Fall 2017 Conference

Hungry for Connection: Social Emotional Development Birth through Age Eight

Saturday, October 21st, 2017
Bowdoin College, Brunswick ME
7.0 training hours

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


“The Goodness of Fit in Attachment”

Attachment is a process that occurs through a relationship between at least two individuals. Children use early attachments as models for behavior; sometimes favorable and other times more challenging or difficult. What if we pause for a moment longer to wonder why certain behaviors or even certain children are more challenging and difficult for us than others? What makes children behave in different ways with different adults? What makes it possible for a “goodness of fit” or “attachment” to exist between a child and an adult? Lauren shared ideas and thoughts that provided insight into the answers to these questions. She used attachment as a lens to look closely at our reaction to the challenging and difficult behaviors so that we can understand them better and respond in ways that are more effective.

Keynote Presentation




Lauren Wiley, M.Ed., holds a Master’s Degree and certificates in Infant Mental Health from Erikson Institute and is an Illinois-certified Type 04 Early Childhood teacher. Lauren earned the Illinois Association for Infant Mental Health’s Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Credential in 2012.

Lauren has extensive experience using a reflective, relationship-based approach in her work with children, parents, and early childhood professionals in school systems, mental health agencies, home visiting programs, and residential treatment programs. She has consulted on the assessment and treatment of young children, adolescents, and their families in the Early Intervention System, the Department of Children and Family Services, community health agencies, home visiting programs, and residential treatment facilities.  Lauren’s consultative work with teachers has been featured in the Hechinger Report and the New York Times.

Break out Sessions and Presenters:

Mary Beth Lawton, Ed. D is the Director of the Education Division and an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education/Child Psychology at Lesley University. Dr. Lawton has presented workshops on “Strengthening Early Attachments” for the Vermont, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York State Associations for the Education of Young Children, The National Association for The Education of Young Children, and the National Head Start Conference.
Strengthening Early Attachments
Attachment theory is based on the belief that relationships are the primary force in development and form the basis of a child’s future relationships, coping strategies, personality development and social-emotional health. Nearly forty percent of all children fail to develop secure attachments with their caregivers; these children often exhibit challenging behavior in the classroom. Participants in this workshop will learn how to recognize attachment-related behaviors in young children and how to strengthen parent-child, parent-professional and professional-child relationships in attachment-based early childhood programs.
Karen Richards Toothaker is a veteran Early Childhood Educator. For over thirty years she has provided children quality, creative, engaging programs. Her passion is developing age appropriate curriculum that draws on children’s natural curiosity and interest, integrating Standards through literacy & play centers that focus on the whole development of each child. . She is the author of The Rag Doll Gift, a children’s picture book about family, traditions, love and loss. Karen drives a shiny red PT Cruiser with the license plate PLY2LRN.
Take a Look It’s In a Book
Children’s picture books provide a familiar and comforting source to help build and support young children’s social emotional development. In this session participants will: gain knowledge of quality bibliotherapy children’s literature, share picture books that provide opportunity to open discussions, explore the use of these books birth to age eight, learn music and hands-on activities that enhance the text and pictures, and receive research associated with using bibliotherapy children’s literature.
Robin Holman has over 25 years experience with young children and is interested in nature-based education, play-based learning, and educating the whole child. She holds a Doctorate degree in early childhood education and is certified as Creative Kids Yoga teacher and Reiki master. For the past 15 years, she has integrated daily doses of self-initiated play, nature, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness into the the kindergarten environment and is excited to share her experiences with other early childhood educators.
Magical, Wonderful Me: Nurturing Self Awareness
This session will integrate movement, meditation, positive affirmations, and creative expression as we explore the importance of nurturing self-awareness in young children on a daily basis. In order to sustain educational programs that support emotional and social development, it can helpful to understand such concepts on a personal level. The strategies, ideas, and activities explored in this session not only apply to young children but also to you, the educator. During this session you will have time to nurture your own emotional self as you learn different ways to encourage and support the myriad of emotions that children often display.
Sarah MacLaughlin has worked with children and families in a variety of settings for over 20 years. She currently writes about child development and parenting full time for ZERO TO THREE, a national nonprofit dedicated to informing parents, professionals, and policymakers about ways to improve the well-being of babies and young children. Sarah is a licensed social worker, parent educator, and author of the award-winning book, What Not to Say: Tools for Talking with Young Children (Bay Island Books, 2010). She is also Mom to a young son who gives her plenty of opportunities to take her own advice. Learn more about her at www.sarahmaclaughlin.com
Emotions, Relationships and Learning
We want all children to grow up able to manage their emotions and get along with others. Relationships and social-emotional skills are the vital foundation for all other learning. This workshop will help you guide young children in learning valuable communication, self-regulation, and problem-solving skills, help foster more connected and calm relationships with the children in your care, and create a more peaceful classroom.
Martha Eshoo, M.Ed. is the Director of Bowdoin College Children’s Center and Adjunct Faculty Member at Wheelock College. She will present with a panel of three lead educators at the Bowdoin College Children’s Center; Katie Wright, Beth Amaral and Crary Chandler. They have worked within the model of primary caregiving and continuity of care for the past four years and have focused on deepening attachments with children in group care as well as strengthening partnerships with families.
Continuity of Care: The Why and How of Building Long Term Attachments in Your Program
Continuity of Care sets the stage for solid, trusting relationships and the foundation that is critical for each child to experience in the first three to five years. The goal of the continuity of care model is to build foundational and meaningful relationships with a primary person outside of the family circle. In the continuity of care model, the person is the initial primary educator. As children move with their primary caregiver from one room to the next, this relationship builds and renews itself. Milestones are reached, the relationship deepens, and stress of transitions is limited. In this session, participants will learn about the theory and research behind this model, identify the benefits and consider the challenges that are present when introducing and implementing this care design. Martha was joined by a teacher panel who has been working within a COC model for over three years in order to share practical experience as primary caregivers in group settings.
Michael Sandberg has worked with children and families for more than forty years. He has been a classroom teacher, a teacher educator, an educational and mental health consultant, a parent educator, and a child and family therapist. Michael has a master’s degree in Early Childhood Education and three years of training in family systems therapy. He is a registered counselor in the State of Maine. He has been an active member of the Maine Association for Infant Mental Health’s Board of Directors for 9 years.
Curriculum Approaches Designed to Support Children who Experience Trauma
Children facing difficult times need two things from us in child care. They need a supportive and warm relationship and they need opportunities to process their problems in play while gaining a sense of mastery. That sounds easy to do, but in reality it can be a lot of hard work. We have to deal with our own emotional and professional responses to their behaviors and to their impact on the other children. We also have to find ways to make the space and materials for them to act out their feelings in constructive ways. This workshop will explore the impact of trauma on children and how we can respond to them in a way that will bring benefits to everyone involved. Bring your own experiences, both troubling and positive to share.