Prior Conferences

20th Annual Early Learning Conference

Navigating the Elements of Quality Child Care

Last year’s conference took place on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at Diablo Valley College. The theme of this conference addressed the elements of California’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS). We focused on the many assessment tools that educators may use to guide them to quality. Workshops discussed the use of the Environment Rating Scales (ECERS, FCCERS and ITERS), Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3 and ASQ-SE), Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS), and Desired Results Developmental Profile (DRDP).

Our conference began with a keynote presentation by Dr. Thelma Harms, co-author of the four environment rating scales, the Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale, Family Child Care Environment Rating Scale, Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale and the School-Age Environment Rating Scale.

Dr. Harms is recognized internationally for her work on assessing care and educational programs for children from infancy through the primary grades. Her early experience as Head Teacher of the Harold E. Jones Child Study Center, UC Berkeley for 15 years, and her subsequent role as Director of Curriculum Development at the FPG Child Development Institute prepared her for serving as lead author of the four widely used Environment Rating Scales (ECERS, ITERS, FCCERS, & SACERS). Much of her recent training and consultation has focused on preparing professionals in the use of the scales for technical assistance, training and program assessment in Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) and similar projects in the US and abroad. These comprehensive projects use the scales to focus on developing accountable systems to train, recognize and reward high quality programs for children. Dr. Harms currently serves as President of the Environment Rating Scales Institute (ERSI).

Conference Co-Sponsors: Contra Costa Child Care Council, East Bay Community Foundation, DOW Chemical Company, Diablo Valley College, Contra Costa AEYC, First 5 Contra Costa, Autism Speaks and Family Child Care of Contra Costa County.



19th Annual Early Learning Conference


Sparking Curiosity Inspiring the Scientist in Every Child

Our 19th Annual Early Learning Conference took place on Saturday, April 6, 2013 at Diablo Valley College. We had over 270 attendees, all dedicate to improving the quality of early childhood education and expanding their knowledge of child development. The theme of this conference addressed Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

Keynote speaker Dr. Alison Gopnik, a psychology professor and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Dr. Gopnik is an internationally recognized leader in the study of children’s learning and development and was the first to argue that children’s minds could help us understand deep philosophical questions. She was one of the founders of the study of “theory of mind”, illuminating how children come to understand the minds of others, and formulated the “theory”, the idea that children learn in the same way that scientists do.

Dr. Gopnik received her BA from McGill University and her PhD. from Oxford University. Her honors include a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada University Research Fellowship, an Osher Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the Exploratorium, a Center for the Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences Fellowship and a Moore Fellowship at the California Institute of Technology.

She is the author of over 100 articles and several books including Words, Thoughts and Theories (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff), The Scientist in the Crib (coauthored with Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl), and the forthcoming The Philosophical Baby; What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Love, Truth and the Meaning of Life. The Scientist in the Crib, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller, was translated into 20 languages and was enthusiastically reviewed in Science, The New Yorker, the Washington Post and The New York Review of Books (among others).

Conference Co-Sponsors: Contra Costa Child Care Council, East Bay Community Foundation, California State University East Bay, First 5 Contra Costa, Diablo Valley College, Family Child Care of Contra Costa County and Contra Costa AEYC.

18th Annual Early Learning Conference


Planful, Playful & Purposeful A Balanced Approach to Children’s Learning Saturday, April 28, 2012 7:30 am – 4:45 pm Diablo Valley College

The theme of this conference addressed ideas and strategies for teachers and parents as they focus on what and how we want children to learn. When teachers observe and individually assess their children they can better plan a balanced curriculum of teacher directed and child directed activities.

Keynote speaker Mary Jane Maguire-Fong, M.S., an early childhood professor for the American River College, Sacramento, California.

Ms. Maguire-Fong has over 30 years of experience supporting the learning of infants, young children, and their teachers. She has written and presented on a reflective approach to teaching when working with young children. Her work is inspired by the teachers in the birth to 5 programs in Reggio Emilia, Italy and informed by her years as a teacher and administrator for migrant infants and child care centers. She serves as faculty for the Program for Infant Toddler Care and holds a certificate in Infant-Parent Mental health from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Maguire-Fong obtained a BA in Psychology and a MS in Child Development form the University of California, Davis.

Translate »