See calendar below for other upcoming events and activities: 

Previous Events

ECI Speaker Series 

December 4, 2023

Dr. Holly Brophy-Herb, Professor of Child Development, Michigan State University

Infant and toddler educators play a significant role in very young children's understandings of emotions and other mental states (e.g., thoughts, preferences, intentions). This talk focuses on educators' mentalization-related talk in play, mealtime, and book sharing moments in Early Head Start classrooms. 

Early Learning Professional Meeting

May 6, 2023

Conference Flyer (1)

Conference Flyer (2)

Welcome Messages:
Heather Lattimer, San José State University
Christine Thorsteinson, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Keynote Address: 
Angela Pyle, University of Toronto: “The Play Continuum”

Research Presentations:
Deborah Stipek, Stanford University: “Making Math Fun”

Allison Wishard Guerra & Monica Molgaard, UC San Diego: “The Role of Play within Anti-bias and Anti-racist Pedagogy”

Practice Presentations:
Katie Johnson & Therese Snyder, DRAccess Project: “Maximizing Embedded Learning Opportunities (ELOs) in the Inclusive Classroom”

Maria Flores  & Estefania Palmerin, SJSU Alumni: “It's More than Just Play!"

Policy Presentations:
Stacy Lee, Children Now: “Achieving the Promise of Early Learning and Child Care: Meeting the Comprehensive Needs of California’s Youngest Children"

Gennie Gorback, California Kindergarten Association: “Making an Argument for Play!"

Networking Sessions:
Lab Preschool Tour: Explore how to set up a classroom that embraces play

Leadership Networking: Explore opportunities to develop as a leader and advocate within your program and across the state 

Career Exploration: Explore careers in early childhood and learn about programs at SJSU that can help you reach your goals

ECI Speaker Series  

May 9, 2022 

New Perspectives on Childhood Adversity: Implications for Developing Memory  

Dr. Anne Rifkin-Graboi

OER Centre for Research in Child Development
National Institute of Education - Education Research
Nanyang Technological Univeristy, Singapore

Dr. Anne Rifkin-Graboi


Equity, Quality, and Inclusion: A Vision for UPK in California

The Early Childhood Institute, along with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and FIRST 5 Santa Clara, are excited to introduce a three-part series of aspirational conversations leading to a transformative vision for UPK.  

Session 3: April 6, 2022  

Session 2: March 23, 2022  

Session 1: March 9, 2022  

The first session will feature Keisha Nzewi, Public Policy Director for the California Child Care Resource & Referral Network and Trustee for Mount Diablo Unified School District, Area 3. Keisha will share her passion for and experience in ensuring equitable access to meaningful early childhood care and education experiences for all children.

Senator Cortese (District 15) will provide opening remarks. Special guests Juan Cruz, Superintendent of Franklin-McKinley School District, and Shawn Gerth, Executive Director of Educare, will share their experiences in collaborating to establish a unique program that is responsive to the needs of their community.

ECI Speaker Series  

February 9, 2022  

Universal Pre-K in California: Implications for the ECE Landscape

Amanda Dickey, Esq., Executive Director of Government Relations, and 
Matthew Tinsley, Ph.D., Director, Strong Start Initiative
Santa Clara County Office of Education

With a community perspective from:
Anika Bugarin-Jebejian, M.Ed., Vice President of Quality Improvement at Kidango

Amanda Dickey, Esq. is the Executive Director of Government Relations at Santa Clara County Office of Education. Her areas of expertise include K-12 funding, early education, special education, school-based health, school-based mental health and wellness, and federal legislation. Her advocacy work  supports the SCCOE values of equity and inclusion for all students. Amanda is a graduate of Pacific McGeorge School of Law, where she concentrated in legislative interpretation and civil rights, and is admitted to practice law in the state of California.

Matthew Tinsley is the Director of the Strong Start Initiative at the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). Strong Start is a coalition of community leaders, early education providers, nonprofit organizations, elected officials, members of the business community, and other key stakeholders who are committed to expanding access to high quality early learning opportunities for all children ages 0 to 8 in Santa Clara County. Matt earned a Ph. D. in  Experimental Psychology from Indiana University and is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leaders program.

As Vice President of Quality Improvement, Anika Bugarin-Jebejian’s duty is to lead efforts in evaluating, monitoring, creating, and innovating programs and initiatives. The goal is to help ensure instructional excellence and optimal learning environments and opportunities for every staff, and in turn, every child at our centers. In collaboration with all Kidango departments, she provides training, coaching, technical assistance, and progress monitoring to ensure the company’s commitment to continuous quality improvement. Anika is currently a doctoral candidate with an emphasis on Instructional Leadership. Anika hopes to focus her research on effective instructional support practices that will inform professional development in the field of Early Childhood Education, and especially at Kidango.

October 14, 2021

Centralizing Our Dual-Language Learners: The Power of the Family-School Partnership in Early Childhood Education 

with Ana Marisol Sanchez and Cory Wechsler, SEAL Program Coordinators

It is important that children's home language, culture, and other intersectional identities are respected and valued by providing visibility and a "place" in school.  Because young children quickly internalize societal messages about who is valued and who is not, it is critical that educators actively work to create an environment in which diversity is welcomed, children’s home languages are viewed as assets, and the development of multilingualism is actively framed as a wonderful thing. This work requires a trusting, respectful partnership between families and educators.  When families are centered as language and culture experts, curriculum and instruction becomes affirming, relevant, and exciting for all.  This session will look at how educators and families can partner to create early learning environments that explicitly center children's languages and identities. 

Ana Marisol Sanchez has been involved in the field of education for over 20 years. Most recently she is one of SEAL’s (Sobrato Early Academic Language) Program Coordinators supporting Early Learning with Dual Language Learners. She is involved in the creation and design of multiple SEAL preschool offerings in partnership with Early Edge, LAUSD, Long Beach’s Educare, and various other districts and county offices of education across California. She has collaborated with LAUSD’s Multicultural-Multilingual Education Department and the Early Childhood Education Division on a variety of advocacy efforts related to English Learners’ needs, dual language program development and instructional design. She is a strong believer in and advocate for bilingual and multilingual education. She has been a classroom teacher, coordinator and instructional coach, as well as a professor teaching Instructional Methods for ELs courses at Loyola Marymount University. She holds a BA in Psychology, a Minor in Spanish, Multiple-Subject teaching credential and an MA in Educational Administration.

Cory Wechsler has spent the past 25 years examining nonviolence, community building, youth development, play and restorative justice across the PK-12th grade spectrum. This work has included directing a community-based youth leadership program, teaching women and girls self-defense, developing sports-based youth development curricula and leading school-based restorative justice initiatives in the East Bay and Los Angeles. Cory spent two years as a co-teacher in a 3-4 preschool classroom as well as 4 years coordinating and running a self-defense and martial arts program for 3-6 year olds.  This was, perhaps, the most fun job she has ever had.  In her position as SEAL Program Coordinator, Cory’s focus is on Early Learning.  She is involved in the creation and design of multiple SEAL Early Learning offerings in partnership with various districts and county offices of education across California.  Threaded throughout all of her work is her deep commitment to bring forward the voices of those historically silenced.  Cory received her MA in Education from San Francisco State University.

May 5, 2021

What's Your Early Education Strategy? School Districts and Universal Pre-K

with Carla Bryant, PhD

California’s new Master Plan for Early Learning and Care outlines an aspirational path to universal preschool for all children. What role will school districts play in this effort? For the past decade, districts have been tasked with providing a developmentally appropriate, high-quality Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program to a small cohort of young children. Are districts equipped and ready to expand TK to all 4-year-old children? How is this part of a districts' overall early education strategy? ECI hosted a compelling conversation with Dr. Carla Bryant, Executive Director of the Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education, to discuss how districts are responding to the call for universal access to high-quality early learning experiences for all children in our state.

Dr. Carla Bryant has more than thirty years of national experience creating culturally competent policies, programs, and procedures for comprehensive early learning, P-3, elementary, family support and after-school programs. She is the founder of the Center for District Innovation and Leadership in Early Education, whose focus is supporting school districts to create and implement effective early education strategies within preK-12 systems. DIAL EE's work pays particular attention to supporting children and families from communities with less social, political, and monetary capital to build a strong educational foundation. She previously served as Chief of the Early Education Department for San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and was a strategic advisor for the City of Seattle where she co-created Seattle Early Education Collaborative (SEEC). Dr. Bryant received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in special education, and a M.Ed. in early childhood education from Georgia State University.

Feb. 10, 2021

Healing-Centered Interactions Across Early Childhood Environments

with Tena Sloan, LMFT

ECI, in collaboration with ESAN (Early Childhood Student-Alumni Network), was honored to invite Tena H. Sloan, Vice President of Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation and Training (ECMHC) at Kidango, to share her perspectives on making every interaction in early childhood a healing-centered experience. In light of the many persistent stressors facing families with young children in the Bay area and beyond, Tena’s talk inspired all who work with young children and their families to make each interaction one that supports the wellbeing of the whole person.

Tena and her interdisciplinary team at Kidango strive to empower staff and families “to cultivate positive and inclusive environments, support the social-emotional health and development of all children in the classroom or home, and work effectively, responsively and collaboratively with children and families with mental health concerns, challenging behaviors and individual developmental differences.”  

Tena H. Sloan, LMFT, is a fellow of the University of Massachusetts Infant-Parent Mental Health Post-Graduate Program co-developed and led by Drs. Kristie Brandt and Ed Tronick. She also is endorsed in California as an Infant Family Early Childhood Specialist and Reflective Practice Facilitator II.

Tena strives to inspire connection, empowerment, compassion and wellness one interaction, one experience and one relationship at a time. 

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