This annual event provides professional development and networking opportunities for trainers in the state of Minnesota.

2019 Event Details

Join us for the 4th annual Trainer and RBPD Summit, hosted by Child Care Aware of Minnesota’s Trainer and Relationship-Based Support Services (TARSS) program.

The Trainer and RBPD Summit offers professional development opportunities for trainers, RBPD specialists, and leaders in the early childhood field to gain new, relevant information and to network with their peers. It is our goal to provide a variety of topics and unique presentation ideas for trainers, leaders, and RBPD specialists in Minnesota.

Friday, September 20 and Saturday, September 21, with a pre-conference day on Thursday, September 19.

Breezy Point Resort
9252 Breezy Point Drive
Breezy Point, MN 56472

Thursday, September 19 - Pre-Conference (1-4 p.m.) - $75
Friday, September 20 - $125
Saturday, September 21 - $75

We have a room block reserved for attendees, which is currently open for booking. Reservations can be made online through the Breezy Point website. Please use the group ID 260655 when booking.

Summit Registration is now closed. We look forward to seeing everyone at the Summit.

Katherine (Kat) Kempe
Kempe Headshot

Katherine Kempe is Senior Director for Professional Recognition and Advancement with the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) where she leads the Power to the Profession initiative, a national collaboration to establish a unified framework for the early learning profession. Kat has extensive experience working in Minnesota’s early learning community focusing on community engagement and elevating the voices of parents and early learning professionals at the state Capitol. As Senior Policy Advocate at Think Small, Kat served as the grassroots manager for the MinneMinds campaign from 2012-2015, which successfully increased resources to support high quality early learning. Kat is driven by a passion to create policies and systems that create the optimal environments to support the healthy development of children and the adults who care for them.


Thursday, September 19 (Pre-Conference)

12:00-1:00 p.m. - Registration
1:00-4:00 p.m. - Pre-Conference Session
6:00-8:00 p.m. - Meet & Greet Social Hour

Enjoy appetizers and a cash bar with Matt and Elsa from TARSS. All are invited to come meet and network, especially new attendees! This event is sponsored by Achieve.


Friday, September 20

7:00-8:00 a.m. - Registration & Breakfast
8:00-9:00 a.m. - Keynote
9:15-11:15 a.m. - Session 1
11:15-1:15 p.m. - Lunch
1:15-3:15 p.m. - Session 2
3:30-5:30 p.m. - Session 3
5:30-7:00 p.m. - Table Talks & Social Hour sponsored by Achieve


Saturday, September 21

8:00-9:00 a.m. - Registration & Breakfast
9:00-12:00 p.m. - Session 4
12:00-1:00 p.m. - Lunch
1:00-2:00 p.m. - PechaKucha & Closing

We are bringing back PechaKucha as our closing again this year based on the feedback we received last year! PechaKucha is a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each, totaling 6 minutes and 40 seconds. This format keeps presentations quick and concise.


Thursday, September 19 - Pre-conference Workshops

Session 1:  1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.


A. Course Writing: So, You Think You Want to Write a Workshop?

Session Description: You have an idea that you think will make an awesome workshop, but anyone who has ever planned a workshop will tell you that it's a big job. Planning a good one will take organization, focus, and a lot of creativity. This session will focus on developing your ideas for workshop content, making decisions about scope and sequence, and incorporating a variety of training activities through understanding their purpose, how and when to use each one, and how to transition from one to another. The presenter will share many practical tips and strategies to help you prepare a workshop that will not only be relevant and productive, but also memorable!

Presenter: Kristen Wheeler Highland is the Early Childhood/Professional Development Specialist for MnAEYC-MnSACA, where she supports programs achieving NAEYC or NECPA accreditation, and coordinates leadership and professional development. Kristen has many years of experience, both in direct service and as a consultant/coach specializing in social/emotional development, early childhood mental health, and challenging behaviors.


B. Trainer Competencies and Competence: Working in Two Dimensions

Session Description: Trainers and coaches are devoted to supporting the competence of early childhood professionals. The Knowledge and Competency Framework has become a “must have” working document for everyone who works in professional development. But what about the competence of trainers? How do we know which competencies trainers must exhibit to be truly effective in their work? Join this interactive session as we review a newly developed set of trainer competencies. We will examine the competencies and consider how you can use this new tool for self-assessment, professional development, and to strengthen our state's commitment to the early childhood workforce.

Presenter: Sharon Bergen has over thirty years of experience in the profession as a teacher, program director, multi-site manager, trainer, curriculum writer, senior corporate executive, and NAEYC state affiliate executive director. She holds a doctorate in education, with a specialization in training and performance improvement, and a master’s degree in early childhood education.


C. Using a Relationship-Based Perspective of Spiritual Development to Integrate Knowledge and Critical Ideas in Early Education

Session Description: This workshop defines spiritual development as a system that requires relationships and integration of learning based on relationships, wonder, and acts of kindness. In this workshop, you will experience and learn how to nurture spiritual development through lecture and nature-based experiences, while reflecting on your own relationships and how to integrate learning through the use of this spiritual lens.

Presenter: Deborah Schein has been an early childhood educator since 1972. Deborah is an educational consultant and teaches online early childhood graduate courses at Champlain College. She offers workshops across the country for national movements and participates in webinars about the connection between spiritual development and nature education for young children. She holds a doctorate in early childhood education from Walden University, and a master’s degree in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction from Cleveland State University.


Friday, September 20

Session 1: 9:15 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.


A. Mindful Practices for Calmer Adults and Calmer Children

Session Description: Examine and learn practical foundations of mindfulness for use in common life situations. Practice simple mindfulness to bring presence and emotional regulation to yourself and the people you care for and work with every day. Investigate the nature of empathy and compassion for yourself and for children to prepare them for the world.

Presenter:  Andy Johnsrud, Independent Consultant


B. Empathy and Compassion: Tools for Developing Relationships

Session Description: From the time we are born, every relationship with a significant other creates deep emotional engagement, and this social-emotional learning is an essential part of human development. This workshop is designed for those who work with young children and their families and are interested in thinking more deeply about the relationship building blocks of empathy and compassion. You will deepen your understanding of the important role that empathy and compassion play in the lives of children and caregivers, learn how to expand their social-emotional skills and capacity, and learn ways to support them through communication and emotional skills for yourself.

Presenter: Angie Kleinfelter, Instructor, CEED, University of Minnesota.


C. Conversation for Change: Engaging in a Circle Dialogue to discuss bias, shame, guilt and prejudice

Session Description: Participants will engage in a circle dialogue hosted by a YWCA-trained Racial Justice Facilitator. The purpose of this conversation is to allow a safe space for the group to discuss bias, shame, guilt, and prejudice. Additionally, participants to will be supported to advocate for racial justice.

Presenters: Jamie Bonczyk, Executive Director, Hopkins Early Learning Center

Elsa Carlson, Trainer and RBPD Outreach Coordinator, Child Care Aware of Minnesota


D. Equal is Not Always Equitable

Session Description: Ever wonder why some of your participants are not engaged in your presentations or give you feedback that is not glowing? Let's take some time to look at our assumptions around who we are training and how we can continue to improve our practice by being more inclusive. Modeling inclusivity and being explicit about what we are doing while training and interacting with professionals in the field could have a positive impact on the children in the state. The presenter will share her journey as an adult educator working at a majority minority campus.

Presenter: Hope Doerner, ECED Faculty, Minneapolis College


E. Course Swap Meet: What is course swapping and what are the benefits?

Session Description: Learn about the concept of course swapping and its benefits for you and the early childhood field. Discuss important elements to consider and create an action plan for researching your options and where to begin. Learn about best practice in professional networking and participate in networking opportunities throughout the session. Bring your business cards!

Presenter: Annette Weaver, Education Coordinator, Child Care Aware of Minnesota Northeast


Session 2 - 1:15p.m. – 3:15 p.m.


A. Internalizing Bias, Prejudice, and Stereotypes: What We Are Unconsciously Teaching Young Children

Session Description:
In this workshop, we will look at how brains and bodies take in the messages that divide us and how these deeply ingrained messages play out in our day-to-day interactions with children, colleagues, and families. We will also examine anti-bias education as a necessary framework to develop an inclusive mindset and interrupt bias as it appears in ourselves and our children.

Presenter: Rebecca Slaby, Executive Director, Amazeworks


B. Engage! The Power of Networking and Engagement for Your Career and Your Business

Session Description: While creative work is often performed in solitude, bringing innovation to life depends on our ability to create synergy with our colleagues and our communities. Building networks and accessing resources is key to success whether leading an early education business, a training or consulting company, or developing a community of learners. Kick-start your professional communication, engagement, and networking strategies through this interactive session with other lively early childhood leaders.

Presenter: Karen Foster-Jorgensen, Independent Consultant


C. Navigating Your North Star: Resources to Professionalism for MN Early Childhood Educators

Session Description: Do you ever find yourself saying, “If I knew then what I know now!”? Join this reflective session to help refine what you know and what you don't know. Integrate resources and systems to illuminate the professional path for yourself and others. Shed light on all the benefits we have as Minnesotans when working with individuals to guide their growth. You will leave with ways to expand your knowledge to the larger constellation of early childhood providers.

Presenter: Nikki Lepowsky, Accelerated Program Coordinator, Child Care Aware of Minnesota


D. Learning in a New Land: Using Stories to Build Understanding

Session Description: Join us for a conversation about how our own culture and upbringing shape our views of early childhood development and practices. We will share our stories to reflect on how children develop skills and learning tools through their home environment and country of origin. As we examine how each early childhood educator's story influences their practice, we will reflect on how such stories might inform our work as trainers and RBPD specialists.

Presenters: Beth Menninga, Infant Toddler Specialist Network Program Manager, Center for Inclusive Child Care

Firdaus Aden, Coach, Center for Inclusive Child Care


E. Cats Don't Bark: Self-Awareness. Exploring Your Core Beliefs and Recognizing Their Impact on Self and Others

Session Description: What drives you? What makes you do the things you do? Think the things you think? React the way you react? In this self-awareness workshop, you will learn how to better identify your moods, emotions, and drives. With self-awareness, when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we are then empowered to make changes and to build on our areas of strength as well as identify areas where we would like to make improvements. In this session, we will engage in personal reflection about the identities we each carry and how they guide our interactions with others, and explore the unconscious bias, ideas, and habits that affect our daily work with children, partnerships with colleagues, and the community.

Presenter: Dr. Geeta S. Vora, Founder/ED, Vora S.E.R.V.I.C.E.


Session 3 - 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.


A. Facilitator Strategies for Culturally Relevant ECE Teacher Training

Session Description: Learn facilitator strategies for culturally relevant ECE teacher training. Use critical race, sex, and culture theory to develop self-reflection and adult teaching strategies that work for your audience.

Presenter: Paula Landis, YWCA Minneapolis


B. Everyday Ethical Issues for Early Childhood Educators

Session Description: In this session, we will define ethics for early childhood educators, discuss the importance of ethics in the field, and briefly review the NAEYC code of ethics. Through large and small group discussion, we will identify ethical issues, develop individual goals to promote ethical practices, and discuss further goals to promote ethical conversations throughout the field.

Presenter: Emily Johnson, Westwood Preschool.


C. The Why Behind the Words: An Analysis of the Language, Strategies, and Just Plain Gimmicks We See in Early Education Settings

Session Description: Exactly what is “criss-cross applesauce?” How do I “put a bubble in my mouth?” And what are “walking feet” anyway? Join us as we put on our coach and trainer hats and spend time unpacking the language we use. Is there a more respectful and effective approach to help teachers reach their individual and classroom goals? We will spend time strategizing ways to support teachers in thinking through these often cherished and overused approaches in their programs by helping them answer, "what's the why behind our words?”

Presenters: Karlene Dunaisky Trainer, FCC Early Childhood Educator

Dana Ellingson, Infant and Toddler Specialist, Center for Inclusive Child Care


D. Towards Becoming a Reflective Trainer: Learning Through and From Experience

Session Description: Highly qualified trainers play a vital role in developing a competent early childhood workforce. Reflective practice is a promising way to increase professional competence and improve the quality and effectiveness of training delivery. In order to benefit from this approach, trainers need to develop mindfulness and self-awareness as ways to learn and implement reflective practice. During this session, you will learn about what reflective practice is and how you can learn from your experiences to gain a new understanding of yourself and your practice. You will also learn strategies for becoming a thoughtful, reflective trainer.

Presenter: Betzaida Vera-Heredia, Content Specialist, Zero to Three


E. Healing for Helpers: When Compassion Hurts

Session Description: This session is designed to support professionals and caregivers working with children, families, and communities experiencing chronic stress and trauma. Participants will have an opportunity to explore and process their own response to stress, to look beyond self-care, and discover compassion for self!  If you ever asked yourself the following questions, this session for you: Does your profession require so much energy that you are professionally fatigued? Do you work or live in a toxic environment? Are others socially and emotionally dependent on you? What do you need to show up as your best self? How do you respond to stress? What does “healing” look like?

Presenter: Kamyala Howard, WE’RE DIVINE LLC


Saturday, September 21

9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


A. Delivering Influential and Impactful Adult Learning Experiences with Confidence and Finesse

Session Description: Explore techniques that will help hone your craft and present your ideas with confidence and calm, whether you are new to presenting and coaching or have worked with thousands. Deconstruct the verbal and nonverbal techniques that strong presenters and facilitators use to create impactful educational experiences, and gain insight into how nonverbal patterns such as body language, tone of voice, and other subtle physical behavior can help convey credibility, capture attention, and support learning. Identify helpful responses to common challenges such as distraction, lack of engagement, overt or covert disagreement with your viewpoint, and loss of connection with your group. You will gather numerous strategies to establish credibility, build rapport, read your group, and increase participant engagement.

Presenter: Raelene Ostberg, Thriving Together LLC


B. Speaking in Public Without Sweating in Private

Session Description: It’s your turn to take the podium; time to get rid of the sweaty palms, shaky knees, and dry mouth. This workshop will help you with the two elements of effective speaking: what you say and how you say it. Learn the techniques that professional speakers use to capture the audience’s attention and move them to action. You may not get rid of all your stage fright, but you will be able to take the stage with command and poise. Speaking in public might be scary, but this workshop is FUN.

Presenter: Stevie Ray, Executive Director, Stevie Ray’s Improv Company


C. The Direct and Indirect Impact of Power, Privilege, and Cultural Misinterpretations

Session Description: This experiential session will allow you the opportunity to talk about differences and experiences commonalities, voice challenges, ask questions, share ideas, and learn skills and strategies for change. You will have an opportunity to lean into areas of discussion and content that are often avoided in order to cultivate your transformation and growth. Your responsibility is to share, model, and continue to practice interacting across multiple lines of differences.

Presenter: Kamyala Howard, WE’RE DIVINE LLC


D. Ethics for Educators: Understanding the Impact on Others, Taking Responsibility to Model Respect, Showing Accountability, Navigating Difficult Situations, and Celebrating Diversity

Session Description: This presentation will discuss the NAEYC Code of Ethics as it applies to early childhood educators, and also help you identify personal biases that can cause barriers in building relationships with students and families. We will explore common challenges that educators face in diverse roles and collaboratively problem-solve ethical dilemmas using the code of ethics. Participants will explore how personal philosophies in education align with program philosophies that can impact current practices and guide program improvements.

Presenter: Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky, Concordia University


E. Child Care Leadership Through a Trauma-Informed Lens

Session Description: As we work towards eradicating the stigma surrounding mental health issues, more industries and organizations are increasing their awareness of the mental needs of their teams. This interactive workshop increases awareness of trauma, invites leaders of the child care field to examine our practices, and evaluate how we can use this information to reduce the risk of contributing to the trauma experiences.

Presenter: Ann Dillard, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist