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Our Annual Conference

Conference registration is NOW OPEN! Join us on March 1st and 2nd at University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Quadrangle to explore how Equity Starts Early at the First Up Annual Conference!

We have two amazing keynote presentations – Dr. Rosemarie Allen on Friday, and Dr. Veirdre Jackson on Saturday – and our annual offering of national and local experts to help you expand your Early Childhood Education knowledge and toolkit.

Keep yourself informed about the latest developments by downloading the free First Up Conference App (coming soon to the App Store and Google Play) and following us on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll find everything you need to know listed in our conference app, including a complete schedule of workshops and special events.

What Is Equity?

This year, in addition to a broad-ranging educational experience, the First Up Annual Conference is a forum for professionals to deepen their relationships and think further about inclusive practices within their teaching.  Equity in education is about providing each individual child we serve with the tools needed to be successful learners and members of our increasingly diverse classrooms and communities.

One of the most difficult tasks early childhood teachers face are providing our children with multicultural experiences. Equity means more than making sure each child is treated the same or is given the same resources and attention as their peers.  The goal of Equity Starts Early is to offer developmentally appropriate approaches to discussions of power, bias, oppression, past injustices, privilege, and inequality … and that is just the beginning.

Equity encourages us to challenge our own practices to ensure that the children in our care are primed for even greater success. Join us this year as we dig deeper into personal experiences, challenge ourselves to grow and learn, and master new skills to apply in the classroom and beyond.

Dr. Rosemarie Allen

Rosemarie Allen has served as a leader in early childhood education for over 35 years. Her life’s work is centered on ensuring children have access to high quality early childhood programs that are developmentally and culturally appropriate. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her classes are focused on ensuring teachers are aware of how issues of equity, privilege, and power impact teaching practices. Rosemarie has served in directorship roles with the Colorado Department of Human Services where she was responsible for the State’s child care licensing program, the federal child care assistance program, the redesign of the State’s quality rating and improvement system, the implementation of the State’s professional development plan, and assisted in the creation of Colorado’s early learning guidelines. Rosemarie serves on the Pyramid Equity Program, is a respected keynote speaker, and has the distinct honor of being appointed as a “Global Leader” to represent the United States at World Conferences across the globe. Rosemarie earned her B. A. from California State University, Master’s of Education from Lesley University and Doctorate Degree in Leadership for Equity in Education from the University of Colorado, Denver.

Dr. Veirdre Jackson

Veirdre Jackson has had the privilege to become an award-winning educator, entrepreneur and advocate. She has been recognized with the Philadelphia Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Award and has been honored by the Pennsylvania Southeast Regional Key as a Professional Development Champion. Professionally, Veirdre has served as an educational professional for almost 20 years and is currently the Director for MELC Professional Development Dimensions, a training and consulting organization. Through her work in the areas of education, family development programming, community collaboration, and organizational leadership, her expertise includes cultivating leaders, developing community partnerships, and implementing relationship based programs that deeply impact people, families and children from the inside out. Her commitment as a ministry leader has allowed her to previously serve as Superintendent of Christian Education for Macedonia Baptist Church. She holds a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Innovation.

A Deeper Dive into Select Topics

Returning favorites and expanded topics! When we hear from you that a particular presenter or topic needs additional attention, we queue up a special experience that allows conference attendees a more concentrated examination. Here are some featured presenters we have in store for you this year:

  • Scarlett Lewis
  • Joel Austin, Daddy University
  • Penn Literacy Network
  • Karen Nemeth

There’s an App for That!

Our conference app is coming soon to the App Store and Google Play for up to the minute updates and additional information about The Resilient Child! Check back later for more information about how to download this FREE app.


  • Complete schedule of events
  • Listing of breakout sessions with speaker bios
  • Interactive map of the Quad
  • List of Exhibitors
  • Map of the surrounding area
  • Plus much more!