The NZ Tertiary College is holding their annual research conference on 16 October 2015 in Auckland with the theme of

Conversations about
Emotional : Social : Relationship
development in early childhood

Kay Albrecht from Texas USA has been invited as thKay-Albrechte keynote speaker; not knowing of this woman myself, I set out to find out more. From the information I found, it is no surprise that she has been invited. Maybe the surprise is that such a sought-after speaker is coming out to NZ – is it our hospitality or our beautiful country that persuaded her?

Kay’s company is Innovations ECE which has as it’s mission a commitment to quality ECE programmes, through publishing training materials, professional development for teachers, and speaking at conferences. I particularly like the inclusion of “active family engagement” as one of the things that Innovations ECE promotes.

Publications from Kay are varied both in format – from academic journals to magazine articles to books to training packages – and in content – such as children’s physical development, systematic professional development, conferencing with parents, infants/toddlers/young children/school aged children/adolescents, Reggio Emila, curriculum planning, and of course, social and emotional development of young children. I like some of the names of her articles or presentations:

On the rocky road to friendship

The good, the bad, and the wonderful!

Biting in the infant and toddler classroom.

Finding the babies who are having bad days

SET for life: social emotional tools for life

I can only hope and assume that the article on biting refers to the behaviour of the children rather than teachers!

Her work on social and emotional development of children also appears in part to arise from her work with Hurricane Katrina evacuees, for which she received an advocate’s award. In addition to working with these families, it looks as if she has done research into resilience and disaster preparation; similar to the work Auckland University’s Carol Mutch has been doing around education after the Christchurch earthquake. Kay’s work after Katrina, and her involvement with the National Association for the Education of Young Children, are things that recommend her to me because of the way she puts her commitments and rhetoric into action. Volunteer work and collective action is still very much part of the Aotearoa ECE sector, and I think that those who have participated in such work understand us better and have an extra ‘credential’ when it comes to giving advice and challenges to us.

It appears from the available information that she is a very experienced educator with a commitment to ensuring teachers are well prepared for their role as ECE teachers, in order to benefit children. That sounds like an awesome keynote speaker to me.

Registrations for the NZ Tertiary College’s conference are now open, and the call for papers will be on the website in early June.