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Room to grow

2018 Parenting Educators Conference finds its groove, expands offerings

OPEC 2018

For the fifth consecutive year, parenting educators from across the state will come together for the annual Oregon Parenting Educators Conference and Training Institute. This year’s conference will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, May 21-22, at LaSells Stewart Center and CH2M Hill Alumni Center on the Oregon State University campus. A welcome reception will take place on Sunday, May 20, at the Hilton Garden Inn’s University Club Room.

Exciting new components are slated for this year’s conference, which is hosted by the Hallie E. Ford Center for Healthy Children and Families and Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative (OPEC). The event is designed with parenting educators in mind and provides an opportunity for professional development, networking and recognition of those excelling in the field. This year’s keynote speaker is Ross Thompson, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis, who will present “How to think like a baby: Implications and practical strategies.”

“This conference focuses on bringing professionals together from many different fields – including parenting education, home visiting, early childhood education, health care, social work and early intervention specialists,” says Shauna Tominey, assistant professor of practice and parenting education specialist. “We believe that professionals working with families and children of any age in any setting will find the conference beneficial.”

A year of firsts

This year’s conference has expanded to a second day. The first day will include the keynote address, workshops, and student poster presentations. A training institute featuring special topic tracks will take place on the second day.

The first cohort of parenting educators to go through the OPEC Recognition System will be celebrated this year. The recognition system recently opened to highlight parenting educators for their important work with children and families.

AllCare, Oregon Head Start Association, and Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. are new conference sponsors this year, and along with OPEC and the Oregon Health Authority are offering conference scholarships to expand access to a greater number of professionals from across the state.

Like previous years, simultaneous translation for the conference will be offered in Spanish with select workshops available in Spanish. Workshop topics include a broad range of subjects and skill levels. The registration catalog includes detailed information and workshop descriptions.

About Ross Thompson

Ross Thompson, PhD, is a distinguished professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis. He directs the university’s Social and Emotional Development Lab and studies the development of positive motivation in young children, including prosocial behavior, conscience (moral) behaviors and understanding emotion. He also writes on the applications of developmental science to practice and policy, including children in poverty, early childhood mental health and early education.

His books include “Toward a Child-Centered, Neighborhood-Based Child Protection System,” “The Postdivorce Family,” and “Preventing Child Maltreatment Through Social Support.” Ross also serves as board president for Zero to Three, a national organization dedicated to ensuring all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life.

Information for participants

Registration is now open, and participants are encouraged to sign up early to receive the best rate. Early bird registration will end on May 7. Many scholarships are available to participants, including student rates, group rates, home visitor rates and $50 off for first-time attendees, attendees from rural areas and those working with underserved populations. Visit the conference webpage to learn more.

2017 feedback

Much like past years, there was ample praise and positive feedback from 2017 conference attendees. More than 450 people attended last year’s conference, and more than 80 percent of respondents rated the conference as “very good” or “outstanding.”

Here are some comments received from past participants:

“The variety of content in the presentations was very relatable and was information you could use in the field.”

“I have attended several times and I always feel like it was a great investment of time.”

“I appreciate the continuum of science to practice in relation to the parenting education field.”

“Everything was beautifully organized and very professional. The quality of the sessions I attended presented current, relevant information and strategies.”

“This was an opportunity to learn more about OPEC and to meet people and build professional connections.”