Every year, educators and early childhood professionals from all corners of the country gather at the highly anticipated NAFCC Conference. This year was no exception, but what set it apart was the inspiring group of Delaware family child care educators who not only attended the event in Atlanta, Georgia but also took center stage as presenters. Their passion for early childhood education and unwavering dedication to shaping young minds made their sessions an unforgettable experience for all attendees. Let’s delve into the empowering moments shared by these extraordinary educators as they presented in three captivating sessions at the conference.
Session 1: “Getting Outside: Endless Discoveries Across the State of Delaware”
The first session, presented by FCC educator Clarise Brooks and DIEEC Associate Director Christine Skrobot, shared how Delaware’s Let’s Go Outside Initiative supports professionals in making outdoor learning a little easier, a little better, and a lot more impactful. Participants discovered how diverse programs used unique backdrops to get children and educators outside playing, learning, and THRIVING. With real-life examples and anecdotes, participants left the session ready to embrace their uniqueness and individualize outdoor experiences in their own programs.
Session 2: “Home-based Childcare Networks and Provider Voice: National Survey Results and Voices from the Field”
The second session, presented by Juliet Bromer of the Erikson Institute, included a panel discussion that included DIEEC Network Coordinator and former FCC educator Tina Thomas and LFCC owner/educator Stephanie Jackson. Following the presentation of recently published evidence-based benchmarks for high-quality home-based childcare networks, the panel members shared their thoughts and experiences related to the inclusion of provider voice and how provider leadership can strengthen network goals.
Session 3: “Supporting Delaware Home-based Child Care Providers: Striving for Growth in Program Planning, Business Operations, and Self-care”
The third and final session was highly collaborative and engaging, bringing together the expertise of both FCC educators and DIEEC staff who support the family child care networks. FCC educators, Lynne Portlock, Bridget Williams, Stephanie Jackson, Esther Offei-Ansah, Lindsey Smith, and Latonya Bruce, brought their unique perspectives and experiences to the table as part of the panel, as DIEEC staff, Rena Hallam, Molly Van Sickle, Tina Thomas, Kim Cruz, and Kristy Smith shared information about the various initiatives that are offered to Delaware’s FCC educators. During the session, the FCC educators took the opportunity to share their firsthand experiences and insights gained from actively participating in a variety of DIEEC’s exceptional services. One of the key topics discussed was the significance and impact of FCC Networks, which have proven to be instrumental in promoting professional growth and networking opportunities for educators in the early childhood education sector.
The educators themselves were humbled by the response they received, realizing the far-reaching influence they had on their peers and the potential for creating positive change within the field of early childhood education. The conference provided them with an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and grow their own knowledge base, further enhancing their ability to make a difference in the lives of the children they care for.
Eager to share the knowledge they acquired and the inspiration they gained, the group is organizing an upcoming meeting, scheduled for August 22nd at 6:30pm. This meeting will serve as a platform to disseminate the insights, ideas, and effective practices the educators learned during the conference, as well as begin planning to attend next year’s NAFCC Conference in St. Louis. Their goal is to strengthen the overall quality of family child care in their community and ensure that all educators have access to the latest tools and techniques to effectively support the children in their programs.
As these educators return to their individual early childhood education settings, they carry with them the collective energy and determination to continue making a positive impact on the lives of the children and families they serve. The journey of these educators reminds us of the immense power of sharing knowledge, experiences, and love to build a brighter future for the next generation. Their dedication serves as an inspiration for others in the field, proving that through collaboration and education, we can create a world where every child’s potential is nurtured and celebrated.
All FCC educators are invited and encouraged to attend the meeting on August 22nd at 6:30 to hear about the group’s experience at this year’s conference and to begin making plans to attend next year’s. To register, click here.