“The objective of the conference is to provide child care educators and caregivers the tools and resources to recognize mental health and/or emotional wellness issues for the caregiver, children in their care, and the families they serve,” said Andrea Haubner, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent, Williamson County.
The conference will also identify and apply best practices for managing mental health and/or emotional wellness issues impacting healthy environments for children and families, said Jackie McLaughlin, AgriLife Extension family and community health agent, Bell County.
The 2020 Bell, Williamson Virtual Childcare Conference will be presented via Microsoft Teams from 8:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. on both Aug. 7 and Aug. 8. The speakers and topics will be the same on both days.
The cost is $20 per day with a maximum capacity of 250 participants per day. There is no deadline for registration, but spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Educators attending will be eligible to receive four clock hours of instructor-led training.
Conference topics and speakers will be:
- The Relationship Between Emotion and Behavior, Jodi Nerren, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension specialist.
- Utilization of Puppets in Education, Gail Cox, Ph.D., Temple College.
- Understanding the Impact of Caregiver Stress on Child Development, Nancy Johnson, Austin Community College.
- Social Emotional Development, Lakshmi Mahadevan, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension specialist and associate professor.
- Better Living for Texans, Jonathon Rodriguez, AgriLife Extension, Bell County.
- Benefits in Play for Children Facing Toxic Stress, Jamie Rae Walker, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension specialist and associate professor, College Station.
Dana Tarter, Ph.D., regional program leader for family and community health and 4-H youth development for AgriLife Extension’s Central Region, said the conference was the result of a Bell/Williamson Counties Taskforce effort to address the needs of children, families and educators in response to the past few months of sheltering in place due to COVID-19.
The taskforce includes representatives of AgriLife Extension, Temple College, Texas Department of State Health Services, The Georgetown Project: Austin Community College, Opportunities for Williamson and Burnet Counties, and Central Texas 4C Head Start.