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Our Annual Conference

Conference registration is NOW OPEN! Join us for this ONE DAY event on Friday, March 6, 2020, at University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman Quadrangle.

This year’s conference will focus on building strong curricula and inspiring learning environments. We’ve brought together national and local experts to present on a range of topics from managing challenging behaviors to negotiating risky play to stress management and mindfulness and more!

We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek as this year’s keynote presenter. Dr. Hirsh-Pasek joins us from Temple University where she is the Director of the Infant Language Lab as well as the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology, and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

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Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek is the Stanley and Debra Lefkowitz Faculty Fellow in the Department of Psychology at Temple University and a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research examines the development of early language and literacy as well as the role of play in learning. With her long-term collaborator, Roberta Golinkoff, she is author of 14 books and hundreds of publications and a fellow of the Cognitive Science Society.

She is the recipient of the AERA Outstanding Public Communication for Education Research Award, the American Psychological Association’s Bronfenbrenner Award, the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Service to Psychological Science, the Association for Psychological Science James McKeen Cattell Award, the Society for Research in Child Development, Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award and the APA Distinguished Lecturer Award. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Psychological Society, is the Past President of the International Society for Infant Studies and served as the Associate Editor of Child Development. She is on the Steering Committee of the Latin American School for Education, Cognitive Neural Science as well as on the advisory board for Vroom, The Boston Children’s Museum, Disney Junior, The Free to Be Initiative and Jumpstart.

Her book, Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Children Really Learn and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less, (Rodale Books) won the prestigious Books for Better Life Award as the best psychology book in 2003. Her recent book, Becoming Brilliant: What the Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children, released in 2016 was on the NYTimes Best Seller List in Education and Parenting. Kathy received her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and is a frequent spokesperson for her field appearing in the NYTimes, NPR, and in international television outlets.

A Deeper Dive into FLIP IT!

Sponsored by


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. This year we’ve chosen to feature two of First Up’s very own, James Nicholson and Alix Cozen, who will present FLIP IT!

FLIP IT® is a strategy that offers a simple, kind, strength-based, commonsense and effective four step process to address children’s day to day challenging behavior. The four steps are embodied in the FLIP mnemonic which stands for F – Feelings, L – Limits, I – Inquiries and P – Prompts. FLIP IT is nothing new, but transforms best practice into a strategy that is easy to remember, applicable in a variety of challenging situations, and portable.

In order to provide the best experience possible, this session will be capped at 25 participants and requires pre-registration. Because all participants will receive a copy of FLIP IT – Transforming Challenging Behavior by Rachel Wagner Sperry with Devereux Center for Resilient Children, this session also has an additional registration fee of $15.

To register for this session, enter the code FLIPIT on the registration page and select “Flip It” in addition to your regular conference registration.