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This calendar lists all NYSAIS events:

One-day Workshops,
Residential Conferences and Institutes
Committee Meetings.
Non-NYSAIS events.

Click the event title for complete details and online registration.
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Cancellation policy for all NYSAIS events:

All cancellations and requests for refunds MUST be submitted via email no later than 10 days prior to the day of the conference. Telephone requests WILL NOT be honored. An email to diana@nysais.org should be received no later than 10 days prior to conference. Request for refunds received after this deadline will not be considered.”

Conferences & Workshops

 FAQ about Registration

Early Childhood & Lower School Heads Conference

Date: Wednesday - June 20, 2012
Time: All Day
Location: Mohonk Mountain House

Wed. June 20 - Fri. June 22, 2012
Speakers: JoAnn Deak, Tali Horowitz and others
Mohonk Mountain House
New Paltz, NY

Exhibitors and Sponsors
click here for information about exhibiting

Technology is here to stay.

What’s appropriate for young children, ages 3-9?


3:00 PM

Gathering of those new to the conference or to your position


4:00 PM

Lake Lounge

Registration and Tea  


4:45 PM
Conference House

Welcoming Remarks

Lydia Spinelli, Brick Church School


5:00 PM
Conference House

Session 1 – Effective Uses of Technology for Young Children - Panel

Moderator: Gina Marcel, School at Columbia University


Presider: Lydia Spinelli, Head, Brick Church School


A group of early childhood and lower school educators will discuss and demonstrate tools and programs which are being used effectively and productively with children ages 3-9.

6:30 PM
East Dining Room


Cocktails in Skating Pavilion

Dinner and introductions. Assigned tables.



7:00 AM

Continental Breakfast available

8:00 AM

East Dining Room

Buffet Breakfast


9:00 AM

Conference House

Session 2 – Great Technology Tools for Professional Development and Productivity

Panel of Tech Directors, Administrators and Teachers

Josie Holford, Head, Poughkeepsie Day School

Gina Marcel, School at Columbia University

and others


Presider: Ed Gordon, Lower School Head, Riverdale Country School

This session will present an overview of the tools all of us should know and be able to use. During sessions 3 and 4, hands-on workshops to work with these tools will be part of the unconference.

10:30 AM


10:45: AM


Session 3 – Unconference (Open Space)


Leader: Barbara Swanson, NYSAIS


This session allows for spontaneous discussions, presentations and conversations about the topics which are at the forefront of our radar screens. The interactive format is based on the following principles:

  • Whoever comes are the right people
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  • Whenever it starts is the right time
  • When it's over, it's over
  • Law of mobility: If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet. Go to some other place where you may learn and contribute.

This is an opportunity to take responsibility for our own learning.

Click here for background on this exciting protocol.

12:15 PM

The Granary

BBQ Lunch (weather permitting)

1:30 PM

Conference House

Session 4 – Unconference (Open Space)

See Session 3

2:30 – 5:00  Free Time Options

 Enjoy the excellent trails, lake, Mohonk Spa, tennis and golf (weather permitting).
Details at Guest Services Desk.

5:00 PM

Conference House

Session 5 – Raising Kids in Our 24/7 Connected Culture

Speaker: Lisa Pruzan, Common Sense Media http://www.commonsensemedia.org

Presider: Susan Etess, Lower School Head, Allen-Stevenson School

This presentation provides an overview of today’s digital media landscape, highlighting both the incredible opportunities, as well as some of the key challenges. The presenter will review research on media’s impact on children’s health and development, as well as discussing younger children’s media consumption based on Common Sense Media’s recently released Zero to Eight Report. The presentation will also include tips for parents on raising media-smart kids. Finally, we’ll discuss the free resources Common Sense Media provides educators to teach kids how to think critically, behave safely and participate responsibility in our rapidly-changing digital world.

6:30 PM
East Dining Room

Cocktails & Dinner


8:00 AM
East Dining Room

Buffet Breakfast

9:00 AM

Conference House


Session 6 – A Look at the Current Brain Research: Important Windows of Neuro-sensitivity in the First Decade of Life

Speaker: JoAnn Deak

Presider: Laurie Hogan, Head, Resurrection Episcopal Day School

In the last several years, there has been a burgeoning of research looking at readiness from a neurological perspective. The defining question: Are there areas of the brain that are most malleable or plastic during a particular age range? The answer to that question has been gaining more and more clarity to the point that the research is providing critical direction in child development. There are really two magic decades, which span critical periods of brain development… This workshops looks at the first magic decade: What are those areas of the brain that have critical time periods for use during these first ten years of life? Most importantly, what does this mean to parents, caregivers and educators about structuring the environment and experiences of children during the birth to 10 magic decade?

10:45 AM


11:00 AM

Conference House

Session 6 continued –

JoAnn Deak

12:30 PM
Main Dining Room or Granary

Lunch and Departure (trail lunches available)

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., Founder of The Deak Group, has spent more than thirty years as an educator and psychologist, helping children develop into confident and competent adults. The latter half of that period has also focused on working with adults, parents and teachers in their roles as guides or ‘neurosculptors’ of children. On her website is a quote that best describes her perspective on her work: “Every interaction a child has, during the course of a day, influences the adult that child will become.” Parents and educators at schools from New York to Hawaii, as well as such organizations as the National Association of School Psychologists, the National Association of Independent Schools, the Association of International Schools, the American Montessori Society and the International Baccalaureate Association, have heralded Dr. Deak’s ability to demystify complex issues of child development, learning, identify formation and brain research. Read more abour Dr. Deak>>>

Tali Horowitz is the NYC Education Program Manager at Common Sense Media, a national non-profit organization dedicated to helping educators and parents teach young people how to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in today's digital media world.  She works closely with several NYC schools and multiple districts to implement Common Sense’s programs, in addition to partnering with other organizations to increase education around and awareness of digital citizenship and literacy in the 21st century. Tali graduated from University of California, Berkley and earned her Master of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education from Brooklyn College. She has been an educator for ten years and began her teaching career through the NYC Teaching Fellows. Prior to joining Common Sense, Tali was an elementary school teacher in San Francisco. She also worked as an educator coach through a San Francisco based non-profit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap and improving the educational outcomes of low-income students.  

Read about Common Sense Media's  report:

Planning Committee

Chair - Lydia Spinelli, Brick Church School
Vice-Chair - Susan Etess, Allen Stevenson School
Mimi Basso, West Side Montessori School
Sarah Duddy, Elmwood Franklin School
Ed Gordon, Riverdale Country School
Laurie Hogan, Resurrection Episcopal Day School
Andrea Kelly, Packer Collegiate Institute
Blanche Mansfield, Nightingale-Bamford School
Odette Muskin, Town School
Patricia Pell, Madison Avenue Presbyterian Day School
Sonja Robinson, Buckley School
Nancy Schulman,  Avenues

Registration is a 2-part process. Be sure to do both.

1. Reserve your room with Mohonk.
  • Click here to download the Mohonk Residential Reservation Form (room and board)
  • If you will be a day guest at Mohonk, click here to download meal reservation form .
  • Or reserve by phone: 845-255-1000
2. Click here for online Conference Registration
   Early Registration Fees apply until 2 weeks before the event
Regular Registration Fees apply within 2 weeks of the event

Questions about the program? Email barbara@nysais.org
Questions about registration? Email maria@nysais.org

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