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Provider Appreciation Conference

Day of learning ‘a huge success’

The scarf dance is really a lesson in using kinesthetic learning tools — the sca Miller Photography

The scarf dance is really a lesson in using kinesthetic learning tools — the scarves — in a conference workshop on Grooving and Growing Young Minds.

“To appreciate,” according to the dictionary, is to recognize the true worth of someone or something, and that’s exactly what 240 UFT family child care providers received — full recognition for the work they do — at the 2016 Provider Appreciation Conference on May 21.

All the activities at the daylong event at union headquarters were designed to recognize and support providers. Attendees had a chance to hone their skills to prepare preschool children for the classroom and to help children with school work in after-school programs.

Provider Melissa Reed described the day as “really educational” and said she “felt appreciated and well taken care of.”

UFT Vice President for Non-DOE Members Anne Goldman said the Saturday event reflected the union’s ongoing effort to provide high-quality professional development opportunities for providers and to celebrate the important work they do.

“Family child care providers play a critical role in ensuring that our young children from low-income families have the support, nurturing and learning experiences necessary for them to thrive and grow,” she said.

Morning workshops on Technology for Business Development and on Safety and Compliance, for instance, helped providers strengthen their business acumen, while workshops on such topics as Motivating Mathematical Minds and Grooving and Growing Young Minds focused on teaching skills. Every workshop provided a takeaway — a book, a butterfly net, magnifying glasses, games — that providers could integrate immediately into their home-based child care programs.

Provider Bernadette Williams said she is “grateful” for all she got out of the conference. “I have already implemented some of the new things I learned,” she explained just two days after the event, “and the kids are enjoying the things we got at the workshops.”

By the end of the conference and after stops at the vendors’ tables, providers went home with Santa-size bundles.

UFT Family child Care Providers Chapter Leader Tammie Miller declared the conference “an exciting day and a huge success.”

“It gave us an opportunity to show our appreciation for the work providers do to support the children and families in our communities,” she said. “But what spoke volumes was how many providers said the conference proved how much the union cares.”

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