Victor Valley College Child Development Conference

This year’s Child Development Conference will provide childcare providers and future educators with workshops and classroom techniques focusing on Positive Child Guidance and hands-on activities for children. Attendees can earn professional development certificates and connect with experts in the field. 

The power of Development

Professional Development

Earn a professional development certificate at the VVC Child Development Conference - your chance to demonstrate your continuous passion and devotion to your craft!

Connect with Experts

The Child Development Conference is the perfect chance to connect with field experts and others looking to advance in their field. Learning is at the center of what we do - it starts with us.

Hear from our Keynote

Keynote Speaker, Dr. Amanda Wilcox-Herzog shares her presentation: Rethinking and Reframing Children's Actions: From Misbehavior to Mistaken Behavior

Child Development Conference Agenda

7:30 am – 8:15 am

Join us for a light breakfast as you register and network with other attendees.


8:30 am – 9:30 am

Kick-off the morning right with Dr. Amanda Wilcox-Herzog as she presents: Rethinking and Reframing Children’s Actions: From Misbehavior to Mistaken Behavior

9:45 am – 11:00 am

Session 1: Classroom Strategies to Support All Learners in Early Childhood Education by Jaclyn Largoza

Attendees will be provided with strategies and practices to support an inclusive classroom for students who are typically developing, students with identified disabilities and neurodivergent. This presentation will give a brief overview of special education disabilities (as outlined by CA Education Code) and early childhood special education services available to identified students. An overview of how to identify the function of behaviors will be presented. Strategies presented are not only effective or applicable to students with identified needs, but for ALL young learners. Common maladaptive behaviors and needs of young children will be addressed and strategies to support these behaviors will be presented (e.g., positive rephrasing, flexible seating accommodations, language prompting, token systems, visual schedules, etc.). The objective of this presentation is to provide a toolbox of strategies to early childhood educators and attendees will leave with a better understanding of behaviors exhibited by young children and how to effectively support all children.

Session 2: A Day in the life of a Toddler Teacher: Guiding Young Children’s Behaviors by Emma Nicole Herzog and Aileen Salamanca

Positive child guidance is a key element in creating a safe, supportive and inviting learning environment for young children. Adults provide a pathway of learning for children through their interactions and guidance techniques. When adults use positive guidance they strongly support children’s overall development as they are building critical life skills. Positive guidance is a teaching method used to influence children’s behaviors both directly and indirectly. Direct guidance is when adults use physical and verbal interactions and indirect guidance is the behind the scenes work adults use to plan materials, activities, curriculum, and the environment. In order to implement appropriate positive guidance strategies it is important to first understand children’s behaviors. Children of all ages, especially toddlers engage in behaviors adults may find challenging to manage (biting, self-sufficient, peer relationships). Toddlers are still learning how the world around them works as well as how to integrate themselves as independent individuals! This is where positive guidance comes into play, specifically as a helpful tool for toddler teachers based on positive guidance in their classrooms. The presentation will address daily routines (diapering, hand washing, and mealtime), interactions with peers, meaningful experiences and toddlers’ big emotions based on positive guidance strategies.

Session 3: Speaking Monkey: Understanding the Young Child’s Behavior by Dr. Karina Bravo

Tantrums and meltdowns. Even the thought of one is enough to make many people cringe. Sometimes we don’t even know why the child became upset and some have even gone as far as saying that the child seems to be acting like a wild animal as they scream, cry and fall to the floor! Believe it or not children want to comply with our instructions. Children try to communicate with us about the struggles they’re having in cooperating with our requests through their words and through their behavior. The child needs our help overcoming the challenges they’re having in trying to cooperate. However, we often don’t understand what children are communicating, or we don’t understand that they are even trying to communicate, so perhaps we don’t listen, and we don’t help them. Now we have an upset child AND a frustrated adult. Come learn how children communicate with their behavior, how to understand the communication and how to leverage your relationship with the child towards collaboration and harmony. We will discuss several developmentally appropriate guidance strategies; a child’s attachment needs and sprinkle in a brief overview of how a child’s brain functions.

11:15 am – 12:30 pm

Session 1: Taking a Positive Approach Through Powerful Interactions and Culturally Appropriate Guidance Strategies by Annette Franquez

Guiding children’s behavior is something done throughout the day, not just when a child acts in a way that is unsafe. This presentation will provide an introduction to attendees on the importance of meaningful interactions through positive cultural guidance strategies. Guidance strategies will focus on modeling kindness, dignity and respect. The workshop will allow participants to gain skills and strategies to resolve common behaviors with respect, and without punishment or rewards. Participants will be able to apply and develop reasonable limits, will receive guidance on setting up the classroom environment, and most importantly provide culturally appropriate guidance strategies. It is important that all adult-child interactions are intentional in order to connect with a child to extend their learning.

Session 2: Navigating the Path to Positive Child Guidance: Strategies for Early Childhood Educators by Dr. Sarah Shabazz-Ugwumba

In the ever-changing landscape of early childhood education, I firmly believe that effective child guidance serves as a foundational pillar for nurturing young minds and fostering their development. In this upcoming presentation, titled “Navigating the Path to Positive Child Guidance: Strategies for Early Childhood Educators,” my goal is to equip fellow educators like myself with invaluable insights and practical tools that will help us navigate the intricate journey of guiding young children toward emotional and behavioral growth. Throughout the presentation, I will lead a comprehensive exploration of child guidance, emphasizing a holistic approach that takes into account the child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. Drawing on the latest research and best practices in the field, I aim to provide a clear roadmap for educators to create supportive and nurturing environments that empower children to thrive. Key topics covered in this presentation will include: Understanding Child Development, Positive Behavior Reinforcement, Building Healthy Relationships, Cultivating Emotional Intelligence and Inclusive Practices. Attendees will leave this presentation armed with a toolkit of evidence-based strategies and practical tips to enhance their child guidance skills. By embracing these insights, early childhood educators will be better equipped to create a nurturing, empowering environment where children can flourish emotionally, socially, and academically.

Session 3: Bigger than their ‘behaviors’: Positive child guidance for Autistic/Neurodivergent, young children by Rhiannon Ramkissoon

This presentation will use up-to-date research on neurodivergent children and guidance to highlight best practices for the guidance of preschoolers with disabilities. The presentation will address the complexity of behaviors, define neurodiversity, and explore how teachers and families can support young children with disabilities/divergent brains in building the skills and self-regulation needed to be successful in school and life. We will explore the differences in behaviorist vs developmental approaches to managing behaviors (including challenging ones), highlighting the importance of
respecting all children’s autonomy and unique needs. We will examine how many factors (including communication and sensory differences) can influence behavior/interactions and the best techniques for different situations. There will be some discussion on the long-term impacts of practices such as ABA for autistic/neurodivergent children and adults. The concepts of trauma and intersectionality and how our current systems may further harm our most at-risk families and students will be discussed. Participants will leave a session with a more informed understanding of the autistic/neurodivergent experience and ways to support children’s strengths rather than focus on changing their weaknesses.

Session 4: Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (SEFEL)

The Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (SEFEL) is a professional development series aimed to empower early educators with the necessary tools to support social-emotional competence in young children. Focused on responsive caring, cultivated learning environments, facilitating social-emotional skills, and supporting children with challenging behavior, the SEFEL training series will help teachers build and grow specific skill set3

12:30 pm – 1:30 pm

Lunch provided by Mariscos Estilo Nayarit

Taco Options: Chicken, Beef, Veggies

Sides: Rice, beans, fresh garden salad

Salsa Bar (3 Salsas): Cucumber, Limes, Onion, Cilantro, Grilled Onion, Cooked Jalapeños, Chopped Cabbage, and Chips.

Beverages: Agua de Jamaica, Horchata, Lemonade

1:45 pm – 3:00 pm

Session 1: Mindfulness as a Child Guidance Practice for Teachers and Parents by Alycia Granado

In this presentation, attendees will learn how mindfulness can be used as a joyous child guidance practice. Information will be presented on what mindfulness practices are and how they relate to guiding children’s behavior through social-emotional development. A discussion
of mindfulness strategies to work with children in the classroom and how to share information with the primary caregivers of these children will follow. The presentation will finish with a hands-on/demonstration-type activity and time for questions.

Session 2: Positive Behavior Management by Markus Law

This presentation gives participants an introduction to behavior management in the classroom environment. We’ll briefly review various aspects of understanding why challenging behaviors occur and the skills to change them to more appropriate ones. The workshop comes from a hybrid perspective of early childhood education and applied behavior analysis.

Session 3: Creating Equitable Early Learning Environments for Young Boys of Color by Nancy Sherod and Denise Cates-Darnell

This session uses the new CDC publication to share an honest and comprehensive look at the inequitable experiences of our youngest boys of
color in early learning programs. It will provide an overview and an opportunity to practice strategies for improving racial equity through
strengthening racial awareness, addressing implicit bias, and creating culturally responsive, safe, affirming, and engaging environments for boys of color and their families.

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Self-care & Wind Down

End the day with yoga, meditation, and even a petting zoo! It is the perfect way to end a day full of learning and empowerment. 

Child Development Conference Presenters

We are thrilled to have so many knowledgeable presenters here to share their insights and expertise on such crucial topics. Our presenters are passionate about child development and child health, and are eager to provide you with valuable information that can inform your work and practices. From exploring the latest research on early childhood development, to discussing strategies for nurturing healthy relationships with children in a variety of contexts, there is sure to be something for everyone at this conference.

Register Today -

Interested in learning more about the Victor Valley College Child Development and education program?