With so much to see and do, attending the NAEYC Annual Conference & Expo can be both exciting and daunting! To make the most of your experience, it’s important to have a game plan. Here are some tips* for what to do before, during, and after the conference. We want to hear from you, too, so share your tips with other conference attendees below.
BEFORE THE CONFERENCE
- Decide what you want to gain from the conference and what your goals are.
- Use the Annual Conference Itinerary Planner to prepare your schedule. When selecting sessions, ask yourself, “What topics are most relevant to my work?” “Which sessions will address my professional development needs?” “What special events do I want to attend?” Include time to explore the Exhibit Hall, network with others, and explore Atlanta.
- Need to document your conference attendance to meet program or state requirements? Find out in advance what is required so you can get credit for participating.
- Consider subscribing to the Live Learning Center.
- Plan to attend the Newcomer’s Orientation session on Thursday morning, if this will be your first time at the conference.
- Decide how you will organize the information and handouts you’ll collect at the conference.
- Pack business cards or address labels with your contact information to share with all the new colleagues you’re going to meet.
- Pack comfortable clothes and shoes.
- Leave enough room in your suitcase to carry your materials and purchases home, or plan to mail them back.
DURING THE CONFERENCE
- Dress in layers so you can stay comfortable.
- Get as much out of the sessions as possible. Ask questions, respond to presenters, and get clarification if there’s something you don’t understand. Take part in small group activities and discussions.
- Talk to other attendees and share your contact information to stay in touch after the conference.
- Give yourself plenty of time to explore the Exhibit Hall.
If you’re interested in writing, attend one of these sessions about becoming an NAEYC author.
•Teacher writing workshop
•Writing for and using the NAEYC For Families website
•Writing for NAEYC's publications
•Writing for Voices of Practitioners
- Carry water and snacks with you.
- Know that some men’s restrooms will be converted to women’s restrooms in the Georgia World Congress Center to accommodate the large number of female participants. Male attendees should find out early where the “nonconverted men’s rooms” are.
- If you have a problem and don’t know how to solve it, go to the NAEYC Conference Headquarters (Room A307, Georgia World Congress Center) for assistance.
- Pace yourself so that you have almost as much energy by the end of the conference as you had at the beginning.
AFTER THE CONFERENCE
- Take time to unwind and decompress!
- Catch up on your responsibilities at work and at home before planning how you’ll share what you’ve learned.
- Organize your handouts, business cards, and notes.
- Make copies of handouts to share with colleagues.
- Visit the NAEYC Annual Conference website to download handouts you missed.
- Sign up for the Live Learning Center if you didn’t subscribe when you registered.
- Mark your calendar: Plan to attend the Annual Conference next year in Washington, DC, November 20-23!