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2021 Virtual Early Learner Public Policy Forum

Join Early Learner South Dakota for 2 sessions per month in October, November and December. We will be discussing the importance of Early Learning, how other factors can affect Early Learners and how to become an advocate for our Early Learners.

Check back often as we are updating this page with session information as it becomes available.

October 7, 2021 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

Learning Impacted by Trauma with Tifanie Petro

Research has shown that children with adverse childhood experiences struggle more with learning and participating at school, with language development, communication, attendance, and excelling academically. To fully create equitable access to early learning, we must be first be willing to understand a learners life experiences. We will briefly explore connection between lived experiences and a child’s ability to learn.  Helping us to answer the question is this a “can’t or a won’t” when it comes to learning!


October 21, 2021 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

Advocacy 101 with Influential She

Deb will speak about the policy and politics of early learning. She will also relate the ins and outs of the political process. This session will help develop an understanding of how to become influential in shaping policy that helps vulnerable children.


To be rescheduled

November 4, 2021 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

Importance of Brain Development with Dr. Amy Elliott


Dr. Elliott will present on current data showing the critical role of the prenatal time period in child health and development. This will include data from the Safe Passage Study, a large longitudinal study, conducted in our region that found prenatal smoking and alcohol use beyond the first trimester increased the first of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) almost 12-fold.  Specifically, we will look at how these exposures influence brain development and the importance of early support for pregnant women.


November 18, 2021 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

Workforce Development with Sam McGrath and Jessica Gromer

Join our moderator - Anna Haeys with the Elevate Rapid City, as she speaks with the panelists about early learning workforce and the effects it is having on local businesses. They will discuss how the pandemic has elevated this issue and possible solutions for the problem. 


December 2, 2021 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

How to Reach Out with Greg Boris

Greg will share with attendees the important first step in advocacy, how to contact elected officials. Then, he will explain the differences between lobbying and educating elected officials. Greg will explain the procedure to be considered a lobbyist at the SD State Legislature as well as how to construct a tight, informative message to legislators. He will also share what NOT to do when interacting with elected officials.


January 6, 2022 | 11am MST / 12pm CST

Pierre Training

Planning for the Capitol Visit! If you are planning to join us for the Day at the Capitol on January 20th, this will be the day we will discuss more about our talking points, goals and agenda for that day. 

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