Linking Hearts & Minds Logo


The 63rd Annual AECA Conference will be back in person in October! We are returning to the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock from October 9th through the 12th.

The theme of this year's conference is Linking Hearts & Minds: Early Childhood Connections. This theme will focus our energies and attention on all the critical interactions that take place between providers, families and children. Those of us in the early childhood profession know that the connections forged within our community are some of the strongest that you will find! The neural, social, and emotional connections that are made during the early years are some of the most meaningful and consequential for lifelong learning and success. By participating in this year’s conference, you will play a key role in these connections that make linking hearts and minds possible!


Our keynote speaker on Thursday, October 10th will be DJ Pryor. DJ's global impact recently soared to new heights with a heartwarming video that captured a candid moment between him and his youngest son. This touching video went viral, amassing an estimated half a billion views across various web and social media platforms. Through this viral sensation, DJ has become one of the world's most influential voices on early childhood development. His story is a testament to his ability to turn personal challenges into opportunities for growth and change.

DJ’s success in his years as an entertainer is equally matched by his insight into relationships and how to make a heartfelt positive impact on others. DJ Pryor's mantra is rooted in service, empathy, and love. He believes that his talents are gifts meant to be shared with others, and he strives to embody these principles in every aspect of his life. In a world where laughter, love, and community are needed more than ever, DJ stands as a shining example of how one person's dedication can make a profound impact on the lives of many. His journey is a reminder that through compassion and creativity, we can all strive to create a brighter, more connected world.

Registration will be opening soon! 

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.

AECA invites you to submit a proposal to present a breakout session at this year’s conference. While the focus will be on connections and relationships, proposals may be on any topic related to early care and education.  We want a broad range of appropriate topics that relate to working with infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. As always, we will welcome sessions that are relevant to all our roles in early childhood - teachers, directors, trainers, faculty and family child care. Find out more here.


Questions about conference? Get in touch!

Email for any conference questions.

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