Reflections from the 2015 NAEYC National Institute

by McCormick Center Staff

June 24, 2015

Editor’s Note: On June 7-10, 2015, faculty and staff from the McCormick Center attended and presented at the 2015 NAEYC National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development in New Orleans. Below you will find reflections on the conference from a few of those who attended.


The Emergent Curriculum Approach for Adult Learners: Tailoring training to support diverse learning needs
Presented by: Kathy Coombs, Leigh Fernandez, Bev Michael, and Jesica Radaelli-Nida, University of NM Northern Training & Technical Assistance Program

Kathy Coombs led this session. What a funny and engaging presenter!  Kathy is an instructional systems designer and project management consultant with Training and Care Services. She also works out of the University of New Mexico Northern Training and Technical Assistance Program. There were so many adult learning strategies that were presented during this training! I especially enjoyed her “death by PowerPoint” do’s and don’ts and her saying that there is “no need to go through life at 60 slides per hour!” I also gained insights on how to focus the agenda of a training on inspiration, application, and reflection and that the deepest learning occurs “after goodbye.” I am a big fan of emergent learning so I appreciated the concepts from emergent learning curriculum that she brought to adult learning. It was a very engaging and inspiring session.

Barb Volpe | Quality Specialist Coordinator


Critical Conversations About the Status of Anti-bias Education After 25 Years
Presented by: Katie Kissinger, Threads of Justice Collective; Judy Magee, Pacific Oaks College; Hadiyah Miller, Portland Community College

This session both created and expanded dialogues on the progress and challenges of anti-bias education. It was enriching to hear the personal stories and perspectives of early childhood leaders from diverse settings.

Participants explored three questions in “critical conversations:”

  1. Where have we been; what practices and changes have you seen in the implementation of anti-bias education?
  2. What is the connection between anti-bias education and Reggio Emilia?
  3. How do we move forward?

Perhaps the biggest takeaway from this session was the need to do more than provide materials and activities in our anti-bias efforts. To fully embrace anti-bias education on a deeper level we must actively challenge and confront presumptions and view anti-bias as a way of being not just doing.

Sonja Crum Knight | Assessor and Training Specialist


Transitioning from ECERS-R to ECERS-3 in State QRIS Efforts
Presented by: Richard Clifford, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Denise Jenson, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning; Jill Kortright Wood, Pennsylvania Key

Richard Clifford presented his research and data comparing the ECERS-R and the ECERS-3. The use of latter is expected to show lower average scores initially, but it was presented that a new, higher bar was needed. As we anticipated, the new scale has increased emphasis on language, literacy, and math.

Denise Jenson and Jill Kortright Wood presented information about the use of the scales in Georgia and Pennsylvania–two states with two different approaches. Pennsylvania had been using the ECERS-R, while Georgia had not previously used the ECERS-R and will be starting fresh with ECERS-3. The launch dates are still being developed but are anticipated for fall 2015. Pennsylvania has had a QRIS for 13 years and Georgia only three years. The results will be exciting to watch.

Richard mentioned that because of the Program Administration Scale (PAS) and Business Administration Scale for Family Child Care (BAS), the ECERS-3 does not have indicators revolving around the same information.

It was my first time meeting Richard, and he was very friendly and informative.

Sherry Rocha | Assessor and Training Specialist



2 Responses to “Reflections from the 2015 NAEYC National Institute”

  1. Hi Sherry, it’s so nice to hear that you found our E-3 transition session of interest. This is a very exciting time for Pennsylvania. Don’t hesitate to be in touch if you have any questions. (And I agree, Dick Clifford is wonderfully friendly and endlessly informative!). All the best, Jill

  2. Sherry says:

    Thank you, Jill, for your comment. Thank you also for the opportunity to be in touch with you. It is an exciting time for many states. I was so happy to hear your story at the session because sharing helps us all learn along with you!
    Take care.