Getting Together: Conference aimed at early childhood providers

Mon, 2011-08-29 11:11 -- univcomm
August 29, 2011

Seeking out a way to bring early childhood providers together to present new knowledge in the field and encourage the sharing of innovative ideas, the directors of area child care centers host an annual conference.

heliosMaking Connections, the Madison County Early Childhood Conference, is an all-day event planned for Sept. 17. In its third year, the forum consistently draws attendees from Greenfield, Fishers, Indianapolis, Marion and New Castle.

“We would like to see more people from Madison County attend the event — that’s really where our focus was when we began,” said Janet Cunningham, director of Anderson Christian School Educare Program. “We are trying to build and foster the childhood provider community and would like to see us working together to become better for the children.”

Cunningham used to enjoy attending a similar local conference and was disappointed when it ceased meeting. Upon the construction of the new facilities at Anderson Christian School a few years ago, she knew she had the prime location. Calling other providers, she quickly assembled a team of like-minded individuals.

Working together on this project are representatives from Anderson Christian School Educare, Gateway Developmental Children’s Center, Born Learning Connection of the United Way, Anderson Public Library, Huffer Child Care Resource and Referral in Muncie, Noah’s Ark in Elwood, Friendly Flock in Pendleton, Young at Heart Child Care, Excel Academy, St. John’s Early Literacy Program and Anderson University.

“This has been a really good collaboration between all these groups,” said Cunningham. “We get tools in the hands of people who are working with children.”

“This committee works really hard,” said Joanne Hadley, Born Learning coordinator. “Many of our local providers are working on an associate’s degree or a CDA. The huge benefit of this conference is that it is an inexpensive way to receive credit hours. Nowhere else can you find a conference that has presenters with these great credentials at this price.”

More than 35 sessions are available, including topics such as crisis situations, discipline, autism, home child care, infant/toddler development, and common core standards. Presenters hail from Ivy Tech Community College, Anderson University, Ball State University, home child cares, and other registered providers. Even the early childhood specialist from the Indiana Department of Education will speak.

“Camaraderie is also a huge benefit,” added Hadley. “We connect our providers with resources and share knowledge. I think the biggest thing is that it encourages us to come together and share ideas and make those connections.”

If you go

  • What: Making Connections: the Madison County Early Childhood Conference
  • When: Sept. 17 from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Where: Anderson Christian School Educare, 2625 Lindberg Road, Anderson
  • Cost (includes lunch): $15 if registered by Sept. 1; $25 after Sept. 1
  • Contact: Joanne Hadley, 641-4028

—Emma Bowen Meyer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story republished with permission. Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.