Monthly Meet Ups

Meet Ups

Meet Ups are conference calls hosted by ECE-RJ Members with designated topics. Each free session is one hour in length. Calls will include rich discussions about the topic at hand.

October 9, 2017 

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. CDT

"Using Legos to Build Social Competencies "

Hosted by Jessica Frank, Learning Specialist

Register for Oct 9 Meet Up

Jessica Frank has dedicated her life to advocating for individuals with special needs and their families.  She graduated with her Bachelors in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas, received her Masters in Special Education from the University of North Texas and has completed all of her coursework for her PhD in Special Education from the University of North Texas. She has worked in both the public and private sector with with children and adults with special needs.  In addition to teaching in elementary and early childhood settings, she has worked with adults with special needs in therapeutic, home based and dayhabilitation environments.  For the past five years she has worked as the Learning Specialist at Temple Emanu-El Early Childhood Education Center in Dallas, TX.  
Lego Clubs are an evidence based strategy used to build communication, team building, and collaboration.  Due to the motivating nature of Legos, they are an ideal tool to use to enhance various play skills.  With the help of a facilitator, groups of three children have the opportunity to practice the skills necessary to play collaboratively.  One of the focal points behind the Lego Club philosophy is that each child has a specific job and the only way to complete the chosen Lego design is to work together. 
Lego Clubs traditionally consist of three members and each member has a specific job.  These jobs include engineer, parts supplier and builder.  It is the responsibility of the engineer to look at the directions and describe to the parts supplier which Lego pieces he needs to collect.  After the parts supplier has the necessary pieces, he hands them over to the builder, who assembles them with the directions provided by the engineer.  This can be a very challenging process of young children and occasionally, children need to be reminded to use their words and not their hands when describing how to assemble the pieces.  Each time we turned to a new page of directions, the jobs switch.  This allows each member to have an opportunity in each job and practice those job skills. 

Register for Oct 9 Meet Up

October 30, 2017 

2:00 - 3:00 p.m. CDT

"Creating a Welcoming Environment"

Hosted by Shelly Sender and Heidi Kutchin

Register for Oct 30 Meet Up

Heidi Kutchin is currently the Pedagogy Specialist at Temple Emanu-El where she ensures pedagogy alignment (Reggio inspired) throughout the school and develops and supports teacher documentation.  Heidi mentors educators in curriculum and environment.  She has developed and organized multiple workshops and conferences. Heidi attended the International Study Group in Italy in 2017.  Heidi has a Bachelor's Degree in business from the University of Texas at Austin.  She resides in Dallas with her husband Josh, and two sons.



Shelly Sender has been the Early Childhood Education Director of Temple Emanu-El, Dallas for the past 11 years, and in the early childhood field for 34 years. She has a Master’s Degree in early childhood disorders and education administration.  Shelly has conducted workshops in classroom environments and has a passion for creating beautiful spaces for children.  Shelly has been to the city of Reggio Emilia to explore the Reggio philosophy.  Shelly has been married for 34 years and has 3 children, two sons and a daughter.


Register for Oct 30 Meet Up

Suggest a Topic

ECE-RJ is looking for your suggestions of topics or presenters that would be of interest for future Meet Up Conference Calls. Please email Shelly Sender at or provide your suggestion in this online survey.

Access to the Zoom Video Conferencing App used for Meet Up Conference Calls

To join this free online video-conference event, please follow the links in your registration email or join from your  PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: Or join by phone: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll) Meeting ID: 742 743 2203

*If you don’t have audio/video on your computer, please call in AS WELL AS click on the link so you can view the presentation while listening/participating on the phone.