We are so excited to announce that our 61st Annual AECA Conference will be back in-person in October! We are returning to the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock from October 11th through the 14th.

Regular Registration: August 1-September 30
Late Registration: October 1-14

It’s going to be another exciting conference—and this year it’s going to be all about PLAY…the work of early childhood. For those who want to come early, we will offer informative preconference sessions on Wednesday, October 11. The conference will then officially kick off on Thursday, October 12 with our keynote Lisa Murphy. For 30 years, Lisa has been an advocate of protecting childhood and structuring programs around age-appropriate play-based activities. On Friday, we will feature a panel from the Division of Child Care. You can choose from many interest sessions and special tracks for Leadership, Advocacy, and Family Child Care. As always, we will have our impressive exhibit hall with all your favorite vendors. And this year, we are having a fun evening dance party. We always have a wonderful time when we get together so we hope to see all our ECE friends in October!

To highlight our focus on play, we are excited to offer Lisa Murphy as one of our keynote speakers this year. If anyone defines play, it is Lisa. As an outspoken advocate, Lisa is known for her commitment to creating child-centered, play-based early childhood environments and her fierce protection of childhood. Over 30 years, she has written five books, produced numerous trainings and serves on many early childhood boards. We had the honor of hosting Lisa several years ago and she always delivers an effective message of letting children be little!

Register here. Log into your membership and complete the form. You can pay online or mail a check. Confirmation will be emailed after payment. There are no refunds, but a registration may be transferred by emailing conference@arkansasearlychildhood.org. Late & on-site registrants are not guaranteed to receive all materials. By registering and attending, you give AECA consent to use your image in photos and videos for promotion.

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

Conference attendees may directly reserve a hotel room by calling the Wyndham hotel at (501) 371-9000.

Directors are invited to lunch on Thursday and Friday to enjoy some networking & professional development. Lunches are complimentary and sponsored by A-State Childhood Services and Lakeshore Learning. Let us know on your registration form if you will attend.

Conference T-shirts are available for $20. You may prepay with registration then pick up your T-shirt at check-in OR you may purchase them at the conference.

We hope everyone will join us on Thursday night for a fun karaoke and dance party from 8:00-10:00. If you don’t want to dance or sing, come mingle and visit with friends. There will be a dessert bar, beverages and some great door prizes. An optional cash bar will be available for beer, wine and cocktails. Just let us know when registering if you will be attending. 

On Saturday at this year’s conference, we will have a special event – the Fun Fair! Our Central Arkansas affiliate hosted a Fun Fair back in April in Little Rock and it was so successful that we want to have a repeat at the conference.

This event will be a hands-on, play-based learning experience offering samples of activities for ALL of the different developmental domains. Our AECA theme for this year is Learn to Play, Play to Learn and we think that includes the adults too – yes, we mean YOU!

Make a note in your planner:

🗓 Saturday October 14th
⏰ 1-3pm
📍 Silver City Ballrooms 1-4

PRE-CONFERENCE SESSIONS – Wednesday, October 11

Pre-conference sessions will be offered on Wednesday, October 11 for an extra charge. These special trainings on relevant early childhood topics will offer participants a more in-depth experience than you can get in just a 90-minute session. Each session is $30. See below for details on each of the available preconference sessions.

9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

LETRS Training: Foundational Literacy - Playing with Sounds from Beginning to End
Arkansas Dept. of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education

Did you know that ninety percent of brain growth happens before kindergarten? The most rapid time of brain development in a child’s life happens in the first five years. During this session, participants will hear an overview of the Pre-K RISE initiative and the early intervention efforts the Arkansas Department of Education is making to provide foundational literacy support for early childhood students and educators, in a developmentally appropriate way.

True Colors
UA Early Care and Education Projects

True Colors is a temperament and personality typing program. This enjoyable and insightful training helps Early Care and Education professionals with personal and professional development skills. Using the colors – Orange, Gold, Green, and Blue to describe basic personality types, participants will positively improve teamwork skills by recognizing differences and developing solutions to communicate and collaborate more effectively.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. Buffet Lunch provided for all Preconference Participants 

1:00 – 4:00 p.m. 

Remembering to Remember: Closing the Gap Between Knowing and Doing (A faith-based approach)
Leslie Dudley Corbell and Diane Doucet Matthews

“Remember the former things; remember the days of old; remember the words of the Lord Jesus Christ; the memory of the righteous is a blessing; bless the Lord, oh my soul and forget not all his benefits; do this in remembrance of Me; remember the Sabbath.”

(Isaiah 46:9, Deut. 32:7, Acts 20:35, Proverbs 10:7, Psalm 103:2, 1 Cor. 11:24, Exodus 20:8)

The word “remember” is found 240 times in the Old and New Testament. God has communicated to us His high value on remembering! Are there roadblocks to remembering as we work with early childhood children or even as we live in this world as adults? Have you ever thought, “This child knows better,” and wondered why the child isn’t doing it?

The Mind of a Child podcast hosts Leslie Corbell and Diane Matthews will facilitate this session where participants will dive into ten familiar bible verses. These verses will present keys to unlock the wisdom we desire in our daily moments in the classroom and at home, guiding us to helpful tips and strategies to use. Together, we will explore the why and how of closing the gap between knowing and doing — for us and for the children in our care.

Introduction to Coaching Skills
UA Early Care and Education Projects

In this interactive training program, participants will overview the benefits of coaching and learn about the skills and mindset needed for coaching to be successful. Through a series of information and hands-on activities, participants will practice active listening, asking high-quality questions, and the GROW coaching model, putting them on the path to turn work-experienced challenges into learning situations.

Questions about conference? Get in touch!

Email conference@arkansasearlychildhood.org for any conference questions.

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