This year we are excited to welcome Laura Dronzek to our Early Childhood Literacy Festival as our featured speaker and workshop presenter. Laura has received widespread recognition for her illustrations in children’s books. She is also respected as an accomplished landscape, animal portrait, and still life artist. Her beautiful paintings hang in the Tory Folliard Art Gallery in Milwaukee, WI. (233 N. Milwaukee St., 53202) Laura’s carefully layered and textured paintings have been described as ethereal and “otherworldly.”

As Laura illustrates children’s books for a variety of authors, she is able to apply her artistic ability to move a story forward by capturing nuances of color and by using shading and layering to transform day into night, or season into season. Her gentle brush strokes and vibrant color variations encourage children to actually stroke the soft illustrations for a moment - fully expecting the furry bunny to hop and the feathered bird to take flight! She will explain how she creates the illustrations to help the author tell the story!

When: August 4th, 2017

Where: Concordia (directions)

Cost: $90

Includes: workshops, breakfast, ice cream, and lunch!

View The Brochure

#1 Making the Story Come Alive!

Laura Dronzek

Enjoy seeing and hearing about the process Laura uses when illustrating books for a variety of authors. She will discuss her artistic process and how she chooses her materials, and applies various techniques and media based on the author’s words, the story and the characters. Find out how much and how often the author and illustrator actually interact to make the story come alive! (all ages)


#2 Adapting Centers to Meet the Needs of Diverse Learners

Dr. Linda Hensel

We welcome back a favorite speaker to our festival - Dr. Linda Hensel, Director of Undergraduate Special Education Programs at CUW! Dr. Hensel and her talented students (listed below) will show you ways to adapt your current learning strategies and play centers so that all your students can fully access, enjoy, and learn from them. This includes students with sensory processing challenges, auditory or visual processing challenges, students who have disabilities, or are gifted! You will walk away with easy and inexpensive ways to adapt your centers and classrooms! (pre-k, k, primary)
(Sarah Bremer, Brittany Harmon, Karlee Hintsala, Brooke Lorio, Stephanie Szmergalski)

#3 “Little Hands Helping”

Christelle Vermuelen

You will want to see Christelle’s first book! It is beautiful and challenges “parents, teachers and caregivers with practical ideas for how to develop and grow compassion in their children!” (Vermuehlen, 2016) Enjoy both her story and why she wanted to write and collaborate in the illustrating of this unique book. Hear also about the challenging journey to get the book finished and published. Christelle’s book will be on sale. All proceeds will be donated to Compassion International! (all ages)


#4 Play and Learn with Yoga! Using Yoga in the Classroom!

Cassi Stuckman

Cassi teaches yoga and so much more! Cassi will demonstrate how to tell stories through yoga and also incorporate games, singing, dancing and other creative activities! Cassi describes herself as “playful, non-dogmatic, evolving, anatomical, and specific.” The young children and teachers who enjoy her classroom programs call her “fun and exciting!” We think you will too! (all ages)


#5 Alive, Well and Play-based in Milwaukee!

Anna Bierce

We welcome Anna back to our festival! This time Anna will share experiences and the strategies she uses in her “Reggio Emilia inspired” classroom here in Milwaukee on the UWM campus! You will take away many ideas related to the outdoor classroom, the “environment as the third teacher”, and teaching and learning through play to incorporate in your own classroom. Don’t miss it! (pre-k - k)


#6 Extending a Read Aloud into a Creative Book

Akeisla Bostick

Akeisla, Assistant Director at Momentum Early Learning Center in Germantown, will not only demonstrate a read-aloud of a favorite, well-known book, she will also have materials ready for you to extend your ideas as you make your own creative version of the book! (all ages)


#7 Adding Flavor to Teaching with Children’s Literature

Eve Bruce

Eve, Media Specialist at Woodside Elementary - Hamilton School District, will share recent books that build awareness of the rhythm and beauty of the words and pictures that promote the ability to make sensory and imaginative connections. A bibliography and time to “browse” will be provided. (all ages)


#8 Religion Roundtables at 4 Levels

Eve Bruce, Media Specialist at Woodside Elementary

As we work together with our students, the most important thing we share is how to grow in faith. The roundtable discussion workshop is designed to give you the opportunity to share your ideas and learn new ones. It is also important to share issues and concerns, challenges and questions. Join us in getting this discussion going!

A leader and moderator will be at each age-level table. The leaders (listed below) will share strategies, challenges, concerns and resources for teaching the faith. YOU will also share some of your strategies, challenges, concerns, resources and QUESTIONS! The moderator will then identify the main themes and topics of interest that have emerged for further discussion (please bring a resource to share).

• A: Toddlers (ages 1 & 2) Barbara Zimmermann
• B: 3K - 4K Scott Boris, Christ the Life, Waukesha
• C: 5K - Lisa Wolf, Immanuel, Brookfield
• D: (1st-3rd) Lindsay Rose, Our Redeemer, Tosa


(Click Here To See The Schedule)