Educational First Steps Hosts Early Childhood Education Conference and Symposium for Over 500 Early Childhood Professionals

Educational First Steps is a North Texas non-profit dedicated to improving the quality and availability of early childhood education for economically disadvantaged children. On February 16, EFS hosted its Annual Conference & Early Childhood Symposium with keynote speaker former Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro at the Sheraton Dallas, connecting teachers, directors and other early childhood professionals with experts in the field, presenting awards and providing a forum for professional networking and partnerships.

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Educational First Steps

The conference was phenomenal. EFS...showed that childcare is a professional industry.

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) February 27, 2013

The Educational First Steps Four Steps to Excellence 2.0 program emphasizes partnerships with child care centers, training and mentoring their teachers and directors in best practices both in the classroom and administratively. The program also prioritizes professional networking and provides assisted centers with relevant early childhood resources. The Educational First Steps Annual Conference & Early Childhood Symposium brought all of these pieces together on February 16, when over 500 teachers, directors and early childhood professionals gathered at the Sheraton Dallas for a day filled with inspiring speakers, special awards and increased awareness for specific educational issues.

Keynote Speaker Former Texas State Senator Florence Shapiro, known for her work in public education during her distinguished 20-year career in the Texas State Senate, addressed the attendees during the keynote session. She informed the teachers and directors of relevant issues for the current legislative session and encouraged them to strive for excellence with the knowledge that every child matters in mind, emphasizing the hope that early childhood education can bring to those in poverty.

The conference and symposium offered several tracks to registrants. EFS-Assisted teachers and directors attended the Infant/Toddler, Pre-kindergarten and Administration tracks, while fellow early childhood professionals attended the State of Education in Texas track, featuring sessions from Commit!, The Concilio, Dallas Association for the Education of Young Children, Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Independent School District, Educational First Steps, Oak Hill Academy and Texans Care for Children. Topics covered included the long-term impact of early education, early childhood partnerships, identifying learning differences at an early age and early education legislative priorities.

Educational First Steps presented a series of awards during the event, recognizing outstanding staff members from EFS-assisted centers. The David Munson Teacher and Director of the Year Awards were awarded to recipients who are employed by centers that have been assisted by EFS longer than one year. The Stepping up Awards (sponsored by GEICO) were presented to staff members of centers assisted by EFS for 4 months to one year. The recipients were chosen based upon their use of developmentally appropriate practices, involvement with parents and their communities, demonstration of leadership skills and high level of activity in the EFS program. The awards were presented as follows.

The David Munson Director of the Year Award ($500) - Lynnette Hill (The Family Place)
The David Munson Teacher of the Year Award ($500) - Vickie Young (Riding Rainbow)
The Stepping Up Director Award sponsored by GEICO ($100) - Andre Williams (2nd Step Daycare and Learning Center)
The Stepping Up Teacher Award sponsored by GEICO ($100) - Octavia Polk (Handprints Child Care)

Attendees stated that this was the "best EFS conference" yet and noted that the information was presented in a clear, tangible way that would be easily implemented into their classrooms. Rachel Proctor, Administrative Director of EFS-assisted Center Neighborhood Christian Learning Center at Dallas stated that "the conference on Saturday was phenomenal. EFS...showed that childcare is a professional industry."