Registration now open! Click here to claim your spot.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Chase Center on the Riverfront

8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

$15 per person registration

Join your colleagues for an event that includes keynote speakers, vendors, and five hours of quality-assured professional learning experiences (PLEs). Breakfast and lunch will be provided as a part of registration. Information on PLE offerings, keynote speakers, and more coming soon.

Interested in attending as a vendor or contributing a raffle item? Click here to get started.

Day-of Schedule:

  • 8:00-9:00 a.m. – Registration, breakfast, & vendors
  • 9:00-9:30 a.m. – Keynote speaker
  • 9:45-11:15 a.m. – Breakout sessions
  • 11:30-12:30 – lunch
  • 12:45-2:15 p.m. – Breakout sessions
  • 2:30-4:00 p.m. – Breakout sessions
  • 4:15-4:45 p.m. – Closing speaker & raffles

Click here for a downloadable version of the above schedule.

Professional Learning Experience (PLE) Sessions:

Click here for a downloadable version of the breakout sessions listed below.

breakout session one (9:45-11:15 a.m.) choices:

Brindando Cuidado al Cuidador/Giving Care to the Caregiver

La Fatiga por Compasión en los Profesionales de Cuidado Infantil Familiar es real, pero los efectos son inevitables. Encontrar nuevas formas de construir significado sobre el trabajo, sobre el cuidado de nosotros mismos y crear nuevos hábitos es parte de la respuesta a la fatiga. La otra parte implica cambiar nuestra forma de pensar. En este taller, exploraremos nuevas formas de pensar acerca de nuestro trabajo, interactuar con otros y incluirnos en nuestro día a día. El objetivo final es comprender que se trata de NOSOTROS, los niños Y las familias.

Compassion fatigue in family child care professionals is real, but the effects are inevitable. Finding new ways to construct meaning about work, about care of ourselves, creating new habits is part of the answer to fatigue. The other part is changing our thinking. In this PLE session, we will look at new ways to think about our work, interact with others and include ourselves in our day. The ultimate goal is to realize it is about US, the children, AND families.

Christine Jimenez, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Understanding Autism and Strategies for Child Care Providers

This session was developed by the Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism for early childhood care professionals. It is designed to develop an understanding of autism spectrum disorder and how it impacts children differently. In addition, the training provides strategies to support young children with autism in a child care setting.

Nicole W. Garrity, Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism

Bringing Montessori into Your Family Care Program

Have you wondered about ways to incorporate Montessori in your family child care program? Join these instructors from the University of Delaware Montessori Teacher Residency to explore the Montessori approach.

This session will support family child care professionals to “think like a Montessori teacher,” incorporating many of the Montessori principles into their program. We will highlight how Montessori teachers observe children, prepare an environment to support children’s independence, and specific suggestions for Montessori activities that you might adapt to your family child care program.

Ellen Kropiewnicki and Linda S. Zankowsky, UD Montessori Teacher Residency

Shining the Light on YOU! Health and Wellbeing for Family Child Care Educators

You have dedicated yourself to providing quality child care for families, now we want to help you give yourself the same dedication. During this session, we will be learning different health behavior strategies that you can implement through your day. We will have interactive activities and discussions on why wellbeing is important along with tips and tricks that you can integrate each day.

Rose Freel and Stephen McLaren, UD Health Sciences

Effective Father Engagement

By addressing barriers to father engagement, participants will learn innovative and effective strategies to successfully engage fathers in the development of their children. We’ll discuss how to get fathers to partner in the caregiving of their child through specific communication techniques and program planning ideas.

Lori Keller and Crystal Wilson, UD New Directions Early Head Start

breakout session two (12:45-2:15 p.m.) choices:

El Negocio del Cuidado Infantil Familiar: Desarrollando la Misión de tu Programa/The Business of Family Child Care: Developing Your Program’s Mission

La misión de su programa define los valores de su programa. Este taller ayudará a los profesionales de Cuidado Infantil Familiar a reflexionar sobre los valores fundamentales de su programa para construir o actualizar la declaración de misión de su programa.

Your program’s mission outlines “what” your program values are. This session will support family child care professionals to reflect on the core values of their program to build or update their program’s mission statement.

Christine Jimenez, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Understanding Children’s Behavior as Communication

This session focuses on ways that family child care professionals can partner with families to understand and respond to children’s behavior as communication.

Londyn Hackett, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Professional & Business Mindset

This workshop explains the importance of professionalism and having a growth mindset as a Family Child Care Business Owner. In this workshop, participants will acquire six tools to help implement a professional growth mindset to enhance and grow their childcare businesses and careers.

Jerletha McDonald, Family Child Care Business Consultant & National Speaker

Supporting Family-Led Developmental Monitoring

This session will introduce participants to the importance of developmental monitoring, provide an overview of the state’s developmental screener – the Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ), explain the state’s process for referring children to early intervention services, and describe the types of early intervention services available to different ages of children.

Nicole W. Garrity, Delaware Network for Excellence in Autism

Mindfulness and Wellbeing

The past few years for many teachers has been rough to say the least. The obstacles that we must overcome continue to grow while resources and supports seem to be shrinking. Building an understanding of how to obtain and sustain well-being is more important than ever. In this interactive session, we will explore the biology of stress and learn strategies for relaxing our nervous system, explore how our positive and negative feelings impact our well-being, and identify and explore three components for obtaining and sustaining well-being.

Laura Morris, UD Lab School

breakout session three (2:30-4:00 p.m.) choices:

Uniendo la Brecha de Conexión: Individualizando Relaciones para los Proveedores de Cuidado Infantil Familiar/Bridging the Connection Gap: Individualizing Relationships for Family Child Care Professionals

Conocer el lenguaje de amor de un niño puede ayudarte a fomentar una relación con el niño que le permita sentirse amado. Durante este taller, explorarás los cinco lenguajes de amor del libro “Los Cinco Lenguajes del Amor de los Niños” de Gary Chapman y Ross Campbell, M.D.: Palabras de Afirmación, Tiempo de Calidad, Regalos, Actos de Servicio y Contacto Físico. Explorarás formas de determinar el lenguaje de amor principal de un niño y tu propio lenguaje de amor. Descubrirás maneras de conectarte con los niños de una manera que satisfaga mejor sus necesidades. Finalmente, aprenderás herramientas para trabajar con niños que hablan el mismo lenguaje de amor o uno diferente al tuyo.

Knowing a child’s love language can help you foster a relationship with a child that allows them to know they are loved. During this session, you will explore five love languages from the book “The Five Love Languages of Children” by Gary Chapman & Ross Campbell, M.D.: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. You will explore ways to determine a child’s primary love language and your own love language. You will explore ways to reach children in a manner that best meets their needs. Finally, you will learn tools to work with children who speak the same or a different love language than your own.

Christine Jimenez, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

FLIP It! Flipping the Challenging Behavior

Participants will learn and practice a four-step process for children to identify feelings, learn healthy limits, learn self-control and choose socially responsible actions. Participants will learn how to respond positively to everyday challenging behaviors in children three-to-eight years of age.

Jessica Cheyney-Morgan, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Increasing Active Play at Child Care: Outdoor Activity Settings

During this session, participants will examine the use of activity settings as a strategy to boost physical activity and learning in outdoor spaces. The concepts of affordance and spatial range will be explored. Participants will identify one-to-two activity settings to strengthen their current outdoor environment.

Irene Ashe, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Using Responsive Care Techniques to Foster Social-Emotional Development

Children’s social and emotional health affects their overall development and learning. Family child care professionals promote children’s social and emotional health in many ways; this session will discuss ways to enhance the social-emotional development of the children in your care and provide techniques to continually build your everyday practices.

Meghan Pallante, DIEEC Quality Improvement Specialist

Supporting Sensory Learning: Infants, Toddlers, and Beyond

Participants in this session will have an opportunity to discuss current research about sensory learning and its value to a child’s development. Many activities and ideas are presented for integrating sensory learning into everyday routines and play.

Londyn Hackett, DIEEC Professional Development Coordinator

Keynote Speaker:

Image courtesy of Jerletha McDonald

Jerletha McDonald is a social entrepreneur, a family child care business consultant, and a national speaker. Jerletha has a bachelor’s degree in Child Development and Family Studies with a minor in Early Childhood Intervention from Stephen F. Austin State University. She owned and operated a family child care center, Nurturing Gifts Infant and Toddler Center, for 15 years. Jerletha is the founder of the Arlington DFW Child Care Professionals Association. Jerletha has 20 years of experience in Early Care Childhood Education. Jerletha is the former Senior Manager of Membership and Volunteer Affairs for the National Association for Family Child Care.

Jerletha has a special interest in the economic development of women of color in the field of early care in education with a primary focus on Family Child Care. Jerletha works with family childcare entrepreneurs to become regulated operations forming sustainable business models and financial plans.

read more

Jerletha has conducted trainings on business mindset, marketing, family child care startups and much more. Jerletha has given presentations and keynotes addresses at local, state, and national events. Jerletha is a subject matter expert for the National Center for Quality Assurance for the Office of Child Care.

In April of 2016, Jerletha was recognized by the Grand Prairie NAACP as one of the Most Influential Women in Business. In 2018, Jerletha was appointed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s Early Learning Council representing family child care providers in Texas. In 2020, Jerletha received the North Texas Early Childhood Leadership Award from Child Care Associates. She has received numerous awards and recognition for business, leadership, and childcare excellence. Click here to connect with Jerletha.

Overnight Accommodations:

Conference attendees wishing to stay overnight have several options near the Chase Center on the Riverfront. DIEEC has secured a room block at Homewood Suites. This room block will remain open through 9/29. 

If you’d prefer to stay elsewhere, the hotels listed below are also within walking distance:


2022 Conference

Thank you for a great first conference.

DIEEC hosted its inaugural 1st State Family Child Care Conference in support of Delaware’s family child care educators. We learned together, networked, and had so much fun! We’re already thinking about ideas for next year. Home-based child care is a culturally responsive way to provide early education, and we want to support your continued success!

2022 Special Guest Speaker

Alexandra R. Patterson

Director of Policy & Strategy for Home Grown, a national collaborative of funders committed to building quality of and access to home-based child care.

For over 15 years, Alexandra has worked in the early learning sector in a variety of roles including early childhood classroom teacher, case manager and supervisor in Pennsylvania’s QRIS system, professional development and technical assistance instructor and most recently intermediary Director for Philadelphia’s prek program, PHLpreK.

Alexandra holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware in Early Childhood Education and a master’s degree in Education from Bank Street College in New York City.