I am attending the annual NAEYC Conference in Anaheim. I always enjoy this conference because it is wonderful to see such a large group of people come together to learn what are the best practices when working with young children. One of my favorite stories is The Dot by Peter Reynolds. Vashti, the young girl in the story, learns how a simple dot can lead you on a creative and exciting journey. I feel the same way when I attend conferences. I have been attending workshops and trainings for over 30 years and you might think that I have heard everything by now. It is just the opposite. I think I am just beginning to really 'get it' about working with young children. I made a goal early on that I would make a strong effort to learn at least one new thing at every conference that would make me a better teacher. That goal has helped me develop better teaching skills as an early childhood educator and now as an adult educator teaching students to work with young children.
One example of this happened to me years ago when my school district sent me to a math workshop at Boise State University. Most of the workshops were labeled K-3 and did not have much content for me as a kindergarten teacher. However, I did learn to make little journal books at that conference. I used those books continually in my teaching from that point on and they became a major tool for teaching children to think and be creative. For me that long 3-day workshops was work every minute and dollar spent. It made me a better teacher by teaching me about a very useful tool. Those of you attending conferences and workshops should make a goal to find something that will profoundly improve your teaching and learning.