THANK YOU, everyone who participated in the 2021 Early Childhood Education Conference! Check out our thank you video, and see you next year!

VTAEYC is proud to have hosted the 2021 Early Childhood Education Annual Conference!  We brought together Vermont’s early childhood communities with three high-quality virtual programs focused on honoring our children, our families, and ourselves. Each section of the conference included an evening plenary session and a follow up workshop session that was offered twice the next day. All sessions were offered online in real-time and eligible for professional development hours, approved by Northern Lights at CCV.

Anti-Bias and Equity: September 29 & 30


September 29 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Speakers: Louise Derman-Sparks and Debbie LeeKeenan

Title: Anti-Bias Education is for Each and Every Child and Educator: Insights and Strategies from Pioneering Anti-Bias Educators

Description: Anti-bias education is essential to early childhood education but it is sometimes unclear how to put it in practice in majority or exclusively white programs.  In this plenary, pioneering anti-bias education practitioners Louise Derman-Sparks and Debbie LeeKeenan will offer their thoughts on the need for and goals of anti-bias education for white children.  They will offer specific issues and strategies about how best to guide white children to a positive identity that does not rest on prejudice and includes the desire and confidence  to stand up for fairness.  This presentation will also discuss issues of identity and empowerment for children of color.  The presenters will explore the specific roles of teachers in anti-bias work, be it with white children and/or children of color. This plenary session will conclude with a panel of Vermont early childhood educators who are currently implementing anti-bias education in their programs.


September 30 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and again from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Title: Having Brave Conversations with Children About Identities, Diversity, and Fairness 

Description: Young children notice  and are curious about the diversity among people and create their own ideas about differences.  They  pay attention  to the  positive or negative values adults  assign to  specific ways of being—and  begin to learn  socially -prevailing stereotypes and prejudice.  As caring and responsible adults, we must not leave young children  alone as they try to figure out complex issues  that matter to themselves, to their families, to their communities—indeed to all of us. So, how do  we talk with young children  about who they are, who others are,  and about individual fairness and societal justice? This workshop will provide  opportunities to reflect on our ideas  and feelings about having brave conversations with young children , as well as identify a range of  strategies and skills.  Real scenarios will offer provocations to develop and strengthen our skills to initiate, and guide the conversations that are a vital part of anti-bias education.

Advancing ECE as a Profession: October 20 & 21


October 20 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Speakers: Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of NAEYC; Marica Cox Mitchell, Bainum Family Foundation; and Ashley Williams, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, UC Berkeley

Title: All Together Now: Progress and Promise in Advancing Early Childhood Education as a Profession

Description: Vermont’s early childhood educators and advocates are working to create a dynamic, diverse, well-resourced and well-compensated profession. And many are asking: are we making progress? The short answer is: yes, we are! In this plenary session, we’ll hear from early childhood policy leaders from around the nation about the impact of early childhood educators coming together to advocate for the respect and investments the profession deserves. Together, we’ll discuss the benefits and challenges of uniting as a field, explore strategies from other states engaged in this same work and consider key questions still to be answered. We hope you will add your voice to this important conversation. This plenary session will also include the presentation of the 2021 Vermont Early Childhood Educator of the Year award.


October 21 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and again from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Title: Professional Licensure: A New Path for Advancing ECE as a Profession in Vermont

Speakers: Vermont’s Advancing ECE as a Recognized Profession Task Force members

Description: Never has the time been more right for early childhood educators to advance as a recognized profession. Vermont is seeing growing consensus among early childhood educators about who we are, what we do, and the support we need to be successful. Now, it is time to explore implementation – how might this new profession work? This online real-time session describes an early childhood education profession with: 1) one consistent set of standards and competencies, 2) a professional licensure process overseen by members of the early childhood education profession, 3) a supported transition for members of the current workforce, and 4) workforce voices being central in all decision-making.

Mental Health and Resilience: November 8th & 9th


November 8 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM

Speaker: Kheya Ganguly, Director of Trauma Prevention & Resilience Development; Vermont Department of Mental Health

Title: “In-the-moment” Resilience Strategies: The Difference You Make for Children and Their Families

Description: This plenary session will delve into the importance of early childhood professionals incorporating resilience strategies in their work and how it benefits themselves and the children and families they serve.  A panel of Vermont early childhood professionals including a Head Start mental health consultant and an early childhood family mental health professional will speak to their experiences and successful support strategies.


November 9 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM and again from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Title: Planning Ahead for “In-the-Moment” Resilience

Description: The workshop will build on the plenary with interactive discussions about proven strategies for early childhood professionals to support and develop resilience in themselves in service of young children’s healthy growth and development. 

Thank you to our Conference Sponsors!

Many thanks our Conference Planning Committee members from:

Vermont Head Start Association

Vermont Head Start Collaboration Office

Let’s Grow Kids

Northern Lights at CCV

Vermont Child Care Providers Association

Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children