Early Childhood Education Symposium


Resource Guide: Insights from Experts

Since the Early Childhood Education Symposium began in 2008 at The Summit Country Day School, dozens of speakers have presented talks and provided resources on a wide array of intriguing topics for the parents of children from birth to age 10. Many of the lessons they offered are still valuable guidelines. Please sample the resources provided by many of our past presenters.

The Innovator’s Mindset
Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity

George Couros, author of “The Innovator’s Mindset: Empower Learning, Unleash Talent and Lead a Culture of Creativity,” was the featured speaker for the 2018 Early Childhood Education Symposium in 2018. Couros has worked as a teacher, technology facilitator, and a school and district administrator in K-12 schools. Since the publication of “The Innovator’s Mindset” in 2015, Couros has become a sought-after speaker globally on the topic of innovative student learning and engagement.  In addition to the keynote address, Couros spoke separately to parents of middle school students on how kids have an opportunity to make a difference in their world through the effective use of technology and social media.

Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World

Michele Borba, Ph.D. returned to The Summit to deliver the keynote address for the 10th anniversary symposium in 2017. One of our most popular speakers, she is a nationally known author and psychologist who has has spoken to more than a million workshop participants around the world and authored 24 parenting books. She is an NBC contributor and has appeared 135 times on the Today Show. She’s also been featured on DatelineAnderson CooperDr. PhilDr. OzThe ViewNBC Nightly NewsThe Early Show, CNN and others. She presented “Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All About Me World.” Her latest book, UnSelfie, explores research that shows why developing empathy is a key predictor to help kids succeed in our global, digital-driven world. 

Dr. Borba closed the 2017 symposium with a special session that will helped parents understand the proven traits that best determine academic and personal success (emotional literacy, moral identity, perspective-taking, collaboration, courage, kindness and imagination), and recognize that they are all teachable.

Collapse of Parenting:
How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Up

New York Times best-selling author Dr. Leonard Sax, MD., Ph.D., was the keynote speaker at the ninth annual Early Childhood Education Symposium in 2016.  

His keynote address drew from his latest book, The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt Our Kids When We Treat Them Like Grown-Ups. He also delivered a closing talk, “Why Gender Matters in Early Education,” drawing from his book, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences. A frequent speaker who has made appearances on national television broadcasts such as the TODAY show, CNN and National Public Radio, Dr. Sax is a psychologist and author who has been a practicing physician for 27 years. His undergraduate degree is in biology from MIT. His M.D. and Ph.D. are from the University of Pennsylvania. He has also authored Boys Adrift and Girls on the Edge. Program and presenter bios. Learn more at www.leonardsax.com

Resilience In Action:
Raising Children Who Are Prepared to Thrive

Pediatrician, educator and author Kenneth Ginsburg, M.D., M.S. Ed., delivered a keynote speech on parenting and hosted two breakout sessions at 2015 Early Childhood Education Symposium. Dr. Ginsburg is a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He’s appeared on CNN, NPR, Today, CBS This Morning and network nightly news programs.

His speech addressed “Resilience in Action: Raising Children and Adolescents Who Are Prepared to Thrive.” While it’s not possible, or healthy, to protect youths from life’s challenges, parents can teach them to be resilient and provide them with the tools needed to tackle difficult situations. This program is an overview of Dr. Ginsburg’s Seven C’s Model of Resilience: competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control. His speech focused on how to help parents be an unwavering positive force in children’s lives.

The Big Disconnect:
Relationships in the Digital Age

Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and instructor in Harvard Medical School Department of Psychiatry delivered the keynote address for the Seventh Annual Early Childhood Education Symposium in 2014 based on her book, The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. Dr. Steiner-Adair has a private practice in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and is an associate psychologist at McLean Hospital where she works with children, adults, couples and families. She is also a clinical instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She explained the psychological risks and fallout that children experience because of the pervasive presence of technology in her address.

Teaching compassion:
Helping our Littlest Helpers

Beth Nowak, a longtime kindergarten teacher, is the founder of GivingFamilies.com, an online resource providing parents with opportunities to engage their children in philanthropic activities. She has collaborated with Yale’s Center for Emotional Intelligence and was recognized by Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education. Her presentation, “Helping Our Littlest Helpers,” in 2014 expanded on concepts presented in her TEDx Talk and reviewed how external reward systems negatively impact a child's intrinsic motivation to be compassionate, generous and helpful. 

Listen to her TedxTalk here.

Keeping it Simple:
A Montessori Peace Curriculum

Judy Feeney, a Head Teacher at the Giving Tree Montessori School, Colorado Springs, CO., has more than 35 years of experience in the 3- to 6-year-old classroom. In 2014, she presented her peace curriculum, "A Montessori Peace Curriculum Made Simple," which was featured at the American Montessori Society (AMS) National Conferences in Miami, Chicago, Breckenridge, New York (for the 100 year anniversary of Montessori Education in 2007) and New Orleans, and has been invited to schools to hold teacher workshops in the U.S., Canada and China.

Montessori 50th Anniversary:
Effects of Good Preschool Programs

John Chattin-McNichols, Ph.D., internationally known educator and recipient of the 2014 American Montessori Society (AMS) Living Legacy Award, delivered the keynote address at the Sixth Annual Early Childhood Education Symposium in 2013 in concert with the 50th anniversary of The Summit's Montessori Program. Dr. Chattin-McNichols is director of the E.M. Standing Center for Montessori Studies at Seattle University and a faculty member of Seton Montessori Institute's Elementary Teacher Education Program. A Fulbright lecturer who has lent his expertise to Montessori programs around the world, he has been published on the topics of computer literacy, educational reform and Montessori education. After studying with Mario Montessori in Italy in 1971, he received his doctorate from Stanford University. His keynote address, “What Do We Know About The Effects of Good Preschool Programs?,” illustrated six ways Montessori differs from other programs.

Kids in Control:
Importance of Self-Control for School Readiness

Rachel E. White, Ph.D, delivered the 2013 luncheon address “Kids in Control: Developing Self-Control and Its Importance for School Readiness." Dr. White is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her doctorate in Child Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. White's research focuses on the development of self-control and imagination in children. AgendaPresenter Bios.

Mind in The Making:
Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs

Dr. Julie A. Riess, Ph.D, nationally known parenting expert, delivered the keynote address, "Mind in The Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills That Every Child Needs" in 2012. Dr. Riess is a developmental psychologist, early childhood educato, columnist for Gannett newspapers and director of the Vassar College early childhood laboratory schools. She has taught courses on the application of developmental psychology research in understanding children in the context of their lives at home and school. Q & APresenter BiosPhotos.

Raising Goodness:
How to Raise Kids with Good Hearts

Dr. Michele Borba, Ed.D., an award-winning author and parenting expert who frequently contributes to NBC’s The Today Show, delivered the keynote address, "Raising Goodness: How to Raise Kids with Good Hearts Who Do the Right Thing" in 2011. She also presented a luncheon session, "Friendship Skills: How To Teach Them To Your Children." Read Dr. Borba's "10 Tips to Help Kids Survive the Social Jungle" and "Parenting for Character" tips on the Resources page. Presenter BiosPhotos.

Current Brain Research:
How It Informs Parenting

Dr. JoAnn Deak, Ph.D, nationally acclaimed educator, psychologist and author, spoke on "Current Brain Research and How it Informs Parenting" in 2010. Dr. Deak has spent more than 30 years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. Her recent work has focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as 'neurosculptors' of children. Three of her presentations are viewable on video: For Fathers OnlyHow Current Brain Research Informs ParentingSelf-Esteem.