continues his playground work through his company Puddletown Playworks LLC.
Age Group Addressed: Age 3 through Age 8
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment
Who Should Attend: ALL

SB09: Beyond the Swing: Vestibular Activities, by Mary Lynn Hafner
The vestibular system gives us our sense of balance and spatial orientation. Understanding different types of vestibular activities is a powerful tool you can use for children who have various sensory needs. You can use vestibular input to increase or decrease energy in the classroom and maximize motor development. Be ready for lively practical explanations and ideas you can implement right away.
About the presenter: Mary Lynn is a Doctor of Physical Therapy with over 25 years experience, mother of 4 children, and a small clinic rehab director at a retirement community. Her side hustle for 9 years has been teaching preschool movement classes and those lessons are all highlighted in her book, The Joy of Movement: Lesson Plans and Large Motor Activities for Preschoolers.
Age Group Addressed: Age 3 through Age 8
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Child Growth and Development
Who Should Attend: ALL

SB10: Moving Beyond “Sorry!” to Intentionality, Understanding, and Making Amends, by Cassandra Ellis
Perhaps it comes out of your mouth or one of your educators… “Go say sorry!” The child goes over and says a quick “sorrrryyy” and everyone wipes their hands clean of what just happened. But did it work? The empty apology didn’t help anyone, notably the child who was harmed as well as the child who carried out the harm. The empty apology didn’t help your classroom community, the children’s families, as well as those who will encounter your children as they grow. Children who use empty apologies could become adults who use empty apologies. Is that what we want for our world? Join us to learn new methods of helping children work through these situations. Let’s move beyond giving empty apologies and offering quick fixes. Let’s instead intentionally guide one another and our young children through the process of making amends and solving issues together. By practicing these new methods we will build a more empathetic and understanding community and world.
About the presenter: Cassandra Ellis is an educator who connects with all ages. She is lead teacher of Bloom Early Education’s BEE Outdoors nature-based multi-age preschool program. Cassandra is also the owner of the Kinship School, offering programs rooted in nature-based learning, yoga and mindfulness, creative movement, and intergenerational learning. Cassandra is a STARS trainer, CDA PD Specialist, and certified to teach children’s yoga and mindfulness and holistic barefoot dance fitness. Learn more about Cassandra at and
Age Group Addressed: Birth through Age 8 and higher | Adults
WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Interactions
Who Should Attend: ALL