Diving into This Year’s NAEYC Annual Conference
Attending a large, national-level conference can be intimidating—offering challenges to young professionals especially. In this blog post, NAEYC's Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC) members offer advice on how to plan for a successful experience at the upcoming 2018 NAEYC Annual Conference in Washington, DC:
Start with your affiliate. Kapua Hussey, who came all the way from Hawaii to attend the 2017 Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, says, ““If I'd traveled here alone without the support of YPAC and my state affiliate, I would have been a bit nervous. My suggestion for other young professionals is to contact their local affiliate to get informational support prior to attending the conference.” Find your local affiliate.
Become a member! Attending conferences can be expensive. NAEYC's Standard and Premium membership packages provide discounts for conferences. Learn more about your membership options.
Go with the flow. Dealing with flight delays, figuring out the shuttle bus schedule, deciding whether to wait in the long coffee line, taking advantage of conference location nightlife—every moment is an opportunity for networking. Adriene Lowe, a kindergarten teacher at Atlanta First Day School, notes, “On my way to the conference, I met three teachers from Chicago. The four of us were not sure which way to go, but followed a crowd of people, hoping we were going to the same place. We ended up in the right spot and wished one another a good time at the conference. Meeting these women helped set the tone of the conference for me.”
Narrow your choices ahead of time. Conferences have so much to offer. Lizz Cohen says, “So many different sessions to choose from! I definitely had PD FOMO. Oh, and I couldn’t fit all the books I wanted in my luggage.” Clarke McGibben suggests, “As a first-time attendee of this conference, and of a conference this size, I found it overwhelming when I picked up the conference program and saw the hundreds of possible session choices. My advice: start with one or two days of planning. After the first day, you’ll feel so much more at ease with how it all works.” Use our itinerary planner as a resource to browse sessions by presenter, topic, or keyword. Session date/times and location will be posted in September.
- Check out the Young Professionals Track. Once you get an Annual Conference program (available in September), be sure to explore the Young Professionals Track. It’s a great way to narrow your choices and pick from 15 workshops in the track—by young professionals, for young professionals—that are selected and recommended by YPAC.
Register today for the 2018 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., from November 14-17!
Rachel J. Franz, MEd, is the director of education and founding lead teacher at Tiny Trees Preschool, an outdoor preschool program in Seattle, Washington. She is a founding member of NAEYC’s Young Professionals Advisory Council (YPAC).
Ross Glen Chandler Nunamaker, who goes by Chad, is a licensed teacher, and is a PhD student in early childhood education. Chad is director of curriculum and kindergarten program lead for a high-quality early childhood program; director of training for a community-based child and family resource center and behavioral health clinic, and an adjunct faculty member at Wright State University.