2024 Trainer and RBPD Specialist Symposium: Sessions and Presenters

Reflective Practices: The Impact on Professional and Personal Relationships with Angie Klinefelter

Enhance your skills in fostering transformational relationships with children, parents, and colleagues through reflective conversations. Reflective conversations are a powerful tool for self-awareness and building stronger connections. Learn to engage in meaningful dialogue that promotes relational health, understanding, and growth in early childhood settings.

About the presenter: Angie Klinefelter, MS, LMFT, IMH-E® has a master’s degree in child and family studies, marriage and family therapy and is endorsed as an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Specialist through MACMH-IEC. Angie has 28 years of experience in the education field including parent education and home visiting in central MN ECFE programs. She currently provides training and reflective consultation for multidisciplinary practitioners working with young children and families.

How to Tell Your Story with Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

Whether we’re talking about big-picture social change work, interpersonal relationship-building work, or even just the ongoing work of self-reflection and personal growth, storytelling is a powerful tool. Our stories are where our values and principles move from the abstract to the concrete; sharing them can open a door through which we can truly connect to one another and forge meaningful relationships. Activist, educator, and two-time National Poetry Slam champion Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre will explore these concepts, while sharing specific tools and techniques related to narrative that, while drawn from the arts world, can be applicable to all kinds of work related to connection and community.

About the presenter: Kyle Tran Myhre (also known as Guante) is a poet and activist whose work explores the relationships between narrative, power, and resistance. He’s performed at the United Nations, been a member of two National Poetry Slam championship teams, and visited countless colleges, conferences, and festivals, using spoken word and storytelling as doorways into critical dialogue.

Zooming In: Practicing Our Principles with Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre

We’ve seen how storytelling and arts-based techniques can be useful tools for people who work with people, even when they don’t consider themselves artists. This interactive workshop will be a space to “zoom in” even further on concrete examples, tactics, and opportunities to practice those ideas. We’ll discuss examples of how we’ve seen this kind of work done well (and maybe not-so-well), do a bit of writing and visioning ourselves, and share with one another.

Choose one of the following four topics. Learn with our outstanding presenters for two hours in the morning and reconvene after lunch for two more hours on the same topic.

Course Writer Workshop with TARSS staff (location: Brighton)

Explore the guidelines for successfully creating and submitting a course for approval. Understand the acceptable criteria necessary for completing each required component. Learn the different course statuses and how to complete revisions to promote an efficient course approval process.

Delivering Influential and Impactful Adult Learning Experiences That Engage and Inspire with Raelene Ostberg (location: Isle)

Discover activities, processes, and verbal/nonverbal training methods you can implement to increase engagement in and excitement about the educational experiences you provide. Experience a unique parallel training process that illustrates these important concepts in action through engaging storytelling, insightful videos, a round-robin brainstorm session, individual reflection, and other training activities. Connect with other educators and problem-solve common difficult situations you experience when providing education for adults. Identify helpful responses to participants’ challenging behaviors such as disengagement, side conversations, off-task group work, cell phone usage, and rising tension. The methods learned will help enhance your confidence and finesse when delivering trainings, increase participant “buy-in,” and help you connect with your participants’ hearts and minds.

About the presenter: Raelene Ostberg is the founder of Thriving Together, an organization that provides engaging and transformative educational experiences to support early childhood educators and the leaders, coaches, and trainers who support them. Raelene is an MNCPD-Achieve Expert Trainer and Course Writer, and New York State Training and Technical Assistant Professional. Raelene started her journey coaching and supporting other trainers on the development and delivery of high-quality trainings in 2006 as Business Liaison with the Rochester Area Foundation’s First Steps Program in collaboration with the Working Family Resource Center. She has also worked as an observer and mentor for Minnesota’s TARSS Program. Raelene obtained her BA in theater and MEd in family education at the University of Minnesota. She presents nationally, notably at the NAEYC PLI, Kentucky Trainer Institute, and the MN Trainer Summit. Participants report they appreciate Raelene’s engaging content delivered with dynamic energy, infectious enthusiasm, and theatrical storytelling that bring the techniques to life.

Reflecting on My Legacy: Am I Satisfied? with Nancy Hafner (location: Hanlon)

Trainers and RBPD specialists are asked to embrace the dispositions of curiosity and inquisitiveness and be willing to make a commitment to ongoing professional growth and learning. Participants in this session will use self-assessment and reflection to identify what might come next in their own professional journey as a life-long learner. The presenter will also share about a leadership retreat experience in Italy as a personal example.

About the presenter: As an early childhood educator for over 40 years, Nancy Hafner’s passion for engaging others in the work of nurturing children’s development has not waned! Her experience includes direct service as a teacher of children from birth to age eight, center administrator, instructional coach, RBPD coach, professional development facilitator, CLASS observer, and college instructor. Nancy serves on the Child Care Aware of MN Board of Directors and participates in the regional EC Professional Network. She is on the faculty at Ridgewater College in addition to running Hafner Consulting LLC. Nancy and husband John recently celebrated their 40th anniversary. They enjoy traveling, camping, strategy board games, jigsaw puzzles, and spending time with their three grown children, daughter-in-law, and precocious 4-year-old grandson at every opportunity. The newest addition to their family is a Mini Aussiedoodle puppy, Teddy Bauer. Nancy and John are first-time dog owners, so advice is welcome!

Synchronize to Optimize with Cindy Goldade (location: Archibald)

Stress impacts one’s ability to be present. Yet the ability to be fully present, focused, and connected with our audience impacts the success of our workshops. Identify stress triggers and how one’s sensory intake changes during times of stress. Experience Brain Gym® movements to move through stress and into PACE—positive, active, clear and energetic—while presenting. This session will help focus, organization, comprehension, coordination, memory, social and communication skills so that learning can be optimized!

About the presenter: Cindy Goldade holds bachelor and master’s degrees in preschool through grade six education.  Cindy taught three-to-six-year-olds at her school, Evergreen Montessori, for 10 years before homeschooling her own children. With many years applying what she teaches personally, professionally, and as a mother of three, Cindy combines her experience with over 1000 hours of mind/body coursework to shape her expertise. Currently she is an independent educator facilitating movement-based learning courses and workshops for teachers and other adults throughout the Upper Midwest, including graduate courses at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She also conducts private sessions as a Brain Gym Consultant, integrating reflexes with rhythm, juggling, balance, and intentional movement. Learn more about Cindy on her website.

Holding Big Feelings: Skills for Trauma-Informed Coaching with Jessica Croatt Niemi (location: Archibald; continues in the afternoon)

Coaching begins and ends with you, the coach. Providing trauma-informed coaching has many celebrations and challenges. As we support others, our responsibility in coaching includes an ability to regulate our emotions and our own urgency to help. Explore ways to manage feelings and triggers that surface in training and coaching sessions. Learn ways to regulate, contain feelings, think together, empower, and reflect. Participants will leave understanding how to support their own compassionate role while helping those that care for others.

About the presenter: Jessica Croatt Niemi, LICSW, IMH-E®(IV), is a mental health professional and co-owner of Lake Country Associates in Bemidji, MN. She is endorsed as an Infant Mental Health Mentor through the Minnesota Association of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). She provides psychotherapy services, specializing in early childhood mental health, perinatal mental health, and caregiver support. Her practice includes evidence-based practices such as Child-Parent Psychotherapy and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. Ms. Niemi facilitates family groups focused on parenting children and is a certified Circle of Security facilitator. When not providing clinical services, Ms. Niemi offers mental health consultation, supervision and training for a variety of disciplines. She enjoys training other mental health consultants and is certified to provide the FAN (Facilitating Attuned Interactions) model in consultation. She is also an adjunct instructor at the University of Minnesota Institute of Child Development.

Supporting Family Child Care Educators with Lisa Thompson (location: Isle)

Family child care programs are unique early learning environments, and family child care educators are especially diverse in their approaches to children’s care and learning. Join this session to discuss this uniqueness. Together we will discuss various strategies for meeting the distinctive needs in family child care.

About the presenter: Lisa Thompson was named as the first Ombuds for Family Child Care Providers for Minnesota and started in the position in July 2022. She comes to this role with the experience of running a licensed family child care business for 25 years and facilitating training for other educators of over 20 years. Prior to opening her child care program, she worked in various early education settings as a licensed teacher. She completed a master’s program in advocacy and political leadership before leaving direct care, and worked at a non-profit organization helping new child care businesses get started.

The WonderTrek Inquiry Process with Peter Olson and Emilee Mailhot (location: Bird)

The WonderTrek Inquiry Process presentation aims to introduce early childhood trainers and coaches to an innovative, inquiry-based approach to learning from and with children. Rooted in the principles of child-led exploration and educator facilitation, WonderTrek combines Studio Explorations, Play Conditions, and a structured Inquiry Process to create dynamic learning experiences. This session will cover the theoretical foundation, practical application, and tangible benefits of integrating WonderTrek into early childhood education settings. Attendees will learn how to shift how to become co-researchers with their students, using observation, documentation, and reflection to drive curriculum development and foster an environment of curiosity and discovery. Through case studies and real-world examples, participants will see the impact of WonderTrek on children’s learning and development. This presentation promises to be an engaging and insightful exploration of how the WonderTrek Inquiry Process can transform early childhood education by embracing the natural curiosity and explorative spirit of children.

About the presenters: Peter Olson has more than 20 years of progressive museum leadership experience, specializing in leading teams through periods of major growth and increased impact. Today, Peter is President and Museum Project Director of WonderTrek Children’s Museum North Central Minnesota. With phase 1 slated to open in 2025, WonderTrek will feature the largest campus of any children’s museum in Minnesota, combining the best attributes of children’s museums with the natural benefits of playing outside. As Director of Exhibits for Minnesota Children’s Museum in Saint Paul, Peter led growth of their fleet of traveling exhibits into the largest in the children’s museum sector. In 2009, Peter took on the adventure of developing the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota (CMSM). Today, CMSM has one of the highest ratios of visitation to the local population, with over 100,000 visits per year. In 2017, Peter led the opening of Knock Knock Children’s Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, voted the best place to take children on a Saturday and named the 2018 Louisiana Museum of the Year.

Emilee Mailhot brings over 18 years of rich experience in child development and research to her current role as Learning Innovations Manager at WonderTrek, poised to be North Central Minnesota’s premier destination for children’s exploration and learning. Her career journey is marked by significant achievements in academic research, including a published peer-reviewed project and hands-on experience in educational settings, forms the bedrock of her innovative approach to crafting learning programs that are as engaging as they are educational, ensuring that WonderTrek will offer a unique, immersive experience that fosters a lifelong love of learning among its young visitors. Through her work, Mailhot continues to embody her commitment to enriching the educational landscape, leveraging her comprehensive background to shape an exciting future for educational play.

Holding Big Feelings: Skills for Trauma-Informed Coaching with Jessica Croatt Niemi (location: Archibald. Continued; see above for description and presenter bio)
Course Approval: Achieve A Successful Course Submission (Prerequisite for Course Writer endorsement) with Dani Thompson (location: Brighton)

Explore the guidelines for creating and submitting a course for approval by Achieve. Break down the online submission form and identify the acceptable criteria necessary for completing each section. Access valuable resources to support a successful course submission. Please note that you must have an Approved Course Writer Membership in Develop to submit a course for approval.

About the presenter: Dani Thompson has been with Achieve since 2018. A native Minnesotan and passionate about education, Dani gained her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science with an emphasis in family life and child development. She has worked as a school-age child care teacher and a before-and-after-school program teacher. Dani works with Achieve’s professional development team to review and approve course submissions, evaluate official transcripts, and provide outstanding customer service. Her can-do attitude is always appreciated. When not processing applications, you’ll find Dani visiting family in Minnesota, collecting eyeglasses (27 pairs so far), hunting for clearance deals at Target, and hanging out with her husband and son.

Navigating the Business Side of Child Care with Jessica Beyer (location: Bird)

Learn about the unique challenges that child care businesses face. Understand the services First Children’s Finance offers that benefit new and existing child care programs across the state. Develop connects to First Children’s Finance.

About the presenter: Jessica Beyer is the Minnesota Associate Director at First Children’s Finance. In the past 9+ years with FCF she has worked directly with providers, communities, and partners across the state. Prior to joining First Children’s Finance, Jessica spent 12 years as a Community Program Manager at the Center for Small Towns at the University of Minnesota Morris. She was part of a programmatic staff that provided assistance to rural communities and oversaw the student involvement component of the Center. She also has an extensive background in leadership, community organizing, and publicity. Jessica also has vast experience with project management, training and facilitation. She received her BA from the University of Minnesota Morris in speech communication in 2002.