October 19-21, 2017
Helena, Montana

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The Montana Early Childhood Conference returns as one of the premiere events of fall, where enthusiasts from the worlds of child care, Head Start, state agencies, Montessori, Reggio Emilia, special education, public school, parents, higher education, politics, law enforcement, social work, and health care come together to celebrate all things early childhood!


Radisson Colonial Inn
2301 Colonial Drive
Helena, Montana
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Session Highlights

Enjoy a wide variety of training sessions surrounding our theme of “Thriving Children, Successful Professionals, and a Healthy Society” at the MT Early Childhood Conference 2017. There are sessions for everybody and every level from advanced classroom skills, to business practice and stratey, to advocacy. Here is just a small taste of what you’ll find….

Keynote: Creating Future Stories for Montana’s Children and Families

By Lisa Culp, M.S. Ed.S.

  • Recognize how our own culture shapes our perception of the world, including the children we serve.
  • Examine how to build resiliency factors in the children in our programs when the arithmetic of life isn’t working well for them.
  • Identify ways to operate our programs though a strength-based understanding of diversity and inclusion.
  • Promote positive future mental models of teachers and education for our families.
  • Learn to “code switch” in order to honor diverse family communication styles.
  • Create curriculum that teaches abstract, future thinking to the children we serve.

The Powerful Mind: Mental Management and Goal-Setting

  • Learn the rule of allowing others to stand tall in your presence.
  • Be careful what gets your attention, it will get all of your focus and energy.
  • Leaders are always teaching people what to think about…what are you teaching?
  • Master the critical thinking skills that will get you - your desired outcomes!

Advancing Advocates

  • See how effective advocacy can influence the early childhood system and open new and exciting career paths for early childhood professionals.
  • Better understand the legislative process.
  • Tour the Capital.
  • Connect to ongoing local, state, and national efforts.

Blend and Defend

  • Dive into the MT Early Learning Standards and Developmentally Appropriate Practice.
  • Learn about play and its importance in education, well-being, and overall development.
  • Understand how to embed assessment, observation, and alignment of standards into your play based curriculum and routines.

Early Childhood Environments Bus Tour

  • Explore high quality early childhood environments.
  • Gain new ideas for your own classrooms and programs.
  • Discover a variety of early childhood environment philosophies.

Special Events

Early Childhood Ted Talks

We invite all Montanans to join in the conversation! Come and listen to 3 dynamic speakers at 6:00 PM on Thursday evening, on on the topic of thriving children, successful professionals, and a healthy society! Leave inspired, invigorated, and ready to move the early childhood field forward! Hour d’vours will be served throughout the evening (included in ticket price), and a cash bar will be available.


  • Deb Halliday
  • Hike Halligan
  • John Sommers-Flanagan

Montana Early Childhood Awards

Please join us on Friday October 20, 2017 at 6:30 PM in the ballroom at the Radison Colonial Inn as we honor those individuals who have made an outstanding contribution in the early childhood field. Awards presented include:

  • McCarthy Service Award
  • MT Early Childhood Services Award
  • MT Infant/Toddler Teach of the Year Award
  • MT Preschool Teacher of the Year Award
  • MT K-3 Teacher of the Year Award
  • Early Childhood Excellence in Program Administration Award
  • Friend of Early Childhood Award

To learn more about the awards or how you may nominate an individual or group, please download our event packet.

Conference Schedule

Thursday, October 19th

  • 5:00 p.m. - Conference registration table open
  • 6:30 p.m. – Early Childhood Ted Talks (doors open at 6:00 p.m.)

Friday, October 20th

  • 7:00 a.m. - Conference registration table open
  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakout session
  • 10:15 a.m. – Keynote speaker
  • 12:00 p.m. – Lunch (on own)
  • 1:15 p.m. – Breakout session
  • 3:30 p.m. – Breakout session
  • 6:30 p.m. – Early Childhood Awards Banquet

Saturday, October 21th.

  • 7:00 a.m. - Conference registration table open
  • 8:00 a.m. – Breakout session
  • 10:15 a.m. – Breakout session
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch (on own)
  • 1:30 p.m. – Breakout session

See you there!