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Helping Children Through Difficult Times

These presentations provide professional development for guiding and supporting early learners and the professionals who serve them through trauma.

Junlei Li, Ph.D. is Co-Chair of the Human Development and Education Program and the Saul Zaentz Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

His research and practice focus on understanding and supporting the work of helpers – those who serve children and families on the frontlines of education and social services. Working in orphanages, schools, youth programs from North America to China, he develops the “Simple Interactions” approach to help identify what ordinary people do extraordinarily well with children in everyday moments.

Dr. Dana Winters is a  Rita M. McGinley Professor and Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media, Saint Vincent College.

When the conditions around us limit what we can do to connect with children and families, how do we find resilient and creative ways to be helpful? As educators, how do we remain connected to children and families, and to each other, during physical distancing?

Follow-Up Workshop with the Following Guest Presenters:

  • Dr. Beverly Falk, Professor/Director of Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education, The City College of New York 
  • Dr. Lisa Kuh, Director of Early Education, Somerville Public Schools, MA.

Simple, everyday interactions are the building blocks of healthy human relationships. This is a practice-focused workshop to notice and understand human interactions between children and educators in the classroom setting. In this workshop, the presenters will be using the “Simple Interactions” approach to closely examine adult-child interactions in everyday contexts. With actual classroom practices and interactions, participants will begin to appreciate and understand the developmental opportunities within even the simplest human interactions. The presenters will discuss how these interactions weave together four basic building blocks of the human relationship – connection, reciprocity, inclusion, and opportunity to grow – to make positive developmental impacts. 



Dr. Anael Alston is Assistant Commissioner for the Office of Access, Equity and Community Engagement in the New York State Education Department. Dr. Alston shared his journey and the science behind his shift in understanding of the critical role P-3 educators play in shaping young minds.







September Gerety is the founder and CEO of Gerety Education Team. It has been her mission is to make life better for children by using research-based coaching practices to change adult behavior. The Gerety Education Team equips instructional coaches, teachers, and administrators to do their jobs with confidence and competence.

Transitions are hard. Whether big or small, they often lead to increased challenging behavior and decreased learning.

In this one-hour pre-recorded session, September Gerety used the MTSS as a framework for planning all kinds of transitions.

September led us in looking at big-picture transitions, such as the transition back to school buildings from virtual learning, or the transition from preschool to kindergarten.  Participants will consider the daily transitions – from home to school and between activities – that can make or break the experience children and teachers have in their classrooms.

The presentation will focus on ideas and strategies that can work to plan for any transition, regardless of the specific circumstances.



Prevent Child Abuse NY

Tim Hathaway is the Executive Director of Prevent Child Abuse New York (PCANY), the only statewide organization that works solely to enhance state- and community-based initiatives to build strong families. PCANY training and technical assistance efforts are geared to provide professionals and communities with knowledge, tools, and resources that increase use of the Protective Factors to help prevent child maltreatment. Their policy and advocacy work drives initiatives both at a state and local level designed to change systems that impact child maltreatment. Tim has over thirty years of experience working with children and families and the systems that serve them. For the past nine years he has been a part of Prevent Child Abuse network both in NY as well as North Dakota. Prior to this he was a part of the Federal Head Start Technical Assistance team, and directed Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care programs in various states.

Tamaé Memole brings more than 20 years of experience in the not-for-profit and government sectors to her work as the Director of Program Development with Prevent Child Abuse New York. She is a nationally certified trainer for the Protective Factors Framework. She has trained more than 4,000 cross-sector professionals across the State of New York, and nationally, in an effort to build skills that result in service delivery change that increases family engagement in support services.


This project was supported by the Preschool Development Grant Birth through Five Initiative (PDGB5), Grant Number 90TP005902, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care.

Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.