It only takes a spark
With few exceptions, the leaders I have worked with valued professional learning. I took advantage of every opportunity provided to me as it felt like I was being given a gift. The very best of these leaders encouraged me to create new understanding and excellence in my practice. Above all, the investment in time, resources and ongoing support from leaders, sends a strong message that the work of early childhood professionals is valued. Creating a learning community where educators come together to challenge, encourage and support new ideas can begin with just a spark of inspiration. Like the spark from participating in a statewide early childhood conference!
Statewide early childhood conferences in Wyoming are not a new idea. I remember participating in Wyoming early childhood conferences as a newish teacher/program director. I love learning, so experiencing new ideas and connecting with other educators was something I looked forward to. My favorite memory was when I was given the honor of introducing author Mem Fox, who was a keynote speaker at a statewide conference in Casper. If you are not familiar with Mem, look her up and get busy adding her beautiful children’s books to your classroom libraries! What I remember most is not the books she shared or her lyrical voice as she read them to us. It was how she passionately implored us all to see beyond our roles as educators and to become advocates for young children in our communities, our state and our country.
Her call to action was unexpected and challenged the community of learners attending to be vocal about the importance of our work. I believe those in attendance were moved to action by her passion and presence. Mem Fox was just one of the outstanding leaders who impacted my work over the years. Speakers don’t have to travel all the way from South Australia to spark transformation in our work. There are dedicated leaders sharing their insight and experience right in our own state. The Wyoming Early Childhood Professional Learning Collaborative facilitators are working to elevate the quality of care and education in Wyoming. There is a facilitator working diligently in your neighborhood to support you. This Friday and Saturday the WYECPLC will be presenting at the 2020 Cowboy Conference. In addition to the facilitators, and through the magic of virtual learning, an array of outstanding guest presenters will also be on hand to stretch your thinking and inspire your practice. As I perused the schedule and list of presenters, I admit to being a bit starstruck! Joining the WYECPLC facilitators are presenters from Leading for Children, State Capacity Building Center and The CAYL Institute, to name a few. There is something for everyone including family home childcare, early childhood leaders and educators. If you haven’t already, join the community of early childhood professionals and register for the 2020 Cowboy State Conference!
Challenging yourself with professional learning has a far reaching impact. Check out these great suggestions from NAEYC before attending the conference or your next professional learning experience.