Pre-Conference Workshops

Registration is open!

In-Person Only Pre-Conference Workshops

These workshops will take place in person at the Friday Center on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 am Eastern (US & Canada). Registration includes continental breakfast, morning coffee/tea and snack, and lunch on May 7, 2024. Cost: US$100/attendee

Ableism in Early Childhood: What is it? What can we do about it?
Presenters: Jani Kozlowski, Allyson Dean, Seena Skelton, Jackie Joseph, Kayla Palazzo, Jennifer Fung, Alex Lazara

Research has shown that the primary challenge to early childhood inclusion rests within our own attitudes and beliefs. Therefore, in order to move the needle on inclusion, we all must understand the meaning of the term ableism and how it shows up in early learning programs. Join us to consider alternatives to the common definition of disability and how this alternative way of thinking can impact our programs and practices. Together we will explore personal attitudes and beliefs about disability, learn about personal experiences with ableism through storytelling and reflection, and co-create an alternative approach for supporting children with disabilities to foster change and create solutions. Together we can confront ableism in our field and find solutions!


Equitable Practices to Promote the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Outcomes for Young Children
Presenter: Courtney O’Grady and Megan Vinh

In this session, we will discuss how there is need for continued support for early childhood educators so that as we work to eliminate practices such as suspension and expulsion, we provide early childhood educators with a toolkit of inclusive, proactive, and preventative strategies they can use in its place to promote social emotional competence. We will also address how exclusionary discipline disproportionately impacts young children of color and young children with disabilities. We will provide strategies to facilitate the meaningful inclusion of all young children. This includes strategies on how to seek additional support for children with disabilities who may have behavior viewed as challenging.


Preparing Inclusion Advocates and Leaders: Tools and Strategies for Faculty and PD Providers
Presenters: Camille Catlett, Sharon Little, Michele Napierkowski

This session will focus on ways in which to build the capacity for early childhood educators to recognize, create, implement, evaluate, and advocate for high-quality inclusive learning and development opportunities for young children. Tools and strategies that help promote emphasis on the full participation of each and every child and their family will be highlighted. Presenters will share examples of how to bring an inclusive lens to any course or professional development offering. Focused tabletop discussions will provide opportunities for participants to follow their interests and learning priorities.


The Pursuit of Belonging to Advance Early Childhood Inclusion
Presenters: Harriette Bailey, Lisa Pullis, Rhodus Riggins Jr.

Belonging is a fundamental basic human need and desire. Promoting children’s development and belonging is a widely held value among early care and education professionals and our society (DEC & NAEYC, 2009).  This interactive experience will explore:  

  • What is Belonging?  
  • What are key principles of Belonging
  • Are Culture, Belonging, and Social Identity the same? 
  • How do we open space and create cultures of Belonging for children with special needs and their families? 
  • How does Belonging advance diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice?  

In-Person Pre-Conference Workshop at Kidzu Children’s Museum

This workshop will take place in person at Kidzu Children’s Museum on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 am Eastern (US & Canada). Participants will need to provide their own transportation to the museum. Kidzu is 3 miles or approximately an eight-minute drive from the Friday Center. Registration includes continental breakfast at Kidzu and lunch at the Friday Center on May 7, 2024. Cost: US$100/attendee

STEM Learning for All Through Inclusive Practices
Presenters: Samantha Shannon, Kailey Singleton, Jessica Amsbary

Children innately engage in STEM learning from infancy as explorers and problem solvers using scientific thinking in their play. Yet, these skills are often not supported or given space to grow in early childhood education settings (Clements, et al., 2021). Children with disabilities, and from marginalized backgrounds lack access and demonstrate lower levels of achievement in STEM, (Clements, et al., 2021), creating a STEM opportunity gap. The Nest, the early learning environment for infants and toddlers at Kidzu Children’s Museum, and the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center are partnering to address barriers to STEM learning. The team is collaborating to create STEM learning opportunities through inclusive playgroups in The Nest, to create resources to support STEM learning for all children, and to offer adaptive play opportunities in Kidzu for older children.

Virtual Only Workshops

These workshops will take place online using the Zoom platform on Tuesday, May 7 at 9:00 am Eastern (US & Canada). There will be no in-person space at the Friday Center for these workshops. Join from anywhere in the world (including your hotel if you plan to do the rest of the conference in-person). Cost: US$75/attendee

Creating Communities of Belonging: Advancing Equity and Justice in Early Childhood
Presenters: Jen Neitzel and Ebonyse Mead

In this session, participants will engage in discussions and self-reflection about what it means to belong. The session will provide participants with background information about how belonging is a key part of helping young children and families thrive. Creating communities of belonging in early learning programs is a key way providers can support equity and justice efforts. Participants will also learn about how to create communities of belonging for all children and families. There will be opportunities for discussion, self-reflection, and action in this session.


Making Inclusion Work: Early Care and Education Environment (ECEE) Indicators of High Quality Inclusion
Presenters: Alissa Rausch and Ben Riepe

Through the use of the ECEE Indicators, this workshop will share strategies and practices providers can use to support inclusion and belonging in their setting. The ECEE Assessment Tool supports the development of an action plan that immediately recognizes what providers are doing to support inclusion and belonging and aids the provider in planning next steps to enhance inclusive practices. Participants will explore how practices can be embedded into the context of daily early childhood routines.

International Early Childhood Inclusion Institute