Early childhood is an exciting time filled with opportunities to grow, but can hit bumpy roads that may hinder the developmental process on the road to successful Jewish education. Learn to navigate developmental challenges in your classroom, limit wrong turns in communication, create detours that get you and your students back on track, and use creative techniques to make the journey more fun for students and teachers alike.

In-service certificates will be provided to your school director.


Monday, February 17, 2020
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Meyer Preparatory School
5225 Hood Road, Palm Beach Gardens



Karen Deerwester
Parenting coach, early childhood educator, author and host of See Me Hear Me Love Me podcast

Jamie Klein-Zoref
Educational engagement coordinator

Virginia (“Ginny”) Luther
Coach, international and educational consultant

Franny Rubio-Katz
Educator, life coach, speaker and social-emotional learning practitioner

Emily Teck
Jewish educator, musician and learning consultant


$36 per person*

Kosher breakfast and lunch will be provided. 

RSVP by January 31, 2020 

For more information, please contact Jessica Fried at jessica.fried@jewishpalmbeach.org or 561.209.2607.

*Conference registration is billed to your school.

Schedule of Activities

8:30 – 9 a.m.              Registration and Breakfast

9:00 – 9:15 a.m.         Welcome
Welcome, D’var Torah, and Introductions by Behzad Dayanim, Chief Learning Officer for Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County

9:15 – 9:30 a.m.        Conference Opener
Physical Literacy Conference Opener
Speaker: Franny Rubio-Katz
Engage in mindful movement and breathing techniques designed to enhance brain-body integration and create an optimal space for learning and communication. Movement modifications will be offered.

9:30 – 10:20 a.m.       Keynote Address
Laughing Our Way to Better Teaching
Speaker: Karen Deerwester
Laughter is an essential tool in the classroom. Rediscover the fun of everyday humor with songs, games, activities and silliness that encourages lifelong, resilient learning for young children in a busy, stressed out world.

10:30 – Noon             Morning Breakout Sessions (choose one)

Session 1A:
See Me Hear Me Love Me: Social-Emotional Skill Building that Meets Children Where They Are
Speaker: Karen Deerwester
Help children handle the messiness of developmental challenges by understanding their unique strengths, teaching successful problem solving, and unlocking the secrets to a resilient mindset by connecting heart, body and mind in a relationship-based Early Childhood Classroom.

Session 1B:
Communicating from the Inside Out: How to Increase Positive and Effective Adult Communication in Early Childhood Settings
Speaker: Franny Rubio-Katz
An early childhood center is buzzing with opportunities for adults to communicate while young children observe and learn. Discover simple, positive ways to make the most of these opportunities, model healthy practices, effectively interact with coworkers, administrators and parents, and increase the harmony of your center’s school culture and climate.

Session 1C:
Tiny Humans with Enormous Questions: Exploring God & Spirituality with Kids
Emily Teck
Designed for adults who spend time with kids from the period of their birth until they become bar/bat mitzvah, this session offers practical insights for how we can increase our intentionality and facilitate developmentally appropriate discussions in response to children’s existential questions. The session will conclude with a discussion to reflect upon their prior experiences in light of the information presented.

Session 1D:
A Guide to Implementing Loose Parts into the Preschool Day
Speaker: Jamie Klein-Zoref
Gain an immediate understanding of the theory behind Loose Parts, why they’re valuable, how to integrate them into your curriculum, and how to communicate these ideas to parents. Participants will also receive a resource guide with simple provocations to get you started as soon as you get back to your classroom. Come ready to play!

Session 1E:
Giggles and Grit: Using Connection Activities that Wire the Brain for Resiliency
Virginia Luther
Current research indicates that the most powerful way to build impulse control, focused attention and compliance is through the connected relationships we maintain. Using a Conscious Discipline® approach, discover how the brain develops the wiring system for building resiliency and connection strategies that build a compassionate, caring classroom culture that is optimal for learning.


12:00 – 12:45 p.m.     Lunch

12:55 – 2:25 p.m.       Afternoon Breakout Session (choose one)

Session 2A:
We Create Magic: Experiences and Environment for Infant/Toddler Teachers

Speaker: Karen Deerwester
Through play-based discovery, explore how to create authentic personal learning experiences that honor each individual child and teacher. Join us as we sing, dance and laugh our way to creativity!

Session 2B:
Communicating from the Inside Out: How to Increase Positive and Effective Adult Communication in Early Childhood Settings
Speaker: Franny Rubio-Katz
(This session will repeat what is covered earlier in session 1B)

Session 2C:
Tiny Humans with Enormous Questions: Exploring God & Spirituality with Kids

Speaker: Emily Teck
(This session will repeat what is covered earlier in session 1C ) 

Session 2D:
A Guide to Implementing Loose Parts into the Preschool Day
Speaker: Jamie Klein-Zoref
(This session will repeat what is covered earlier in session 1D )

Session 2E:
“No I Won’t, and You Can’t Make Me!”: From Defiance to Compliance
Virginia Luther
Recognize the hidden myths and transformational beliefs behind power struggles and the power of free will. Discover how to help yourself and children recognize they are in charge of their choices, practice a simple skill for motivating children to choose compliance over defiance, and learn what to do when kids refuse or can’t choose.


2:35 – 3:20 p.m.         Closing Assembly

Music as a Medium: Strategies to Teach Judaism through Song
Speaker: E
mily Teck
Experience ways to engage in joyful Jewish learning through musical play, art, writing, movement, technology, and more. Discover how music can be used throughout the curriculum, based in learning theories that support the effectiveness of diverse methods of musical play as a learning platform.

3:20 – 3:30 p.m.         Evaluations

About the Speakers

Karen Deerwester is the owner of Family Time Coaching & Consulting, director at Family Time classes at B’nai Torah Congregation (Boca Raton) and podcast host of See Me Hear Me Love Me. Author of three parenting books, Karen’s The Potty Training Answer Book won the 2008 NAPPA Gold Award for parenting resources. Karen has also contributed parenting and early childhood advice for MSNBC, NBC, NPR, Parents Magazine, Parenting Magazine, Real Simple, Essence Magazine and others.

Jamie Klein-Zoref is the Educational Engagement Coordinator at Jewish Federation of Palm Beach. With more than 25 years of experience in the field of Jewish early childhood education, including the Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford and the Greater Hartford JCC, Jamie’s expertise and keen understanding of the needs of young children and their parents allow her to implement creative, new ideas in the Jewish classroom that fuse modern education thinking with strong Jewish educational programs.

Virginia (“Ginny”) Luther is a dynamic international speaker who pulls from her vast life experience in parenting, pre-K teaching, early childhood program administration, Conscious Discipline® and other techniques to present charismatic, enthusiastic, compassionate and creative solutions to difficult issues facing schools and families today. Currently semi-retired, Ginny continues to help local communities empower adult-child relationships. She also serves an educational consultant, a certified CBT Life Coach, Parent/Teacher Coach, and a support group leader for school districts, parents, communities, corporate organizations, associations, clubs, and summer camps.

Franny Rubio-Katz is a South Florida based parent, certified life coach, high-energy speaker, Conscious Discipline® and Reiki II practitioner, Breathe for Change (B4C) Wellness Champion and trailblazing professional educator focusing on social and emotional intelligence, relationships that impact childhood development, and creating positive change. Franny openly draws from her own life’s journey as she shares enlightening, practical workshops and shares her tools for hope, purpose, passion and inner peace.

Emily Teck is a Jewish educator, musician and consultant dedicated to increasing and improving the ways communities educate and engage young children and their families in joyful Judaism. ‘Miss Emily’ travels to communities and conferences to present music and workshops while also consulting remotely, directing the NEXT program and JewishLearningMatters.com. She holds an Ed.D. in Jewish Education and serves on the faculty of Gratz College.

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