The Arkansas Early Childhood Association is excited to announce our 2022 conference will be back
at the Wyndham Riverfront in North Little Rock October 12-15. 

 We are planning an exciting conference this year for all our early childhood friends in this BeYOUtiful 2022! The conference will offer preconference sessions on Wednesday, October 12 while offering our regular sessions Thursday-Saturday. The conference will offer special tracks for Leadership, Advocacy, Infant Mental Health and Family Child Care. So, we invite you and all early childhood colleagues to join us in North Little Rock for this exciting event.

Registration is open! Confirmation of registration will be sent via e-mail. Registrations are not refundable but may be transferred by sending a notice to By registering and attending, you give AECA consent to use your image taken in photographs and videos for promotional purposes.

Our keynote speaker for Thursday, October 13th will be Coy Bowles!

You can read more about Coy in his bio here and visit his website here.

Connecting to Your Calling
Coy will take you on a journey to connect back to your calling! Utilizing information and experience gathered from his 15+ years as a touring musician and advocate for early education, literacy and teacher appreciation, Coy dives deep into why and what we do this all for. The keynote provides a unique perspective and solutions for staying connected to yourself, those around you, and your classroom.

Our keynote speaker for Friday, October 14th will be Dr. Bridget Hamre!

Bridget is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Teachstone, developer of the CLASS tool.

You can find out more about Bridget here.

The Power of Interactions to Transform Lives

The last few years have demonstrated just how important interactions among teachers and children are to ensuring each child has the supports they need to thrive. Decades of research demonstrate the value of these interactions and educators across the country have proven how to use CLASS as a tool to continuously improve interactions by supporting each educator on their own learning journey. In this presentation Dr. Hamre will share new research on teacher-child interactions and provide practical strategies for making the most of each interaction in the classroom to enhance young children’s development and learning.

The quickest way to register is to go directly to this link, log into your membership and complete registration.  You may pay by credit/debit card or mail a payment to our office. We have a special early bird rate if you register by June 30. Regular registration is open July 1-September 15.  Late registration will be accepted after September 15 and onsite.

If you need to renew your membership or join, complete your membership online BEFORE registering for the conference. This year, it is less expensive to join and attend as a member than as a non-member. For just $39, you will receive a year’s membership in AECA, as well as the Southern Early Childhood Association. Join here.

The Wyndham Riverfront Hotel has provided a block of rooms for AECA conference participants for $104 (plus taxes) per night for up to two guests. Attendees may directly reserve a hotel room by visiting this link.

Or call the hotel at 501-371-9000. The hotel address is 2 Riverfront Place, North Little Rock, AR 72114.

Directors are invited to the Thursday and Friday luncheons sponsored by A-State Childhood Services and Lakeshore Learning.  Let us know on the registration form if you will be joining us.


We are now old out of exhibitor space. If you wish to sponsor sessions and breaks or get a hotlink on our website, please email


For those who can join us, we are offering the opportunity to attend exclusive preconference sessions on Wednesday, October 12. These sessions, led by state early childhood experts, will offer participants the latest in early childhood trends, knowledge and skills.  Lunch will be provided at the hotel from 12:00-1:00 for all paid preconference participants.

9:00-12:00 & 1:00-4:00 – $60.00 each session 

An Insight into Children with Trauma
Stephanie Eddy & Jenny Franklin, Dawson Education Cooperative

An Insight into Children with Trauma is a six-hour professional development training for classroom educators. This session brings new awareness to our current trauma epidemic and building healthy, healing relationships through self-regulation, connections and resilience interventions that have the power to hear individuals, community and generations of those who suffer. The session will be an interactive learning experience, and participants will receive free supplementary materials.

The Growing Brain
Barbara Gilkey & Tricia Reid, UA Early Care and Education Projects

The Growing Brain is one of the trainings UA ECEP has developed in conjunction with Zero to Three to teach our state’s practitioners the facts around brain development they need to know for the classroom. Here we will present two of those sessions for PDR credit—Brain Basics (morning) and Factors Affecting Brain Growth and Development (afternoon).

9:00-12:00 – $30.00 each session

Red Thread Coaching: Weaving a Tapestry of Strengths
Jill Gunderman & Diana Courson, A-State Childhood Services

Red Thread Coaching is about weaving together ideas and strategies from business, psychology, and education, coaches and supervisors. In this session, we will explore the important red threads that should be at the heart of our work with children and families.

Rediscovering the Joy in Our Work
Sue Remfrey & Gaynell Jamison, A-State Childhood Services

Is joy different than happiness? Where does it come from and how do you recognize it? Come join our conversation on how you can reignite the joy in your leadership. For Directors, Administrators and ECE Leadership.

1:00-4:00 – $30.00 each session 

At Least Five Things We’ve Learned about Virtual Coaching
Mandi Edmonds, Kairi Elmore, Cindy Thompson, and Julie Yarberry, A-State Childhood Services   

This session will invite participants to think about the benefits of virtual coaching, share what they have learned from experience, and compile a list of tips for effective virtual coaching.

Using the PITC Approach to Support Infants & Toddlers with Special Needs
Meghan Foster & Katayoun Zadeh, A-State Childhood Services

Join with other infant and toddler educators as we reflect on personal and societal attitudes toward disability, share our appreciation of individuality, and think together about partnering with families and multi-disciplinary teams. (For Infant-Toddler Teachers and Administrators)

2:00-4:00 – FREE SESSION

An Overview of Step Up to WAGE$
Laura House, Arkansas Early Childhood Association

Our AECA WAGE$ Program Manager will be doing this free session for anyone interested in learning more about Step Up to WAGE$, our education-based wage supplement plan that is available to teaching staff in all licensed centers and family child care homes.  Come and learn. Bring your questions!


Questions about conference? Get in touch!

Email for any conference questions.

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