Concordia University, Nebraska Early Childhood Conference Features Cindy Middendorf

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"Step Into My World," will be held on Wednesday June 12 at Concorda University, Nebraska with Cindy Middendorf the keynote speaker and luncheon keynote speaker for the conference is Rev. Andrew Ratcliffe.

Cindy Middendorf

The 14th annual Early Childhood Conference, “Step Into My World,” will be held at Concordia University, Nebraska on Wednesday, June 12.

The keynote speaker is Cindy Middendorf, former kindergarten teacher with 30 years of experience in education and author of Differentiating Instruction in Kindergarten, Building Oral Language PreK-K, The Scholastic Differentiated Instruction Plan Book, and Early Reading Instruction and Intervention: A Source Book for PreK-2 all published by Scholastic.

Middendorf’s presentation is titled “The Primary Brain: A Work in Progress,” and will clarify predictable developmental stages that children’s brains must go through. Middendorf will translate brain research into practical strategies that teachers can use immediately in their classrooms. It will address the questions about learning common to the age group: Why are our youngest learners so chatty? Must they always be fidgeting? What’s the brain-body connection all about? What exactly does “brain-friendly” mean in an early childhood classroom?

The luncheon keynote speaker for the conference is Rev. Andrew Ratcliffe, associate pastor for Christian Nurture at St. John Lutheran Church in Seward, Neb. He will discuss the joys in children’s ministry. His talk, titled “Late Nights, Loud Music, Lattes and Laughable? Sign Me Up!,” will address how adults and leaders relate to children, and how to gain children’s attention and convey the information they need to know. He will also explain how it’s possible to act silly with children while at the same time leading and teaching them.

The cost is $45 per person for conference ($55 for those registering after June 1) and an additional $13 for those who attend the luncheon. Housing is available as well. Additional conference information and registration is available at If you have any questions, contact Annette Oliver, assistant professor of education and director of the early childhood program, at 402-643-7474.

As in past years, a Scholastic Book Fair will be held the day of the conference in the Thom Leadership Education Center.

Concordia University, Nebraska, founded in 1894, is a fully accredited, coeducational university located in Seward, Neb. that currently serves over 2,100 students. Concordia offers more than 50 professional and liberal arts programs in an excellent academic and Christ-centered community that equips men and women for lives of learning, service and leadership in the church and world. For more information, visit

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