NAEYC’s Annual Conference Update

Back now from Washington, DC and beginning to reflect on all that happened. Here are just a few initial thoughts — and more soon.

Diane lets everyone in the packed hall know about DEY's efforts!

Diane lets everyone in the packed hall know about DEY’s efforts!

There were some encouraging indicators. Quite exciting was the turnout for DEY Senior Adviser Diane Levin’s featured session Beyond Remote-Controlled Childhood: Teaching Young Children in the Media Age. The massive room was filled – the estimate was at least 1,000 people in attendance.  Diane explained the many ways in which young children are affected by popular culture and exposure to media. She shared successful strategies for working with children and families. In her speech Diane called for creating schools that take into account who today’s children are – and to much applause she questioned current misguided school reform.

Many thanks to Community Playthings for sponsoring this important session! If you missed the session and want to know more, Diane’s book is available through the NAEYC online bookstore.

Many thanks also to the early childhood teacher activists who joined us at our session Finding Your Voice: Becoming A Teacher Activist, and for our evening meeting at The Henley Park Hotel. You shared your stories and your ideas – and we learned as much from you as you (hopefully!) learned from us. It was encouraging to finally meet many of you in person, after having met only online until now. DEY will be working to follow up on the ideas shared, and so please stay tuned.

In the opening session it was heartening to hear NAEYC’s new executive director Rhian Evans Allvin encourage attendees to go out and vote.  Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Green Party…whatever your political inclination is: vote! Voting is one way for early childhood educators to use their voices. As this new bill, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act gains traction, it will be our voices that help to keep what is best for children at the center.

Finally, although I wasn’t able to attend the session, I heard great things about a reflection on advocacy from folks who have been working for high-quality early childhood education for decades – folks like Joan Lombardi and Marcy Whitebook.

Those are a few initial reflections…more will be forthcoming. Please feel free to add your own reflections and/or questions…

DEY’s Upcoming Spring Events

Consuming Kids Summit coming soon!

Later this month our colleagues at Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood are hosting their 8th international Consuming Kids Summit: Reclaiming Childhood from Corporate Marketers (March 21-23 in Boston). Learn from leading experts in the field – and connect with other advocates at this solutions-based event. DEY’s Diane Levin will be presenting Tough at an Early Age: The Harm Caused by Using Media Violence to Market to Children. DEY’s Nancy Carlsson-Paige will be presenting Education in the Marketplace: Data, Choice and Profits and Geralyn Bywater McLaughlin will be presenting positive and practical ideas for working with families and teachers. Space is limited so register today.

If you can’t make it to the summit (though we hope you can!)  here are some other upcoming opportunities to connect with DEY and advocate for young children:

March 4 7:00 pm at the Calhoun School, Manhattan. Nancy will be presenting with Linda Nathan. When Education Goes Wrong: Taking the Creativity and Play out of Learning. This is a TEDx event.

April 5 in Washington, DC. Nancy will be speaking at Occupy the DOE.

May 4 New York, NY Edu4 Conference on Reclaiming the Conversation on Education. Nancy will be facilitating a session.

June 19 – 22nd Boston, MA Wheelock College’s Global Challenges and Opportunities Facing Children, Youth and Families Conference. Diane and Geralyn will be presenting.