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This past April CentroNía Columbia Road's Pre-K Program Director Joangelee Hernandez had the great opportunity to attend the World Forum on Early Care and Education conference in Canada! Hosted by the World Forum Foundation, this is a chance for early childhood educators and professionals from around the world to network, connect, and take part in an informative experience with others in their field.

Continue to read below to learn about Ms. Hernandez's day to day experience from her trip, what panels she was able to attend, and what key messages she learned and took away from the conference!

Day 1

  • Relational Leadership: Speakers from Canada, Mexico, and the United States shared about the Staffing crisis and strategies to address this issue as soon as possible to prevent any negative impacts on the organization's operations and productivity. Ivan Galindo from Mexico shared our vision of educating parents through the children.
  • Men in ECE Conversation: Vilma Williams, Senior Manager of Multilingual and Special Programs at the Council for Professional Recognition, and I were the only females in that group. We shared many ideas and exchanged experiences on how males are seen in the world of education. Hearing the point of view from Scotland was terrific!
  • Vulnerable to Valuable: Presenters from Thailand, Indonesia, Brazil, Canada, and the United States shared how early childhood is receiving a direct impact from climate change. How the children are growing prone to disease, severe droughts and water scarcity, floods, fire, and extreme temperatures, amongst other phenomena.

Day 2

  • Artificial intelligence and Early Childhood: A presentation that discussed debates about policy, risks, and benefits of using this new technology in the field.
  • Tiny Film Festival Day 1: I was honored to see how early childhood education occurs worldwide. I proudly represented our Pre-K program, which stood out, given how rural and intentional we are in our practice and family engagement opportunities. A couple from New Zealand and Australia who also direct a center in Australia were very interested in our program. A group from France also had a similar vision to our policies and regulations.
  • Environmental Courage: Presenters from the United States, Haiti, and Canada shared resources from Yale University and guided us to reflect on how environmental changes have affected children.
  • Workforce challenges: Speakers from the UK, the United States, Tanzania, and Canada shared our field's challenges. They highlighted essential facts like not knowing about brain development, something the CentroNía Institute has always prioritized.

Day 3

  • Identity and Global Perspective: Speakers from Indonesia, the United States, Canada, and South Africa presented their experiences on how knowing your identity and your program's definition impacts your practice.
  • Innovative Models that Support Relationships: Programs from the United States discussed how they support their community and implement trauma-informed practices in their school culture. They have an excellent solution for housing and low-income families. I learned about trauma-informed architecture as well!

Additional Highlights

  • I had a great conversation about Equity Pay.
  • Proposed a partnership between a program in Haiti and scholars I know back home in Puerto Rico
  • I loved the emphasis on AI and climate change.
  • I learned and admired so much the respect and admiration they have in Canada with the ancestors of the land. I believe that respect and acknowledgment should exist worldwide.
  • I was lucky to travel with my furry companion, who promoted our program with his CentroNía shirt!