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Early Childhood Conference focuses on relationships as the ‘Heart of Learning’

Positive relationships with significant adults are a strong determining factor in a child’s future success. This concept is the theme for the Sixth Annual Hawaii Island Early Childhood Conference, April 19- 20, at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa. The conference is open to anyone who works in or has an interest in the field of early childhood education.

Organized by Baby STEPS to Stronger Big Island Families, this year’s conference will feature two keynote speakers who will focus on the value and lasting effect educators can have in the lives of children.

On Friday evening, April 19, Dr. Steven Choy will present on “Healthy Brains … Healthy Children; Healthy Children … Healthy World.” His message focuses on how educators can help develop healthy brains and help children to cope with an ever changing world. The evening includes a light buffet.

On Saturday, April 20, in addition to 10 different thematic workshops, Mervlyn Kitashima will give a talk titled, “No More ‘Children at Risk’: ‘Children at Promise.’” Kitashima, a participant in Emmy Werner’s groundbreaking “Kauai’s Longitudinal Study on Resilience,” will share a personal account of the factors that contributed to her ability to overcome the odds. The emphasis will be on possibilities, potential and promise for every child.

“Last year we convened close to 400 teachers, preschool directors, home-based family care providers, and elementary school principals from around the state, as well as state and county staff, on the Kohala Coast for the conference,” said Angela Thomas, team leader for the Baby STEPS program. The conference is a much anticipated event, she said, as it provides networking and professional development opportunities for early childhood professionals.

Cost to attend the Friday evening event is $50; cost for the all-day Saturday session – which includes continental breakfast and lunch - is $75. There is an early registration deadline of March 15. After that date, both sessions go up to $60 and $85 respectively. For a registration form, visit www.BabySTEPSHawaii.org. For more information, call Gail Judd at 987-8710, email athomas@babystepshawaii.org, or gcjudd@babystepshawaii.org. The Waikoloa Beach Marriott is offering a special conference room rate; for information visit https://resweb.passkey.com/go/HIECC2013.