NAEYC is one of the most recognized acronyms in the field of Early Childhood. The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. NAEYC hosts one of the most significant and well-attended conferences for educators, administrators and advocates in the early childhood field. Guess what? KBOCC’s Restorative Teaching Team had the opportunity to attend NAEYC’s Annual Conference in Los Angeles, California.

Our team consisted of 6 key members: Kim Swanson, Program Director from Migiziinsag (Little Eagles), Ashley Seppanen, Program Director of OCC Child Care Center, Jackie Tredeau, Associate Teacher from Migiziinsag, Keri Williams, Associate Teacher from OCC Child Care Center and student at KBOCC, Christine Awonohopay, Language and Literacy Coordinator and Cheryl LaRose, Project Direct for Abnoojihn Waakaa’igan (A Child House). Jackie exclaimed, "I have never been to anything like it. It was enlightening to see so many opportunities for learning. I appreciate having the opportunity to experience the diverse array of workshops."

KBOCC’s Restorative Teaching Team were excited to kick-off the conference with a presentation at the Tribal and Indigenous Early Childhood Network(TIECN) Forum along with other project recipients from our Restorative Teaching Family. The mission of TIECN is to provide a network that enlightens and informs those charged with educating tribal or indigenous young children and their families and advocating for their future welfare. We were able to connect, share, and explore commonalities of current, historical and diverse beliefs, and values in Native American culture.

The workshops available for conference participants proved to be inspiring and thought provoking. Our team experienced workshop from outdoor play spaces, dual and immersion language models, music and movement, curriculum and anything in between. As the wings of the plane hovered across the skies from Los Angeles, California back to Hancock, Michigan, I can still hear Keri’s voice saying, “A dream come true---it was the most amazing experience ever!"