Igniting Connections Early Education Symposium

Saturday, September 29, 2018  |  The Inn at Virginia Tech  |  FREE


A regional conference for all childcare educators and early education teachers


Saturday, September 29, 2018 from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM EDT
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The Inn at Virginia Tech 
901 Prices Fork Rd
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Driving Directions 


Kim Thomason, Local Coordinator, New River Valley 
Virginia Quality 

Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Join 175 of your passionate, dedicated early education and childcare provider colleagues for the 2nd Annual Igniting Connection Early Education Symposium on Saturday, September 29th at the Inn at Virginia Tech. The Symposium will provide entertaining, hands-on professional development opportunities and celebration of the most important job in the world.

Presented by the Alliance for Better Childcare Strategies (ABCs) and Virginia Quality, Igniting Connections Early Education Symposium features a remarkable lineup of early education experts offering practical and proven best practices that you can take into your classroom.  Igniting Connections is hosted by the Virginia Tech Foundation.

The lunchtime keynote speakers will be Dr. Craig Ramey and Dr. Sharon Ramey, nationally renowned Professors of Human Developemnt, Psychology & Neuroscience and Pediatrics at Virginia Tech Research Institute and The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine. Dr. Craig Ramey and Dr. Sharon Ramey will be talking about the life-changing impact of quality childcare and early education, as revealed by the 40 year-long results of the Abecedarian Project. Come hear how your work shapes the future of our children's lives for decades to come! 

Registration is free! Spots are limited, so sign up today! 

Additional Information


8:00-9:00 a.m. Sign in, Continental Breakfast, Visit with Exhibitors
8:30-9:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening Session- First Steps Community Resources

Learn about the many resources provided for families and young children in our community through lightning     round presentations

10:00-10:30  Visit Exhibitors 

10:30-11:30 a.m. First Breakout Sessions

11:30-noon Visit Exhibitors 

 Noon-1:30 Lunch and Keynote- Quality Childcare Changes Lives- the Abecedarian Project and the Impact of Early Education 
    Craig Ramey and Sharon Ramey, Research professors at Virginia Tech, Virginia Tech                                          Carilion School of Medicine & Research Institute and VTC School of Medicine 

1:30-2:00 Visit with Exhibitors 

 2:00-3:00 p.m. Second Breakout Session 


Morning Session

 Infant/Toddler Workshop: Number Sense and Counting with Kim Thomason, Virginia Quality

 Pre-K Workshop: Growing Young Scientists through Exploration and Play with Bonnie Graham, New River Community College 

General Session Workshop: Family Engagement with Jen Slack, Our Neighborhood Child Developemnt Center, Charlottesville 

Directors' Workshop: Financial Smarts for Childcare Center with Lauren Small, Early Education Business Consultants LLC

Afternoon Session 

Infant/Toddler Workshop: Bringing Books to Life with Martha Swirzinski, Thomas Nelson Community College 

Pre-K Workshop: Literacy Development for the Pre-K Classroom with Cynthia Hutchinson, Virginia Commonwealth University

General Session Workshop: Supporting the Whole Child with Dinah Arnott, Virginia Quality

Directors' Workshop: Building A Caring Community at Your Center- Valuing Your Teachers, Children & Families as Partners in Raising & Educating Young Children with Karen Gallagher, Virginia Tech Child Development Center for Learning and Research