Friday Morning's Featured Speaker:
Jani Kozlowski, MA provides professional development and technical assistance (TA) for state leaders, educators, and other practitioners around topics such as early childhood inclusion, collaborative partnerships, social-emotional development, quality improvement initiatives, and workforce professional development systems. She currently leads initiatives focused on the early childhood workforce and the inclusion of children with disabilities for the Early Childhood TA Center at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
For the past ten years, Jani has supported Head Start grantees, state child care lead agencies, and other early care and education programs through work on multiple federally-funded projects. Over the years, Jani provided leadership for key early childhood initiatives in North Carolina, provided TA for Head Start programs at the regional level, taught community college courses, and served as the Education and Disability Services Coordinator for a large Migrant Head Start program. Jani started out in the field over 30 years ago teaching a group of spirited preschoolers in an inclusive childcare classroom. Those early experiences fuel her passion for building the skills and confidence of the early childhood workforce to meet the needs of each and every child and family. Jani is the author of the book, Every Child Can Fly: An Early Childhood Educator’s Guide to Inclusion.
Better Together: The Centrality of Relationships
Relationships are the key ingredient for supporting young children and their families. Research shows that if we build trusting, supportive and genuine relationships with children and families, the best outcomes are achieved, and we all rise to meet expectations together. If this is true for our relationships with children and families, how might we apply these same values to the collaborative relationships we share as professionals? Let’s explore this question together, considering the many ways that our professional relationships mirror the other relationships we work to strengthen among and between children, educators, families, and our collaborative partners. Together we will thrive. Our strong relationships make us better together.
Friday Afternoon's Featured Speaker:
Megan Vinh, PhD, is a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Vinh currently serves as the PI of the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) Center, and the Co-PI of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center. She provides leadership, technical assistance, and evaluation support around improving state early intervention and early childhood special education service systems, increasing the implementation of effective practices, and enhancing outcomes of these programs for young children and their families. She also works to ensure young children with disabilities participate in and benefit from high-quality STEM teaching and learning. She specializes in program evaluation and systems change around access and equity issues, including reducing early care and education suspensions and expulsions and increasing high-quality inclusive opportunities. She also served on the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Executive Board within the presidential line. Dr. Vinh co-authored the books First Steps to Preschool Inclusion: How to Jumpstart Your Programwide Plan and Growing Together: Developing and Sustaining a Community of Practice in Early Childhood.
Better Together: The Powerful Impact of Collaboration
Collaboration is key to ensuring that all young children, especially those from historically underserved groups, are included in early care and education opportunities. As a field, we need to work together to ensure equitable and effective environments, materials, and instruction so that we can affirm the identities of all young children and empower families. This session will discuss the impact collaboration has on the inclusion of young children with disabilities and how you, whatever your role, can engage in teaming and collaboration practices that foster equity and inclusion and ensure that each and every child finds a pathway for learning success.