Maternity Care Coalition’s Early Head Start Early Childhood Development Coordinator, Sabrina Taylor, recently attended an Educational Leadership Conference in Austin, Texas. Sabrina shares her experience and how she will use what she learned to make her a stronger asset for our Early Head Start program.
During the week of June 9, I attended the Professional Learning Institute (PLI) conference hosted by NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children.) By far, I’d have to say that it was the best learning opportunity I’ve experienced since grad school and the best conference I’ve ever been to! There was a wealth of information presented in each workshop and the facilitators were very knowledgeable. This conference has inspired me to continue to find new ways to enhance my professionalism, as well as give back using my knowledge and skills to help where needed within our organization.
NAEYC’s PLI is designed for early childhood professionals. The conference brings together leaders who prepare, mentor and support early childhood leaders, as well as program administrators, teacher educators, trainers, teachers, preschool teachers and researchers.The purpose of PLI is to empower early childhood professionals with fresh ideas and insights to participate in and facilitate the highest quality professional development. I say, “mission accomplished!” I have definitely been empowered and have come back with several new ideas that I have already began to implement into my daily work routine and some that I will introduce to my colleagues. Our goal here at Maternity Care Coalition Early Head Start is the highest quality care and I feel that PLI has given me tools to help with that goal.
Networking was a big deal at PLI. I met so many great and influential leaders from all over the country and even from overseas. On the first day, as I stood in line at Starbucks, browsing through the conference catalog, a voice from in front of me asked “Are you here for the conference, too?” I replied that I was and that I was excited to be there. She shared with me that she traveled all the way from the Philippines to attend PLI. She recently earned her Master’s degree and was given the opportunity to come to the USA to attend the conference and celebrate. We shared our professional and personal goals with each other and learned that we had a lot in common. She and I became good friends throughout the conference.
It was really great to speak with other professionals and learn about their experiences in the field of education. Many of us at the conference utilized the time to learn and grow from each other. To hear someone say to me that I was an inspiration was overwhelming. Many times we see the achievements and strengths in everyone else, but we don’t always take the time to appreciate and celebrate our own accomplishments. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend the Professional Learning Institute and I will continue to implement the things that I’ve learned.