• January 7, 2013 -

    Kaplan University Educational Studies Department attends NAEYC 2012 National Conference

    PS - NEAYC Conference News
    (From left to right, Professor Verlinda Ruble, Dr. Lisa Wright, Professor Nancy Moretti, Professor Lori Becker, and Professor Patricia Baughman)

    Every year thousands of early childhood educators gather for the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Annual Conference. This year was no different with over 20,000 participants attending the conference from November 7 to November 11 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Faculty members from the Kaplan University Educational Studies Department had the unique opportunity to meet, present, and participate in this year’s conference, titled “Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) in the 21st Century.” Each faculty member had different reasons for attending but each left the conference with new knowledge, new friends, and a collaborative spirit that encouraged them to share in their own settings across the United States and in their online classroom environments. The following is a recap from each of these faculty members explaining their personal experiences from the 2012 NAEYC Annual Conference.

    Dr. Lisa Wright 

    The NAEYC annual conference was an excellent opportunity for Kaplan University full-time and adjunct faculty to network with other university faculty and students throughout the country. Five professors from the Educational Studies Department had the opportunity to interact and build community with each other and early childhood professionals from a wide range of states. I particularly found the presentations I attended on children with special needs and their families very helpful in advancing my knowledge on how to serve this population. In addition, I presented “Using Social Stories With Young Children on the Autism Spectrum” to a group of 42 attendees from a wide variety of professions: early childhood teachers, special educators, administrators, and social workers. The participants worked in groups to develop Social Stories and share ideas and solutions. It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase Kaplan University's autism courses and faculty. Our faculty members attended the session and were able to discuss our other courses at Kaplan University which also added to the discussion. It was a rare event to have five educational studies members from Kaplan University sharing our expertise and the University's strengths in educating early childhood professionals in working with young children with special needs.

    Nancy Moretti 

    Over the past 25 years, I have had the pleasure of attending this conference 10 times. Each time, I return home with a reminder that I am not in it alone. During my time at the NAEYC conference, I attended many different workshops and presentations and had the opportunity to attend sessions presented by my colleagues here at Kaplan University as well as presentations hosted by children’s authors, early childhood experts, and other early childhood professionals. I was honored to have the chance to present on “DAP Programs Stem From Highly Qualified Teachers” to a group of over 30 individuals. In this roundtable session of teachers and directors, we discussed the impact that professional development has on providing developmentally appropriate programs to the children we serve.

    Verlinda Ruble 

    As one of the five faculty members in attendance at the NAEYC conference, I had the wonderful opportunity to co-present with Dr. Lisa Wright on “The E-club: An Online Higher Education Model for Future Leaders.” Dr. Patti Pelletier, department chair of the Educational Studies Department, shared via Voice Thread. Dr. William Strader from the NAEYC Student Interest Forum interacted with the attendees from his home using Skype. He shared insights about e-clubs and how Kaplan University is achieving success with our Educator’s Club online platform. Professor Nancy Moretti attended and joined in on our collaborative groups and discussed some of the needs and goals for 2013. We also fielded questions about collaboration and technology use for engagement online. One young lady shared that she was beginning Kaplan University’s bachelor’s degree program in early childhood development in March 2013. She also plans to join the Educator’s Club and seek out leadership opportunities at that time. We are currently preparing for the 2013 Annual NAEYC Conference in Washington from November 20 to November 23, 2013. It promises to be a wonderful opportunity to again network with other professionals across the country, including Kaplan University instructors and club members. Just imagine the possibilities for 2013!

    Lori Becker 

    The NAEYC conference in Atlanta was an amazing experience. I had the pleasure of joining my colleagues to share our experiences and learn from each other. There were teachers and faculty from across the United States, but I felt that our exceptional professors were the shining stars. One of these shining stars was Dr. Lisa Wright’s “Social Stories” presentation. This presentation was one of a kind because it gave attendees the opportunity to learn from Lisa’s experiences and to apply what they learned in smaller, collaborative groups. I learned a great deal to apply to my professional and personal life.

    NAEYC has played an integral part of my life since I completed my master’s degree and started my teaching career. It has been a goal of mine to attend the conference and I am thrilled that I had the opportunity. I feel that the “Book and Boogie” workshop will benefit my teaching the most. Two women who were former teachers presented this session. These women created a network where they provide ideas and resources to early childhood educators 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “Book and Boogie” shared how teachers can take books and songs and relate these to curriculum being taught.

    From books to music to technology and special education, the opportunities were endless. Having the chance to meet with Kaplan University faculty members was priceless. My hopes are that we can gather together again at future conferences.

    Patricia Baughman 

    I could not attend the daytime NAEYC conference, but Professor Verlinda Ruble set up an evening face-to-face meeting for Kaplan University’s Educator’s Club at a coffee shop near the NAEYC conference. Through this casual get-together, we had the chance to meet a Kaplan University student who was attending the conference and hear her perspective on how Kaplan University was unique. It is a rare treat to be able to chat in person with many faculty members who live all over the country. The student took the photo shown above and then several of the professors went to dinner. The portions were tiny, but the memories were priceless. We “talked shop” most of the time and shared concerns and ideas for making our courses even better. Now when I see virtual communication from the professors, I think of them as I saw them that night and feel an even closer bond. I am grateful that they were able to gather in one city for the NAEYC conference and that the Educator’s Club provided an opportunity for students and faculty to have coffee, catch up, and collaborate.

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