2024 Conference Themes

Fostering Positive Development: Strengthening Children, Families, Caregivers, and ParentChild+ Staff

This year’s 2024 ParentChild+ Conference’s overarching theme is Fostering Development: Strengthening Children, Families, Caregivers, and ParentChild+ Staff. With your help we will focus on development in all forms. We invite you to tell your stories of resilience, understanding, and capacity-building and how they create positive outcomes for children, families, and our staff. Our themes for each day will be:

·       Building a Foundation of Resilience for Positive Development

·       A Closer Look at Child Development

·       School Readiness: Building Parent, Caregiver, and Staff Capacity

We need you to make it happen! Together, let’s make this year’s conference a vibrant exchange of ideas, experiences, and practices. You can present in workshops, host an exhibit booth at a virtual resource fair, speak on a panel, or lead a discussion group on a topic of your choosing. We value your knowledge and experience. Let’s make the 2024 Conference one where we can share and learn together. Please see more detailed theme descriptions and prompts below. We can’t wait to read your proposals! Submit Here!

Building a Foundation of Resilience for Positive Development

Exploring the resilience and strengths within families and child care providers, this theme focuses on the positive impact of ParentChild+ staff on supporting family mental health and wellness.  We’ll delve into how nurturing and affirming practices, understanding of immigration and refugee perspectives, historical and systemic racism trauma, and knowledge of infant/toddler mental health can empower families and staff. Emphasis will be on how trusting relationships, and culturally sensitive approaches promote family and provider well-being. Trusting relationships include those between caregivers and children, caregivers and Early Learning Specialists, and Early Learning Specialists and Coordinators. We invite discussions on innovative site-level training, staff self-care, and the role of collaborations and community partnerships in enhancing wellness. Share your success stories and learnings in fostering emotional and physical safety within families and communities.

·       How have you seen play and social interactions improve mental health outcomes?

·       What are the strategies you incorporate in your program to support wellness for yourself, your families, your staff?

·       What community or referral partnerships have you found play a role in enhancing family wellness?

·       Can you share examples of how cultural understanding has shaped your approach to family or provider mental health?

·       What opportunities outside home visiting have you created that help reinforce or establish social supports for program families and/or staff?

·       What successful strategies have been implemented for staff self-care and mental health support at your site?

·       How has your program partnered with ELSs to better approach and represent the families you work with?

·       What are your success stories and learnings in fostering emotional and physical safety within families?

A Closer Look at Child Development

This theme invites a strengths-based exploration of child development during the crucial first five years, including all developmental pathways. We invite you to share how your program empowers parents and caregivers in fostering their children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and motor skill development, particularly in this challenging post-pandemic period. We encourage you to share insights on how you promote a positive caregiver-child relationship by adapting home visit practices or customizing curricular items to meet diverse family needs. Highlight how your site develops strategies to engage parents in participating in their child’s developmental journey. How have facilitating or coaching techniques enhanced the family or provider’s understanding of child development?

·       How do you center child development during the home visit with families/providers?

·       How have assessments been used to inform program practices?

·       How do you use the weekly staff meeting, site-level training, and/or supervision to explore child development?

·       Share outside resources you have used in your site-level training and ongoing support to deepen staff and/or caregiver knowledge of child development.

·       How do you use VISMs to support social-emotional competencies, or other areas of child development?

·       How have you adapted your program to meet the unique needs of different families? How have you incorporated parent/provider voice in shaping home visit practice?

·       What strategies have you used to support practitioners and families with children with delays or children who are neurodiverse?

School Readiness: Building Parent, Caregiver, and Staff Capacity in Child Development

This theme explores the transformative impact of building adult capacities to support child development and early learning for school readiness. ParentChild+ defines school readiness in early childhood (0-3 years old) as the extent to which a child and their family are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and attitudes and supported by a stable learning environment necessary to enter formal education settings. Child level of school readiness includes the development of social and emotional competencies, communication abilities, and cognitive readiness in a supportive learning environment, all of which are foundational to school success. Tell us how your program leverages play, storytelling, and interactive activities with families/providers to help foster cognitive and social emotional development in children. Emphasizing the importance of culturally and linguistically relevant approaches, let’s discuss how diverse home and child care environments and community contexts enrich early learning experiences. Share your innovative strategies to engage families or providers in early learning, ways you’ve supported staff in coaching parents to adopt playful learning methods, and success stories of integrating early learning into daily family routines. Our goal is to highlight how early learning, as part of our comprehensive parenting/provider support model, contributes to the holistic development of children and the strengthening of family bonds.

·       How have you empowered parents or providers in creating a culture of playful learning?

·       How has your program defined early learning and/or school readiness with parents and providers?

·       How have you addressed your state’s early learning standards in your chosen VISM and home visiting practice?

·       What creative strategies have you found effective in encouraging playful learning in daily routines?

·       How does your program approach the transition to the child’s next educational step while honoring the family’s culture?

·       How do you help parents navigate school systems and be an advocate?

·       How have community partnerships enhanced your early learning initiatives?  How have you incorporated parent and community voices into early learning outcomes?

·       Can you share stories about ways your program has engaged parents in their own or their children’s school success or beyond?

·       What new materials are you using that have sparked excitement or curiosity about learning?

·       For families whose home language is not English, how do you support a successful transition to school?

·       How are you coaching your parents to be a part of a school system that may be unwelcoming or confusing?