Behind the Scenes of the NAEYC Annual Conference

Every year hundreds of educators gather for the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Annual Conference (NAEYC AC). This year was no different with over 20,000 in attendance at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, GA.

In this post we discuss the NAEYC AC with our Dean of Education, Cecelia Westby, and get her behind the scenes information of what she anticipated to learn, what she learned and what her overall thoughts were about the conference and why someone should consider attending the conference in the future.



The NAEYC Annual Conference exhibit floor – Georgia World Congress Center, Atlanta, GA

Kendall Bird (KB): What were you anticipating to learn before the conference?

Cecelia Westby (CW): I was anticipating learning more about developmentally appropriate practice but ended up learning a lot more about the Child Development Associate credential (CDA) and the launch of the CDA 2.0. The message on the CDA 2.0 was extremely timely as we [currently] have hundreds of students preparing for the CDA; it is huge in terms of preparing high-quality early childhood professionals [which Rasmussen College strives to have].

KB: What did you learn during the conference?

CW: Again, a lot about the CDA 2.0. In addition, I learned that there is a great need for the CDA, and that, we are, as a college, in the right place at the right time. 



KB: What were your overall thoughts and why should someone consider going to the NAEYC AC?

CW: The National Association for the Education of Young Children conference delivered once again with progressive information presented by and for early childhood educators. Rasmussen College had the great opportunity to sit down with leadership from The Council for Professional Recognition (CPR) —Valora Washington, CEO and President, Myra Crouch and Brocklin Qualls who shared information and excitement about the launch of CDA 2.0. The leadership at the CPR has transformed the Child Development Associate (CDA) process with CDA 2.0 and put a greater emphasis on quality training to create high quality early childhood educators; another step in the right direction for the field of early childhood education.

We also had the phenomenal opportunity to witness recognition of Knowledge Universe Early Childhood Educator award winners. These early childhood educators were recognized for their commitment to children and families. The opportunity to observe these winners reminded me once again that early childhood educators make a difference in the children and families we serve. 

Most importantly, by attending the conference I am reminded that I am not alone. There continues to be a huge and committed group of people, in multiple roles and responsibilities, who maintain to work on behalf of young children.


Educator interaction in the student resource center (Pictured, L-R: Nancy Moretti, Rasmussen College ECE Adjunct faculty and a NAEYC AC attendee.)



An e-club session designed for faculty and students in the virtual world to improve connectivity and engagement. Goal is to connect other clubs across the U.S. to share ideas and creative ways to leverage virtual clubs for better student engagement.


Were you in attendance at the NAEYC Annual Conference? We would love to connect with you; find us on Facebook and Twitter to share your story from the NAEYC AC. 

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Kendall Bird is an Online Community Specialist for Rasmussen College. With her Bachelor’s degree in public relations and a passion for social media, she enjoys writing motivating and enthusiastic blog content to encourage future, current and former students to learn more about their discipline of study. Kendall’s ultimate goal is to generate a positive community through blogging to promote learning and change lives.

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