Washington, D.C. — About 1,300 early childhood educators from across the District of Columbia have registered for a virtual gathering to share, learn and celebrate each other and the profession. The District’s early childhood educators help young children learn and grow in safe, healthy, stimulating environments, this past year amid the multiple risks and challenges of COVID-19, which allowed other essential workers to continue serving the community throughout the pandemic. The 2021 DC Early Educator Experience (DC Early EdX), scheduled for Friday, April 30, recognizes their important work and brings early childhood educators together for a day of self-care, advocacy and appreciation.
DC Early EdX is hosted by three professional organizations: District of Columbia Association for the Education of Young Children (DCAEYC); District of Columbia Head Start Association (DCHSA); and D.C. Family Child Care Association (DCFCCA). The event is supported by the Bethesda, Maryland-based Bainum Family Foundation and other sponsors.
“Early childhood educators are better able to support the learning and development of the District’s youngest residents when they have the knowledge and resources they need to be effective,” said Marica Cox Mitchell, director of early learning at the foundation. “This exciting event is the culmination of the District’s Month of the Young Child in April and provides an opportunity for early childhood educators to strengthen their practice and advocacy skills.”
At DC Early EdX, participants will:
- Celebrate their fellow early childhood educators
- Win surprise giveaways
- Enjoy a live DJ throughout the day
- Earn professional development “clock hours” and learn new practices
- Learn self-care techniques from early childhood leaders
- Practice advocacy skills and be heard
- Expand their professional network
“Early childhood educators aren’t often recognized for the work they do, and that’s why we want to cheer these hometown heroes,” says Kathy Hollowell-Makle, executive director of DCAEYC. “DC Early EdX mixes celebration with support, offering practical skills educators can apply to care for themselves and speak out for policies that invest in young children and the early childhood profession.”
Early learning practitioners, teachers, assistant teachers, paraprofessionals, administrators, directors and principals are encouraged to attend the new event. Professional development sessions will take place in four zones, based on participants’ roles: Birth to Age 3, Pre-K to Grade 3, Administrators and Home-Based Early Learning.
“Early childhood professionals work in community-based facilities, elementary schools and office buildings, serving young children and their families,” said Cynthia Davis, president of DCFCCA. “In every role, in every setting, they are a critical part of the District’s early education system, and we’re proud to co-host DC Early EdX.”
Early childhood educators can learn more and register at dcearlyedx.org. The registration fee has been waived, thanks to the support of the event sponsors, making this year’s virtual event free to all participants. Beginning in 2022, DC Early EdX will be held annually, in person, as part of the Month of the Young Child each April.
“We’re excited about this new event recognizing the critical contributions of D.C.’s early childhood educators,” said Jamal Berry, president of the DCHSA board of directors. “And we encourage every early childhood professional in the District to register and attend.”
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Ed Walz, email@example.com (no “.com”), 202-372-8872