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Free Early Childhood Conference announced
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Janelle Smith, Sunflower Early Education Center office manager, takes registration for the upcoming Fall Into Fun Early Childhood Conference. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO


Janelle Smith, Sunflower Early Education Center office manager, takes registration for the upcoming Fall Into Fun Early Childhood Conference.



LYONS — A rare opportunity for parents and childcare providers will be available at Lyons in October, thanks to Sunflower’s Early Education Center and its partners at Communities in Schools in Rice County.

The Fall Into Fun Early Childhood Conference is set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9 at the First Baptist Church, 803 S. Dinsmore in Lyons. Check-in is at 8:30 a.m.

The conference is designed for those who care for any child age birth to 5; this includes special needs youngsters, as well as those who are developing typically.

Registration, which is limited by space, is open until Oct. 1. There is no charge and lunch will be provided.

"We want to reach out to parents and professional childcare providers of young children," said Cathy Estes, EEC coordinator. "This will be a great venue to share new ideas and renew our energy. It is always rewarding to hear motivational speakers and network with peers."

The keynote speakers are Jenni Reling, owner of Jenni Reling Seminars in Beloit. She will discuss the balancing act of keeping a busy schedule on track. Beth Reeder, director of staff development and outreach at Rainbows United in Wichita, will discuss exercises for the brain.

Six breakout sessions are on the agenda; three will run simultaneously in the morning, as will three in the afternoon.

Topic choices in the morning are how to create an outdoor classroom for preschoolers by Reeder; discovery of emotional intelligence and communication by Estes; and teamwork strategies by Reling.

In the afternoon, options are a repeat of the outdoor classroom information by Reeder; exploring the ABCs of a child’s social intelligence by Estes; and the art of listening and conveying a message by Reling.

The state RECESS grant is paying for the entire conference, which includes the opportunity for five continuing education hours. The EEC, 1312 Patton in Great Bend, participates in the RECESS grant with Communities In Schools in Rice County. RECESS stands for Rice Early Connections Equal School/Life Success.

"We are happy to offer this information in Rice County to provide opportunities to parents and all the new childcare providers," Estes said. "The EEC stepped up to meet the needs in early childcare by organizing this conference.

"We hope it leads to more early intervention for children who need our help," she added. "This is important in many respects but especially for youngsters with social/emotional needs. It is so important to have an early screen or evaluation."

The Sunflower EEC staff is organizing the conference and will help at the event. In addition, the 20 staff members of Cornerstone Day Care, Lyons, will lend a hand.

"We are grateful to the church, which is not charging a fee, and to everyone who is giving their time to this comprehensive conference," Estes commented. "We encourage parents and childcare providers to register."

For more information, call the EEC, 620-792-4087.