December 22, 2020

UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion

Are you interested in learning about the role collaboration plays in creating inclusive environments for young children? Join Trying Together and The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh in January for “UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion.”


Young children thrive and grow in their natural learning environments, including children with developmental differences. Educators play a critical role in creating an inclusive and diverse environment for children to feel a sense of belonging, to feel valued as a member of the classroom, and to feel empowered to learn to their full ability. UnConference: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion dives into the importance of working together—with a collaboration between teachers, intervention specialists, and parents/caregivers—to provide this environment for children to learn and grow in differentiated ways yet feel included in the group.

What Do I Receive?

    • PQAS and/or Act 48 hours.
    • Networking with colleagues.
    • Interactive workshop sessions.
    • Refreshed or refined thinking about our work with young children.



Featured Sessions

Keynote: Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 | 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Presented by: Trying Together and Children’s Institute  |  Keynote Speaker: Wendy Pardee  

During the keynote session, Wendy Pardee, President, and CEO of The Children’s Institute will share how they created a collaborative environment that provides a positive view on early intervention in an effort to bring different parties together in the best interest of the child. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring an educator, parent, and intervention specialist.

Transition and Educational Support in the Early Childhood Environment

Thursday, January 21, 2021, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Presented by: Kristina Berg and Loreleigh Elders, DART

Early Childhood Educators are an active and critical part of a child’s early intervention team that is often lost in the process of transition and service planning. This presentation will provide an overview of the early intervention process, as children age out of the Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Program and transition into Preschool Early Intervention Support. We will provide practical examples and resources of ways to support children and families through the transition process, as well as ways to adapt the preschool classroom environment in order for all children to be successful.

Creating and Building Inclusive Support Teams for Children

Friday, January 22, 2021, 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Presented by: Serena Washington, Trying Together

When thinking about what a team/collaboration approach looks like when working with children and families we must be open to asking the following questions: Why is it important to build a team for a child(ren)? What does the team/collaboration approach look like? Who and what do we need on the team/collaboration? How do we work and communicate as a team? In this workshop, join us for a robust discussion and learn strategies for creating an inclusive team to support your children.

How to Assess Your Students’ Needs: Using the ASQ through the Lens of Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Program

Tuesday, January 26, 2021, 1:30 – 3 p.m.
Presented by: Gloria Rodriguez-Ransom, The Pennsylvania Keys

Through the expertise of the Infant Early Childhood Mental Health (IECMH) program, participants will receive an overview of the Ages & Stages Questionnaires with a particular emphasis on assessing children’s social and emotional development. The developmental screening tools ASQ3 and ASQ:SE 2 are designed for children ages three months to five years and designed for use by early childhood educators and health care professionals. Attendees will learn how to administer and score the screener and share the results of the screener with families and professional colleagues. In addition, recommendations for suggested resources will be shared if additional services are needed.

Overview of Infant/Toddler Early Intervention Services in Allegheny County Referral Through Transitioning Out of 0-3 Services

Wednesday, January 27, 2021 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Presenters: Erica Balint and Vonna May-Miller, Alliance for Infants and Toddlers

In this workshop, presenters will discuss how the child’s 0-3 Early Intervention (EI) team collaborates with families and child care staff so that all have an understanding of how the EI system in Allegheny County operates and supports children. This session will give an overview of how children are referred and become part of the EI system. Information will include how a child is referred, eligibility criteria, evaluation process, service planning, and implementation along with transitioning out of 0-3 services.

Catering to The Whole Classroom: Lesson Development and Implementation That Speaks to Every Child

Friday, January 29, 2021 | 10 – 11:30 a.m.
Presented by: Daile Fordoski, Lyasha Bishop, LaRae D. Cullens, The Learning Loft

There is not one lesson in any learning environment that is one size fits all. It is the educator’s responsibility to develop ways in which a lesson can benefit every child in a classroom. This workshop examines strategies for planning and implementing inclusive activities for children of varying developmental levels. Participants will have the opportunity to practice these skills by dissecting a pre-made lesson and sharing ideas and strategies of accommodation that can be applied in their setting.




This is a free Virtual UnConference. Participants must register in order to receive links to each workshop session via email. To register, complete the online registration form.

More Information

For questions about the UnConference, contact Yu-Ling Cheng at For additional information, visit our UnConference page.

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January 31, 2020

Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community


Recess: A Community Conversation

Physical movement and the freedom to play improves children’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills. Children, their caregivers, and community members are invited to join the Recess Advocacy Team to discuss their school recess experiences. Families will also have the opportunity to play at the MuseumLab for FREE from 4:30–5:30 p.m. Conversation, activities, and pizza will begin at 5:30 p.m. in Learning Lab 1.

The evening will include:

    • conversation,
    • playful activities,
    • networking,
    • pizza, and
    • more!


To register, complete the following form:

More Information

For more information, email

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October 11, 2019

Recess: A Community Conversation

Children, parents, and community members are invited to join the Recess Advocacy Team on November 7 to discuss their school recess experiences.

The evening will include conservation, playful activities, networking, dinner, and more!

More Information

For questions, contact

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To register, complete the form below.



January 9, 2018


Through the generous support of PNC Grow Up Great, Trying Together is proud to present a series of UnConferences as part of its leadership and professional development courses.




The UnConference is an innovative, hands-on professional development training format where a deeper experience is provided around a particular theme. Local and national speakers are invited to present and participants are encouraged to engage hands-on in the workshops.

The day concludes with a roundtable discussion on how to apply these experiences and ideas in the early childhood environment as well as share ideas on how to partner with new colleagues.

Would you like to hear about future UnConferences? Sign up to receive emails from us.


Past UnConferences


UnConference: Race Equity in Practice, February 11


UnConference: Creating a Safe Place with Trauma-Informed Care, February 8–18


Exceptional Care with a Team Approach to Inclusion, January 19–29


Virtual UnConference: Caring in a “New Normal”, September 14–23

Re-Opening to Our ‘New Normal’, May 26


The Business of Child Care, October 19

Young Learner’s Guide to Tech, March 30


P.R.I.D.E. Speaker Series – Reimagining Early Childhood: Being Intentional About Race and Young Children, September 27

Being Intentional about Race and Young Children, September 29

Play for Change, October 30

Destination Moon, November 3


Maker Tots, May 20 (part of Remake Learning Days)

Mindfulness, August 10

Get Dirty!, September 22

Friedberg-Segel Early Literacy featuring Hervé Tullet, October 14


An unprecedented six UnConferences were held including:

Total Leadership, March 9

Maker Tots, May 14

Children+Arts 2.0

Get Dirty!

Fred Rogers—The Friend, Teacher, Advocate

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood


The UnConference: Children+Arts was presented with the Reggio Emilia Pittsburgh Initiative, NAREA and the Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh. In addition to a private tour of the “Wonder of Learning” exhibit presented by NAREA, this UnConference explored the importance of arts in early childhood education and highlighted its evolution of innovation through the lens of Reggio Emilia’s philosophy.

Keynote speaker was Reggio Emilia expert Jennifer Strange.

Workshop presenters included: Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, Opera Theater of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Attack Theatre, Gemini Theater, Pittsburgh Opera, Carnegie Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Museum.


The inaugural UnConference, Game On! was presented in collaboration with the CREATE Lab and Google Pittsburgh.

This UnConference focused on how to embrace and appropriately use old and new technology with young children. In addition, Trying Together presented a “hackathon” where app ideas presented by teachers were brought to life through a hackathon team of programmers, designers and teachers.

Keynote speaker was Illah Nourbakhsh from CREATE Lab.

Workshop presenters included: Google Pittsburgh, TechShop, Dream Flight Adventures at Shaler Elementary, Pittsburgh Center for Creative ReUse, Schell Games, MAYA Design, Education Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, CREATE Lab, MakeShop at Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, Etcetera Edutainment and Assemble.


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