Past Conferences

  • Unfortunately, our 2020 annual conference scheduled for the last week of March 2020 in Fredericksburg, was cancelled two weeks before the event due to Covid19. All registrants were issued a full refund. Many of the workshop topics and presenters have been utilized in other ways to provide training for our community, mostly in the form of webinars and information at Zoom network meetings.

    Our 2021 annual conference was switched from in-person at Harrisonburg, VA to a virtual platform. We tried something new in light of the many virtual conferences available in the field. We hosted the 15 Laws of Invaluable Growth Book Series and the Region 3 ERSEA virtual conference instead of one annual conference. We are eagerly awaiting the return of in-person , or even hybrid options, in 2022.

  • The 2019 annual conference in Abingdon, VA is one of Executive Director Dawn Ault’s all-time favorites. This is the first conference she remembers that both evoked tears and earned a standing ovation. For our first keynote, Dr. Walter Gilliam, Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy, focused on addressing social emotional development, equity, expulsion, and relational health for all children, especially those from at-risk backgrounds.

    Dr. Kimberly Johnson built upon Day 1 training themes and knocked it out of the park with her keynote: How to Stay D.R.I.V.E.N – Charting a Bolder Course in Learning and her subsequent workshop: Opportunities Through Shattered Glass, A Generation Explains. Dr. Johnson and her dynamic college students proved that broken does not mean destroyed. In this interactive session, we heard these students of color share various stories that speak to struggle, inequities and family interactions. Most importantly, we heard their stories of hope, resilience and determination. These students are products of amazing programs like Head Start and guided us through conversations that validated the importance of self-esteem and community connections. We saw first hand what we can do to help change lives! The rest of the conference only got better and better with over 75 workshop offerings!

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  • Our 2018 annual conference theme was Head Start: Full S.T.E.A.M. Ahead, focusining on how to teach young children about science, technology, engineering, the arts and math! George Washington Carver said, “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.” And so, teaching STEAM concepts to the very young is a strategy that will reap huge rewards for the future, while serving as a fun, engaging activity in the present. Efforts to improve STEAM in early childhood programs has long been a challenge. Adequate training of early education teachers in STEAM concepts is essential to get a head start on STEAM education. This conference focused on bringing our community a fun and engaging experience to learn STEAM principles in an interactive, hands-on approach, enabling Head Start education staff to teach these principles appropriately and knowledgeably. We focused on educators’ discovery and love of science knowledge, technology innovations, engineering creativity, appreciation for the arts, and math reasoning to nurture young learners and their families while building the next generation of STEAM advocates! Our 2018 conference was complete with over 500 attendees, 50 exhibitors, 80 workshops and 3 national keynote speakers in Williamsburg, VA.

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