2023 UI Child Development Conference

2023 UI Child Development Conference

Wrap-up: 2023 UI Child Development Conference

IdahoSTARS joined the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) to sponsor the annual University of Idaho Child Development Conference. The event was held in August in Moscow and was facilitated by our own IdahoSTARS Training Office.

In its second year, the event not only provides an opportunity for childcare providers and early childhood educators to sit in on valuable training sessions, but it also serves as an opportunity to establish a connection to higher education. It encourages an academic track for those who work in the early childcare field.

The concept was introduced last year when FCS approached IdahoSTARS with an idea to collaborate. The idea was to offer a conference where faculty presented early childhood topics for childcare providers. IdahoSTARS jumped on the opportunity, taking the lead in organizing and hosting the event in Coeur d’Alene, while FCS led the training presentations.

This year, more than 50 attendees participated in the event, gaining insight and knowledge that will help them enhance their professional knowledge and practice. Attendees had the opportunity to participate in training sessions provided by College of Agriculture and Life Sciences faculty Sara Matthews, Shiyi Chen and Ling-Ling Tsao. Topics covered early childhood for childcare providers.

"Providing this opportunity for childcare professionals was absolutely rewarding. It was a pleasure observing them interact and share their knowledge with one another during the sessions. A big thank you to the University of Idaho Professors that donated their time presenting and sharing their expertise,” said IdahoSTARS Professional Development Specialist Stacy Stooks.

The day kicked off with a keynote address by Professor Emeritus Beth Price, covering the complexities of challenging behavior in the classroom. It included insight on how to develop individualized strategies that can help change challenging behavior.

Subsequent training sessions ranged from effective early learning environments to science education in early childhood settings. In fact, one attendee remarked, “I feel more confident and equipped for science discovery in the classroom. I appreciated the presenter sharing questions we could ask the children to enhance their learning. I could tell Shiyi had a passion for science."

Designated sessions even included hands-on activities where attendees utilized real-life examples to shape discussion and plan strategies they could use in their own programs.

"Sara Matthews, Shiyi Chen and Ling-Ling Tsao were prepared, insightful, uplifting, knowledgeable speakers. I gained so much from each of their presentations. Enjoyable, real and highly inspirational,” said one attendee.

The day also included vendor tables and an adaptive movement session provided our Healthy Active Lifestyle’s Movement in the Park program. Idaho CDHD trainees Victoria Rae and Kellie Matern led the equipment free, accessible exercise session.

“The Child Development Conference provided a unique opportunity for a variety of early childhood professionals to interact, including UI academic faculty, childcare providers from around the region, and IdahoSTARS regional and training office staff,” said Paige Tracy, Curriculum Development Coordinator.  

“A highlight of the day was the lunch activity lead by CDHD trainees for Movement in the Park, which sparked many conversations about the work of the CDHD. The event embodied the mission of the CDHD as a UCEDD, connecting research and practice,” she continued.

By all accounts it was a day of insight, learning and fun. And for those who may have missed this year’s event, not to worry! This conference will take place again next year, returning to Coeur d’Alene. For more information, contact IdahoSTARS.