Child care services focus of seminar
The room was packed at the University Church of Christ Ministry Activity Center on Saturday morning for the 11th annual I Am Your Child Early Childhood Conference.
About 300 people attended from 16 counties, said Valynda Miller, of the Region 14 Education Service Center.
She said the focus of the conference was to help providers of children’s services meet the social and emotional needs of children.
Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician and child development specialist for more than 30 years, was the keynote speaker.
“All babies are born with an off switch for crying and an on switch for sleeping,” he said. “I love being able to help people help their kids be happy.”
Karp said his method of dealing with toddlers could eliminate 50 to 90 percent of temper tantrums in children ages 8 months to 5 years.
He has written two books, “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block,” both New York Times best-sellers.
Karp said, “The Happiest Baby” teaches how parents can calm even the fussiest baby in minutes or less and help any baby sleep an extra 1-3 hours per night.”
Karp has been featured on the national and international stage through his lectures or television programs. He told the audience that they could learn a calming method of dealing with children.
Most of the participants at the conference were private and public caregivers of young children. Others were college students preparing to teach and some were foster caregivers.
Elizabeth Boggess of Abilene works with a local infant and toddler caregiver day care.
“This is my first time to come,” she said. “I hope to learn techniques to help me in my work with children and make them feel more comfortable.”
Kelli Cobb and Amber Dixon drove in from Olney, and both work with an after-school program for children.
“We work with those who are struggling in school and help them with their studies,” Dixon said.
Cobb said she wanted to know how to handle children with behavior problems.
Jodelle Oakley, of the Abilene Independent School District Headstart program, said that 38 of their personnel were in attendance.
“I wanted to hear a specialist like Dr. Karp,” she said. Oakley said Karp was well-known in the educational community as being an expert with children.
Emily Flatt, Abilene Christian University senior and elementary education major, came with several other students to attend the all-day workshop.
Karp spent the morning with the whole group, but the participants broke into smaller groups and gathered on the ACU campus for afternoon sessions that included ways to observe and report abuse and neglect of children, drug recognitions and home visits, and reducing childcare stress.
Karp’s work also is taught in hundreds of hospitals, clinics and military bases across the United States. He spoke to a group of parents at Dyess Air Base on Friday, and he gives at least 80 lectures or workshops each year.
He said this was his first time to speak in Abilene, but he said he had driven through the city before. He said the traffic was a little different in Abilene. He has driven for two hours before just to get across his hometown of Los Angeles.
Several groups in Abilene sponsored the conference. These included Region 14 ESC, Taylor County Children Protective Services, University Church of Christ, 7th Medical Group at Dyess AFB, Christian Homes and Family Services, ACU and others.
Written by Charles G. Anderson Sr. Special to the Reporter-News, posted on September 26, 2009, at www.reporternews.com