A message from AECA President, Gregg Cooper

I am excited to tell you about a new opportunity to connect with colleagues throughout the year!

This year AECA has re-imagined our traditional October face-to-face conference to bring you several one-day mini-conferences on Saturdays throughout the rest of 2020 and 2021. Like most aspects of our lives, COVID-19 has caused us to alter our typical ways of work. However, we know that connecting with our colleagues WHILE we gain new knowledge is the reason, we attend the conference. We know during our conference session how important it is to connect with other people, and although we cannot physically create that, we are hopeful that offering virtual sessions throughout the year gives you a silver lining of an opportunity to catch-up with your friends, make new ones and truly come together as a team of people dedicated to early childhood across the state of Arkansas.

A portion of our time during each event will be used to hear from our members to inform your association’s work now and in the future. We want to hear from you about the new ways we can adapt to support your essential work and professional growth. Other Saturday sessions will include great keynotes and celebrations of programs around Arkansas. We will offer these sessions free to all AECA members who have an active status. Members that register and attend these events live will receive PDR credit.

Stay tuned to this page for more announcements. We look forward to you joining us in this endeavor! We are so excited, and we want to truly show that, “Teamwork makes the dream work” for the rest of 2020 and beyond! See you soon and stay safe.

Conference Information

In lieu of an in person conference this year, AECA will be sponsoring several one-day mini-conferences on Saturdays throughout the rest of 2020 and 2021. Since they are on Saturday, we hope this allows any member (teachers, directors, staff, consultants, trainers and faculty) to be able to join us. These events will be free of charge to all active AECA members.

Please visit our Membership site to:

Update your profile with your current email address to get access to all the conference info

Renew your membership

Join the Association

You will need to renew or join PRIOR to registering for an event. Arkansas PDR credit will be offered to all active AECA members who register and participate during our live Saturday events.

May Event Information

When: Saturday, May 8 2021 10:00am - 12:30pm
Where: Live on Zoom (a link will be shared following registration)
What: Write Out of the Box: Fine Motor Skills for Young Children
Who: Dr. Marianne Gibbs

Join AECA and Dr. Marianne Gibbs for an engaging hands-on presentation of the fine motor development of young children 3-6 years old. This session contains essential, rarely addressed, information for educators of all young children, which supports pencil grasp and pre-writing development across the curriculum.

Marianne Gibbs, Ed.D., OTR/L is a registered occupational therapist and a Texas Registered Master Trainer. Dr. Gibbs received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and Psychology from Claremont McKenna College in 1985, Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Woman's University in 2000, and doctorate in Educational Leadership with a Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction in 2010. Currently, Dr. Gibbs is an avid trainer whose mission is to assist educators in their quest to improve the fine motor skills of their students through developmentally appropriate practice and provision of once in a lifetime workshops – every time!

Previous Events

As part of your AECA membership you can watch recordings of previous 2020-2021 conference sessions. Just click the button below to take you straight to the membership site. You must be logged in and have a current membership in order to access. PDR credit will not be given for watching any recordings.

April Event Information

When: Saturday, April 10 2021 10:00am - 12:30pm
Where: Live on Zoom (a link will be shared following registration)
What: Optimistic Leadership: Cultivating self-awareness to achieve quality in early learning
Who: Judy Jablon & Nichole Parks

What does it mean to know yourself and why is it important in our work with young children? Research shows that child development and well-being is inextricably linked to adult development and well-being. In this session we will explore how Optimistic Leaders cultivate self-awareness to guide thoughts, emotions, and behavior.  We will examine how by cultivating self-awareness, Optimistic Leaders can more effectively think about the impact of their decisions, nurture stronger relationships for learning and collaboration, refine communication to ensure mutual clarity and understanding, and activate curiosity to find connections and continue learning.

Check out more details and share this info via this flyer.

February Event Information

What: The power of connections and relationships with children & families
Who: Tabatha Rosproy

Tabatha Rosproy, a 10-year veteran Kansas teacher, is the first early childhood educator to be named National Teacher of the Year. She teaches preschool for Winfield Early Learning Center (WELC) in Winfield, Kansas. Housed in Cumbernauld Village, a local retirement community and nursing home, her inclusive classroom is an inter-generational program that provides preschoolers and residents with multiple daily interactions and serves special education and typically developing preschoolers in a full-day setting. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of school buildings across the country, Rosproy served as a co-chair of the educator task force that helped compile Kansas’s continuous learning guidance. A career preschool educator, Rosproy hopes to bring a voice to the important role early childhood education plays in our society and to highlight the value of social-emotional education at all age levels. Rosproy has served on her building leadership team and as the co-head teacher of WELC and as co-president of Winfield National Education Association. She is also active at the state level with Kansas National Education Association. Rosproy is a member of the Cowley County Special Services Cooperative Early Childhood Academy Team, which provides training and support in positive behavior interventions for early childhood teachers in her county. Rosproy holds a Bachelor of Arts in unified early childhood education, including special education and typically developing students, from Southwestern College and is near completion of her Master of Science in education (English as a Secondary or Other Language) at Fort Hays State University.

November Event Information

What: Provider and Child TLC: Taking Your Questions about Social-Emotional Behavior and Provider Self-Care during COVID-19
Who: The panelists below, as well as some local providers to be confirmed, will be here to help answer your questions and give guidance with social-emotional issues.

Dr. Shelli Henehan
Assistant Professor of Education/Director of Early Childhood
University of Arkansas at Fort Smith

Melissa Sutton
Program Coordinator, Conscious Discipline and Behavior Help
A-State Childhood Services

Dr. Nikki Edge
Professor, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine
UAMS College of Medicine

October Event Information

Who: Ole Pete Key
What: The Essentials of Hope

Essential: absolutely necessary, extremely important.
Hope: A feeling of expectation that something good is about to happen.

"It's essential that we help families maintain hope and peace amid the pandemic. Unfortunately, we cannot give our families peace and encouragement if we are not at ease and encouraged ourselves. The Essentials of Hope will provide you with the tools, tips, and techniques to help other people excel."

Ole Pete Key presented "The Essentials of Hope" at our first conference event. You can find out more about Pete on his website here: http://www.olepetekeyinc.com/

If you have any conference questions please email our Conference Chair Lindsey Wilkerson or Program Chair Paul Lazenby at conference@arkansasearlychildhood.org

Questions about conference? Get in touch!

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