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Fireside conversations: Our children, learning spaces, and the future – Creating child care facilities with the heart in mind.

Our children are the future. They are the heart of what we do as educators. Their spaces should reflect the love we have for them and the future we want them to have.

As funds are flowing, join us for a fireside conversation on how to use available resources to pour our hearts into our children through creating childcare facilities that nurture and communicate our core values, while maximizing the impact of space enhancements with new or existing elements.

We invite you to join us for inspiration, best practice sharing, and community building, with childcare providers who have used available resources to create spaces with heart.

Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh, Founder + CEO, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative

Zina M. Davis, Executive Director, Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center


Dr. Nkechy Ekere Ezeh is an award-winning, international scholar, author, and educator. She is passionate about lifting up children and parents whom the educational system often fails. Dr. Ezeh’s life centers on education, as she believes in using early childhood learning and authentic parent engagement to ensure that our community’s most vulnerable children develop holistically. Dr. Ezeh is a tenured professor at Aquinas College and the founder and pedagogical leader of the landmark Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative (ELNC) – a trusted, place-based, early learning collaborative with affiliates in three Michigan cities – Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and Kalamazoo. Dr. Ezeh’s life purpose is to prepare teachers to educate ALL children, and working with community to create quality early childhood programs to prepare vulnerable children to be ready for kindergarten. Dr. Ezeh’s work has taken her across the globe to prepare teachers and caregivers, empower parents, and to testify before the state government as one of several advocacy strategies for children of color.

Zina M. Davis is the Executive Director of Children of the Rising Sun Empowerment Center. Zina operates an exemplary long-standing early childhood program that serves children and families in the metro Detroit area. CRS has a new 21st-century classroom design that offers an inclusive and innovative educational model that meets the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual development of the whole child – Mind, Body, and Spirit. The learning environment was designed to provide a feeling of calm and comfort so that children have the confidence, freedom, and independency to explore, discover, and grow.

Two session options:

Friday, December 9, 2022, 6-7 pm EST
Wednesday, December 14, 2022, 6-7 pm EST

Each session will explore:

Understanding the opportunity funding can create for aligning space to learning outcomes
Considerations for space design enhancements
Contribute insights to inform the creation of the community-generated “consideration guide”

Registration is now closed. 

Fireside Conversations have wrapped up for 2022. Thanks for joining us! Keep an eye on this page for new events in 2023, or you can sign up to the Natural Pod newsletter here


Giving back to you.

One participant from an early childhood center from each session will be selected at random to receive a gift to create their own fireside conversation within their learning space.