• Opening Keynote

    Vanessa Levin

    Vanessa Levin

     

    Vanessa Levin is a passionate advocate for high-quality early childhood education.  She has worked extensively with programs that serve English Language Learners and at-risk populations for two decades.  Vanessa is the author of A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers. She is the founder of www.pre-kpages.com, one of the most popular early childhood websites in the U.S.


  • Closing Keynote

    A Joyous way to learn

    Music Play to Promote Readiness, Literacy, Math Development and Inclusion

    Presented by Jim Gill

    Jim Gill

     

    Over the years Jim Gill’s music and books have received, among other honors, five awards from the American Library Association. Early childhood professionals, however, are most interested in the fact that Jim Gill’s unique creations in music play provide joyous opportunities for children to learn. And they appreciate that his approach to song and book writing is informed by graduate studies in child development and 20 years of experience working with children and families.

    In this energizing session Jim will share examples of his work – both books and songs – that teachers and care providers can bring back to their classrooms, playrooms and family rooms. Most importantly, Jim will discuss how his unique creations in music play inspire young children not only to move, but to regulate their movements….not only to sing, but to make connections between the words they sing and the printed word and the world of numbers. Jim will discuss how a play-based program provides an inclusive environment for children with special needs and share thoughts based on his work with children of all ability levels.

    Early childhood professionals will leave the session inspired to share a new repertoire of songs and playful literacy activities with the children that they care for. Even more, they will leave the session understanding that what is most challenging about the nature of early childhood education is also what makes the profession so exciting. When we define our teaching as helping children learn, we not only provide joyous challenges for the children. We also keep ourselves engaged and rejuvenated by watching their excitement as they learn. 

    Biography

    Jim Gill is a musician and author with singular credentials among children’s artists. Jim spent twenty years directing programs in music play for families and children with special needs in the Chicago area. His particular writing style—combining word play and movement opportunities into songs—was developed through this work. Jim completed his graduate studies in child development at the Erikson Institute of Chicago with a special emphasis on the study of play. His work experience and studies have led Jim to create each of his recordings and books as an opportunity for playful interactions between a child and a caring adult. Jim has released seven award-winning CDs of music play for young children that are favorites in family rooms, classrooms and playrooms. Jim is also the author of two children’s books. Over the years he has received five awards from the American Library Association for his releases. Over the years Jim has shared his expertise and ideas on music, play and literacy with organizations such as Head Start, The National Association for the Education of Young Children, The National Association for Family Child Care and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.