Recently, several NPS Lower Division teachers attended the NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) conference held at the Washington DC Convention Center.

Throughout this conference, teachers attended a variety of sessions regarding best practices in early childhood education. Some of these sessions included “Let’s Talk Play: Keeping Play at the Heart of Early Childhood” and “Culture Still Matters: Exploring Innovative Strategies for Culturally Responsive Teaching and Interactions from Infancy to Third Grade.”

While at the conference, teachers also had the opportunity to collaborate with other educators and explore classroom materials and products at the expo center. All of the conference attendees look forward to bringing back new ideas to their respective early childhood classrooms. 

Librarian Marie Bertozzi attended an author talk with Mac Barnett, Betsy Lewin, Amy June Bates.  They spoke about the fact that books allow children to process abstract ideas in a safe place.  Additionally, while not all books are for all children, children will find and hear the stories that they are able to process. Books also allow children to see different stories and to step into the shoes of others with diverse perspectives.

Mac Barnett added that he is always surprised at how differently children and adults process his books. He also states that children are very curious about the “hard topics”  (death, race,  people not getting along, etc.) and really want to talk about them. It’s okay to tell children – about the hard topics-  that we don’t know the answers and that there are many different answers to all the questions they have.  That is why the fairy tales have always been so popular; they explore that gray area between good and evil and allow children to work through situations that are not black and white.

In addition Amy June Bates is the author of a lovely book about inclusion entitled The Big Umbrella. It is a touching book about including everyone under an umbrella and that no one should be left out.  Look for this book in the NPS library soon!

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