Child Care Aware® of America has a lot of great sessions, discussions, and events lined up for you at Symposium 2016 in April. We’re working hard to put together a program that includes opportunities to learn from and interact with your peers, speak with policymakers about the best ways to affect real change, and learn from experts on data, legislation, and resources for the field.
And if that isn’t enough to drive you straight to the registration page, here are eight of my top reasons for attending Symposium 2016 (because the staff team made me limit to only eight!):
8. Share in the good news.
With too many stories in the news about the challenging issues with child care, the exorbitant costs families are facing, and parents without access, it’s important to honor those who go above and beyond every single day for the children in their care.
With that in mind, and as part of the Provider of the Month campaign (kicked off last year on Provider Appreciation Day), we are inviting you to join us for a breakfast featuring our Provider of the Month awardees. Since this is a national award, providers from all over the country are nominated and selected – and for those able to come to Symposium in D.C. this April, we want to be sure they receive every accolade they’ve earned!
7. See outstanding and dynamic plenary speakers from across the child care community.
We will be joined by Administration officials discussing priorities for the last few months of the Obama Administration; Dr. Joan Lombardi, Vidya Putcha, M.A., Dr. Maria Caridad Araujo, and Jane Bertrand talking about early systems building from an international perspective; Dr. Walter Gilliam discussing implications and policy solutions for preschool expulsions, and so much more. You can see a more complete list of plenaries and speakers at usa.childcareaware.org/symposium2016.
6. Get prepared.
Crises like the water contamination in Flint, Michigan, new diseases like Zika, and natural disasters like floods and hurricanes abound – making 2016 a good time to talk about your emergency preparedness plans and the resources available to CCR&Rs, child care centers, and family child care homes.
Join us for a session that will include speakers from Child Care Aware® of America, the Disaster and Community Crisis Center at University of Missouri, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Save the Children. You won’t find a panel of experts like this talking about emergency preparedness in child care anywhere else!
Need I say more? You’ll have several opportunities to meet up with colleagues from across the U.S. to talk about issues affecting the child care community, or just to catch up – including a networking reception and a networking lounge, a session honoring Patty Siegel, and Membership and State Network Council meetings!
4. Everything you ever wanted to know about data use.
If you have questions on data sharing, data integration, privacy laws, and security (and you’ve told us you do!), then you’ve come to the right place. Symposium 2016 will host a training session just for you on discussion of federal laws in the child care space, requirements for data sharing agreements, and best practices. Two attorneys from Ice Miller Legal Counsel will be leading this session, which will include a Q&A session so you can get your specific questions answered.
3. A sneak peek at an unreleased documentary.
You can be one of the few honored people who gets a sneak preview of the documentary No Small Matter, not scheduled for release until 2017! The producers and videographers will be at a special Symposium 2016 event to talk about what motivated the making of the film, as well as the stories included. They may even crowd source some additional stories and interviews from among Symposium attendees!
2. An advocacy day on the Hill, including a Hill Day kick off speech from Texas state Senator Wendy Davis!
The real reason behind why we’re hosting our Symposium 2016 in Washington, D.C. is because of its proximity to Capitol Hill. So no convening would be complete without a day on the Hill talking to legislators about issues affecting child care and early childhood education. And this year, we have some specific asks in mind for our elected officials. Please be sure to come out and support our family advocates and policy staff as they educate us on the issues and then take the fight right to Congress. We’ll need you in our corner as we talk to our legislators about the important issues facing early learning and child care.
1. A lively discussion on the future of early education.
You will have the chance to continue the discussion on advancing early childhood education as a professional field of practice – something close to my heart, and to the mission of Child Care Aware® of America. Stacie Goffin and early learning leaders presented on this topic at a conference in 2015 and then blogged about it for CCAoA, where it generated some interesting comments on Facebook. If you missed your chance to weigh in on this topic you’re in luck, because you can catch Stacie and a full panel of participants in a special three hour featured session, “Resource and Referral Agencies and Early Childhood Education as a Professional Field of Practice: Where do They Fit Together?” Just be prepared to jump into a lively debate on this one!
Now that you’re excited to come to Washington, D.C. in April for Symposium 2016, make sure you register and reserve your hotel room online! You can find this info and much more at http://usa.childcareaware.org/Symposium2016.