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Niagara University well represented at NYSAEYC conference

by jmaloni
Wed, Apr 18th 2012 11:20 am

Conference Precedes NAEYC 'Week of the Young Child'

A statewide conference on early childhood education is coming to town this week and Niagara University will be heavily involved. Representatives from NU's College of Education will attend, provide information on Niagara's programs, and serve as featured presenters during the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children's annual conference, being held in Buffalo April 19-21. According to the NYSAEYC website (www.nysaeyc.org), more than 100 educational workshops and 90 early childhood exhibitors will be on hand at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo and Buffalo Niagara Conference Center.

NU's involvement in this year's event includes:

  • NU's Niagara County Early Child Care Quality Improvement Project has 24 early childhood professionals attending the conference for continued professional development. The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation, the Niagara QIP's main funder, gave permission for grant money to be used to send participating early child care center directors, and the five-person Niagara QIP team.
  • The College of Education will have a booth set up in the exhibit showcase to provide information about NU's new master's program in early childhood and special education (birth-grade two). The program aligns with the national standards of the Council for Exceptional Children and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Additional information can be found at online at www.niagara.edu/advance.
  • Dr. Mary Ellen Bardsley, associate professor, will be attending the conference with seven students from Instituto Pedagogico Arubano, a teacher preparation institution in Aruba. The students will participate in the conference sessions seeking to understand the differences and similarities between childhood education models in New York state and Aruba. Their focus is on the integration of the arts in elementary education programs. While in Western New York, these students are also engaged in field experiences at DiFrancisco Head Start (Niagara Falls) and Tuscarora Elementary School (Niagara-Wheatfield).

Presentations will be made by NU representatives, including Bardsley; Dr. Michelle Ciminelli, assistant professor; Lynnette Haley, director of the Niagara QIP; and Eileen Rohan, a graduate student and Niagara QIP project assistant.

  • "Continuous Professional Development: A Partnership with Child Care Centers, A College of Education, A Community Agency, and the Business Community," Bardsley and Haley.
  • "Promoting Early Language and Literacy Development," Ciminelli
  • "Applying What We've Learned: The Active Engagement of College Students in Child Care Programs," Haley and Rohan.
  • "How Do I Know My Family Child Care is 'Good'? Using Environmental Rating Scales for Continued Improvement," Karrie Smith and Bardsley

The NU faculty, staff and students will attend the pre-conference day on April 19, which is when early childhood teacher educators from across the state will meet to discuss the NYS Knowledge and Competency Framework Orientation and its implications for higher education and teacher preparation.

The conference will serve as an appropriate lead-in to the Week of the Young Child, an annual celebration sponsored by NAEYC, the world's largest early childhood education association. The purpose of the Week of the Young Child is to focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families, and to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.

More information and facts about NAEYC and the Week of the Young Child can be found at http://www.naeyc.org/woyc.

"This is a great time to celebrate and honor young children and all of those who make a difference in children's lives," stated Dr. Debra Colley, dean of NU's College of Education. "We are very proud to offer programs that impact the lives of children today and also prepare the leaders of tomorrow to have a similar, positive effect on forthcoming generations of young people."

The Niagara County Early Child Care Quality Improvement Project was launched in August 2010 to enhance the kindergarten readiness skills of young children in Niagara County. Over the course of the program, QIP mentors conduct objective pre- and post-assessments of child care learning environments using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale; develop individualized quality improvement plans based on pre-assessment scores; and offer a 45-hour professional development certificate program and other workshops for child care staff members, working with them to establish sustainability plans for ongoing professional development and continuous quality improvement. A recent external review of the program's first year illustrated that significant gains have been made in several of the targeted objectives pertaining to both the learning environment and school readiness.

Niagara University's College of Education offers programs that are nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and that have received national recognition through CEC and NAEYC. It offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in teaching, school and mental health counseling, school psychology and educational leadership.

For more information on Niagara University's College of Education, call 716-286-8560 or visit http://www.niagara.edu/education.

About the New York State Association for the Education of Young Children

The New York State Association for the Education of Young Children's mission is to promote excellence in early care and education services for NYS children and families, through education, advocacy and the support of the profession.

About the National Association for the Education of Young Children

Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the world's largest organization working on behalf of young children, with nearly 80,000 members, a national network of more than 300 state and local affiliates, and a growing global alliance of like-minded organizations.

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