Wow! What a day!
Our first annual conference came together beautifully on Saturday, October 20th at the Cantalician Center, when 150 early childhood educators and 20 dedicated volunteers (also ECE professionals!) shared in the “beautiful mess” of building joyful classrooms.
Joe Cozzo, CEO of Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center, set the tone for the day with his powerful reminder to remain hopeful, to connect, and to be an instrument of inspiration. It was the perfect message to carry with us throughout the day — and always. (If you’re looking for a copy of the PowerPoint, you can find it in the Helpful Handouts tab.)
The entire agenda echoed the focus on attachment and interactions, reminding us that all learning happens within the context of relationships. Whether you were learning more about child development with Mary & Bridget, discussing routines and expectations with Kristin & Kim, or adding teaching strategies to your toolbox with Denise & Gerald, the recurring themes were warm, positive interactions, meaningful relationships, and the benefits of choosing joy.
And that culminating session? It was the frosting on the cake! Every option was a powerful opportunity to assure that you could apply what you had learned:
- The make & take made it possible for teachers to bring content directly to children (you can’t go wrong with a sock baby!). A million thanks to Silvia Steele for organizing!
- The Leadership Debrief focused on how managers can support program-wide implementation. Huge thanks to Marilyn Ballard for facilitating on behalf of DAL.
- Vito and Sarah‘s “de-stress at your desk” yoga session was the perfect self-care component. As they said, a joyful classroom requires a joyful you!
Thank you to everyone who shared this day with us, including the tireless committee members and volunteers, and to our generous sponsors. It’s a truly a pleasure to be “hope builders” with all of you.