Pre-Institute Workshops - These are now FULL

This year there will be two concurrent pre-institute workshops on Monday, May 14th. Participants will need to register and pay a separate $35.00 registration fee which will include breakfast, a break, lunch and materials. Sessions will be limited to 40 people. Sessions that do not draw a minimum of 10 registrants will be cancelled in which case the registration fees will be refunded. Participants may register for a pre-conference session without registering for the Institute.

Both sessions start at 8:30 AM on Monday, May 14th and end at noon.

 The two concurrent sessions are:

1. Making Inclusion for Toddlers and Preschoolers Individualized, Instructional, and Inspirational    FULL

Primary target audience: Program directors, state-level administrators, professional development providers, teachers (itinerant and classroom), therapists.

The session will be facilitated by the Director of the Siskin Institute and feature the Siskin Model of Early Intervention.  Central to the Siskin model is the concept of the Engagement Classroom, a manualized approach to organizing and managing inclusive classroom services, and elements of the Reggio Emilia approach. This session will discuss discrete practices that can be applied piecemeal or all together. Participants will:

  • Hear about the Routines-Based Interview, systematic incidental teaching (SIT), integrated therapy, the zone defense schedule, data collection, and environmental arrangement;
  • Learn how staff can ensure families have meaningful roles in their own children’s plan and in the organization of the classroom;
  • Have tools for training themselves or others in systematic incidental teaching, to address all areas of development, in all routines, with all children;
  • Learn how to use collaborative consultation when visiting classrooms and how to get therapists to use “individualized within routines” during therapy sessions; and
  • Learn how to organize classroom space and classroom personnel to promote efficient use of teaching staff, to empower staff, and to increase engagement in activities and during transitions.

Robin McWilliamsRobin McWilliam is the Director of the Siskin Center for Child and Family Research in Chattanooga, TN, where he and his colleagues study Part C practices, implement the Engagement Classroom Model, and run a home-visiting program using the Routines-Based Early Intervention model. He is a Professor of Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and a Collaborating Member of the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Foundation for Science and Technology), Portugal.


2. Transforming Your Professional Development: Applying an Evidence-based Practice Approach     FULL

Primary Target audience: Professional development providers, faculty, administrators, supervisors, mentors

CONNECT is a national project funded by the U.S Department of Education to develop online modules for early childhood faculty and professional development (PD) providers. CONNECT staff and a team of early childhood professional development leaders will provide information about and share resources that focus on research-based practices for incorporating an evidence-based practice (EBP) approach to strengthen the quality and impact of professional development to support inclusion. Participants will

  • Become familiar with FREE online modules and resources that can be easily infused into existing professional development (PD) efforts.
  • Learn an instructional design sequence for PD that supports the close coupling of clinical practice and content and aids in building critical thinking and evidence-based decisions in learners.
  • Learn about different ways that the modules have been implemented in PD settings (e.g., coursework, seminars, and others).
  • Actively embed the module resources into upcoming PD coursework, seminars and other contexts in which they have responsibility
  • Be invited to join an online community of faculty and PD providers who are using CONNECT modules for ongoing sharing and PD curricula development

For more information about CONNECT, go to

Pam WintonPam Winton, a Senior Scientist and the Director of Outreach at FPG Child Development Institute, has been involved in research, outreach, professional development, and scholarly publishing related to early childhood for the last three decades. Currently she is the director and PI of two national centers: the National Center on Professional Development on Inclusion (NPDCI), promoting cross-agency state systems of high quality professional development (PD) to support inclusion; and CONNECT, bringing an evidence-based practice approach to professional development in key early childhood content.


Virginia BuysseVirginia Buysse is a Senior Scientist at the FPG Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She directs a program of research on Recognition & Response (R&R), a model of RTI for pre-k, and serves as Co-PI on three national centers, two related to professional development and inclusion, and a third focused on research related to early care and education practices for dual language learners.


Dale J. Epstein

Dale Epstein is an Investigator at FPG Child Development Institute. She serves as the module coordinator for CONNECT, a national center that brings an evidence-based practice approach to professional development in key early childhood content areas. She is also co-PI on SCRIPT-NC, a project to work with community college faculty in NC to revise their early childhood programs.



Chih-ing Lim

Chih-Ing Lim is an Investigator at FPG Child Development Institute. She serves as the project coordinator for CONNECT, an OSEP-funded project to develop practice-focused modules using an evidence-based practice approach to professional development. She is also co-PI on SCRIPT-NC, a project to work with community college faculty in NC to revise their early childhood programs.