Fredonia grads to speak at first-ever Infant/Toddler Summer Institute

Roger Coda

Alumni from Fredonia’s Early Childhood Education program will have key roles in the inaugural Infant/Toddler Summer Institute, a collaboration of seven Western New York-based organizations, on Friday and Saturday, July 26 and 27, at Jamestown Community College’s North County Training and Conference Center.

Colleen Walling, ’05, will deliver two keynote addresses: “A Person’s a Person, No Matter How Small,” on Friday, and “Oh, the Places They’ll Go,” on Saturday. Ms. Walling began her career teaching toddlers at the Campus and Community Children’s Center, where she designed infant/toddler classrooms and program. She is now an infant/toddler teacher at TulsaCare in Tulsa, Okla.

Fredonia graduates who will lead individual workshops during the two-day event include: Beth Starks, ’02, Early Childhood Education coordinator at Jamestown Community College; Marie Johnston, ’09, infant/toddler teacher at Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center; Lorrie Dean, ’10, child development specialist with the Chautauqua Child Care Council; Kim Puma, ’01, infant toddler specialist with the WNY Infant Toddler Resource Network; and Sandra Sheridan, ’92, child development coordinator with the Chautauqua Child Care Council.

Rebecca Reed, ’92, who earned a B.S. in Psychology, with a minor in Education, at Fredonia, and an M.S. in Counseling Education at St. Bonaventure University, will also lead a workshop.

Additional presenters include: Beth Faulkner, child development specialist with Chautauqua Child Care Council; Rachel Ludwig, project director for Chautauqua Tapestry System of Care; Susan Marker, deputy director of Early Care and Education at Chautauqua Opportunities, Inc.; Victoria Patti, community engagement coordinator and training specialist with Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene; and Walling.

Topics to be explored at the conference include: respectful care and interactions with infants and toddlers; freedom of movement; and open-ended play objects and how to use them in the classroom or home-based program.

Mira Berkley, associate professor emeritus at Fredonia, and Beth Mulkin, ’89, director of the Campus and Community Children’s Center, were involved in the planning of the conference. Co-sponsors include the Chautauqua Child Care Council, Chautauqua County chapter of the New York Association for the Education of Young Children, QUALITYstarsNY, Infant Toddler Resource Network, Chautauqua Connections Children’s Coalition, Jamestown Community College and the Campus and Community Children’s Center.

More than 100 early childhood teachers and assistant teachers have registered for the event.

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