CHILDHOOD Conference

An education conference for families and schools.
Prioritizing childhood, redefining normal. 

Gather with us April 19-20, 2024 for

CONVERSATION
IDEA SHARING
NETWORKING
INSPIRATION

with leaders, educators, and parents.

Who?

Who’s this conference for, you ask? It’s for anyone wishing to recapture the wonder of childhood despite what society deems “normal”.

It’s for educator entrepreneurs wanting to join the movement of learning done differently and start their own co-op, microschool, etc!

It’s for teachers wishing to enact change within their very own classrooms.

It’s for parents chasing educational freedom for the children.

Why?

Because “standardized” is not normal… “personalized” is.

Because “apart from family” is not normal… “together” is.

Because “within the same four walls all day” is not normal… “out and about in the world and in nature” is.

Because of these things…

YOU are invited to CHILDHOOD 2024.

Come join us at the WonderHere Farm in Lakeland, Florida for an intimate gathering of like-minded humans. This is not your typical education conference. Not only will you enjoy riveting speaker sessions, you’ll get some much needed downtime… connecting with others, enjoying nature, and soaking it all in.

Come create something new for your family and your community.

All for the sake of CHILDHOOD.

Registration is closed. Please email jessica@wonderhere.com to be placed on the waitlist!

SPEAKERS

SPEAKERS

Glen & Yvette Henry
More about Glen & Yvette!
 

Glen and Yvette Henry, a dynamic duo woven together by thirteen years of marriage, are the epitome of harmony in contrasts. With four beautiful children as the heartbeat of their home, they navigate life’s adventures with grace and humor. As co-hosts of the “How Married Are You?!” podcast, Glen and Yvette invite listeners into the intimate fabric of their relationship, sharing insights, challenges, and laughter along the way.

Glen, an introverted-extrovert and steadfast Taurus, thrives in creativity, crafting captivating videos for his YouTube channel, Beleaf in Fatherhood, and storytelling through music. Yvette, a social introvert and adventurous Gemini, is a lifelong learner with a penchant for the great outdoors, finding solace and inspiration in nature’s embrace. United in their unwavering commitment, Glen and Yvette embrace simple pleasures like Netflix and chill, friendly competition on the tennis court, and culinary adventures.

 
Glen’s Favorite Childhood Memory:
Reading books at bedtime with his mom.
 
Yvette’s Favorite Childhood Memory:
I enjoyed my dad reading to me from the Children’s Storybook Bible we had as kids.
Stephanie Radcliffe
More about Stephanie!

Stephanie Radcliffe is the founder of Stories Begin At Home, which is “has an eclectic homeschool & learning at home approach & is inspired by a variety of different learning philosophies & methods.”

Stephanie lives in Orlando, FL, and has been married to her husband Wes since 2009 and is mother to five her children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Child Development & teaching certifications for a variety of subject areas.

Instagram: @storiesbeginathome

Lauren Giordano
More about Lauren!

Lauren Giordano is an author, illustrator, and owner of Chickie & Roo, an educational curriculum and resource company for families and schools. She home educates her two children in Florida and teaches in her local homeschool co-op community, where she leads nature classes.

Lauren is passionate about bringing children closer to nature and helping them develop a deeper understanding of our natural world. She produces a family nature podcast called WILD Mysteries and her published books include: Nature School, Go WILD Nature Journal, and How to Plan a Unit Study.

Her work has been featured in The Peaceful Press, A Year of Learning, Chickadees Wooden Toys, Wild & Free Co., FunSchooling Books, and more. You can find her work at chickieandroo.com.

Paola McGarvey
More about Paola!

Paola is a bilingual blogger, content creator, writer, self-proclaimed “over-sharer” but more importantly, wife and mom of four earthly kids and two heaven babies.

Paola is passionate about inspiring and encouraging other moms and dads alike in the beautifully messy journey of parenthood, hardships and all, keeping in mind the ultimate privilege it is to have been entrusted the lives and souls of those that will become the future generation. You can find Paola sharing all about the next crazy adventure she’s on with her husband and kids on social media: the good, the bad, and the ugly!

Instagram: @paolajoannblog

Johnny Outing
More about Johnny!

Johnny Outing is a 5th grade educator, preaching elder for his church, and writer.

He enjoys spending time with his family and friends, reading books and binge watching obscure television shows.

He is married to his best friend Alicia and has a daughter and a son.

Instagram: @mr.outing

Griselda Valdes
More about Griselda!

Griselda is a mother, grandmother, former educator, and writer of poetry. As a Cuban immigrant who raised first generation Cuban-Americans, she is passionate about education, literacy, and service. She’s been married to her husband for 35 years, and has three children and four grandchildren.

Amanda Thenor
More about Amanda!

Amanda is an educator trained and experienced in the Montessori method and is part of the core WonderHere founding team. She is a wife and a mother to four boys. She currently leads WonderHere’s events and is part of the staff support team. She is a homeschool mama and expert cookie baker!

Marie Bestman
More about Marie!

Marie Bestman, the founder of Bestman Educational Consulting LLC, is a passionate “forever educator”. As Chief Educational Consultant, Marie is committed to revolutionizing educational practices by empowering teachers, parents, and school leaders. Her expertise lies in crucial areas such as school growth and leadership, program management, student-centered decision-making, play-based learning, parental engagement, and leadership development. Marie firmly believes that the world is our classroom, transcending the confines of traditional learning environments. With a profound dedication to fostering strong partnerships among parents, families, schools, and community stakeholders, Marie delivers dynamic workshops and resources aimed at enhancing the holistic success of every child. Known as “the Play Advocate,” she harnesses her wealth of experience and diverse educational background to empower families through play-based learning and experiences.

Marie’s educational journey began as a  primary school teacher in the Miami-Dade Public School system, eventually ascending to the role of a dynamic school principal in the private sector. Her transformative experiences with Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools have profoundly influenced her approach to education and leadership. As a former servant leader intern, national Ella Baker Trainer, and site coordinator, Marie’s impact was felt deeply in the local Miami community. Marie served as a senior manager with Step Up for Students, overseeing multiple regions for 7 years. Additionally, she dedicated five years to homeschooling her own children, further enriching her understanding of personalized education.

Marie’s academic credentials include a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and a Master of Science degree in Special Education from Saint Thomas University. Her exceptional achievements, such as her remarkable ascent to the position of School Principal at the young age of 23, underscore her unwavering commitment to educational excellence. Recently, Marie added “published author” to her list of accolades, with the release of two engaging workbooks for children.

Her unique ability to inspire, motivate, and innovate has established her as a growing figure in the education community. With her boundless creativity and visionary leadership, Marie continues to develop innovative solutions that propel educational programs forward while nurturing the next generation of leaders.

Kevin Hull
More about Kevin!

Kevin B. Hull, PhD, LMHC, RPT, CGP has 30 years of counseling experience and 20 years as a professor. He has a private practice and is Associate Faculty with Liberty University. He has published books and articles related to play therapy. He plays with his children and grandchildren all the time and loves to take long walks with his wife Wendy. He plays daily as an open water swimmer and enjoys goofing around in general.

Tiffany Thenor
More about Tiffany!

Tiffany Thenor is the co-owner and co-founder of WonderHere. After graduating from Southeastern University with her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, she taught in a Title 1 School for 7 years before her passion for education and strong desire to see learning done differently led her on the path to launching WonderHere with her best friend, Jessica. Married to her college crush, Jeffrey, together they have three wonderful and busy little ones: Jeremiah, Ezra, and Tahlia. When she isn’t writing curriculum, blogging, or leading her team at WonderHere; she is decorating, homeschooling her children, exploring, and writing just for fun.  Everything she does and everything she is is for the Lord and she is grateful for everyday that she is here to serve her community.

Jessica Zivkovich
More about Jessica!

Jessica Zivkovich is co-owner and co-founder of WonderHere. She has 10 years of teaching experience, as well as her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education from Southeastern University. She also carries teaching endorsements in reading education and ESOL. Her favorite part of WonderHere is seeing kids’ eyes light up when they’re learning, and also getting to be in community with some amazing families. She truly considers it to be a dream come true. Jessica is married to her college sweetheart, George, and has two sweet sons – Evan and Louie – and a furry Labradoodle named Henry. In her downtime, she enjoys reading fiction books, writing on her blog, spending time on her family’s farm, and simply being with the people she loves.

Colleen & Charles Morrison
More about Colleen & Charles!

As a social worker, Colleen has worked within the foster care system, medical field, and public education system. She is currently a Mental Health Facilitator within PCPS, providing mental health and social emotional supports to students in need. As Chair of the Trauma Informed Care Committee, she provides valuable resources to teachers and families through professional development and educational resources focused on trauma-informed care. She is pursuing her licensure in clinical social work which will enable her to provide more support within the community through a therapeutic lens. Colleen is passionate about educating others about self-regulation and emotional well-being to create a peaceful environment where learning can occur. When she isn’t helping others, Colleen loves spending time with her husband, 2 sons, and a menagerie of animals. Charles has held various roles in his 9 years working in the public education system. He has been a teacher, dean, and is currently a district positive behavior intervention and supports facilitator. He is passionate about fostering environments where every student can achieve their potential, emphasizing care for the student as an individual. Before his career in education, Charles served in the US Marine Corps, worked in the federal prison system, and served families through the Department of Children and Families. Through his life and work experiences, he has become a strong advocate for children and their families. He enjoys spending time in nature with his family and beloved dog, Lulu.

Billy Townsend
More about Billy!

Billy Townsend is a writer and independent Florida historian who served as an elected Polk County (FL) School Board member from 2016-2020. He was an award-winning reporter for the Lakeland Ledger and Tampa Tribune until 2008. Billy is long-time critic of the Florida Model of test-based education and champion of more humane and developmental alternatives. You can find his articles on his free Stubstack publication: “Public Enemy Number 1”

Coy Lindsey
More about Coy!

I’m a husband, dad, pastor, coach, wannabe surfer and someone who loves a compelling story. I believe there’s a goodness that everyone holds, and assume it’s my responsibility to encourage as many people as possible to express it in this one life we get to live.

Brian Bertges
More about Brian!

Brian Bertges currently serves as the Theta Delta Chi Educational Foundation Executive Director. He intimately works with undergraduate students across the United States and Canada. As a higher education professional for over a decade, Brian continues to analyze the gaps created by our current education system. Brian Bertges currently serves as the Theta Delta Chi Educational Foundation Executive Director. He intimately works with undergraduate students across the United States and Canada. As a higher education professional for over a decade, Brian continues to analyze the gaps created by our current education system. As a former middle school math, science, and health educator, Brian first noticed these gaps. In 2006, he was selected as a Teach For America corps member, and he witnessed the impacts of low expectations and a cookie-cutter approach to teaching in the Bronx of New York City and Prince George’s County, Maryland. Eventually, he learned the only way to educate was to inspire his students to want to learn. With a “No Excuses” mantra, his students started to thrive and find their “why.” Rather than schooling representing historical mantras created by the Industrial Revolution, “Show up on time, do what you’re told, never question authority, and always, ALWAYS use a number two pencil,” he believes schools should primarily teach leadership and critical thinking and abandon multiple-choice standardized tests, allowing students to thrive.

SPONSORS

SPONSORS

More about Vela
The VELA Founder Network is the nation’s leading community of entrepreneurs providing alternatives to conventional schooling. By providing early capital, access to a thriving community of entrepreneurs, and connections to resources and support, VELA is accelerating the exploration of new frontiers in education.
More about Microschool Florida
Microschool Florida is all about empowering Parents and Educators with Non-traditional Education Options. Microschools, Homeschools, Tutors, Arts, STEM, Sports and Programs, including our online directory.
More about The Joinery
The Joinery is modern food hall + craft brewery on the banks of Lake Mirror in downtown Lakeland, Florida.
More about The Foundation
The WonderHere Education Foundation is a local non-profit organization (registered 501c3) that exists to cultivate a love of learning within each child by providing educational opportunities for local families, educators, and community stakeholders through innovative programs and curriculum.
More about Mi Cafecito

Mi Cafecito is a Colombian owned “Specialty coffee” bar serving Private (social, corporate, weddings) & Popup (local markets) events all over central Florida. We have completed over 130 events since May 2023, offering a customized menu per event. We work with farmers from all over Central and South America to find the best coffee harvest available per region/season (fair trade), and are proud to primarily feature a Colombian bean. ​

More about The Nest

The Nest is a 501c3 community resource center that serves the growing families of Lakeland and its surrounding areas through lactation support and classes for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, postpartum health, baby care, and more.

More about Cap & Cole
Ashlynn, the founder of Cap & Cole, began to dream of this brand when she was pregnant with her son and looking for cute boy clothes and matching sibling outfits that didn’t break the bank. Cap & Cole is actually named after her son, Captain, and her daughter, Nicole. This brand has evolved from just matching mom & me shirts to shirts for everyone!
More about Ethos

At Ethos Roasters we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality – and most impactful and ethically sourced – coffee beans shipped directly from our roastery to your doorstep. We don’t – and will never – have a roasted coffee inventory, so we can provide you with the FRESHEST and absolute best coffee experience – always shipped to you just hours after roasting.

CONVERSATIONS

CONVERSATIONS

For the Education Leader / Teacher

  • How to start a school 
  • Alternate ways for Progress Monitoring 
  • Project Based learning for a generation prepared for the tech and idea era ahead 
  • Increasing 
  • Autonomy Yields Independent Learners  
  • No More Desks: An argument for flexible seating 
  • Nature Science: The research based power of outdoors time for kids and mental health correlations 
  • Relationship over Curriculum  
  • Personalizing Education

For the Parent Educator

  • Portfolio Evaluations 
  • Step-up for Schools Q/A 
  • Project-based Learning: how to incorporate it in your home 
  • Play-based learning 
  • Different Styles of Education: What’s the right-fit for me?
  • Education Empowerment Panel 
  • Grit 
  • Math for Middle/High

PRE-CONFERENCE

PRE-CONFERENCE

for educators

 

We invite you to come to CHILDHOOD a day early (INVITATION ONLY)! If you’re a teacher, educator leader, microschool administrator, or someone curious about starting their own education movement (or their own WonderHere!), join us for this lunch-&-learn-style Pre-Conference!

When: Thursday, April 18, 9:00AM – 1:00PM

Where: The WonderHere Farm

What’s included:

  • Group tour of WonderHere Farm & School in action
  • Lunch & Learn with other microschool leaders & WonderHere team
  • Workshop led by Jessica & Tiffany on the journey of WonderHere + information on the new process to bring WonderHere to your hometown!

Cost: Free (lunch cost not included, details coming soon)

TICKETS

TICKETS

Registration is closed. Please email jessica@wonderhere.com to be placed on the waitlist!

VENDORS
& SPONSORS

VENDORS
& SPONSORS

Interested in becoming a CHILDHOOD Market Vendor or Sponsor?

Please fill out the form below for more info:

Vendor/Sponsor Form

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