Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Four Reasons to join the Division for Early Childhood

This week, the Minnesota Division for Early Childhood (MN DEC ) is hosting the Spring Practitioners Conference.  This conference is a wonderful networking and professional development opportunity.  Not all of the practitioners who will be attending are members of DEC, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share the benefits of being a member and encourage practitioners to join.  I joined because I wanted to increase my leadership skills and get involved.  I wanted to be a voice in the field and grow professionally.  There are many benefits to being a member, here are my top four reasons to join.

Content:  If you don't know it already from reading other posts, I like research.  Because I am a member,  research journals are delivered to my door and I can access the online archives.  When I get into those journals and archives, I get lost in all of that evidenced based goodness!  I can be confident that I am staying relevant in my practice and using interventions and practices that are grounded in research.     

Discounts and relevant professional development:  DEC frequently provides discounts to members on conferences and other resources supported by DEC.  DEC offers Learning Decks, professional development webinars, at a discounted price.  For $25.00 you can receive up to date, pertinent PD, in the comfort of your home or office!  So far, I have attended one of the Learning Decks and was impressed with the quality and relevancy. I plan to take advantage of this resource again.   

Membership provides opportunities to expand my professional network.  I have attended conferences, joined the board, and joined special interest groups.  This expanded network, which includes DEC members from across the nation, provides access to resources, knowledge and inspiration.  

Get involved, be a leader, be an advocate: I recently joined two special interest groups offered through DEC.  Involvement in these groups, involvement on the board and other networking opportunities will further my ability to advocate for the field and be a voice.  DEC communicates policy and advocacy information to members.  Staying up to date in these areas supports my efforts to raise awareness about the importance of the work we do in the field of Early Childhood Education.

Joining DEC was a good decision.  Membership has supported my goals in the area of professional development and opened the door to new opportunities.  I hope other practitioners will consider the benefits and join.  If you are attending the conference, stop by the membership table and they will answer any questions you might have.