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ABCs of Childcare Conference

The Power of Play in a High-Tech World
    • Saturday, March 10
      8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
      Registration begins at 8 a.m.
      Phelps County Ag Center
      1302 2nd St. Holdrege, Ne 68949
    • Registration Fee

      $35 if registered by March 5
      $50 after March 5 

    Register and Pay Online

    The Power of Play in a High-Tech World

    Technology and early academic expectations are creating a new kind of childhood for children being raised in the 21st century. 

    Join Cari and examine: 

    • The developmental benefits of play. 
    • How high-tech toys are changing the dynamics of play. 
    • How to effectively prepare young learners for school. 

    Course Director

    Cari Ebert, MS, CCC-SLP, is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1993 and her master’s degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1995. 

    She works exclusively with young children from birth to age five, and believes that early intervention is the key to future success. Cari has dedicated her career to helping young children achieve their maximum potential with speech, language and social-emotional development. 

    Cari has an energetic personality and this translates to a high-energy speaking style. Join her as she explores important issues for enhancing the development of young children—you’ll be glad you took the time! 

    Course Description

    Young children learn best through play that is relevant and meaningful to their life, not through direct instruction, drill work, flashcards or screen time. We have seen a societal trend in which young children spend more time playing indoors in front of a screen at home and more time learning indoors doing adult-directed, academic-focused tasks in preschool. 

    Technology and early academic expectations are creating a new kind of childhood for children being raised in the 21st century. Early childhood educators and caregivers must consider the ramifications of raising young children with developing brains and bodies in the unnatural absence of true play. While it is true that change is inevitable from generation to generation, the question we must pose and then answer is this: Is true play worth preserving? 

    Learning Outcomes

    At the end of this seminar, participants will be able to: 

    1. Summarize the developmental benefits of play. 
    2. Discuss the negative impacts on play in our society. 
    3. List the stages of object play and social play from birth to age five. 


    • How young children learn best 
    • Common societal myths about learning and play 
    • Developmental benefits of play 
    • Preparing young children for school (more than ABCs and 123s) 
    • Stages of play development 
    • Play in a high-tech world 
    • Impact of screen time on the development of social-emotional and communication skills 


    Diana Watson


    • Central Community College 
    • Central Early Learning Connection 
    • Early Development Network 
    • Family Service Child Care Food Program 
    • Nebraska Health and Human Services 
    • ruralMED Management Resources 
    • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension