Educators and childcare providers are invited to attend the Early Childhood Education Conference, set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, at Missouri Southern.

The theme for the event is “Caring, Sharing and Daring to Go the Distance in Early Childhood.”

“It a chance for early-childhood educators to learn about prevalent issues,” said Nikki Tappana, director of the Child Development Center at Missouri Southern. “It’s also a day for them to network. A lot of providers are small centers or are in-home, and they don’t have a chance to talk a lot to peers in their profession.

There will be three keynote speakers at the event:

Jim Gill, one of the keynote speakers, will offer a free concert for families on Sept. 30.

Jim Gill, one of the keynote speakers, will offer a free concert for families on Sept. 30.

Nancy Peterson will present “Brain Gym,” focusing on the importance of physical movement in the creation of nerve cell networks.

Shana Schmidt will offer “Imagine the Possibilities: Trauma-sensitive Responses to Build Resiliency in Young Children,” which will cover responding to difficult behaviors in a healthy way.

“Music Play with Purpose” will be presented by performer Jim Gill, offering ways that music and movement can inspire agility in thought and a love of learning.

Several breakout sessions will be offered and lunch will be provided. There will also be more than 30 vendors on hand with supplies and information for teachers.

The conference is open to educators and child care providers. Early registration is $35 by Sept. 15. Regular registration is $45. At the door, it will be $55. To register, visit

Gill will offer a free performance for families at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, on the Oval at MSSU. Those attending are invited to bring a blanket for seating. In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Billingsly Student Center Ballroom.