2019 Annual Conference: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children

Posted on: April 21, 2019
2019 Annual Conference

On April 13, 2019, early childhood professionals from around southwest Ohio attended the 2019 Southwest Ohio AEYC Annual Conference: Making a Difference in the Lives of Children.  The conference featured keynote speaker Hedda Sharapan, friend, colleague, and neighbor of Mister Rogers.  Attendees included early childhood teachers, students, consultants, directors, administrators, and higher education faculty.

The day started with Hedda Sharapan's keynote sharing a wealth of knowledge and experience on valuing our interactions with young children and appreciating the difference we make in their lives.  She skillfully wove videos of Mister Rogers throughout her keynote that touched and inspired attendees.

Attendees then moved on to AM workshops on fostering a love of literacy in young children, trauma-informed approaches, naturally incorporating math in preschool, and reflections on the pedagogy of listening.  During lunch, attendees were able to win various prizes donated by sponsors and vendors.  To end the day, attendees participated in PM workshops on engineering in the classroom, developing perspective on children's rights, creating culturally proficient environments, teachers as researchers, and using music to foster a creative mindset.

Attendees were overwhelmingly happy about the conference:

  • 97.8% reported that the conference workshops met their expectations
  • The average satisfaction with keynote address was 4.9 out of 5
  • The average satisfaction with the conference workshops was 4.3 out of 5
  • The average satisfaction with online registration was 4.6 out of 5
  • The average satisfaction with the conference location was 4.5 out of 5
  • The average satisfaction with the food & beverage service was 4.1 out of 5

What participants learned to incorporate into their work setting:

  • "Ms. Sharapan reminded us of the value of respecting others' perspectives and showing grace in
    light of our own limitations."
  • "Having the students hum a familiar song as a way to transition."
  • "Using my natural creativity and interests to infuse my work with children."
  • "Remembering to foster positive relationships with coworkers."
  • "Being culturally sensitive to my own thoughts and feelings."
  • "Positive affirmations."
  • "Ways to support children and family members who have experienced trauma, and also how to
    support teachers who experience the trauma-induced behaviors of the children."

What participants had to share about Hedda Sharapan:

  • "She has the same peaceful demeanor as Mr. Rogers."
  • "What a joy she is. So many teachers left feeling inspired with refreshed minds!"
  • "She inspired me."
  • "I am so glad that she shared so many great memories with Mister Rogers. It was an incredible
  • "She is You wonderful educator who generously shares her vast experience through meaningful stories and wise challenges."
  • "She was so down-to-earth and generous with her time. I loved also that she took the time to listen to everyone's questions and concerns about being totally present with children."

What participants had to share about workshop facilitators:

  • "It was very motivational."
  • "She was able to turn a depressing subject into an opportunity to do some real good for children and families."
  • "Math is everywhere, it is fun to do, and it is fun to teach the children."
  • "I loved the way she showed that there are so many ways to listen to children."
  • "I loved the array of materials that were provided for us to work with."
  • "She made us really explore our own implicit biases and make us think about how to really create culturally responsive classrooms."
  • "His stories and songs were presented well and reminded me to pursue creativity in my own practice."
  • "I know much more about research in the classroom."
  • "She did an excellent job keeping participants engaged and facilitating thoughtful discussion."

Special thanks to our conference sponsors:

PNC Grow Up GreatCincinnati Early Learning Centers, Children, Inc., Cincinnati Federation of TeachersThe Children's Home of CincinnatiUC Early Learning Center, Warren County Community Services Early Learning CentersYMCA of Greater Cincinnati4C for Children, Butler County Educational Service Center - Head Start, and Cincinnati-Hamilton Community Action Agency.  Support for Emerging Young Professionals was provided by The Adventurous Child Playgrounds.