NAEYC,  NAEYC Conference 2014,  professional development

NAEYC 2014 – Sessions on my radar

Happy NAEYC Conference Kick off day! I thought I’d do a quick write up about the sessions that have grabbed my attention, but let’s be real, it won’t be quick, it’ll probably be really long, because there are so many!

Before we get into that I want to tell you what else I’m doing to celebrate. For the rest of the week all of my Portfolios and Assessments are 20% off! So if you are looking for ideas for portfolios, or new assessments, please take a minute to see what I’ve got, they are all standards-based and so helpful!

Ok, so here are the session that I’m most interested in. I’ve got them broken down by day and time, you’ll notice that I have a couple of sessions listed for each time, while i wish I could be in two places at once, I just haven’t picked one yet.  I’m planning on leaving it up to whatever I feel like that day.

It’s a talk back! Engaging the whole nation in a giant conversation.
You can’t miss the Keynote speech, it sets the tone for the entire conference and is always incredibly inspiring.

Exhibit hall grand opening 
Because duh! The Exhibit hall opening is so much fun, put hundreds of teachers in a room and give them all free stuff, it’s like Christmas and I am so excited!

The roots and evolutionary journeys of three well-known early childhood curriculum approaches (Creative Curriculum, HighScope, and Reggio Emilia): Why they were developed, how they evolved, and what makes them successful .
This is the one session that I’m looking forward to the most. Theory fascinates me (I know, I’m a nerd. I should probably get my doctorate so that I can be a college professor and teach this stuff every day), and while I know a little about Creative Curriculum and a lot about Reggio Emilia, I would love to know more of the history behind each approach. 
Using yoga to enhance cognitive development and center children for positive and effective learning 
I have always been a huge advocate for large motor activities in the classroom, along with sensory integration strategies, and practicing yoga in the classroom is something that I’ve always wanted to do, but I don’t know enough about yoga to know where to begin.  

What’s new at the Office of Child Care and why it matters to you  
Anything related to public policy is always on my radar, I love to know what’s coming our way so that I feel informed if it comes up in conversation.  I also have a different perspective now that I am in a leadership position at a very small center, I like to be able to prepare for new trends and policies before we actually get hit with them.  

All superheroes fly, they just do it with different things: Creating a dialogue about where superheroes fit in the preschool curriculum  
AMEN! Yes! I so need this session.  Superhero play tears me in a million different directions; I love that children are engaged in pretend play, but I don’t want them to be too violent, I want them to feel comfortable acting out the things they have seen in tv shows because I know that this helps them makes sense of it, but some parents don’t let their children watch those shows, and don’t want their children to participate.  It’s frustrating to know which way to go with this, so I am really looking forward to hearing the message of this session.

Gentle solutions for complicated situations: How to identify and address difficult issues (alcoholism, addiction, poverty, incarceration) in the lives of young children and their families 
This session is all of my sociology courses thrown into one and then related to my career. It has my name all over it, and while I love the topic, and think it is so necessary to discuss, it doesn’t really apply to the demographics that I’m currently working with, so I’m not sure about this one. 

Coaching across cultural boundaries
Coaching is something that I am always interested in learning about. In my experience is can be extremely effective if done well.  I’ve had experience in a coaching role and this ideas of cultural boundaries intrigues me because as a coach I’ve always been younger than the teach that I’m coaching, so there are definitely some cultural boundaries there, along with stereotypes and assumptions that can really impact the initial relationship.  

“It feels like home here!” Creating home-like environments for infants and toddlers 
Teaching infants and toddlers holds a special space in my heart, so I love any session that caters to that particular age group, and classroom environment is one of my specialties.  I love new ideas for making classrooms more inviting. 

“But I’m just pretending”: Reexamining zero-tolerance policies related to violent pretend play  
Again with this theme, I’m always up for ideas on violent pretend play, I generally lean towards being accepting of aggressive play, while not so accepting of violent play, especially with my pre-k kiddos who will be going to schools with zero tolerance policies next year.

Social networking and professionalism: Keeping up with this new frontier
I do a ton of social networking, and there are definitely ways to keep it appropriate for all of your audiences, but it isn’t always easy. I think the info presented in this session will be helpful for all areas of my life, so I think this one will win out. 

Social media tools and tips: A step-by-step guide to developing a marketing plan and using social media tools to improve your early learning center’s communication and marketing  
My school needs this, desperately, so I’m sure I’ll attend, although I’m slightly wary of all of the extra work it will create for me when I get back home 🙂

Reggio Emilia: Meaning and intentionality of the educational project as an action of dialogue, listening, and interpretation  
Friday is Reggio day and I am so excited! I had the opportunity to hear Lella Gandini speak when I attended the NAEYC Conference in 2010, and she is not one to miss, she can clearly and powerfully explain the Reggio Approach in a way that no one else can, because she understands it like no one else does. 

Playing to the standards: How to protect a play-based approach in public school pre-K classrooms
Anyone that advocates for play has had this conversation before. While I think that I can defend play in my sleep, it’s always good to get a reinforcing message

The evolution of an effective professional development model: Training on the project approach, reflecting on evaluation, and cultivating professional relationships 
This is a session that I’ve been waiting for for years. I know how to implement the project approach in my classroom, but how do I teach other people to do it? This is also one of the sessions that I’ve been looking forward to since I heard that it was being offered. 

Thinking together: Coaching with CLASS and the Project Approach 
Another session on coaching and the Project Approach. I love that I’m not the only one who wants this, clearly there is demand if there are two sessions, and that makes me so happy. 

Break free of the training room: How to be a star with techniques for memorable and meaningful webinars for early childhood education organizations and programs  
This one intrigues me from my position as a blogger and teacher-creator, as well as someone who loves to share my knowledge and experiences through trainings and professional development. I would love to do webinars, I have so many ideas, but no clue where to start.  
I haven’t planned out Saturday too much, I’m presenting at 10am, (Technology for the teacher; Free resources for every task) and then may need some time to decompress and evaluate before I head back to the airport to come home, so for the time being I don’t have any Saturday sessions chosen.  
This is what my schedule looks like for now, I can’t wait to share everything that I learn! I’d love to hear about the sessions that you are most excited about, share them in the comments and check out my instagram feed (erinnholleran) for photo updates!

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