The 2015 National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) Annual Conference and Expo was held mid-November at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Over 10,000 early childhood educators and professionals gathered for the five-day event and all came full of excitement and inspiration! This year’s theme was “THE POWER OF THE PROFESSION.” I am excited as I think of the work that Early Learning Indiana and Partnerships for Early Learners are doing to inspire and carry this theme across Indiana!
This year’s conference keynote was delivered by Ruby Bridges, who entered history and the first grade at the same time, by becoming the first black student at William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans, LA. Her keynote was emotionally moving and inspiring, but yet reminded me that we still have much work to do when it comes to empowering our early childhood educators and to remind them of the impact that they have on the young lives that they touch everyday – it is everlasting!
Being surrounded by thousands of individuals for the few days who carry out these roles and mission daily, greatly reminded me of the work that we do as early childhood educators and professionals that makes a tremendous difference in the lives of millions of children and families across Indiana. Yes, there is still much work to be done, but I know that Indiana is more than up for the task.
Now more than ever, we know how important high-quality early education experiences are to children’s development and learning. Also now more than ever, we as a profession are positioned to become leaders in our communities advocating for all who care, educate and work on behalf of young children.
The Partnerships for Early Learning team is working hard to help Indiana communities better serve young children, as well as their families and the early childhood educators that touch and prepare our future generations. We aim to ensure that 75% of early learners in early childhood programs will be in high-quality settings. We know that in order to accomplish this very important and critical task – that we must also invest in and lift up our early childhood educators and professionals – without them, our work is not possible!