VTAEYC is committed to the ongoing professional development of its members and of all early childhood education professionals. To achieve this, VTAEYC hosts, co-sponsors and supports several professional development events each year, including the annual fall Early Childhood Conference, and the Spring Speaker Series.


Affordable Health Insurance Webinar #2:  Vermont’s Office of the Health Care Advocate: A Key Resource for You and the Families You Serve

We know that affordable health insurance is vitally important to Vermont’s early childhood educators and the families you serve. Join us for Part 2 of a discussion on the topic with Alicia Roderigue of the Office of the Health Care Advocate, a project of Vermont Legal Aid. Alicia will review the free supports and services that the Office of the Health Care Advocate provides for Vermonters who have questions about health insurance or access to care. In addition, she will offer information and answer questions regarding Vermont’s programs designed to make health insurance more affordable including Medicaid, Dr. Dynasaur, and Vermont Health Connect.  She’s also a great resource to answer new or lingering questions on the upcoming changes within Vermont Health Connect presented by Sean Sheehan of the Department of Vermont Health Access during the May 18th webinar.

This webinar was held on June 9th, 6-7pm EST. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.


Affordable Health Insurance: Why Now is the Right Time for Early Childhood Educators to Re-Explore Vermont Health Connect

Did you know that the American Rescue Plan includes funding to make health insurance much more affordable? New federal investments are set to significantly increase benefit levels and dramatically expand eligibility.

This is great news for early childhood educators who often lack employer-sponsored health care and are too often uninsured or underinsured.

VTAEYC is hosting a webinar with Sean Sheehan of the Department of Vermont Health Access. Sean will give us an overview of the upcoming changes and walk us through how to figure out how this could impact you, your family, and your colleagues.

This webinar was held on May 18th, 6-7pm EST. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here.


Breathing Room affinity series

SESSION DATES: Thursday May 20, 27, June 3, 6:00 – 7:00 PM EST via Zoom.

Click here to register.

This communal affinity series is free and open to early childhood educators who identify as People of Color. Our time together will be dedicated to building connection with one another and openly processing our wide range of experiences in a supportive, non-judgmental environment. This space will deeply honor BIPOC wholeness, joy, hardship, nuance, community care, and racial trauma.

Group facilitation will also include psychoeducation for mental and emotional health management as well as tools for self-advocacy and communal strategizing within the work environment. Participants are invited to experience a conversation in the style of group therapy, engage in breakout spaces, activities, and receive informational handouts.

Sponsored by VTAEYC and facilitated by Courtney (Coco) Casper.

Courtney Casper (she/her) is a clinical social worker, local multicultural, first-generation changemaker, per diem counselor at UVM Counseling & Psychiatry Services, and an MSW candidate at Smith College. As a queer, American child of immigrants, she holds a deep affinity for exploring intimacy and attachment with people of all ages and identities. Her decade of professional history reflects her investment in BIPOC-centered healing and open critical dialogue across settings. Courtney emphasizes humor, multiplexity, and deconstruction of power in her clinical and personal work.

***This affinity space is free and open to all People of the Global Majority (Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color) who are early educators living and working on unceded Abenaki lands commonly known as Vermont.***

Download the flyer

If you have any questions, please reach out to Chani Krech: chani.krech@vtaeyc.org.


Part 1: October 28 & 29

featuring Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is the pediatrician who first researched and revealed the lead in the blood of Flint, Michigan’s children. Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and USA Today’s “Women of the Century,” she continues to work to mitigate the impact of the water crisis on Flint’s children. In her powerful book, What the Eyes Don’t See, and her personal and inspiring speeches, she motivates audiences to speak out against injustice. Learn more about Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha here.

October 28 speakers and panelists include:

Phil Scott, Governor of Vermont

Aly Richards, CEO of Let’s Grow Kids

Rhian Evans Allvin, CEO of NAEYC

Sean Brown, Commissioner, Vermont Department of Children and Families

Steven Berbeco, Deputy Commissioner, Child Development Division

Melissa Riegel-Garrett, Policy Director, Child Development Division

Breena Holmes, MD, Pediatric MD, Vermont Department of Health

Paul Behrman, Director, Champlain Valley Head Start; Chair, Vermont Head Start Association

October 29 workshop description:

Rethinking Resilience: The science of child development reveals that early adversity and trauma have the potential to leave life-long scars ranging from developmental delays to chronic disease to decreased life expectancy. However, early identification and mitigation of toxic stress through individual child-focused resilience building has the potential to minimize long term sequalae. In this workshop, participants will rethink the concept of resilience from one child to a larger population of children. Rather than demanding resilience from children already burdened with adversity, the focus will shift to building resilient communities that prevent the need for individual child resilience.

Click here to register for Part 1.


Part 2: November 2 & 5

featuring Ijumaa Jordan

Ijumaa Jordan is a fat, Black, cis-gendered woman (she, her, hers) daily engaging in the beautiful struggle of life, doing the internal and external work to abolish systems of oppression such as racism, sexism, transphobia, classism, etc.

Ijumaa shows up for this work with intensity and passion, being joyful, thinking critcially, and holding a learning space with care and grace. She loves afternoon naps and snacks, and you can usually find her online looking serious and laughing loudly. Learn more about Ijumaa Jordan here.

November 2 speakers and panelists include:

Tabatha Rosproy,  2020 National Teacher of the Year (and first Early Educator NTOY)

Xusana Davis, Vermont Director of Racial Equity

Ann McClain Terrell, Board President of NAEYC

Wanda Heading-Grant, Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, UVM

Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD., Assistant Professor in Deptartment of Pediatrics, Robert Larner MD. College of Medicine at UVM; Cultural and Linguistic Competency trainer

November 5 workshop description:

Ollie Ollie Oxenfree; Play for all! This workshop examines how systemic classism and racism privileges play for some children, while devaluing it for others.

Children who live in under-resourced areas and children of color are particularly vulnerable to educational reforms that restrict their access to self-initiated, complex play.

We will develop our own playful dispositions, learn to uphold play as a right and move play back to the center of childhood experiences for all children. Participants will co-create practical strategies to provide more access to space, time, materials and relationships within their own contexts. This experience is well suited for participants with a passion for play, equity, and advocacy.

Click here to register for Part 2.


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