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31st Infancy Institute — June 19, 20, 21, 2018
Music and Mindfulness

Institute Highlights


Keynote Speaker Kaja WeeksKaja Weeks

Keys to Musical Interaction with Young Children –
Vibrant, Relational, and Developmental

Music captivates children in almost every imaginable setting. As mind and brain growth meld with early experience, musical sounds offer natural, effective sparks for motivation, social relatedness and learning that engage with unique identity. This presentation’s foundation is comprised of comprehensive perspectives about overall and musical development as well as early relationships. Additional discussion focuses on supportive measures and practical, playful implementations relevant to those invested in early education, intervention and caregiving.

Kaja Weeks is a clinic-based Developmental Music Educator, author, and mentor in the field of interactive music for young children. Her career began over forty years ago with a degree in music education and as a classical singer, which she methodically integrated with training in human/infant development and certification as a Fellow, Trainer and Practitioner of the Floortime and DIR (Developmental, Individual, Relational) model created by Stanley I. Greenspan, MD and Serena Wieder, PhD. Her innovative approach — The Relational Voice — benefits infants, toddlers and preschoolers, particularly those with special needs. Ms. Weeks has worked at an integrated clinic in conjunction with therapists in the Washington, DC region since 2002 and has a lively practice of teacher, caregiver and clinician training internationally. Formerly, Ms. Weeks was Associate Chair of the Early Childhood Music Department at Levine School of Music; Musical Facilitator at the National Institute of Health-Children’s Inn; and President of the Greater Washington, DC chapter of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association. Ms. Weeks has studied with music neuroscientist Jessica Phillips-Silver, and her scholarly ideas about communicative musicality within the developmental path of young children have been presented in numerous journal articles, lectures, and training in the United States and Canada.

Featured Presentation

Trauma, Empathy and Learning

Tonia M. Spence, LCSW, MSEd

As teachers and home visitors you are being asked to understand trauma, be empathetic and ensure children are learning. Is it possible to do it all? How do you decide what to prioritize so that you are not overwhelmed? This session will begin to explore how trauma manifests itself in behavior and strategies we can use to help children who are struggling.

Speaker Tonia M. SpenceTonia M. Spence, LCSW, MSEd, believes in the power of healthy relationships in shaping young children’s lives. She is a clinician, educator, presenter and advocate who has served children and families for 15+ years. As a new clinician, Tonia’s passion to learn led her to a Fellowship program at Yale’s Child Development Center Outpatient Clinic in New Haven, where she was able to strengthen her clinical understanding of young children. Being in New Haven, where the dichotomy of wealth and poverty was so evident, Tonia began to develop an understanding that without the lens of race, class and privilege she could never truly serve children and families well. She began to recognize how racial tension and stress added an additional layer to the trauma of the children and families she was serving.

Tonia is a leader in the field of zero to three, who has worked tirelessly to integrate her knowledge as a social worker and educator into an interdisciplinary approach to teaching clinicians, educators and students how to assess, diagnosis and treat young children who have experienced trauma through the lens of racial stress. She is passionate about supporting families through challenges and firmly believes that engagement is the foundation of social work.

Tonia holds a Masters in Special Education from Bank Street College of Education and a Master in Social Work from Columbia School of Social Work. She is currently the Senior Director of Early Childhood Services at The Jewish Board (JB). Her work at JBFCS expands to her role as the co-leader of the Administrators of Color where she, along with colleagues, works to impact all staff’s racial literacy.