Focusing On What Matters

The Michigan Washtenaw County Early Childhood Director's Association (ECDA) is a professional organization for the directors, administrators, and leaders of early childhood programs. Our goals are to support directors, to serve as advocates of children's issues, and to provide resource and networking opportunities for early childhood professionals.



Members will have the opportunity to attend eight (8) talks on relevant early childhood education topics as well as network with your peers and be a part of the local early childhood community. Our Steering Committee is comprised of representatives from WCSACCA, Success by six (6) Quality Preschool Partnership, Southern Chapter of AEYC, and Child Care Network, and more.

NOTE: Membership is required to attend, excluding the April workshop when there is a special registration process. Newly licensed programs may attend one meeting for free before having to join to participate.

SEPTEMBER 27, 2023

YOU as a Leader in ECE
Speaker: Christine Snyder, University of Michigan

A common skill required for leadership and management in early childhood is the ability to help people work together professionally, collaboratively, and with a positive work ethic. Leaders often struggle with getting members of teaching teams to get along, engaging adult learners in evaluation and growth processes, and establishing a shared vision among a large program. During this talk I will share tools and strategies to work better together through examining organizational culture, establishing a shared vision, reflecting on leadership practices and implementing concrete action steps to address tension.

OCTOBER 25, 2023

Follow the Leader: Persuasive Leadership in Early Childhood
Speaker: Chamayne Green

Leaders sustain the greatest impact on an organization's success and failure. Leaders set the tone for the culture of the organization. Participants will assess their current leadership style and explore approaches of leading and coaching teams in an organization. Together, we will examine the characteristics of a leader, build a culture of authenticity and set goals to create persuasive and effective leaders in early childhood.

NOVEMBER 15, 2023

Self-Care: More than mani-pedis and mindfulness!
Speakers: Heidi McFadden and Beth MeLampy, Gretchen's House

Research confirms the critical connection between the health and well-being of children and the wellness of the adults caring for them. Because of this important connection, it is essential that adults take care of themselves, so that they can provide high-quality care to the children in their lives. In this workshop, we will explore research-based tools that can help you strengthen your own sense of well-being and resilience. You will receive practical ideas and tools to use as soon as you return to work and home.

JANUARY 24, 2024

What to Expect When You're Expected to Work With Kids: A Roller Coaster Ride Through the Twilight Zone Known as Early Childhood Education
Speaker: Jerod Wesney, Gretchen's House

Working with kids can be strange, but it isn't a horror movie; most of the time.

FEBRUARY 28, 2024

*VIRTUAL* Navigating Developmental and Behavioral Concerns
This session is virtual via Zoom due to historically awful weather!
Speaker: Dr. Nikki Hamp

Dr. Nikki Hamp is a board-certified developmental-behavioral pediatrician. She is Medical Director at Arbor Autism Centers in Ypsilanti and adjunct clinical assistant professor at Mott Children's hospital in Ann Arbor. She will be sharing information with us on promoting child development in early childhood education, identifying and referring children for developmental and behavioral concerns, and supporting and advocating for families and children as they navigate complex systems of care.

MARCH 27, 2024

Hot Topics In Early Childhood- Director Speed Dating!

This session is designed to allow you to network and problem solve with your peers about the topics most important to you and your work. Guided discussions on a variety of topics!

APRIL 24, 2024

Illuminating Care
Speakers: Karin Nowak and Pam Preston, Gretchen's House

In her book, Illuminating Care, Carol Garboden Murray asks us to “challenge the notion that care is subordinate to education”. Join us as we explore the importance of keeping “care” as a core value in our early education practices. We will discuss our pedagogy using 7 lamps of care described in the book: Care is education; Care is a right; Care is a partnership; Care is bodily; Care is an art; Care is a science and Care is what makes us human. We will discuss how the lamps of care can guide us in our practice of care and early education.

MAY 22, 2024

Helping or Hurting: Microaggressions and Inclusive vs Exclusive Language
Speakers: Christine Snyder and Holly Delgado, University of Michigan

As caregivers and educators, we approach our work with good intent to help others feel valued, included, and accepted but we may sometimes overlook subtle interactions that may unintentionally marginalize, exclude, or erase people whose identity is different than ours. Through discussion and small group activities, participants will define “discrimination”, explore the complexity of identity, consider microaggressions and how/when they occur in ECE settings, distinguish between inclusive and exclusive language in interactions and practices, and create a plan to modify or improve interactions and practices to be more inclusive.



Registration and Membership are now available on MiRegistry!  Membership payment can be made via MiRegistry when you register for training, OR a check can be made payable to "CCN" and brought to the September meeting, OR mailed to:

Child Care Network
Attn: ECDA/ Candy Sorensen
3941 Research Park Dr., Suite C
Ann Arbor, MI  48108

Annual Membership Fee (September 2023 - May 2024): $70 *Multi-site programs pay $40 for each additional site
Monthly Training Fee: $25 (includes lunch, dessert, drink, and gratuity)

Meetings location:
Washtenaw Golf Club
2955 Packard Street
Ypsilanti, MI  48197


Frequently Asked Questions

  • The trainings are intended for Directors, Administrators and Leaders of Early Childhood Programs.  Twice a year we offer a joint luncheon with WCAEYC that focuses more on teachers and day to day classroom support.

  • Out of respect for the speakers and participants, we strongly discourage you from bringing your child, the meetings are long and there are no "play areas" to help entertain them.  Exceptions can be made for in arms infants only with permission.  Please contact our current president Shannon Peitz, via email at, if you have any further questions.

  • The training fee does include lunch, but you are welcome to come for just the training which begins at noon.  If you do plan on eating please arrive at 11:15AM.  There are gluten free and vegetarian options available.  You can request 'special dietary requests' when registering for the training.

  • We understand that the kids come first and we cannot always get away from our programs.  There is no need to contact anyone but unfortunately you are still required to pay for the training.  You can mail your payment to the treasurer or bring it with you to the next meeting.  If you chose to pay ahead for the whole year there will not be a refund if you stop attending the meetings.  You also have the option of sending someone in your place if you can't make it.

  • Yes, each participant will receive a certificate that includes their name, the topic of discussion, hours of training and date.

  • Yes, once your organization is a member you're welcome to bring as many people from your program as you would like.  Please register each person separately each month, the $20.00 fee applies to each person.

  • If you would like to join ECDA or become a part of the Steering Committee, please email us at  You are welcome to attend one meeting without becoming a member.  The $20.00 training fee would still apply.


ECDA Steering Committee 2023-2024

Shannon Peitz

Gretchen's House • Dhu Varren

Tammie King
Vice President

Bemis Farms Preschool & Childcare

Karin Nowak
Secretary & Public Policy

Gretchen's House • Oak Valley

Carrie Anderson
Treasurer & Past President

Morning Star Child Care

Patty Sherwood
Venue & Events

Adventure Center

Debbie Belcher
Joint Luncheon

The Discovery Center

Laura Griswold
SBS/QPP Liaison

Gretchen's House • Administration

Candy Sorensen
Membership & Communications

Child Care Network

Chrissy McKiddie
Member at Large

Gretchen's House • Mt. Vernon

Shannon Steinbach
Member at Large

Gretchen's House • School-Age Coordinator

Etta Heisler
Member at Large

Apple Playschools



Our goals are to support directors, to serve as advocates of children's issues, and to provide resource and networking opportunities for early childhood professionals.

Join us