Register NOW! Fall 2016 Conference: STEAM Ahead

Registration is now open for the 2016 MaineAEYC Fall Conference!

*NEW this conference* You can register online and pay with PayPal.

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Descriptions for Breakout Sessions

Bedtime Math: Crazy 8s,  Catherine Miller

Have you heard about Bedtime Math’s Crazy 8s? It’s the new after-school club designed to get kids fired up about math. Every week kids get to build stuff, run and jump, make music, make a mess…and make friendships at the same time. Crazy 8s makes math a blast for any kid, and the club kit is free. Join us to see Crazy 8s in action! https://crazy8s.bedtimemath.org

Blurring the Lines: Empowering Young Children’s Creativity & Critical Thinking Skills Through Art & Science,  Jana Doherty

This session will provide early childhood educators with a suite of activities for teaching age-appropriate science concepts through art-based mediums. Activities will feature both step-by-step experiments as well as more open-ended sensory experiences. These activities are designed to foster creativity and critical thinking while engaging children in science content and science process skills (observing, classifying, hypothesizing, testing, and using tools). Role-playing as scientists helps children engage their imagination and background knowledge in order to learn in hands-on, minds-on ways. These techniques are vetted in early childhood museum environments and can be used in classroom settings to enhance science learning. Early childhood professionals will walk away with ideas for implementing STEAM activities in their classrooms and fresh ideas for how to encourage scientific thinking during play.

Cross Cutting Concepts in Early Learning Settings,  Laina Clugston & Anne Adams, supported by Alison Miller

There are seven crosscutting concepts of STEM learning described in the Framework for K-12 Science Education. This session will look at four of the concepts most evident in early learning settings: patterns, cause and effect, systems and system models, and stability and change. There will be research-based content on each of the crosscutting concepts and participants will gain a greater understanding of how these concepts can be taught across the age span. There will be staff from the Bowdoin College Children’s Center offering their work with these concepts including developing a curriculum to include these concepts, observing the learning taking place and scaffolding children’s learning when they are engaged in these activities. The idea being that these crosscutting concepts are being taught across domains. For example, cause and effect can be taught while out on the play yard building or while listening to a puppet story before nap. Participants will learn the importance of these concepts and how to integrate them into their day with children, thus better preparing them for school ahead.

Earthquakes!  Gary Lewis

Sometimes we are faced full on with a natural disaster – hurricane, flood, blizzard, ice storm – which affects our families and communities. Very occasionally we get to feel an earthquake, which can provide us a wonderful teaching moment in many directions including mathematics, science, technology and engineering. However, as earthquakes are unpredictable and rare in Maine, we can have our students experience one right in our classrooms using the simplest of equipment allow us to create our own teachable moment. This session will show you how to do exactly that, and take the experience into one of deep learning and discovery.

Flying Beyond the Book: Extending Your Read Alouds with STEAM,  Cathryn Falwell

Cathryn Falwell is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books. She is enthusiastic about encouraging creativity and getting kids out in nature. Her most recent book, The Nesting Quilt, is the story of a young girl and her grandmother helping prepare for the arrival of a new baby. Maya and Nana share a love of birds and their nests.
In this session, using simple materials, easy activities, and library resources, we will discover ways to incorporate science, math, art, and even a little engineering. Ideas will include bird learning activities, bird nesting materials and construction, making twig-book journals to take on a nature walk, easy quilt-making activities, and building nests of our own. Participants will be encouraged to share their own ideas and experiences as well. Following the presentation and conversation, participants will be invited to create take-away projects at several stations set up around the room.

Gardening,  Margaret Cushing

Gardening is a comprehensive learning tool for young children, incorporating all the elements of STEAM. Whether you have an outdoor garden in the summer or do indoor gardening with your children during the long cold Maine winters, you can teach science, technology, engineering, art and math with every plant your children grow. We’ll share ideas and activities to bring gardening to life for even the most timid gardener.

PreK STEAM Stories & Family Partnerships,  Bonnie Blagojevic & Vickie Grotton

In this session, we will share stories of STEAM activities from Maine early childhood programs from simpler to more involved inquiry science explorations,and different ways families got involved. There will be time to explore at activity stations and favorite resources will be shared.

Science Across the Spectrum: Applying the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Across the Early Childhood Years,  Patty Williams & Carol Lee

This session will introduce teachers to the Next Generation Science Standards NGSS, their major principles, and how they align with the Maine Infant Toddler Guidelines and the Maine Early Learning and Development Standards (MELDS). Participants will explore science curriculum activities appropriate for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and young school-aged children which meet educational standards and allow for developmentally appropriate, playful learning opportunities in the classroom. They will also view and analyze video footage of children engaging in science curriculum activities based on the standards. The overarching goal of the session is to enrich participants’ understanding of the NGSS and show how it can be incorporated into their work with children ages 0-8.

Science Practices in Play – Infants/Toddlers,  Beth Amaral, Heather Stephenson & Jessica McCurdy, supported by Alison Miller

This session will maintain focus on play-based curriculum while discussing STEM learning that takes place during this play. Designed to look at infant and toddler play, this session will help those working with our youngest learners to observe STEM learning in play, find language to articulate the learning that is taking place and document how infants and toddlers are meeting STEM standards. There will be research-based content offered on what STEM standards are (as described in the Next Generation Science Standards) and what STEM learning looks like; there will also be observations, slides, videos and documentation of the STEM play that has been occurring at the Bowdoin College Children’s Center. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss with other participants and BCCC educators about strategies used to continue play-based curriculum and still meet science & math standards.

Science Practices in Play – Preschool,  Kelly Averill & Kaylee Trefethen, supported by Alison Miller

This session will maintain focus on play-based curriculum while discussing STEM learning that takes place during this play. Designed to look at preschool play, this session will help those working with our preschool age children to observe STEM learning in play, find language to articulate the learning that is taking place and document how these children are meeting STEM standards. There will be research-based content offered on what STEM standards are (as described in the Next Generation Science Standards) and what STEM learning looks like; there will also be observations, slides, videos and documentation of the STEM play that has been occurring at the Bowdoin College Children’s Center. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss with other participants and BCCC educators about strategies used to continue play-based curriculum and still meet science & math standards.

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This event is sponsored through a collaboration between Maine Roads to Quality at the University of Southern Maine, the Maine DHHS Office of Child and Family Services, and the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children.

* Cancellation Policy: Refunds for paid registrations will be honored ONLY if cancellation notice is received by MaineAEYC at least one full week before the date of the event.

MaineAEYC Public Policy Forum

The Maine Association for the Education of Young Children, affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, Cloud 1 (1)invite you to join us for a public policy forum designed to promote and support open dialogue between providers and organizations across our field in order to identify challenges and successes occurring in early childhood public policy.

We are honored to have Lauren Hogan, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and Mary Beth Testa, Policy Consultant for the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFFC) to facilitate discussions and offer guidance concerning important public policy and advocacy issues that we face on local levels across the state of Maine.

MaineAEYC recognizes the value that each facet of our state’s providers offer to the early childhood field including family childcare, center based childcare, public pre-k, headstart, and our public and private k-2 classrooms. Each plays a vital role in the lives of Maine’s children and families. While we face different advocacy challenges concerning our unique settings, we all share the same bigger picture: providing safe, high-quality care and education for our state’s youngest learners. There is a need for our expertise to be represented when policies are made in Augusta.

We hope you join us for this dialogue as we aim to support our profession, represent the children we care for, and create a stronger, more unified voice in our legislation.

Date: Saturday, September 10th 2016
Time: 9:00am-12:00pm
Location: Viles Arboretum, 153 Hospital St. Augusta Maine

RSVP: meaeyc@gmail.com

 Please let us know if you would like to skype or call in, if you cannot join us in person

*refreshments will be served

King, Burr Combine Forces to Fight for More Affordable Childcare for American Families  

thThe following information was received from Sen. Angus King’s office. It is an update on a bill that Sen. Angus King has submitted with a Senate colleague. MaineAEYC is sharing as we feel this should be of interest to our membership and others working in the early childhood education field.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Angus King (I-Maine) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.) joined forces to introduce the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act, legislation that merges two previous bills they introduced that would improve the major federal tax policies that help make childcare more affordable for families across the country.

“Childcare is becomingly increasingly more difficult for families to afford, and that’s not only bad for them, it’s bad for the economy,” Senator King said. “We need to ensure that our tax policies keep pace with rising childcare costs and that working families have the support they need to stay on the job. The PACE Act merges two sensible approaches to current policy and will ensure that fewer American families have to make the impossible and unfair choice between childcare and their jobs.”

“Affordable, reliable child care is one of the greatest challenges that many working families face,” said Senator Burr. “I’m glad we can come together to expand affordable child care options for parents who are working to build a better future for their children. I fought hard to improve child care and to make it more affordable for working families with the Child Care and Development Block Grant Law of 2014. But as any parent can tell you, we’ve got more to do. Parents need safe, affordable child care. And this bill has the added benefit of helping families who need a caregiver for their aging parents.”

For too many families, the cost of childcare can make it difficult to maintain employment and make ends meet. In nearly half of the country, the annual cost of full-time childcare for a 4-year old is greater than the average cost of in-state tuition at a 4-year college or university. Those pressures are felt most by low-wage workers who spend on average more than 30 percent of their income on childcare.

While the federal government provides two significant tax benefits to help offset childcare costs – the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) and Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) – they are both in need of an update.  For example, neither policies have kept pace with inflation, meaning they have become less useful over time as the cost of childcare increases. 

The Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone (PACE) Act – which combines the Access to Childcare Expansion (ACE) Act Senator King introduced yesterday and Senator Burr’s Child and Dependent Care FSA Enhancement Act to create a strong, bipartisan bill – would enact several changes to make both tax policies immediately more generous and modify them to reflect the changing economic landscape by requiring an annual inflation adjustments that will provide families with greater spending power when seeking care for their children. Because both tax provisions affect care for the elderly and individuals with disabilities, those enhanced benefits will extend to them as well.

More specifically the Promoting Affordable Childcare for Everyone Act would:

1.     Modernize the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit by:

  •  Making the credit refundable in order to expand the credit’s reach to low-income working parents.
  •  Increase the value of the credit by raising the credit rate for families of all income levels and creating a new top credit rate of 50 percent that phases down to 35 percent for higher-income families in order to expand the reach of the credit and put more money back into the pockets of working parents.
  • Indexing the credit to inflation to ensure the value of the credit will not be eroded over time by rising childcare costs, but instead, will remain at a sufficient level to help make costs more affordable.

2.     Enhance Dependent Care Flexible Spend Accounts (FSAs) by:

  • Increasing the amount of pre-tax dollars families can put into these accounts from $5,000 to $7,500. This exclusion from gross income allows families to save money on income and FICA taxes, and the PACE Act’s increase means those savings will go even further than current law’s.
  • Indexing the new cap to inflation so FSAs can keep pace with the cost of childcare. Because the current $5,000 cap is not indexed to inflation, families are falling further and further behind the rising cost of care.  By raising the cap to $7,500, and indexing that amount to inflation, the PACE Act ensures FSAs are reliably updated to keep steady a parent’s purchasing power for their child’s care.

To read a copy of the legislation, click HERE.

Save the Date!!! 2016 Fall Conference

It’s the middle of the summer and hard to be thinking about what you are going to be doing in the Fall.

However, the Conference Committee has been hard at work pulling together ideas from members and the wider early education community to settle on a topic for the 2016 Fall conference, secure a location and claim a date. The basics are all in place, so it’s time to for you to mark your calendar, so you’ll be able to join us….

Save the Date! Fall 2016

Make Your Own Activities for Those MELDS

After a trip to the local Dollar Store, the Membership Committee had a table full of low cost activities that support Domains/Indicators for the Maine Early Learning Developmental Standards (MELDS) ready to share a the Spring 2016 Conference. Did we come up with all these ideas ourselves? Not all. Thankfully there are many willing to share ideas from their classroom experiences. To help gather ideas in one location, MaineAEYC has established a Pinterest page where we will be continually pinning resources that support the work of Early Childhood Professionals.
Here are some a few of the activities from the 2016 Spring Conference:

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  1. Cat toy which included a jingle bell. We stuffed with different lengths and pieces of fabrics, ribbons and yarns. Young children love to get their fingers busy pulling these pieces out and stuffing back in. Lots of sensory, problem solving and fine motor. Also fun to just roll along the floor.
  2. A simple fruit juicer with a cut piece of sponge adds a new exploration to water play. Fun hand work out.
  3. Jazz up your dice. Take plain wooden square and add googly eyes (a kid favorite) to represent whatever numbers you want. Have found great for normal 1-6 dice. If have those super small eyes can go higher.
  4. These are free ABC exercise cards from Home School Share’s Human Body Unit that have been doctored up with ABC letter stickers. Keep on a keyring for storage and easy flipping to use.
  5. Ice cube tray with chip bag clip and some of the pom-pom that always seem to be around and early ed classroom. Fine motor to start, but depending on the pom-poms you can count, sort, match, pattern build…….

What to do with a Dollar Store foam Alphabet Puzzle? You don’t need another puzzle, but it’s just $1……

Buy it, remove the letters and hot glue them onto popsicle sticks.
2016_04_25_IMG_0131 Now you can take them outside and hide them around your space for an Alphabet Hunt. Or use in circle as the sticks make them easy to hold. Or…………….

2016_04_25_IMG_0132Don’t throw away the puzzle form!

Cut it up for each letter area to be separated.

Now you have what I think of as negative letter forms.

Use for the tactile experience, use in sensory bins, press into sand/salt/playdough, lace in alphabetical order, use as a stamp for painting…….

 

 


Button Threading Snake:

Simple, low cost, adaptable and very easy to make.
2016_04_26_IMG_0139Materials:
Length of ribbon, at least 15”
Button at least ¾” wide
Fabric pieces at least twice width of button
– Adapt with textured fabric or a fun alternative is a multi-colored pack of kitchen scrub sheets.
– Adapt with shape. Squares are easiest to cut and 2” square usually works well.

To make the button slit fold in half on the diagonal and snip at center point of fold in about ¼”.
Sew button on one end of ribbon. I like to knot the other end and place a stopper piece of fabric, so we have button on and button off practice. Many examples have it left as an open end and the children just slide the buttoned pieces off. With the stopped end they have to unbutton. 

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ABC Nesting Spoons:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.56.29 AMYou’ll need 2 sets of different colored spoons (having one clear has benefits), one color for uppercase, and one for lowercase. On one set of spoons write the uppercase letters using a sharpie. On the other set of spoons write the lowercase letter. Can write in the spoon bowl or on the backs depending on how you want the spoon to nest.
Use for ABC placement. Use to match upper and lower. Or use as shown here matching to ABC flashcards or strip.
Here is a free downloadable printable for the ABC strip from Confessions of a Homeschooler who has a wealth of other ABC activities posted for sharing.

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Number Nesting Spoons:

2 sets of spoons: clear ones with the numbers written on them and white ones that had dots in the amounts of the numbers. Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 8.57.02 AMMake another set with number symbol and written name to extend learning.
Subitizing Spoons  (Children may be able to identify a number without actually understanding what it means. Subitizing is an important first step in gaining true number sense/knowledge. Subitizing is the recognizing of groups automatically without having to count the individual items within the group.)

One great use for these spoons can be found at Mrs. Lirette’s Learning Detectives ~
Lay all of their spoons with the number out on the table and hold the clear spoons with the dots.  Call out a number and the children find the spoon with that number on it and nest it with the spoon with the corresponding amount of dots.

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Crazy Straws:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.02.53 AMFirst match your felt pieces to your crazy straws. Using your scissors, cut out 2×2” squares out of fabric. Now cut small slit in center of each shape.
Put out for play!
Will they match? Count? Put them all on one straw? Make patterns?
This activity works for many ages from toddler up. Great practice for counting, matching, sorting and fine motor.
Do the colors really need to match? What about shapes? Different fabric for a different tactile experience? (We cut up kitchen scrub pads in different colors)

 

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Slime Basket:

Familylicious provides us with a twist on slime with a Slime Basket
Recipe:
1/2 tsp borax
1 1/3 cups hot water
In a separate bowl:
2 cups school glue
1 1/2 cups hot water
liquid water color or food coloring
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Directions:

  • Mix borax and water
  • In a separate bowl mix glue, water, and coloring
  • Stir mixtures together

It falls through the holes in a basket slowly and keep the runny consistency even after cooling. Think about providing scissors for the children to cut the strands that come down. Or maybe try holding at different heights? Wonder what other ways the children will imagine to explore this?
Be sure to have a bucket to catch the slime that makes it to the ground.

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Plunger Painting:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.46.15 AM Mummy Musing and Mayhem had some nice example of this fun for all ages activity that is super fun outside.
Plungers provide resistance when painting. Not to mention gross motor (arms, core), cooperation, color blending, and that beautiful circle shape.
“Heavy Work”
Take the paint away, clean off the plungers and add in a scooter and you have a whole different gross motor experience. The Motor Story has a detailed Scooter and Plunger activity.

 

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Lacing or Weaving Mat?

2016_04_26_IMG_0137Tie a length of ribbon to one corner and let children sew, loop, and twist throughout. Or weave the long or short (hotdog/hamburger) way. What materials will you use? Ribbons, yarns, fabric strips, pipe cleaners, straws…… Think eye-hand coordination, fine motor (pincer grip), approach to learning, and math (patterns).
Don’t forget undoing it is half the fun.

This sink mat was cut with regular scissors in half. For smaller pieces could be easily cut in half again.

 

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Kerplunk?

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 12.30.59 PM Straws are passed through holes in a basket (circular is best) to form a lattice.

The pom-poms are then placed on the top and held in place by the lattice.

Players take turns removing a single straw from the basket while trying to minimize the number of pom-poms that fall through the lattice to the bottom of the basket.
Once a player has committed themselves to a particular straw by touching it, they must remove it.

The player who counts the fewest dropped pom-poms wins.
But who’s to say you cannot make up your own rules?
2016_04_25_IMG_0126Think fine motor, counting, social studies (rules), approaches to learning, social-emotional.

Celebrating Our Members, Quality and Innovation!

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The MaineAEYC Membership Committee is looking to recognize professionals and programs in the field that excel in their efforts to achieve high quality for the children and families they serve.

We will be featuring a Spotlight on Members, Quality, and Innovation in the field both here on the blog and on our Facebook Page.

SPOTLIGHT ON MEMBERS
Requirements:
• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by self, coworker, supervisor, colleague or family served
• Completed nomination form with testimonial of professional accomplishment or extraordinary teaching practices (completion of degree, CDA, MRTQ credential, service to early childhood, classroom project, grant(s), etc.)
• Photo of member (requested but not required)

SPOTLIGHT ON QUALITY
Requirements:
• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by self, family served, or colleague
• Evidence of quality: QRS Step 3 or above or Accredited by NAFCC, NAEYC or COA
• Completed nomination form with evidence of meeting requirements
• Photo(s) of members and / or program photos (requested but not required)

SPOTLIGHT ON INNOVATION
Requirements:
• MaineAEYC member
• Nominated by coworker, supervisor, colleague or family served
• Completed nomination form with testimonial of innovation the positively impacts quality of program (grants, community service projects, classroom projects, school to home connections, etc.)
• Photo(s) of member (requested but not required)

*Written submissions can be emailed to gomaineAEYC@gmail.com including the
information listed above, contact information for the nominee (phone number
and email), and any other additional information you feel should be shared in the spotlight.

(In order to respect the privacy and confidentiality of families, MaineAEYC will only post media with children where the organization providing the media has secured signed releases for its use in this limited situation)

A Creative Challenge

MaineAEYC Membership Committee decided it would be fun to challenge those attending the 2016 Spring Conference to think outside the box. To this end they decided to find an item with one purpose and ask conference attendees to come up with suggestions for using with young learners or within their early education programs.

What would you do with a silicone glove oven mitt, $1 from the Dollar Store?

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If you play “Duck, Duck, Goose” in your program can you imagine the fun for the child that is IT wearing this on their hand while going around the circle? Or maybe they drop it for the Goose to put on and chase them with.

What about decorating it up with pom-pom, googly eyes for a monster? yarn hair? pipe cleaners for alien or bug antenna?

Use for any talking hand role playing

Retelling stories especially singing ones like “Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”

At circle time having this be the “Right to Talk” item. On hand can talk.

Some interesting ideas generated in a very short time. How would you use it? What can you imagine? Please share in a comment.

 

NAEYC’s Week of the Young Child 2016

We all understand that the education of young children should be a priority at all times, but it’s important to push it to the forefront through a focused celebration. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) does just that when they annually encourage engagement in “The Week of the Young Child”. This national celebration focuses public attention on the needs of children and their families. While recognizing the early childhood educators and programs that meet those needs day in and day out.

photo Wells CC for WOYC 2016This years #WOYC16 runs from April 10 – 17 with the theme “Celebrating Our Youngest Learners!”

Programs all over Maine are celebrating this week.

Many programs celebrate within their classroom, while others work to engage the wider community.

Programs in Wells and Kennebunk worked together to engage their wider community by sharing artwork from children in early childhood education programs around their communities.

photoThe displays are up in community business to be viewed thru the week.

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MaineAEYC Welcomes Mayor Isgro

MaineAEYC is thrilled to have Waterville Mayor Nick Isgro as a welcome speaker for our 2016 MaineAEYC Spring Conference.

This year’s conference will focus on authentic assessment and observation and will be held at Thomas College in Waterville on April 30th.

1421247669nick-isgro-jan-2015Mayor Isgro is a native to Waterville and has very close ties to early childhood as a father of 4 and one on the way. He served as a treasurer for the Maine Children’s Home of Little Wanders who’s purpose includes: to build and strengthen families and their children, instilling hope for the future and a better quality of life. Mayor Isgro will be reading a Mayoral Proclamation on April 6th at Waterville City Hall to proclaim April as National Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

 

We thank Mayor Isgro for his upcoming welcome at our conference and appreciate his efforts and support of children and families and the field of early childhood.

Meet Our Panelists

We will be starting off the 2016 Spring Conference with a morning panel discussion about:

  • defining authentic assessment,
  • using authentic assessment and observation,
  • what is happening on the national level,
  • Screen Shot 2016-03-21 at 8.51.55 AMchoosing an approach that works for you,
  • identifying the value of observation and authentic assessment for young children,
  • informing our practice through authentic assessment and observation,
  • collecting, analyzing and using data for planning, reflection and review,
  • communicating with parents and other providers,
  • and finally, getting it all done – time management!

We thought it would be nice to introduce our panel members, so you have some awareness of their experience in early childhood education.

Moderator: Sue Reed

Sue Reed is the Early Childhood Specialist at the Maine Department of Education. She spent seven years directing two early literacy grants at the Muskie School of Public Service at USM which focused on helping preschool teachers to implement an evidence-based language curriculum for children at-risk of school failure. She has been on the faculty of Westbrook College, University of New England, and the USM Lewiston-Auburn College and she ran the lab school at Westbrook College for 11 years. She is very interested in how teachers’ skills and strategies in the classroom impact children’s learning. Sue has a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, an MS in Infant/Toddler Behavior and Development from Wheelock College and a Certificate of Graduate Study in Early Language and Literacy from the University of Southern Maine.

Panelists: Our panelist have a variety of experiences across early childhood education and are excited to share their knowledge around assessments with peers.

Erika Neal is a teacher in a public pre-k partnership in Farmington. In addition to teaching pre-k, she also teaches and mentors students at the University of Maine at Farmington. She earned her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Maine. In her career, she has provided developmental therapy for children with special needs and consultation to other early childhood teachers around special education and challenging behaviors. She lives with her husband and many animals on a small farm in Salem Township.

Penny Poolman has worked for Southern Kennebec Child Development Corporation for 18 years. She taught preschool for five years and has been a program manager of the preschool collaboration programs for the last 13 years. Penny received her bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education form UMF and last year completed a masters in Early Childhood Education.

Sean Moore has been teaching in the primary grades since 2008, working in first and second grade, spending the past five years in Kindergarten, which he enjoys immensely. He is Team Leader for Kindergarten at his school in Old Orchard Beach. He graduated from USM in 2008 with his Teaching certification and an Arts & Humanities degree, received his Master’s Degree in Teaching & Learning, and has recently obtained his Administration certification. He is interested in furthering his education and pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy in the fall. He is an active member of the Southern Maine Partnership, as well. This year he has been fortunate enough to pilot the KEA (Kindergarten Entry Assessment) in his classroom. The best part of his school days are the interactions he has with any and all students throughout the day!

Deb Hensley is the Director of Early Childhood Education at Broadreach Family and Community Services in Belfast and a National Field Consultant for the High Scope Educational Research Foundation. Also an artist, vocalist and performer, Deb offers workshops in music and singing for teachers and other adults in New England and beyond. She holds a Master’s degree in Transformative Language Arts, and serves as chairwoman of the 2016 Power of Words Conference in Saco Maine, sponsored by the TLA Network. Deb enjoys singing, sailing, flying, biking and hiking along the Maine coast with her husband Jonathan.

Nicole Lesperance has been teaching for 12 years and she is currently teaching first grade in Farmington where she uses Seesaw for digital student e-portfolios. She taught second grade for six years before that and has also taught ESL and Title I. She is very interested in technology and its use in the classroom which lead to her role as one of her school’s co-technology liaison. She is a mother of two beautiful, energetic girls ages four and seven and together they live with her husband, and two dogs.