ABC’s of Child Care Conference

March 23, 2024

Phelps County Ag Center (use west entrance)
1308 2nd St.
Holdrege, NE

Register/Pay Online


Individuals will be able to choose from three morning sessions and three afternoon sessions. The cost is $60; however, those who register by 5 p.m. on March 18 will receive a $15 discount and pay only $45.


8 - 8:30 a.m. Registration

Opportunity to visit exhibitor tables

8:30 - 10:30 a.m. Keynote

The Brain Game: Making Connections - Paula Thompson

10:30 - 10:45 a.m. Break

Opportunity to visit exhibitor tables

10:45 - 11:45 a.m. Sessions (choose one)

  • A. Autism and Behavior Management - Dr. Alexandria Fladhammer
  • B. Play All Day! - Amy Sjoholm
  • C. Talking About the Tough Stuff - Candi (Candance) Nichols

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. Lunch

Opportunity to visit exhibitor tables

12:45 - 2:45 p.m. Sessions (choose one)

  • A. Creating a Quality Environment to Promote Joyful Learning - Libbie Puncochar
  • B. What You Say and What You Do matters - Jackie Zeckser
  • C. Kids in the Kitchen - Family Service

2:45 - 3 p.m. Break

Opportunity to visit exhibitor tables

3 - 4 p.m. Closing

The Inner Wellness Workout - Shannon C. Mulhearn

Session Descriptions and Instructor Bios


The Brain Game: Making Connections

The Brain Architecture Game is a tabletop game that builds understanding for the powerful role experiences have related to early brain development – what promotes it, what derails it, and what consequences communities and society face. Participants will play the brain game, discuss the impacts to their programs and communities, and reflect on available and/or needed services for Nebraska’s children and families. Presenter: Paula Thompson

Morning Sessions

A. Autism and Behavior Management

You'll learn about the signs and symptoms of autism and how those may differ from typical development and develop a basic understanding of why behaviors occur, how to prevent them and what to do when difficult behaviors are occurring. Presenter: Dr. Alexandria Fladhammer, Licensed Psychologist

B. Play All Day!

You'll discover the importance of play throughout the day including the different stages of play, types of play, and how caregivers can support children’s play throughout the day. Also, learn about the importance of play for adults, too! Presenter: Amy Sjoholm, ELC-Coach Consultant

C. Talking About the Tough Stuff

You'll learn how to have conversations about money, behaviors, hygiene and other concerns. Topics will include managing stressful conversations, staying emotionally-regulated, professionalism in conflict, respectful differences, and ending unproductive conversations. Presenter: Candi Nichols, LIMHP, LMHP, LPC, LADC

Afternoon Sessions

A. Creating a Quality Environment to Promote Joyful Learning

During this session, participants will gain the knowledge needed to create environments that support learning across different age groups and developmental domains. Focus areas include physical arrangement, selection of materials and using functional visuals. Presenter: Libbie Puncochar, Early Childhood Professional Development Specialist for ESU 10

B. What You Say and What You Do Matters

Infant and toddler teachers are creating the foundation for growth in all areas of development. Their work is crucial to the healthy future development of each child in their care. This workshop explores strategies to meet the needs of the whole child by building strong and respectful relationships with the child through the events of the daily routines. Participants will explore strategies for relationship building while engaging in routine care of infants and toddlers, examine temperaments and understand "goodness of fit," enhance relationships through planned activities and use of the environment and determine the underlying reasons for toddler behavior. Presenter: Jackie Zeckser, Central Community College Early Childhood Education Instructor

C. Kids in the Kitchen

We are all looking for ways to better teach, communicate and connect with children. The kitchen is rich with learning opportunities. Research shows the benefits of having kids in the kitchen start early and last a lifetime. Say yes to the mess! Presenter: Family Service Child Care Food Program


The Inner Wellness Workout

Young children require sustained energy and compassion from their caregivers and educators. In order to meet this demand, adults’ physical and emotional batteries also need frequent attention. Daily practices can help caregivers avoid depleting their own reserves which, if left unchecked, can lead to poor health and quality of life. This presentation will engage attendees in thoughtful discussion about opportunities to practice being present and checking in with oneself. Simple strategies for integrating selfcare and personal wellness into your daily practices will also be shared. Presenter: Shannon C. Mulhearn, PhD.

For more information, contact CCC-Holdrege at 308-995-8133 or

Sponsored by:

Central Community College
Central Early Learning Connection
Early Development Network
Family Service Child Care Food Program
Holdrege Area C4K
Nebraska Children's and Families Foundation
Nebraska Health and Human Services
Rooted in Relationship
ruralMED Management Resources
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension