Rachel Giannini, keynote speaker

Rachel Giannini, keynote speaker

Fort Worth, Texas (January 25, 2021) – Camp Fire First Texas will open the 13th Early Childhood Conference on Friday, March 5 with a special screening of the groundbreaking documentary film, No Small Matter. This is the first documentary to explore the most overlooked, underestimated, and powerful force in America: early childhood education.

The two-day virtual conference will also feature Keynote, Rachel Giannini, who is featured in the film working in her classroom in 2015. Since then, she has continued advocating for early childhood as a public speaker, commentator, curriculum developer and video blog host.

“This virtual conference will not be a passive experience,” shared Debra Hanus, senior director of professional development at Camp Fire. “Our interactive platform will provide our attendees and presenters the opportunity to network, visit vendor booths, meet new colleagues and create a deeper connection with others in the early education community,” explained Hanus. “By spreading the conference over two days, it allows us to present valuable content while curbing the mental fatigue that can accompany a virtual conference.

Following the Friday evening screening of No Small Matter and discussion facilitated by Giannini, she will return the following day to present the keynote and later serve as discussion leader/moderator for an expert Business Leader Panel.

The Business Leader Panel will address themes raised in the film and how it applies to communities in Texas. This high-energy session will open for audience Q&A from the panel which includes:

  • Nicole Allen, Child Care Contract Manager with Workforce Solutions for Tarrant County;
  • Michelle Buckley, Parent;
  • Mandi Kimball, Vice President, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs with CHILDREN AT RISK;
  • Jerletha McDonald, Early Educator Business Owner;
  • Elizabeth Self, Assistant Professor, Tarrant County College; and
  • Stephania Whitehurst, Director of Quality Child Care, Tarrant County CCMS .

The conference will also incorporate age-specific, high engagement learning tracks tailored to classroom age groups: Infant/Toddler teachers, Pre-K teachers, School Age/After School teachers and Director/Assistant Director/Leadership.

Hanus added, “It is Camp Fire’s sincere desire early childhood educators walk away from this conference with three things:

  1. A stronger sense of their valuable role both in the lives of the families who they work with, but in their larger communities.
  2. A wider network of professionals to problemsolve and seek peer support.
  3. Actionable tactics, teaching strategies and resources to catapult developmentally appropriate learning within each of their classrooms.

Attendees can earn up to 6-clock hours/CPE credits of in-person training to apply towards meeting annual state licensing requirements.


About Keynote, Rachel Giannini

Rachel Giannini is a childhood specialist, an early childhood advocate, and a video blog host. She currently splits her time as a public speaker, early childhood commentator, and curriculum designer.

Rachel’s writing, expertise, and videos have appeared in Vox, The New York Times, HuffPost, Child Care Exchange, and Chicago Parent. Rachel has an MFA in Museum Education from the University of Illinois and is a volunteer hospital magician for Open Heart Magic. www.RachelGiannini.com

About the Film

No Small Matter is a feature-length documentary film and national engagement campaign that brings public attention to this vital question by sharing powerful stories and stunning truths about the human capacity for early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future. This multifaceted project reveals how our country is raising its youngest citizens, why making the most of this time in their lives is so crucial, and most importantly, what we can do to change the perception of when learning begins. The first major theatrical documentary to tackle this topic, No Small Matter is designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education. www.nosmallmatter.com

About Camp Fire First Texas

Camp Fire First Texas is one of the largest Camp Fire councils in the country. Programs are for boys, girls and their families and include camping, after school programs, teen services, environmental education, and school readiness, in addition to professional development for early childhood educators. In Camp Fire, children and youth find a safe, fun and inclusive place – a place where they form lasting relationships, develop a sense of belonging and make positive contributions to the lives of their families and their community. Camp Fire youth have life-enhancing experiences and develop assets essential to their futures. Camp Fire changes young lives for the better in our community. Inside and out. CampFireFW.org