Child Care Aware of America’s Symposium brings together individuals from across the country to discuss research, policy and practices related to the early child care and education community. Taking place May 1-4 in Arlington, Va., this year’s four-day event offers opportunities to connect with thought leaders, Congressional staff and early education professionals from across the nation.
👉Register now (the regular registration deadline is today, April 15!)
Early Learning Nation asked participants and speakers, What does the symposium theme Unite/Disrupt/Transform mean to you? Here are their responses:
“It means that in these times of accelerated change, greater uncertainty and overwhelming complexity, none of us can remain the same; we must work, live, lead, learn and serve together, and make our communities and our society more welcoming, inclusive and united.”
“This theme is so relevant for me because I believe using social media is a grassroots, hit-the-ground-running approach to unite and curate a group of people who are ready to disrupt the child care space with our collective voices. We can advance change by connecting authentically with people who have firsthand experiences and will use their voice.”
–Maggie Mundwiller, whose TikTok video has 1.7M likes and resulted in national media coverage, including an appearance on the Kelly Clarkson Show
“We are at a significant moment in conceptualizing what a functioning, equitable and inclusive child care system might look like. It will require confronting bias and long-held assumptions and doing the hard work of putting children, parents and providers’ needs at the center of the conversation. In my view, that will result in recognizing the preferences parents have for home-based child care and shifting how we invest in the providers and families in this setting.”
“To me, Unite/Disrupt/Transform is the long game to a kinder, more just child care system for all. We must come together and use our power to weather the conflict and discomfort necessary to reach the future that we all deserve.”
–Jackie Counts, Director, Center for Public Partnerships and Research at the University of Kansas
“In a time and place where the country can seem so divided, I find hope in our early childhood profession because even though we come from all over the country, urban and rural, from both sides of the aisle, from child care centers to family homes, from Early Head Starts to faith-based programs, we have our strength over the last two years with each other. By being united, together we can disrupt and transform in order to create a new tomorrow for our children and families.”
–Kim Kofron, Director of Early Childhood Education, Children at Risk
“The symposium will include an advocacy day that is about disrupting the policy status quo. Attendees will share data and stories to make the case for meaningful investments in child care and early learning, because without new funding we cannot achieve transformative change.”
–Anne Hedgepeth, Deputy Chief of Policy, Child Care Aware of America
Early Learning Nation columnist Mark Swartz writes for and about nonprofit organizations. Author of the children's books Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, Lost Flamingo, Magpie Bridge and The Giant of the Flood as well as a few novels, he lives in Takoma Park, MD, with his wife and two children.