November 5, 2015

Friends’ Teachers on the National Stage

Jessie Vanden Hogen and Christie Stanford
Each year, The National Association for the Education of Young Children
holds its annual conference, the largest gathering of early childhood educators in the world.

More specifically it is the largest gathering of “thought leaders, classroom teachers and faculty, administrators, researchers, and other critically important practitioners and contributors in early childhood education” (NAEYC website).

Among the group this year will be Friends’ preschool teachers Christie Stanford and Jessie Vanden Hogen. Jessie and Christie will not only be attending, but they will be presenting to the conference for two hours in the grand ballroom of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.

NAEYC “works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. They advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. The association comprises nearly 70,000 individual members of the early childhood community and more than 300 regional Affiliate chapters. Together, they work to achieve a collective vision: that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential.”

Jessie and Christie know the organization well – they have both recently received the Educator of the Year award from the Boulder chapter of the state affiliate (the only teachers from the same school to win the award in back to back years: 2014 & 2015).

They will be presenting on “Storytelling, Mindfulness & Executive Function” on November 19th in Orlando.

Many of our parents may have heard our teachers speak on one or more of these topics before, but this presentation will be entirely new.  NAEYC has required its presenters to illustrate their talks with only a 4 ft X 8 ft poster.

For Christie and Jessie, who have featured PowerPoint slides and video in their previous talks on the subject, this was an opportunity to think outside the box, a puzzle that they had to come to terms with.

Christie & Jessie, complete with NAEYC presenter
badges and Friends' School schwag!
They are excited to be teaching to and collaborating with colleagues from all over the country. The idea behind the poster format is that it will increase engagement from the audience and give attendees greater opportunity to share ideas and work together to create new collaborative projects.  As Christie told me, “it’s not what I’m used to, but it exemplifies 21st century learning.”

Preschool parents and children know how much our teachers talk about “growing their brains”.  For Jessie and Christie this has been a great opportunity to do just that.

Christie and Jessie were hired on the same day at Friends' and are in their 17th year at our school. They are thrilled and proud to be at a school where innovative practice gets national attention and they are making an impact on their profession.

Congratulations, Jessie and Christie – we know you will do Friends’ School proud! 

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