The Graduate School of Education’s (GSE) Center for Catholic School Leadership and Faith-Based Education teamed up with Catholic School Support Services of the Diocese of Brooklyn to host the 20th Annual Early Childhood Extravaganza.

Presented March 30 in Douglaston, Queens, the event drew more than 200 teachers and administrators.

“There’s an increasing understanding of the importance of early childhood education as foundational to the growth and development of the student,” said Patricia Kelly-Stiles, Ed.D., associate director for the center and a co-organizer of the event. “The diocese was most grateful that members of the GSE community were wiling to share their insights and expertise with early childhood educators.”

Kathleen Cashin, Ed.D., a clinical professor at GSE and a member of the New York State Board of Regents, gave the keynote address, “Healthy Growth of the Young Child.” In it, she emphasized the importance of helping children develop key qualities that will equip them for healthy, productive lives. She also noted how early childhood educators can nurture these qualities in children early on.

Several members of the GSE faculty and staff also presented at the event. Workshops were offered by Vincent Alfonso, Ph.D., a professor and former associate dean for academic affairs; Marilyn Bisberg, adjunct professor in GSE; Joseph Porzio, a team associate for GSE’s Partnership Support Organization; and Chun Zhang, Ph.D., a professor in GSE’s division of Curriculum and Teaching.

“Part of our work here at the University is to support the educational activities in the non-public school community, whether it be in a leadership capacity or in other areas,” Kelly-Stiles said. “[Here] we were able to share research and information on topics that were of particular interest to the early childhood educators in the Brooklyn Diocese.”

— Joanna Klimaski