Home | Best Arts Conference


We are happy to announce that the 2022 BEST Arts (Building Educational Success through the Arts) Conference will be live and in person!

Save the date:

Saturday, May 7, 2022
7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Pacific Oaks College
45 W. Eureka Street
Pasadena, CA 91103

Registration opens March 1, 2022.


Registration opens March 1, 2022.

Pacific Oaks is committed to diversity through global perspectives, and wishes to extend a special invitation to our international community of Early Childhood Education providers, advocates, and academics to participate in the BEST Arts conference. As valued participants in the ongoing discussion of early childhood education, we will provide our international attendees with additional support if needed.

If you are an international representative interested in sponsoring or attending the conference, please contact us directly at bestarts@pacificoaks.edu.

Below is a sample of last year’s presentations:

Sylvette Frazier

Sylvette Frazier is an artist and educator working with children primarily from ages 3 to 8. She is the owner and creator of Connecting Children to Art in Nature, an art and nature-based company. Sylvette holds a bachelor’s degree in child development and a master’s degree in early childhood/primary education. She has been in both fields more than 25 years, exhibiting professionally, curating, and managing art events and workshops for children and adults. Her work involves bridging the arts and environmental education together—instilling a love for nature and cultivating awe and curiosity about the world around us.

Workshop: Utilizing Nature to Promote Imagination, Self-expression, and Creativity

Nature provides diverse opportunities for children to develop new concepts, engage in collaborative studies, and to learn about the world around them. These projects emphasize learning opportunities for children to develop their imagination, self-expression, and creativity while cultivating a deep respect for the natural world. Gather the following supplies ahead of time if you’d like to complete the projects as you watch. Click here to download supply list.

Project 1: Nature Weaves

  • For children ages 3 to 4. Supplies needed:
    • Small cardboard square
    • Neutral burlap to cover the cardboard square
    • Pipe cleaner
    • Heavy duty tape
    • Stapler
    • Colorful rubber bands
    • Botanical items with straight stems (e.g., rosemary, chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, statice flowers, daisies, stock flowers, bark) or feathers
    • Colorful ribbons
    • Scissors
  • For children ages 4 to 5. Supplies needed:
    • Two hand-held size branches
    • Twine, ribbons, string, or yarn
    • Botanical items with straight stems (e,g., rosemary, chamomile, lavender, eucalyptus, statice flowers, stock flowers, daisies, bark) or feathers
    • Colorful ribbons
    • Scissors

Project 2: Color Explorations in Nature

  • For children ages 3 to 5. Supplies needed:
    • Pencil
    • Magnifying glass (optional)
    • Paper to paint on
    • Paints (acrylic, tempera, or watercolor; bring liquid soap if using acrylic or tempera)
    • Paint brushes
    • Mixing tray for paints (recycled meat or vegetable trays from supermarket, paper plates, egg carton tops or bottoms, etc.)
    • Water to rinse
    • Glue stick and white glue
    • Variety of natural botanicals leaves, flower petals, bark, soil, etc.

Project 3: Nature Medallion

  • For children ages 3 to 5. Supplies needed:
    • Air-drying clay (ball size to fit in hand)
    • White glue
    • Wax paper (cut into small square for the clay to rest on)
    • Paper plate
    • Pencil
    • Natural botanical bits (flower petals, little leaves, seeds, stems, pebbles, etc.)
    • Ribbons to hang once dried

Angelica Garcia

Angelica Garcia has worked for the Anaheim Public Library for 34 years and has been a bilingual children’s storyteller for the last 15. She has a bachelor's degree in child development from Cal State Fullerton and has worked as a preschool and elementary teacher as well as a school librarian for Anaheim Elementary School District. Angelica Garcia trains and mentors new storytellers, librarians, and support staff for Anaheim and was the official emcee storyteller for the 2019 LA Times Book Festival Children’s Stage. Her musical, bilingual story times use puppets, props, and book sharing and include folktales and stories from all around the world.

Workshop: Bilingual Story Time for Preschoolers Using Puppets, Music, and Props … Oh My!

An interactive, bilingual story time will help your children succeed in life when they fall in love with books! Kids will beg you to read when you use puppets, music, and props. Click here to download handouts with a selection of recommended bilingual books, bilingual songs, and puppet show scripts.

L. Cherie Hogan

L. Cherie Hogan is an early childhood educator, mentor, author, adjunct instructor, presenter, guest speaker, and a lover of books.

Workshop: Top 10 Tried & True Recipes of Cooking with Toddlers

Simple techniques and tools for cooking with children as young as 18 months old. Click here to download teacher-tested and the top 10 toddler-approved recipes. Cooking with toddlers can be fun. Join in and learn how.

Kira Rappaport

Kira Rappaport has a B.M. in flute performance from USC and an M.A. in music education from CSULA. In addition, she has completed the three level Orff Schulwerk Teacher Certification and mastership certification in Edwin Gordon’s Early Childhood Music Learning Theory. In 2019, Rappaport completed an 18-month fellowship in the First 36 Project, educating parents on whole child development during the first three years of life. She has released two albums of children’s music and performs with her band, Kira Rappaport and Friends.

Workshop: Music in the Springtime

Music has a place in every aspect of the early childhood classroom. Learn three music lessons that include circle time songs and chants, fine and gross motor movement, literature made musical, and instrumental play. Come for an incredibly accessible and musical workshop. Click here to download the handout.

Anna Reyner

Anna Reyner is a nationally recognized arts advocate who is dedicated to helping people get in touch with their own creativity. Anna has conducted more than 800 national and international hands-on art workshops and is a registered art therapist and licensed marriage and family therapist. She holds a master’s degree in art therapy from the University of Louisville and a B.A. in art and psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University.  Anna is the author of two award-winning books, “Smart Art” and “Smart Art 2.” With nearly 40 years of experience delivering art programs and trainings, she remains passionate about the role of art and creativity in emotional intelligence, mental health, and human wellness.

Workshop: Art Therapy 101—Art in the Trauma Toolbox

Drawing and painting are powerful activities that offer children a sense of discovery and control. Clay, collage, woodwork, and other art experiences provide a wide range of learning possibilities. Discover more about “media variables” and the physics of sensory experiences with different art materials, as well as how to select different art materials to achieve a variety of goals. Learn how to better understand the needs of children in your classroom and how to maximize the full potential of art materials and art as a language. Click here to download the handout.

Carlene Salinas and Christine Najar

Carlene Salinas earned her bachelor’s in liberal studies from Cal State Dominguez Hills and an A.A. in child development from Cerritos College. Carlene has more than 30 years of experience in early childhood education, has mentored students from Cerritos College, and has presented at various state and local conferences. In her spare time, Carlene takes joy in attending events for her two teenage sons, high school basketball games, art exhibits, and spending quality time at Disneyland.

Christine Herrera Najar earned her B.S. in child development from the University of La Verne and an associate’s degree in child development from Rio Hondo College. She has 16 years of preschool teaching experience and has provided fieldwork opportunities for local college students. In 2020 Najar co-presented at the Head Start California Annual Conference. She enjoys cooking, reading, hiking, and traveling with her husband.

Workshop: One, Two, Three, Come and Read with Me! Interactive Literacy Activities for Young Children

Come explore storytelling utilizing fun, interactive strategies. This highly interactive session is focused on giving you ideas to immediately implement in your classroom.

Ronnie Silverstone

Ronnie taught kindergarten and preschool for LAUSD for almost 30 years and then used her experience and novel approach to early education to present workshops at conferences throughout California and across the United States.  She founded Bubble Rock Productions which produced  concerts for Greg and Steve, Charlotte Diamond, Hap Palmer, and Red Grammer. She also produced summer family concerts at the South Coast Botanic Garden and at the John Anson Ford Theater. Later, she took the “bubble” out of Bubble Rock to present bubble programs at schools across the Southland. She has been part of the BEST ARTS conference since its inception.

Workshop: Bubble Blow Out

Bubble Blow out is designed to transform teachers into Bubbleologists! The science and joy of bubbles can be integrated throughout the curriculum with the inclusion of music, stories and math and science. Join Ronnie for a super hands-on-science discovery experience.  Learn the bubble basics; why is a bubble round, what colors are in a bubble, what shape is a bubble, how to make bubble wands, and how to make the best bubble recipe ever!

Susan Wood

Susan Wood’s experience over the past 40 years includes serving as a classroom instructor overseeing teachers, coordinating community college preschool practicum students, and providing developmentally appropriate activities for children. Wood is currently the executive director of the Children’s Center at Caltech and is also the founder of the Early Childhood Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (ECSTEM) Conference. She is an active member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the National Science Teachers Association and has presented workshops on a national level in areas of early childhood curriculum with an emphasis on science education. She received an M.A. in Child Development from Pacific Oaks College.

Workshop: The ‘A’ in STEAM: Taking a closer look at art through the lens of STEM

Join us to see art through the lens of STEM. This workshop will provide educators with best practices on tools and techniques to incorporate putting the A in STEM with art and their STEAM curriculum. Samples of art for ages 0 to 5 will be shared with participants.


If you are interested in becoming an exhibitor, please contact bestarts@pacificoaks.edu.


Supporting the BEST Arts Conference is a wonderful way to demonstrate you or your organization’s commitment to early childhood education. In prior years, the conference drew 700 to 800 attendees.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact bestarts@pacificoaks.edu.

The 2022 BEST Arts Conference will be held at:

Pacific Oaks College
45 W. Eureka Street
Pasadena, CA 91103