Eighth Annual Early Childhood Conference Slated For February 24 in Charleston

February 22, 2005

Charleston, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will join forces with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) to host the Eighth Annual Celebrating Connections Early Childhood Conference on February 24 - 25 at the Charleston Civic Center. This year’s theme is “Connecting Today’s Children to a Brighter Tomorrow.”  

The conference will provide participants information about practices, policies, planning and research that enhances community partnerships and quality in early care and education. Workshops that will focus on national, state and local programs that demonstrate critical early childhood topics are also on the agenda.  

The West Virginia Board of Education believes that quality early childhood education is a crucial element in the success of the education of all students. As part of the conference, participants will have the opportunity to learn more about program specifics that target this education stage.  

The two-day event will feature two keynote speakers. Naomi Haines Griffith, a consultant on child welfare issues and author of Red Clay and Vinegar: Looking at Family through the Eyes of a Southern Child, will deliver her remarks on Thursday, February 24. Heather Whitestone McCallum, former Miss America who is hearing impaired, will discuss her motivational STARS Program on Friday, February 25.  

“Joining with the Department of Health and Human Resources will prove to be a positive experience. Together we can pool our resources and provide more assistance to early childhood educators and providers,” said State Schools Superintendent David Stewart.  

More than 2,000 participants are expected to attend the conference, including preschool/kindergarten teachers, early childhood providers, Head Start personnel, administrators and childcare personnel.  

For more information about the conference, contact Ginger Huffman or Kathy Knighton, coordinators with the WVDE Office of Special Education, at (304) 558-2696, or visit www.wvearlychildhood.org.

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