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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.

And in partnership with


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

Dr. 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.

Dr. Allen 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. She 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.

Dr. Allen 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

Dr. Veirdre Jackson is a woman pursuing her purpose, passion, and life’s priority to share her belief that all children deserve the best education available.  She is an award-winning author, educator, and entrepreneur who is recognized as a leading educational trainer in trauma informed practices and cultural competence.  She is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience supporting non-profit and executive leadership.

Through her experiences with systems based approaches to Trauma Awareness and Competency Development, the Resiliency Approach, and Positive Behavior and Intervention Strategies, she has harnessed her passion for building organizational resilience and strength on behalf of youth, families, and educational professionals and provides training for parents, educators, clinicians and youth development staff who desire to impact children from the inside out.  Dr. Jackson is the CEO/Founder of Living Strong Consulting LLC ( and the Co-Founder of Fresh Fountain of Life Counseling and Wellness. She also serves on the educational executive boards of the Black Women’s Educational Alliance and Camp Endeavor.

Dr. Jackson holds a Bachelor’s degree from Drexel University; a Master’s degree in Elementary Education from Temple University; and a Doctoral Degree from Wilmington University 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!