Interested in a topic not listed? Contact the instructor, Karen Rucker, regarding the possibility of customizing a session to address your center's specific professional development needs or to address a specific age group. For additional information, click on the Contact tab or send an email to or call 717-314-8368.

All Age Groups

Understanding the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework (3 hrs - K3.11 C1/C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.9andFC.3.4.6):  All families benefit from protective factors that can be supported in the early childhood setting.  Participants will be introduced to the Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework which includes five research-based protective factors (resiliency, social connections, knowledge of parenting/child development, concrete support in times of need, and social/emotional competence of children).  We will also identify strategies that help families build protective factors and explore the Strengthening Families Protective Factors self-assessment and goal-setting tool.  

Beneath the Iceberg: Effect of Family Stressors on Children (2 hrs - K3.5 C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.4):  Many things influence a child's life.  Join us as we explore the myriad of stressors faced by today's families, the potential effects, and how practitioners can best serve the children in their care.

NEW!  Communication and Language Development Including Dual Language Learners - Ages birth to 5 years (2 hrs - K3 C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.3 and SQ.3.4.9)  There are multiple important early milestones we will explore to better understand how communication and language skills develop in the first 5 years, including Dual Language Learners.

Maintaining Professional Interactions with Families (2 hrs - K6.6 C2 and STARS SQ.3.4.5):  Research has demonstrated that positive relationships with families support positive outcomes for children.  Join us as we examine the cornerstones of professional interactions with families and how to foster a partnership with the child's first teacher; whether it be a parent, grandparent, or other guardian. Discussion will include strategies to maintain professional interactions with families and relationship barriers.  We will also review our ethical responsibilities to families as defined by the NAEYC Code of Ethical Conduct and apply this knowledge to map out a plan to strengthen teacher/family relationships. (This is technically a K6 session)

Addressing Conflict with Families (2 hrs - K5.10 C2; K5.9 C3 and STARS SQ.3.4.5):  Sometimes staff find themselves engaged in conflict with families and may be uncertain how to best handle the situation to avoid escalation.  Join us as we examine some ways to handle confrontation when it occurs; some reasons families may become overly assertive in the child care setting; and ways to curb conflict from occurring in the first place.  This session utilizes small group discussion and case studies. (This is technically a K5 session)

Karen Rucker, M.S.
Early Childhood/SAC Master Trainer


K3: Family, Schools and Community Collaborations and Partnerships