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Interested in learning more about our Association? Look no further! Check out our blog for insightful information regarding our accreditation process, membership, conference updates, leadership tips and so much more! Our blog is intended to assist early care owners, directors and administrators in connecting to valuable resources and information. We invite you to actively engage with us by commenting on our blog! Your opinion is very much appreciated!


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5 Modern Marketing Strategies You Can Use to Reach More Local Families

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 14, 2016

This is the most exciting time to market an early childhood education center. Never before have there been so many avenues and channels to reach your audience of parents and caregivers. At the Preschool Marketing Group, we understand that today’s marketing blurs the lines between “online” and “offline.”  These two categories now act symbiotically to create a holistic approach that can build your school’s reputation and authority. Here are five modern marketing strategies you can use to start reaching more local families.

Local Search Marketing

A local search happens when a prospective family enters a generic term like “Preschool” into a search engine like Google. This is likely to be your most important source of outreach for new families. You’re targeting millennials and they’re doing most of their research online.

There are many signals that contribute to where you rank in a local search result. First, there’s your local profile (Google, Bing). Make sure you’re using all elements of your local profile (like all photos, description, proper category). Secondly, be sure your website is well-aligned with the profile. Make sure you include copy on your homepage that references your category. And be sure that your address appears exactly as it does on your Google profile (with the same abbreviations, and spellings). Also, make sure you’re encouraging great reviews on your profile from your happy families. Not only are the quality and quantity of those reviews a ranking factor, they’re also an important trust factor. A 2014 study discovered that around 80% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

The last two very important local ranking elements are citations and links. Citations are references to your exact name, address, and phone number (what we call NAP) across the web. Make sure this information is uniform and accurate in top services like InfoUSA and Axciom. If you ever find your information incorrect on a website (for example, if they use a variation of your name), try to contact that website and provide them with the correct information. When it comes to links, you want to earn as many as possible. You can earn links through various efforts, but most links will come in the form of someone sharing a unique and interesting piece of content you have created. Making your blog a valuable resource for early childhood topics in your area is one great way to encourage that type of sharing.


Event Hosting Marketing

Event hosting is simple: you have a treasure of information about youth and early childhood development. Hold in-house events to discuss popular topics for your parents and you will demonstrate thought leadership and build authority. 

You can hold a free in-house event about a topic like: how to best approach learning for young children, what are the best toys for learning, and so on. Have your RSVP form offer the option to sign up for your newsletter (a perfect way to continue to build your center’s relationship with the new families). You can promote the event on your website, social media, as well as other free sites like Craigslist and Eventbrite. Make sure you have takeaways for the event, like a summary of the topic discussed on letterhead, or a printout of the presentation slides.


Strategic Alliances

Building local strategic alliances is about connecting with complementary services to cross promote. Both businesses win because there’s a sharing of expertise and audience.

Think about other family-related businesses around your area. This often includes pediatricians, pediatric dentists, dance schools, music schools, family photographers, etc. There are many great ways to cross promote: educational event promotion (like above), guest blogging, newsletter mentions. All of these are perfect ways to gain exposure with a new audience.


Third-Party SEO

Google is the primary place families go to learn about educational opportunities for their children, but it’s important to make sure that your information is complete, current, and accurate on not just your own profiles (Google/Bing) but also on other, third-party websites that rank highly in search results.

Here are a few of the important websites for early childhood centers: Yelp, GreatSchools, and Noodle. Depending on your geographic area, there may also be local directories like PreK Smarties, or Mommy Poppins. Make sure your profiles take advantage of all information available (like descriptions, categories, photos).



Advertising is a great way to get your center in front of more local families. There are many ways to advertise your amazing programs, here are a few of the major opportunities:

Pay-per-click (PPC) – This includes services like Google AdWords, which allows you to purchase on specific keywords, for example “preschool” and allows you to target people in your local area.

Facebook – Offers an advertising platform, which allows you to target not only areas but also psychographics (subscribers to magazines like Parenting).

Local advertising channels – This includes opportunities such as sponsoring mom groups on Meetup, and local parent networks.

You can use advertising to reach new families during key decision-making time periods, or during your slower months to drum up more interest. The key to advertising success is tracking your efforts to determine the best possible allocation of your advertising budget.


The Preschool Marketing Group  is a full-service marketing consulting and creative studio founded with the mission of helping preschools thrive through smart marketing. We specialize in helping preschools increase enrollment and revenue by maximizing their marketing efforts, focusing on ethical, effective, and modern strategies.

Tags:  Advertising  Digital Marketing  director  Enrollment  Marketing  Modern MarketingAssociation for Early Learning Lea 

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Association for Early Learning Leaders Gets Featured on USA's Early Education Campaign

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 30, 2016

 MediaplanetUSA's Early Education Campaign - AELL


We recently participated in Mediaplanet USA’s Early Education campaign in which the industry united to raise awareness about the benefits of advancing one’s education. Early childhood experiences have a deep impact on the rest of a child’s life and America’s future economic prosperity will ultimately be determined by the success of today’s children. The aim of this campaign is to provide readers with the resources and education to provide their children with equal opportunities, so that more of America’s children are prepared to succeed in the 21st century. The campaign was distributed through USA Today on March 25th, 2016 and is published online. Learn more:  

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Top 4 Reasons You Should Attend Conference this Year!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, March 30, 2016
AELL's 2016 Annual National Conference 


In our busy days, it's easy to forget the power and importance of investing in a face-to-face conversation with someone who speaks your language and shares your challenges.

There are many benefits to attending this year's conference. There is the power of being connected to other professionals who are active in your field. There are the tremendous tools and resources that might be just what you need to meet those enrollment goals or take your team to the next level. So many early learning professionals cringe at the thought of taking a few days from their program to participate in a conference, but attending an event like the How Successful Directors Lead Conference can be a real game changer for your program and the families it serves.

Choosing to invest in yourself is choosing to invest in your leadership and the team you lead!

Here are four reasons to attend the How Successful Directors Lead Conference:

1. Networking and relationship building - meeting groups of people with shared interests is always fun and empowering! Exchanging ideas and experiences with like-minded individuals will not only be affirming, but can also help you grow personally and intellectually. The opportunity to engage informally at networking events and collaborate with your peers can be a life-giving and a life-long resource.

2. Educational Opportunities - whether you're considering growing in your current position or are looking for a new role, attending the conference will allow you to stay current with the latest trends, research and technologies in the early care and education field and help you sustain and drive business.

3. Sessions tailored just for YOU - With a spectrum of topics offered that address various seasons of leadership; from the new director to seasoned executive leadership. Experts in our industry generously share valuable and practical tools that will make a meaningful contribution to your leadership and the life of your program.

4. Relax and get inspired - attending the conference will get you inspired by breaking out of your usual routine and helping you fully immerse in an expertise rich-environment.

Ready to sign up? Click here.  

Tags:  Administrators  AELL  AELL's National Conference  Directors  Early Care and Education  Early Childhood Education  ECE  How Successful Directors Lead Conference  Leadership Conferenc  Owners  Program Leaders 

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Making Celebration Healthy | Eco Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Guest Blog - Eco Healthy Child Care®, Thursday, October 1, 2015
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2015

Celebrations such as holidays, birthdays, new classmates and graduations are something children truly enjoy.  A celebration allows children the opportunity to express themselves, learn, and have a lot of fun, which is essential for their social development. Because celebrations are such an important element of child development, they should remain as healthy as possible, and should contribute to learning. There are certain steps parents and child care providers can take to assure that celebrations are healthy for young bodies and young minds.

 Some Steps for a healthy celebration may include:

  • Arranging a field trip to the local park, library, or museum to celebrate special occasions, taking along lunch or healthy snacks. This can also provide an opportunity for physical activity if the venue is within walking distance.
  • Offer a non-food “treat”. Create celebrations that are about sharing: soap bubbles for blowing, whistles for tweeting, ribbons for twirling or homemade play dough for sculpting.
  • If food is part of a celebration, use it as an opportunity to support healthy eating habits by serving fresh fruits and vegetables and healthful snacks.

As the National Director of Eco-Healthy Child Care® and a mother of two, I also recommend developing a celebration policy. This could perhaps be a part of a broader food wellness policy, and could help families, child care staff and teachers agree on guidelines to make celebrations about fun activities and social interaction rather than extra unhealthy foods. Consider the following procedures when developing a policy:


  • Schedule celebrations around routine meal and snack times, so that healthful and nutritious treats are not added calories.
  • Ask families to refrain from packing candy and sugary sweets in their children’s lunches.

Additionally, swapping unhealthy snacks and treats for healthy choices could be beneficial to young children over the long term by instilling good eating habits for a lifetime.

  • In the summer time, offer cold water flavored with fresh lemon, lime, or cucumber slices. This is refreshing without added sugars.
  • Fresh fruit kebabs: Local, organic or pesticide-free fresh fruits are a nutritious alternative to artificially sweetened treats. Serve chunks of fruit on skewers with plain, nonfat yogurt for dipping.


EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. Click here to learn more about making celebrations healthier. 

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Four Takeaways - 2015 Fall Leadership Symposium

Posted By Joe Vasquez, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Register for our Fall Leadership Symposium     


Join us this October for our Fall Leadership Symposium in sunny Pompano Beach, Florida. 


Maximize your participation by networking with fellow early learning leaders, fostering positive, long-lasting relationships with colleagues, and gaining insight from leading professionals.

Explore the best track (Director, Owner-to-Owner, Emerging Leader, and Accreditation) that fits your professional needs!  

Here are four top takeaways.

1. Networking and relationship building - meeting groups of people with shared interests is always a fun thing! Exchanging words with like-minded individuals will not only be an enjoyable experience, but can also help you grow personally and intellectually. The shared experiences and informal conversations in our networking events can help you better understand your colleagues and allow you to work together in other ways.  

2. Develop Skills - whether you're considering growing in your current position or are looking for a new role, attending the symposium will allow you to stay current with the latest trends and technologies regarding the early care and education field and help you sustain and drive business.  

3. Tracks specifically targeted for your leadership role - whatever your role might be, the symposium offers split-track sessions that can help you learn and apply new knowledge and skills that will improve your performance on the job.  

4. Relax and get inspired - attending the symposium will get you inspired by breaking out of your usual routine and helping you fully immerse in an expertise rich-environment.  

Ready to sign up? Click here.  

Tags:  Association for Early Learning Leaders  director training  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaders  educational training  Fall Leadership Symposium  professional development  training 

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Recycling and Garbage | Eco Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Guest Blog - Eco Healthy Child Care®, Friday, August 7, 2015
Updated: Monday, August 3, 2015

Do you ever think about how much trash gets thrown away each day? The average person in the United States throws away four pounds of trash every day, generating over 200 million tons of garbage per year. This is enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks each day, which, if lined up end-to-end, would stretch halfway to the moon! An estimated 20-25 million tons of waste per day comes from electronic waste (i.e., computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, fax machines), which can contain many toxic elements that end up in our air and water.  Using fewer resources in the first place is always a good strategy, but it is also important to recycle what and when we can.  Half of the trash that we throw out -enough to fill an entire football stadium every day-could be recycled instead.

As the National Director of Eco-Healthy Child Care® and a mother of two young children, I know the importance of instilling good recycling habits.   Recycling helps conserve natural resources for future generations and reduces the demand for raw materials that results in habitat destruction and degradation of our forests.  Asking children about their favorite animals, plants, flowers, and places to go outside and reminding them that recycling helps keep these animals healthy and happy and keeps their favorite places beautiful for many years can help get them on board with recycling programs in the home, school, or child care setting.  Recycling also uses less energy than conventional garbage disposal and reduces emission of greenhouse gases and other contributions to climate change. Talking about the basics of energy use in the context of recycling can also be a way to reinforce the importance of recycling and introduce children to meaningful scientific concepts.

Some Eco-Healthy tips for recycling (and engaging children in the process) include:

  • Recycle glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, and plastic and have children make a game out of sorting the recycling appropriately.
  • Allow children to participate in and assume responsibility for a recycling program in your home or child care setting.
  • Compost food scraps. Worm bins can be fun ways for children to get involved in composting. Be sure to check with your local health department regarding how and where this may done according to municipal and state health regulations near you.
  • Avoid using disposable utensils, plates, shopping bags, and batteries-replace them with re-useable materials instead.
  • Donate unwanted books, toys, magazines, DVDs, and electronics to local charities or other organizations.
  • Minimize the amount of non-recycled paper products you use. Use cloth napkins and towels or those made from recycled content, and use recycled office paper and toilet paper.

Unfortunately, not everything can be recycled.  When you do have to throw away garbage, it is important for individual, public, and environmental health that it is stored properly to minimize pests, odors, and pollution.  Some eco-healthy tips for garbage storage include:

  • Make taking out the trash part of a regular cleaning routine in your home or child care setting. Clean out empty trash cans at the end of the day.
  • Make sure both indoor and outdoor garbage containers (and recycling and compost bins) have tight-fitting lids.  Line indoor garbage containers and rinse all recyclables thoroughly.
  • Keep garbage storage areas such as cans or dumpsters at least 50 feet away from entrances to playgrounds, child care facilities, or homes.  Try to put them on surfaces that can be easily and regularly cleaned, such as concrete pavement.

The Eco-Healthy Child Care ® Recycling and Garbage Storage Fact Sheet offers many more tips and resources. EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe, and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.  To see the fact sheet and learn more about recycling and waste management and reduction, click here

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Nutrition and Physical Activity | Eco Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Guest Blog - Eco Healthy Child Care®, Monday, August 3, 2015

Children of all ages need to be well-nourished and physically active.  Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity in childhood can increase the risk of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and high blood pressure throughout life.  Studies have shown that poor nutrition in childhood can even contribute to health problems such as obesity and diabetes in future generations. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of childhood obesity is triple that of a generation ago. Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States.


As the National Director of Eco-Healthy Child Care®, and the mother of 2 small children, I know the importance of good nutrition and physical activity. I also know that finding time and energy for exercise and to provide healthy meals that children want to eat can be difficult.  At Eco-Healthy Child Care®, we strive to empower caretakers with easy-t0-implement ideas for fostering the growth and development of happy, healthy children.  Below are some simple steps that parents and caregivers can take to ensure that their children are well-nourished, active, and healthy.


Cooking food from scratch using fresh, whole ingredients and minimizing the amount of packaged food used is ideal.  Packaged, processed foods are typically high in added sugar and salt and often use chemical additives, artificial flavors, and unhealthy sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup that are harmful to developing bodies and brains.  Putting whole or bulk foods in re-useable, compostable bags also reduces waste and helps avoid exposure to harmful chemicals often used in cans and plastic packaging. 


Cooking fresh foods from scratch may seem time-consuming or expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! I like the quick, healthy, and inexpensive meal ideas on, for starters.  Salads are also a quick, easy way to pack in a lot of nutrients that require minimal preparation.  I like to experiment with fun and healthy ingredients like seasonal fruit.  Let kids help with easy tasks like rinsing vegetables or tossing the salad.  Strawberry mint salad is a favorite in our house! I also like to make healthy colorful soups and stews that can simmer while I complete other tasks and can be frozen and eaten as leftovers or used to make casseroles later.


When you do buy packaged foods, here are some general guidelines for making healthier choices.  One is that the shorter the ingredients list (and the fewer hard-to-pronounce items on it), the better.  Other things to look for are low sugar and sodium contents and high fiber content. When possible, local and organic products free of pesticides and preservatives are better for workers, the environment, and your family. If you have a local farmers market, visiting the market and getting to know your local farmers can be a fun family or group activity that engages children with their food and where it comes from.  Farmers markets are also typically a more affordable way to buy local, organic produce, and many of them provide incentive programs for buying fruits and vegetables.  Recipients of SNAP (food stamp) and WIC benefits can use their benefits at increasing numbers of markets around the country, and many markets offer double value on healthy food purchases with these programs. 


Another Eco-Healthy tip is to think twice about fruit juice! Fruit juices may seem like a healthy choice but they often contain a lot of added sugar and thus empty calories, contributing to childhood obesity and poor oral health.  We recommend replacing fruit juice with water infused with whole fruit.  Whole fruit is nutrient-rich and a great source of fiber, and water is free and healthy.  Additionally, the money saved by replacing juice with water can help offset the cost of local and organic produce. 


Exercise is also very important for children’s health and physical, intellectual, and social development . Some things that young children can do to stay active are:

  • Go for a walk
  • Go for a bike ride
  • Make up a dance
  • Play on the playground
  • Kick or throw a ball
  • Play tag
  • Practice tumbling
  • Run around the yard
  • Help with gardening and planting flowers or vegetables (this also reinforces good, Eco-Healthy nutrition)
  • Take stairs instead of elevators when possible


The Eco-Healthy Child Care ® Nutrition and Physical Activity Fact Sheet offers many more tips and resources for well-nourished, active children. EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals. To see the fact sheet and learn more about how to improve nutrition and physical activity for children click here

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Noise Pollution | Eco Healthy Child Care®

Posted By Guest Blog - Eco Healthy Child Care®, Monday, August 3, 2015

There are many facets to a healthy environment. When thinking about protecting children from environmental health hazards, perhaps the chemicals in cleaners and bug sprays may be the first things that come to mind for you; or perhaps air pollution or Lead.  Another important facet that you may not have considered is protecting children from noise pollution. As the mother of two young children and the National Director of the Eco-Healthy Child Care® (EHCC) program, I strive to make sure that the places my children live, learn, and play are as healthy and safe – and that includes keeping them away from harmful noises and noise levels. 


Noise pollution is any unpleasant noise created by people or machines that can be annoying, intrusive, and/or physically painful and harmful to one’s health.  Many occurrences in our daily lives constitute as noise pollution, such as road traffic, jet planes, garbage trucks, construction equipment, manufacturing processes, lawn mowers, or leaf blowers. Indoor sources can include  boom boxes, heating and air conditioning units, and even metal chairs scraping on floors.  


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noise pollution is an increasing public health problem for children and adults alike.  It can lead to hearing loss, stress, high blood pressure.  It can even interfere with sleep, speech, and productivity.  Both the World Health Organization  and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also recognize that noise pollution can be detrimental to our health. Young children are especially sensitive to the harmful effects of noise pollution because they are at a critical age for brain development.  Children exposed to noise pollution while trying to learn may try to tune out the unpleasant noise, but unfortunately, they may also learn to tune out a teacher or caregiver’s voice. Consequently, they are more likely to experience reading delays, difficulty with language skills, and problems with attention and concentration.  Children who spend time in noisy areas also tend to have higher resting blood pressure and higher stress levels than children who live, learn, and play in a quieter environment.


Fortunately, you can reduce the harmful effects of noise pollution for children in your care.  Below are some eco-healthy tips for reducing noise pollution and mitigating its harmful impacts:


  • Close windows and doors to decrease outdoor noise pollution when lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and garbage trucks are running.  Be sure to open windows again after the noise has passed for good ventilation.


  • Install noise absorbent materials such as wall quilts or cork boards on walls and ceilings, especially walls that might be adjacent to noisy neighbors.


  • Play music intentionally and as a main event or learning activity, but not as background noise. Try to keep the surroundings as quiet as possible during nap time by closing windows, turning off music, and setting the nap area as far away as possible from noisy activities.
  • Provide headphones for learning activities that involve music or other listening activities and teach children early about what a healthy volume is for listening (see EHCC’s Noise Pollution Fact Sheet at for a guide of healthy and unhealthy noise levels).


  • Make your voice heard when it comes to noise pollution! Work with neighbors, city or county officials, and parents to address noise at the source and request that noisy activities are adjusted to promote a healthy child-care setting!


EHCC helps early childhood learning environments to be as healthy, safe and green as possible by reducing children’s exposure to toxic chemicals.  Visit to find out more.

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Gateway City Attractions – Conference Tours

Posted By Joe Vasquez, Wednesday, March 4, 2015
Updated: Tuesday, March 3, 2015

See all the attractions that the Gateway city has to offer by attending one or more of our Conference tours.


Forest Park - Meet Me in St. Louis Conference Tour1# Forest Park—Meet Me in St. Louis Tour
Begin your conference experience by touring Forest Park. Your motorcoach will shuttle between the St. Louis Science Center and Planetarium, the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis ZOO and the St. Louis Art Museum.  En route to the hotel, enjoy Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis specialty.


Wednesday, April 15 | $45 per person




A Little Taste of St. Louis - Forest Park - Meet Me in St. Louis - Conference Tour2# A Little Taste of St. Louis Tour

Explore the original tastes of St. Louis, during a driving overview of some of the city’s most historic neighborhoods that feature delectable delights. Attendees will have the opportunity to site see The Loop, The Hill, Soulart and Lafayette Square. Views of other historic St. Louis neighborhoods—as time permits. Treats include Fitz's Roo Beer, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, Gus' Pretzels and Gooey Butter Cake.


Wednesday, April 15 | $59 per person


Shop 'Til You Drop! - Meet Me in St. Louis Conference Tour3# Shop ‘Til You Drop!

Shop for the latest St. Louis fashions at two major shopping destinations. The first stop is The Vault, a popular upscale resale store profiled in Resale Royalty. The Vault features an impressive selection of handbags, jewelry, purses, shoes and clothing by designers such as Chanel, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Kate Spade, Tory Burch and more!

At the St Louis Galleria, you’re sure to find something to take home with your from Nordstrom’s, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Ann Taylor and countless others. Across the street, you can visit The Boulevard which features Soft Surroundings, Loft, Crate & Barrel, and some local dining options.


Wednesday, April 15 | $39 per person



Experience the Loop-  Conference Tour#4 Experience the Loop

Experience "The Loop," a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places. The Loop is a six-block area complete with restaurants, shopping, art and entertainment. The motor coach will follow the old route down Delmar Blvd., entering "The Loop" through the majestic Lions Gate. Dinner is available on own at many fun eateries.

Friday, April 17| $35 per person







Beautiful Blooms and Historic Homes - St. Louis Conference Tour#5 Beautiful Blooms & Historic Homes

Enjoy nature at its finest at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the country and a National Historic Landmark. A guided private tram will wind its way through 79 acres of flora from a variety of diverse climates. Visit the Climatron, the first geodesic dome greenhouse based on Buckminster Fuller’s futuristic design. Included is a visit to the 14-acre Japanese Garden, considered one of the finest outside Japan.

Next, explore the real character of St. Louis through three of its most historic neighborhoods—Compton Heights, Lafayette Square and Soulard. You will also see the 100-acre Anheuser-Busch Brewery Complex with over 70 red brick buildings, several of which are listed on the National Historic Registry. There will also be time to explore your favorite areas on your own.

Saturday, April 18 | $69 per person





Anheuser-Busch and Ted Drewes - St. Louis Conference Tour#6 Anheuser-Busch & Ted Drewes

Familiarize yourself with the rich history of the colorful Busch family en route to the King of Beers—the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. During this tour you will see the World Famous Cyclesdales, the Beechwood Again Cellar, and the Brew House. No visit would be complete without sampling the family of Anheuser-Busch products during the tour!

After leaving Anheuser-Busch you’re in for one last sweet treat at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis tradition since 1929. Enjoy a specialty “concrete” that is so thick you can turn it upside down.

Saturday, April 18 | $45 per person




Complement your Conference experience by partaking in one or more of our afternoon activities.

Register early to ensure space!

Tags:  31st Annual National Conference: How Successful Di  afternoon events  Association for Early Learning Leaders  city tours  conference  early childhood education  Early Learning Leaderseducational training  professional development  site seeing 

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Keynote Spotlight---Leadership Lessons: Supporting Your Staff with Your Head, Heart and Hand

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 2, 2015
Keynote Speaker - Dr. Valora WashingtonWritten by: Dr. Valor Washington

Leadership in our field today is about change and, as leaders, we are the change makers.

In the decades of my work designing leadership tools for the early childhood education field, I have engaged in intimate, in-depth discussions with hundreds of early educators as they define their dreams, hopes and fears about change.

In order to move forward, we as a profession will need to be a more strongly organized, effective field of practice. The field as a whole must act with greater urgency to better define our purpose and responsibilities. But while many of us hear and concur with these calls to action, some of us feel paralyzed. To the individual staff member, the job ahead might seem too big to take the first steps.

At the Association for Early Learning Leaders’ 31st Annual National Conference, How Successful Directors Lead, my keynote address highlights lessons learned about leadership, about mobilizing early educators to influence the direction of change, and about the educators themselves becoming architects of change. Supporting our staff and our profession will require strategies like building our sense of community, and sharing and learning from the experiences, wisdom and approaches used by early educators like you, and creating safe places where we can:

      o Question our assumptions
      o Engage in collegial dialog, nudging each other out of our comfort zones
      o Facilitate constructive, active learning that stimulates innovation
      o Identify options
      o Take action

You and me—ordinary people—can and must participate directly in creating positive social change for our children and for ourselves as ECE professionals. What we know for sure is that leading for change is a journey, a marathon—not an event or a sprint. We know that neither leadership nor change happen by chance—but by our willingness and strength.

To learn more about conference, visit our website by clicking here.

About Dr. Valora Washington

Dr. Valora Washington is the CEO of the Council for Professional Recognition. Throughout her career Dr. Washington has co-created several institutions, such as Michigan’s Children, a statewide advocacy group, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, and The CAYL Institute. Frequently tapped for senior-level service, she has been Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Governor’s School Readiness Commission; Board Chair for Voices for America’s Children; Secretary of NAEYC; chair of the Black Caucus of the Society for Research in Child Development; Co-Chair of the National Head Start Association Commission on 2010; and a member of numerous task forces and boards including of the Boston Children’s Museum and Wheelock College.

Tags:  31st Annual National Conference: How Successful Di  Association for Early Learning Leaders  CDA  Conference  Council for Professional Recognition  Dr. Valora Washington  Early Learning Leadersearly childhood education  educational training  Keynote  professional development 

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