WAEYC Conference
Washington Association for the Education of Young Children
Call Us at (360)922-0045
Office hours vary. Please email to schedule a registration appointment by phone.

Thursday TA Sessions - 9:00am-12:15pm or 12:30pm

TA04: Making the Most of Play in the Early Years, by David Matteson, David Matteson and Associates, Inc. 

With educational expectations changing, kindergarten has become a critical year for children. If kindergarten is no longer about readiness, what foundational skills are needed for a child’s success as they enter a more formal educational setting? In this session, participants will explore the relationship between play and foundational literacy skills.

About the presenter: David Matteson is a nationally recognized literacy consultant focusing on language and literacy development. His work around developmentally appropriate instruction and student proficiency is based on the research from psychologists like Erikson, Piaget and Vygotski as well as educators such as Marie Clay, Margaret Mooney, Richard Gentry and Richard Allington. Comprehension or understanding is the basis for any instruction, not skills. Skills are essential but taught from a well articulated continuum and within context.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Child Growth, Development and Learning

Who Should Attend: ALL

TA05: Taking the Leap: Values and Practices for Planning an Emergent Curriculum, by Sarah Felstiner, Hilltop Children’s Center


Though we don’t usually think of “planning” something “emergent,” educators at Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle have found it takes a great deal of intention to facilitate a curriculum that is truly generated from the children’s own questions and pursuits. This session will offer specific examples of structures and dispositions that support a dynamic, responsive, customized curriculum for young children. We’ll examine Hilltop’s practices of In-Depth Investigation and Pedagogical Documentation, and explore strategies for facilitating an emergent curriculum in our own programs.

About the presenter: Sarah is the Curriculum Director at Hilltop Children’s Center in Seattle, where she has worked for the past 22 years. Sarah helps guide Professional Development for Hilltop faculty, and facilitates the Hilltop Educator Institute, which offers tours, consultation services, and a public lecture series. Sarah’s particular interests include documentation to facilitate emergent curriculum, and structures to support values-based administration. Sarah was recently selected by Child Care Exchange Magazine as a 2015 Master Leader in Early Care and Education.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment

Who Should Attend: Child Care Center | Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program (ECEAP) | P-3 Educators | Interested Professionals

TA06: “Growing up WILD”: Book, Fun Activities and Nature Tidbits to Share and Amaze Your Students, presented by Julie Luthy, Nature Adventures

You’ll receive and be trained on the fabulous “Growing up WILD” activity guide for ages 3-8. The guide contains 27 nature based themes with background information, outdoor activities, healthy snacks, math, art, songs and more. In addition, you’ll learn fascinating things about Pacific NW plants and animals and outdoor activities to guide discovery. This is a wonderful companion to the “Environmental Experiences” activity guide. In addition you’ll learn fascinating things about Pacific NW plants and animals and outdoor activities to guide discovery. Join us for a fun day and be ready to hit the ground running with a new nature based bag of tricks!

About the presenter: Julie has been a naturalist for over 30 years helping people nurture a respect and awe for their natural surroundings. She thoroughly enjoys teaching people of all ages and her enthusiasm is contagious. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental and Science Education. Her field experience includes work in national parks, nature centers and Seattle’s Discovery Park. She currently offers environmental ed. programs through her own business.


WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment


Who Should Attend: Child Care Center | Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program (ECEAP) | Parents/Relatives | Family, Friend, Neighbor & Relative Care Giver | K-12 Educators | Interested Professionals


This session has a $30 materials fee, and participants will receive The Growing Up WIld Curriculum Activity Guide.

TA07: Supporting High Quality Curriculum: Helping Teachers Create Better Lesson Plans, by Miriam Dressler, Bloom Early Education 


You know you have a top-notch curriculum, and your classrooms are ready to go! But what about your teachers? In this session, we’ll look at what teachers need to plan and to deliver your high-quality learning program and how meaningful lesson plan evaluation can raise quality standards for each child. From start to finish, we’ll review practical and useful steps to lesson planning, learning objectives, lesson plan evaluation.

About the presenter: Miriam Dressler is the founder and co-owner of Bloom Early Education in Edmonds, WA. Miriam is a published author with Redleaf Press. She co-wrote “Prove It! Achieving Quality Recognition for Your Early Childhood Program (2010), and provides consulting services to the early childhood education field for quality improvement and teacher coaching.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Program Planning and Development

Who Should Attend: Leadership/Administrators (add in teachers)

TA08: Transform How You Approach Challenging Behavior Using Play and the Theater Arts, by Barb O’Neill, Transform Challenging Behavior

Learn the strategies you need to successfully support children exhibiting challenging behavior. Whether the problem is hitting, biting, throwing toys, or children not following directions you will get the necessary tools for designing effective, strengthsbased interventions. Through a combination of case study examples, interactive exercises, and video clip reflections you will be introduced to the “Transform Challenging Behavior Method” and be guided in applying the strategies to immediately help the children in your classroom or program. You will leave with increased confidence in your ability to support even the most challenging children and with concrete tools for doing so.

About the presenter: Barb O’Neill, Ed.D. helps early childhood teachers and programs transform children’s use of challenging behavior using play and the theater arts, as well as more traditional approaches. She has previously worked as a preschool teacher, special education teacher, university professor, and director of a Reggio-inspired center. She has researched and published on the use of improv-based play intervention and interactive oral storytelling as tools to promote the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood classrooms. Barb has also written about the ways that theater improv and storytelling can promote social-emotional development and prevent children’s use of aggressive behavior. She provides trainings, coaching and consulting to programs struggling with behavior or that want to more successfully include children with disabilities.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment

Who Should Attend: ALL

TA09: Peanut Butter...Relationship Based Professional Development (RBPD) that Sticks!, by Janine Meyers and Savannah Stannard, Child Care Resources 

We know that as RBPD staff, our work is messy…it involves getting our hands dirty! Sometimes the work we do and the work we ask providers to partner with us in, is lumpy and bumpy, gooey, sticky and down-right challenging. Just like Peanut Butter! The great thing is that through all the effort, it becomes something tasty and terrific, worthwhile and satisfying! Working together, we will discover how our view of providers, the value they bring, their unique skills and abilities, coupled with our willingness to value those things and all the “nuts” they bring to the process, will help us create a successful working relationship with each and every client we serve.

About the presenters: Janine Meyers is an early learning professional with a diverse perspective, having lived and taught in many places around the country and around the world. Janine is a passionate educator, focusing on quality improvement in home and center based ECE programs. Her most recent adventure partners her with Co-Facilitator Savannah Stannard and many other amazing people at Child Care Resources in King County, where she serves as a PreRating Lead for the Early Achievers program.

Savannah Stannard: As a Pre-rating Lead for CCA WA of Pierce and King Counties, she supports RPBD staff in one of the most diverse areas in the state. Having worked at both ends of the age spectrum, she has a solid understanding of both ECE and Adult Education best practices. Savannah possess a strong cross-cultural awareness and strives to bring a racial equity lens to all aspects of her work.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Professional Development and Leadership

Who Should Attend: ALL

TA10: More Than a Mess! Math & Thinking Skills in Sensory Play, Messy Art, & Mud Pies, by Gina Dobberstein, UW Haring Center 


This session will highlight the benefits of messy exploration with a focus on specific early mathematics and cognitive skills. As well as gaining a wealth of engaging, hands on ideas to use right away. Participants will learn how to adapt, make modifications and adjust teaching to meet all children’s needs.

About the presenter: Gina has a diverse background of experiences in the early childhood field. She has been a classroom teacher, program administrator, parent educator, coach, faculty member, and a local and national trainer. In the fall of 2016, Gina joined the Haring Center at the University of Washington as a coach and trainer after relocating to Washington from the Midwest. She has a master’s degree in Child and Family Studies from Michigan State University. Gina has experience writing curriculum and providing training in topics related to differentiated instruction, health and safety, literacy, kindergarten readiness and positive guidance, and inclusion.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment

Who Should Attend: ALL



TA11: Three W’s and an ARM: Some Core Pieces for Your Practice with Colleagues and Families, by Dr. Gina Lebedeva, Children’s Communication Corner 

WWW.ARM is not a website! Those are letters that stand for powerful concepts in serving as a professional in the early learning field. What does it mean to be Within and Attuned to our own past, to be authentically With others, and to Wonder and Reflect together toward solutions? What does it mean to be in the Moment and Mindful, in the context of our work? How can we balance these concepts with all the other responsibilities and skills in our profession? If you are a supervisor or director, a therapist or home visitor, or an educator working with children and families, integrating these concepts can build the foundation for solid relationships, and to build resilience in ourselves, our colleagues, and in families. Bring your field experiences to discuss: what families, colleagues, and situations are you holding in mind that you’d like to process? Together, we will apply the WWW. ARM lens to that process.

About the presenter: Dr. Gina Lebedeva uses transdisciplinary strengths-based approaches to support families and professionals in early learning. A certified speech and language pathologist, she uses principles of infant mental health and reflective facilitation, specializing in the first five years.

Gina brings experience as a faculty member at the University of Washington Department of Early Childhood and Family Studies, serves as an advisor and consultant throughout the early learning community, and is an advocate for relationship-based quality improvement systems. She was the founding director of the Outreach division at the UW Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences, and the Interim Director of Education at the Hearing Speech & Deaf Center in Seattle. Dr. Lebedeva holds a PhD in speech and hearing sciences from the University of Washington, and a Magna Cum Laude degree in psychology and linguistics from Cornell University. She plays the oboe, is a homegrown Steelers fan, and has three children.

WA State Early Learning Core Competency: Curriculum and Learning Environment

Who Should Attend: ALL