logo header2


Monday, June 19, 2017 at 9:00 AM EDT
Monday, June 26, 2017 at 3:00 PM EDT

Add to Calendar 


AIA, 370 James Street, Suite 401 New Haven 



Heidi Maderia 
CT Association for Infant Mental Health 


CT-AIMH Early Childhood Obesity Prevention 2-Part Training Series 

Please, join us for a 2 part Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Training on June 19th and 26th at AIA, 370 James Street, Suite 401, New Haven, CT!

This FREE training is for infant, toddler and preschool childcare and other providers from around the state.  

 We want participants to keep in mind the importance of the relationship between the infant or toddler and their caregiver: feeding and meal times are rich opportunities to help children feel imprtant and loved, feel understood and respected by their caregiver, and to trust that others will care for them.

Due to funding restrictions, a lunch of various salads will be provided each day for a cost of $10/person/day.  You can pay for your lunch when you register, or you can choose to bring a bag lunch.

Monica Belyea, Deb Dickson, and Melissa Repko will be presenting during the course of the two day session! 

Day One: Monday, June 19, 2017, 9am-3pm                                                                             Topic: The Secrets of Baby Behavior                                                                                 Presenter: Monica Belyea

Monica Belyea, MPH, RD currently serves as the Program Planner for Opportunity Knocks for Middletown’s Young Children community collaborative with Middlesex Hospital and the Baby Behavior Trainer for the Center for Public Health and Health Policy at UCONN Health. She has spent her career in Public Health Nutrition working to understand and address complex issues of community food security and healthful eating behaviors of families. Originally from Maine she earned her undergraduate degree in Human Nutrition & Foods from the University of Maine and her Master in Public Health Nutrition from the University of California Berkeley. She came to CT in 1995 to work with the Hartford Food System as the Food Education Coordinator. She is privileged to work every day at creating health and early care systems which support parents and caregivers in raising healthy children. 

 The Secrets of Baby Behavior  is an intervention, developed by the UC Davis Human Lactation Center in Partnership with the California WIC program, to increase parents'  and caregivers' knowledge of normal infant behavior and communication, including sleep expectations and crying. Baby Behavior messages are simple but profound. They have been successful in improving infant feeding practices by addressing common "trigger" behaviors for overfeeding, such as crying and waking. This training will provide you with an overview of the intervention, the key messages to share with caregivers, and an opportunity to discuss and practice sharing the information with caregivers. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Participants will be able to explain the connection between infant-feeding practices and the risk for childhood obesity
  • Summarize findings from the UC Davis focus groups that were the basis for the Fit WIC intervention
  • List 2 fundamental Secrets to understanding infant behavior.
  • Provide an example of what to say to a caregiver to promote a positive interaction
  • Describe tools for teaching caregivers about infant behavior
Day Two: Monday June 26, 2017, 9am-12
Topic One: Introducing Solid Foods
Presenter One: Debra Dickson
Debra Dickson
Debra Dickson, RPT, graduated from Boston University with a degree in phisical therapy. She is a pediatric physical therapist and the owner of Therapy Works Pediatrics LLC in Old Lyme, CT.  Debra is also the creator of the clinically acclaimed BEAR HUG vest. Ms. Dickson is NDT certified in pediatrics and has a strong background in sensory processing, nutrition and immune function as they relate to children with physical, behavioral and mental disabilities.

Deb will provide hands-on learning about introducing solid foods to toddlers, dietary choices and she will reveal the foods and sleep routines that may promote inactivity.

Day Two: Monday June 26, 2017, 1-3pm
Topic Two: Staying Healthy through Music and Movement
Presenter Two: Melissa Repko

Melissa Repko, MS is an ECE and Infant Toddler Specialist with the Connecticut Head Start Training and Technical Assistance Center. Ms. Repko has served as the Education Manager for a Head Start/Early Head Start program, as well as a Special Needs Coordinator and Teacher. She is also a nationally-trained regional facilitator for I Am Moving I Am Learning, Head Start’s national obesity prevention program.  Ms. Repko received a BA in Sociology from Roanoke College in Salem VA, and her MS in Early Childhood Special Education from Bank Street College of Education in New York.

Children learn best by experiencing the world around them in responsive environments. As caregivers
provide experiences for movement, they are providing opportunities to explore the world while keeping
our young ones healthy. During this interactive session, participants will have the opportunity to learn
new music and movement experiences to implement in their early childhood environments. Through
both content sharing and active participation, participants will expand their knowledge of incorporating
music and movement into daily routines.

Learning objectives:

  • Participants will create a toolkit of music and movement experiences for infants and toddlers.
  • Participants will demonstrate how to incorporate music and movement into daily routines.

This training is provided with funding from the Department  of Public Health and with the support of the Office of Early Childhood.