Dear Idaho AEYC Members –
Spring is the perfect time to reflect and revisit our goals, vision and purpose. We at Idaho AEYC continue to work towards our vision that all young children thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. Our goals to support high-quality early learning, the profession, organizational advancement, organizational excellence and leadership and innovation are the driving force of what we do every day.
As we reflect and then look towards our future, we know that our MEMBERS are at the CORE of what it takes to achieve our goals. Idaho AEYC members engage in a variety of ways as we are a diverse group of professionals. Whether it’s participating with your local affiliate, serving in a leadership role, participating in committee work, networking with other members, or traveling to DC to engage in advocacy – all of YOU bring unique values to our association and early childhood education.
Our work comes will many rewards. The future of our children will be better because of YOU and your commitment to high quality early learning. Many of you touch the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of children and their families and because of your commitment to high quality early learning, our children are on a path towards reaching their full potential and our families are more confident and capable.
Our work also comes with many challenges. These past several weeks, Idaho AEYC has been working hard at the state and national level to advocate for investments in high quality early learning. Too many of our children and families do not have the opportunities to experience high quality early childhood education.
Here are a few of the activities Idaho AEYC has been doing on the behalf of high quality early learning and you.
On February 8th, Idaho AEYC held it’s 3rd annual “Early Learning Legislative Day”. This year, we held BlockFest inside the capitol and over 100 people gather to show support for state investments in early learning. Children, families and early childhood teachers had fun engaging in BlockFest which provided our legislators an opportunity to observe how children learn through play. There are a lot of misconceptions by our lawmakers that high quality early childhood programs means having our youngest children sit in desks with pencils. We know that this could not be further from the truth! We continue to educate our legislators as to WHAT high quality early learning is and WHY we should be investing in it.
On February 22, Idaho AEYC lead the efforts to host an “Early Learning Informational Hearing” in the House and Senate Education committees. We had over 18 speakers from a variety of backgrounds and expertise give testimony as to why Idaho needs to invest state dollars into high quality early learning. Our speakers included early childhood Higher Ed professors, a parent, a preschool teacher, a kindergarten teacher, 3 school superintendents, a retired sheriff, a retired judge, a prosecuting attorney, a business leader, a retired Admiral of the US Navy, 3 legislators, the Lieutenant Governor and myself. All speakers had unique reasons why Idaho needs to ensure that all children have access to high quality early learning. The speaker list was quite impressive and we made quite the impression on our policy makers. We still have a long way to go but we are committed to continue educating and informing our legislators about the importance of high quality early education.
This past week, 4 Idaho AEYC members as well as myself, traveled to Washington, DC to participate in the NAEYC Public Policy Forum. The policy forum focused on 3 major initiatives that we discussed with other states as well as our Idaho Congressmen. Those 3 areas are: (attached is the NAEYC document)
A Stronger Workforce – Skilled, supported and knowledgeable early childhood educators provide high quality early childhood programs.
Federal Funding that Supports Families in Need – An underfunded child care system means that the vast majority of children (84%) do not receive the support for which they are eligible.
Smart Tax Incentives that Help Families Drive Quality – Strengthening and developing new tax credits for low and middle income families.
Our congressmen and their staff listened and engaged in good conversation. Most of them support the idea of high quality early learning but we continue to struggle when it comes to the approach, funding and implementation. All in all, it was a great trip and our Idaho team learned a lot that will help us drive our work here in Idaho. It was so great having members from North Idaho, Moscow and the Treasure Valley represent. Next year, we hope to engage members from other areas of the state.
April 24-28 is our annual Week of the Young Child. Here in the Treasure Valley, we are working hard to put on a celebration that will engage community members in recognizing early childhood education, young children, their teachers and families. We are also working with Mayors throughout the Treasure Valley to proclaim April 22-28, 2017 Week of the Young Child. We will also reach out to our Governor as well.
We encourage you to work with your local affiliates leaders to engage in activities that promote Week of the Young Child in your area! You can find lots of great planning information here. Let’s make Week of the Young Child an Idaho celebration!
May 19-20 is Idaho AEYC’s statewide Professional Development Institute. We reached out to members throughout Idaho to find out what YOU want for professional development. Our committee of statewide representation have planned a high quality event that will serve the wants and needs of all of our members. We are expecting over 300 early childhood professionals to attend from across the state and we hope you don’t miss this great opportunity!
We are thrilled to announce that NAEYC’s Executive Director, Rhian Evans Allvin will be one of our keynote speakers! Rhian will speak of the newest NAEYC initiative – Power to the Profession (P2P). P2P is a 2 year national, collaborative effort among leaders who engage professionals who education children birth to age eight across all settings to develop a consistent structure for competencies, qualifications, standards, compensation, and educational pathways for all of those who work in the early learning field.
In addition, we will have the opportunity to hear from Walter Drew, a renowned NAEYC author. His book, From Play to Practice describes the importance of play and helps teachers understand and promote play-based learning.
Registration will open for Idaho AEYC members before opening it up to others. Please don’t delay and register early!
As always, thank you for your membership and your commitment to high quality early learning. Idaho AEYC is your voice for and is dedicated to advancing Idaho’s early learning profession. We always want to hear from you and how we can better support you!
All the best,