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SWFL teachers hone skills at early childhood education conference

Pre-school and kindergarten teachers from across Southwest Florida sharpened their skills at a one-day conference sponsored by Child Care of Southwest Florida.

The nonprofit child care provider offers professional development opportunities through its Focus on Four initiative, which began in June 2017 as an initiative aimed at providing additional instructional time to 4-year-olds during the summer. This year’s Focus on Four conference was held Oct. 24 at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“After registration opened, the conference filled both sessions within a matter of days,” said Chris Hansen, CEO of Child Care of Southwest Florida. “As educators, teachers are continuously trying to instill a love for learning among students, but this conference shows that teachers, too, want to continue learning more about their profession.”

Led by renowned early childhood education specialist Lisa Murphy, the Focus on Four conference included presentations and discussions focused on creating child-centered learning environments in which all students can thrive academically and socially.

Murphy is founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc., which strives to transform early childhood education by presenting training programs, providing relevant materials and resources, and igniting insightful conversations and connections through social media. The author of five books, Murphy presents more than 100 early childhood education workshops each year and is known for her ability to link hands-on activities to educational standards, outspoken advocacy and commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments. With more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education, Murphy has taught and worked with children in multiple learning environments, including Head Start, kindergarten, private preschools, family child care, park and recreation centers, group homes and child care centers.

The Lee Chapter of Florida Association for the Education of Young Children provided Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to attendees.

The Focus on Four Conference was funded by The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, which was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder, Dick Schulze, to give back to the communities where Dick and his family grew up – in Minnesota, where he built Best Buy to become the world’s largest consumer electronics retailer and in Florida, where he now maintains a permanent residence. The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation creates grant partnerships with organizations that generate transformational results in human and social services, education, and health and medicine.

About Child Care of Southwest Florida

Child Care of Southwest Florida, Inc. (CCSWFL) is a nonprofit early childhood education provider with five learning centers in Lee and Hendry counties that serve more than 400 children from 6 weeks to 8 years old. Each center is accredited through the National Accreditation Commission for Early Learning Leaders and is recognized as a Gold Seal Quality Care Program through the Florida Department of Children and Families. All CCSWFL locations have five-star ratings through the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida. CCSWFL follows the nationally recognized, research-based Creative Curriculum, with a goal of creating safe, nurturing learning environments that develop young minds, support families, strengthen the community and secure the future. Through its participation in the USDA’s Child Food Care Program, each child has access to a healthy, nutritious breakfast, lunch and snacks. Sponsor, volunteer and donation opportunities are available. For more information, please visit ccswfl.org.

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