BERLIN, NH -- On Nov. 2, White Mountains Community College welcomed 75 early childhood professionals as they met for the seventh North Country Child Care Summit. Sue Cloutier, director of the Child Development Center at the college, was the facilitator for the event, and the theme for the day was "Intentional Teaching." The educators hailed from 11 child care centers in CoÃ¶s County including representatives from Colebrook, Whitefield, Lancaster, Groveton, Gorham and Berlin.
Highlights of the event included a keynote address by Elaine Millen, recently retired dean at Granite State College, and breakout sessions with Juliet Fleischer, director of the Mountain View Montessori School in North Conway, and Jessica Locke, credentialing specialist from the Child Development Bureau in Concord. The focus for breakout sessions included leadership skills for directors of child care centers, math and science instruction for preschoolers, and the importance of the environment for infants and toddlers.
"We have so many new ideas to incorporate into our infant/toddler room. It's nice to get a new perspective. I will see my interactions with children in a whole new way," was one of many positive comments overheard as the teachers gathered at the end of the day.
For the second year in a row, afternoon presenters emerged from the ranks of local child care centers. Heather St. Onge, a teacher at the Child Development Center, shared her expertise with the Creative Curriculum for preschoolers. Amy Brooks from Brooks' Colebrook Country Day School reminded the group of the importance of planning, reviewing, and reconstructing lessons per the needs of the children. Lyn Schmucker, from Lancaster's Sunnybrook Montessori, co-presented with Tricia Fox from Groveton's Head Start. Their focus was "Grace and Courtesy Lessons" and how they tie in with the "Kindness Curriculum." Pat Finnigan-Allen, professor of Early Childhood Education at WMCC, ran a session on early childhood environments.
"I have a new understanding of the term 'intentional teaching' and was introduced to many new ideas from long-time educators which will help me work more effectively with the children," was a comment that seemed to sum up the events of the day.
All of the aforementioned directors are active members of the CoÃ¶s County Director Network, an ongoing program of the Early Childhood Initiative. White Mountains Community College is home to the Early Childhood Initiative and is a partner in the Early Childhood Development North Country Strategy funded by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The goal of the Initiative is to help child care centers throughout Coos County improve the quality of their programs. The five-year strategy is designed to help all children thrive by focusing services and information for parents on the early years of growth and development, supporting professional development and continued education for early childhood professionals, increasing access to infant mental health, and strengthening childcare and preschool services for all children, ages birth -- 6, in Coos County. It is guided by the belief that investing early in families with young children will improve the future community and economic vitality and stability of the North Country. For more information about this Initiative, contact Kathy Keene at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (603)752.1113, ext. 3293.