Get what you need at conferences, big and small, national and local

Conference participants at a hands-on session.I think of conferences as meetings with multiple science coaches, each of whom help me improve my teaching in some way—if I implement the updates or changes once I’m back at school. That may be a big if. Those updates happen best with administrative support and the support of other teachers who are also examining their own practice. For early childhood educators who work in very small programs without that support, conferences can be a much needed infusion of new ideas and companionship of like-minded educators. I remember my first NAEYC conference as a family home day care provider and the excitement of being with thousands of others who were colleagues!

Here are a few examples of conferences that can enrich your and your colleagues’ lives. Let others know about the local conferences in your community and state by commenting below.

NSTA logoIn San Antonio, Texas

National Science Teachers Association

Don’t miss the Elementary Extravaganza, one of the early childhood sessions at the NSTA national conference, April 11-14, 2013.

The session scheduler lists many early childhood sessions—search for keywords “preschool” or “kindergarten” and take a look.

Upcoming NSTA conferences are listed here.

CESI logoCouncil for Elementary Science International

This organization is a sponsor of the Elementary Extravaganza and offers many pre-conference and conference sessions. See the schedule here.

NoVA Outside logoIn northern Virginia

The early childhood group of NoVA Outside (I am a member and presenter) has a conference on Saturday, April 13 from 9-1. Ginny Sullivan, educator, landscape designer and co-author of Lens on Outdoor Learning will be the keynote speaker. Outdoor sessions, rain or shine, will include:

Learning to build a beautiful Keyhole Pollinator Garden

Using “loose parts” to enhance children’s play experience

Finding and observing local wildlife (roly-polies, crickets, birds…)

VAST logoVirginia, statewide

VAST, the Virginia Association of Science Teachers, has annual conferences and mini conferences.

VAST Region 3 has their first ever mini-conference on April 27, Science in the Classroom: It’s Natural! 8:30-2pm, $15 including lunch!

More conferences…

Does your school, community, or organization offer training in science teaching in early childhood? Please comment to recommend conferences with some early childhood science sessions. I hope to meet you at one of them!

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