Pearlie Harris, owner and director of Royal Castle Early Learning Institute, strives to enhance and provide educational growth and development for young children. Harris has a devotional commitment to creating an environment that stimulates a holistic child. Pearlie Harris’s extensive educational background has allowed her to manage an established incorporation. As a Registered Nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood from the University of New Orleans, a licensed Child Care Health Consultant, and a certified CLASS Observer, Harris incorporates all educational sectors into the operation of her childcare centers.
As a Child Care Health Consultant for the State of Louisiana, Harris facilitates trainings regarding health and safety, medication administration, as well as any trainings that require the blue certificate. Moreover, Harris advises childcare center start-ups that are in different stages of the business cycle. The areas she helps include but are not limited to building their enrollment,
resolving staff conflict(s), enhancing family engagement and parent workshops.
Harris sees Royal Castle Early Learning Institute as a great opportunity to advance the lives of our future generations because ages 0-5 is the time when a child’s brain develops the most. Harris presents a strong work ethic as she hires and trains staff, establishes sturdy relationships with programs local and far, and ensures the growth of the children at her childcare centers.
Harris reminisces on the honor of being a stopping point by Former First Lady Michelle Obama during her Let’s Move Campaign in 2011. Former First Lady exalted her appreciation and encouragement of healthy, active children to the parents and children of Royal Castle. Harris has been able to continuously grow and enhance her business in New Orleans, and she plans to do so for many years to come.
Title: "Engaging the 'Grab-n-Go,' 'On the Move” Parents'
Description: The morning keynote shares that research shows family engagement plays a vital part in early childhood while exposing the fact that many administrators, directors, and childhood educators have a difficult time getting parents to participate in their child’s school. Come hear a Director, who operates two centers, provide practical tips on how to get the “Grab-n-Dash” parents, the “I Wish I Could” parents, and the “Hide-n-Seek” parents involved in their child’s school. Valuable tips and laughs will be shared!
Gerard Costa is the founding director of the Center for Autism and Early Childhood Mental Health at Montclair State University (NJ). He is a Professor in the Department Early Childhood, Elementary and Literacy Education (ECELE) in the College of Education and Human Services and is a member of the faculty of the Infant and Early Childhood Development (IECD) Ph.D. program at Fielding University (formerly the ICDL Graduate School). He serves as a trustee and President of the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning, founded by Drs. Stanley Greenspan and Serena Wieder, and served as a consultant to ZERO TO THREE for the past 20 years. He is one of the first 16 “Expert Faculty” selected by ZERO TO THREE in the new DC: 0-5 (2016) Classification system.
Dr. Costa sits on several state and non-profit boards and was appointed by two New Jersey Governors to serve on the New Jersey Council for Young Children, where he headed the Infancy and Early Childhood Mental Health committee. He received his Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Temple University. He was one of the first 16 recipients of the DIR certificate by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder, and is a trained faculty member in the Brazelton Touchpoints Model. He holds an endorsement as an Infant Mental Health Clinical Mentor, through the New Jersey Association for Infant Mental Health and Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health.
Dr. Costa led a 4-year Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health systems development project in partnership with Child Development Services of Wyoming and the Wyoming Developmental Disabilities Division and is the principal author of a 15 module Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health training curriculum. He led a two yearlong training and consultation project with 25 Infant Mental Health mentors with South Dakota Voices for Children, and he is currently leading a strategic planning initiative with the Missouri Association for Infant Mental Health-Early Childhood. He has presented keynotes, workshops and trainings at hundreds of events and programs.
Dr. Costa has been honored with numerous awards including the Christian Kjeldsen Champion for Children Award by the NJ Child Care Advisory Council, the Lucille Weistuch Early Childhood Special Education Award, by the New Jersey Division for Early Childhood (NJDEC), and the Golden Bell Leadership Award, by the New Jersey Mental Health Association. He is a New Jersey licensed psychologist, has a consulting and training practice, and is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on autism and infant mental health. Dr. Costa has presented throughout the United States and the world.
Title: "Relating at the Speed of Trust: Becoming Authentically Present with Families"
Description: What families need most from us is to feel safe and listened to! This presentation will describe a way of thinking about our "professional FORMATION" - the idea that we who work with infants, children and families must pay attention to our own personal growth and 'inner lives". In our relationships with families we must become aware of our tendency to "have an agenda" and instead learn to follow the lead of the families with whom we work. Ways of "knowing", "doing" and "being" will be described, and the critical importance of not only what we say and do, but "how we are" with families will be examined. Becoming "present" helps us be open to ourselves and our families as we support them in their journey as parents and caregivers.