As early childhood professionals, we know the value and necessity of lifelong learning. In order to maintain quality of practice, we absolutely need to stay on top of our game. Research is changing the way we understand young children and how we approach their care and education. Getting stale is not an option!
Continuing education has both extrinsic and intrinsic rewards. We may be required by our employers or by child care licensing to acquire a number of training hours each year. Or, earning a CDA is on the horizon or renewing one we already earned. In return for our efforts, we meet requirements, validate our licenses, get a promotion, or are awarded a credential.
But, there is more to it than that. By participating in good training, there are other valuable outcomes, albeit intangible.
Learning new information that builds on what we already know gives a boost to our classroom performance. We bring back these new ideas to put into immediate use with the children.
New ideas are energizing! We can’t wait to try them and our renewed enthusiasm is contagious The children and even our co-workers can’t help but get caught up in the excitement. There is also a sense of satisfaction knowing we’re making our programs better. What a self-esteem booster!
Attending an early childhood conference is a great way to immerse oneself in new ideas and information. Many presentations will provide CEUs for attending and these can be used to satisfy continuing education requirements and can sometimes count towards a CDA or renewing one.
An early childhood conference offers a multitude of presentations on many different topics. Usually the conference program is available in advance, online, so you can look over all the topic choices and presenters before you even get there!
As a registered attendee, you can take in as many of these presentations as you like over the course of several days. There are often well-known children’s book authors and early childhood experts presenting workshops or keynotes. It’s exciting to listen to them in person and perhaps even meet some of them!
A conference is also a fabulous place to network with other early childhood professionals like yourself… sharing ideas, practices, and email addresses to stay in touch.
The benefits of an early childhood conference is well worth the money spent to attend. Often, the conference organization will offer scholarships that will pay the registration fee. Every early childhood professional should set aside funds each year to attend at least one conference. You don’t need to travel far to attend a good one either. Every state has a NAEYC affiliate that will have a conference for you to attend, for example. You may only need to drive across town or a couple hours within your own state!
You owe it to yourself to attend. It’s a day for you to step out of the routine to be refreshed and revitalized.