Weekday Church Educators Focus On Children's Future At Baylor Conference

July 14, 2000

by Lori Scott Fogleman

More than 1,300 weekday church educators will focus on the future of children in their care during "Our Future--Under Construction," the annual Texas Baptist Church Weekday Education Conference being held today and Saturday at Baylor University. The conference -- the largest of its kind in the state -- is co-sponsored by the Texas Baptist Church Weekday Education Association, the church ministries department of the Baptist General Convention of Texas, and Baylor.

The conference provides directors, teachers and caregivers from more than 200 Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal, Lutheran and Catholic churches, with practical workshops on caring for infants and toddlers, two- and three-year-olds, and pre-K, kindergarten and school-age children. Session topics for teachers range from "Music with Infants and Toddlers," "Outdoor Play," "Fun with Playdough" and "Under Construction in the Block Center" to "I Need Help with Technology," "Effective Parent Conferences," "I'm All Stressed Out" and "SIDS, Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abuse."

Educators also will tour Baylor's child development center, the Piper Center for Family Studies, as well as the university's early childhood lab in room 100 in the Draper Academic Building. Sessions and tours will be led by college early childhood faculty, educators from several Texas churches and school districts, and caseworkers with Child Protective Services and the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services.

Dr. Randy Wood, director of Baylor's Center for Christian Education and one of the conference organizers, describes the conference, held for more than a decade at Baylor, as a "vital ministry" for weekday church educators.

"We want these teachers and directors to go from here filled with a sense of the importance of their work," Wood said. "Many of them are up at 5:30 a.m. and work until 6 p.m. five or six days a week. It's a tough job, so we want this conference to be uplifting and inspirational, as well as educational."

Wood also said the two-day conference allows many of the educators to receive credits to fulfill their yearly training requirements.

Directors and educators also will hear from noted speakers during the conference, including

pediatrician and child psychologist Dr. Grace Ketterman of Kansas City, Mo., who will speak Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. in Waco Hall on "Our Future--Under Construction" and 10 a.m. in Bennett Auditorium on "Our Future--Relating to Today's Families." Ketterman also is the author of several books, including The Complete Guide to Mothering, Depression Hits Every Family, Marriage: First Things First and Preparing for Parenthood. Susan O'Donnell, a Christian entertainer and afternoon air personality on Houston Christian radio station KSBJ-FM, will perform at 7 p.m. Friday in Waco Hall. Dallas motivational speaker Ethel Sexton, also an on-air personality with Dallas Christian radio station KCBI-FM, will deliver her keynote address at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, also in Waco Hall.

Wood said the conference has more than doubled in size since he joined the Baylor education faculty in 1989. That year, the conference attracted 600 participants, he recalled, and organizers expect the July 2001 conference at Baylor to provide training for more than 1,500 weekday church educators.

For more information on the Texas Baptist Church Weekday Education Conference, contact Wood at (254) 710-2410.

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