We’re in New Orleans, LA for the NAEYC PDI. “NAEYC’s National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development is designed for all early childhood professionals, including leaders who prepare, mentor, and support early childhood professionals, as well as program administrators, teacher educators, trainers, teachers, preschool teachers, and researchers. The theme for the 2015 Institute is The Early Childhood Profession We All Want: What Will It Take to Get Us There?” -NAEYC
The day began with a smile. It’s exhilarating being with 2,000 early childhood professionals that are passionate about the field! Due of the energy that the attendees bring and the expertise of the presenters and panelists, I knew it was going to be a great day.
As the Grand Ballroom began to fill, chatter filled the air. Friends and colleagues from across the country reunited with open arms and smiles. There was a feeling of positivity in the room. The opening plenary was moderated by the NAEYC Executive Director, Rhian Evans Allvin. The panelists shared their personal journeys into early childhood, as well as their thoughts about tomorrow’s early childhood professionals and suggestions for becoming a leader in the field. Isauro Michael Escamilla discussed being “a man in a woman’s world” and how we (especially men) need to model to boys that they can grow up to be nurturing and compassionate men. LaTisha Flowers and Tyshawn Johnson also had meaningful messages about intentionality, support, and effort. A few quotes from Melissa Ann Porforio were striking to me. I’ve included them below:
- “To not open our doors and share what we know and serve all children is malpractice.”
- “We are the profession that makes every other professional possible.”
- “If educators aren’t at the table, they’ll be on the menu. Use your teacher voice and be heard!”
That last one really resonated with me. So often, agendas and policies are being enforced but we are not at the table. Others are deciding for us. Our profession does not currently reflect what we know about early care and education (research, pedagogy, and best practice). It is a critical time in early childhood and if we’re not willing to snatch a seat at the table, then we can’t really complain when we’re left with tablescraps. Take a moment to consider where there may be an open seat for you to snatch in your area of influence. No seats left? Be persistent. Be empowered and know that others are doing the same thing throughout the country. We have a right to be at the table. I think the opening plenary was a success – I know I’m fired up 🙂
I was disappointed to find out that one of my chosen sessions was cancelled. That being said, I was able to quickly find another one to attend. Many people were tweeting throughout the day during the conference. If you were not able to attend with year but are seeking the most pertinent nuggets of information from the conference (short and concise professional development), be sure to search the hashtag #naeycINST on Twitter to follow along.
Besides a multitude of fantastic sessions to choose from, the conference also offers plenty of opportunities for networking. I greatly appreciate this aspect of the conference and look forward to the ways we can partner together for future endeavors!
It was a wonderful (and exhausting) first day, but I’m extremely honored to be part of the conversation.