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The Best Early Childhood Conferences of 2024

5 Reasons to Attend Early Childhood Conferences
We asked experts for their top early childhood conferences in 2024, and here are the ones that stood out.

This year, professionals dedicated to early childhood development, education, and mental health can choose from a robust lineup of conferences and events to further their professional development.

Attending early childhood conferences is important for staying updated with research, methods, policies, and networking with peers.

Early childhood conferences unite educators, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers aiming to enhance early child development.

July 31 – August 1, 2024 – Long Beach, CA

The ZERO TO THREE LEARN Conference is renowned for its focus on the comprehensive development of infants and toddlers. This early childhood development conference brings together professionals from various disciplines to share knowledge, research and best practices in early childhood mental health, development and learning.

ZERO TO THREE’s conference boasts more than 70 sessions on early childhood topics you won’t find anywhere else. Early bird pricing ends the first week of May, so book your ticket now!

  • The Attic: Feast on Southern comfort food with a California twist, famous for their “Mac n’ Cheetos” in a cozy, converted craftsman home.
  • Beachwood BBQ & Brewing: Enjoy award-winning craft beer paired with innovative barbecue dishes in a relaxed, industrial-chic setting.
  • Parkers’ Lighthouse: Savor fresh seafood and sushi with stunning views of the Queen Mary and Long Beach Harbor from this waterfront dining destination.
  • Saint & Second: Experience globally inspired cuisine made with locally sourced ingredients in a stylish, contemporary environment in Belmont Shore.
  • James Republic: Dive into farm-to-table dishes in a modern, casual setting, offering a menu that changes daily based on the freshest local produce available.
  • Aquarium of the Pacific: Explore the wonders of the Pacific Ocean with over 11,000 animal exhibits, interactive experiences, and educational programs.
  • Queen Mary: Step aboard and discover the rich history of this iconic ocean liner turned hotel, offering tours, dining, and panoramic views of Long Beach.
  • Long Beach Waterfront: Enjoy a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or dine along the scenic waterfront, featuring beautiful views, shops, and eateries.
  • Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden: Find tranquility in this beautifully landscaped Japanese garden located on the campus of California State University, Long Beach.
  • Retro Row: Shop and explore a vibrant stretch of 4th Street known for its unique vintage shops, eclectic restaurants, and art deco theater.

March 4-7, 2024 - Austin, TX

SXSW EDU is a dynamic conference and festival that fosters innovation in learning by hosting a diverse and energetic community of stakeholders in education. It’s a great chance for people interested in education technology, creative teaching, and engaging young learners to learn and get inspired.

ZERO TO THREE’s Katrina Macasaet will be there – hosting an early childhood education meet-up focused on empowering educators and discussing innovations in the field to support their work.

  • Kemuri Tatsu-ya: A fascinating blend of Texas barbecue traditions with Japanese cuisine, offering dishes like brisket ramen and smoked fish collars. 

  • Whip In: A transformation from a gas station to a convenience store to a gastropub, Whip In offers a selection of over 70 beers on tap, a full wine list, and scratch-made Indian comfort food, making it a true Austin icon.

  • Loro: An Asian BBQ fusion restaurant and bar, known for its relaxed atmosphere and creative dishes like chicken karage and oak-smoked salmon bowl. 

  • Red Ash: Specializes in wood-fired Italian specialties and handmade pasta, offering an unforgettable dining experience with its rustic-modern ambiance and impeccable service. 

  • Dai Due: Emphasizes meat-centric dishes sourced locally, offering a fantastic farm-to-table experience. 

  • Visit the Texas State Capitol: Explore the grandeur of Texas’ legislative center, featuring stunning architecture and lush grounds in the heart of Austin.
  • Barton Springs Pool: Dive into the crystal-clear waters of this natural spring-fed pool, a favorite local spot for relaxation and swimming.
  • Zilker Metropolitan Park: Enjoy outdoor activities in this sprawling urban park, known for its beautiful landscapes, Barton Springs Pool, and numerous recreational facilities.
  • South Congress Avenue (SoCo): Experience Austin’s unique vibe by strolling through SoCo, home to eclectic shops, restaurants, and live music venues.
  • The Bullock Texas State History Museum: Discover Texas’ rich history through interactive exhibits, IMAX screenings, and artifacts that tell the story of the Lone Star State.

May 19-22 – Arlington, VA

This early childhood education conference brings together innovative thought leaders in child care to approach problems with exciting solutions.

May’s event will confront the question: How do we capitalize on our wins and lessons learned and boldly tackle our field’s hardest challenges? 

  • The Freshman VA: Enjoy a modern, casual dining experience with a focus on locally sourced, sustainable ingredients, offering a diverse menu from breakfast to dinner.
  • Queen Mother’s: Dive into authentic, homemade fried chicken sandwiches and comfort food inspired by family recipes at this cozy, welcoming eatery.
  • Tiki Thai: Escape to a tropical paradise with Tiki Thai’s vibrant decor and flavorful Thai dishes, complemented by an inventive selection of Tiki cocktails.
  • Good Company Doughnuts: Indulge in handcrafted doughnuts, made fresh daily, along with a hearty selection of breakfast and lunch options in a friendly, neighborhood café.
  • Water Bar: Refresh and hydrate in a unique setting focused on promoting health and wellness through a variety of water-based beverages, including infused waters and healthy elixirs.
  • Arlington National Cemetery: Explore this historic site that offers a poignant look at American history and provides panoramic views of Washington D.C.
  • Mount Vernon Trail: Experience the beauty of nature and the Potomac River by biking, running, or walking along this scenic 18-mile trail with views of landmarks.
  • The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City: Indulge in a shopping spree at this upscale mall featuring a wide range of stores, eateries, and designer boutiques.
  • Roosevelt Island: Discover a peaceful oasis in the Potomac River, ideal for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying nature just minutes from downtown Arlington.
  • Arlington Arts Center: Engage with contemporary art through exhibitions, classes, and workshops at this vibrant community hub for artists and art lovers.

June 5-7, 2024 – Tampere, Finland

This important global conference is about the mental health and growth of babies and young children. Experts from all over the world will talk about the newest research, treatments, and policies in infant mental health.

Several of ZERO TO THREE’s staff attended and presented at last year’s World Congress and attest to the many benefits of networking and learning alongside global infant mental health colleagues. We’re excited to attend this year as well – keep in touch on our social media to see updates from staff during the event!

  • Ravintola C: Experience innovative Nordic cuisine with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients in a stylish, modern setting.
  • Gastropub Tuulensuu: Delve into a vast selection of European beers and traditional pub fare with a Finnish twist in a cozy, atmospheric environment.
  • Pella’s Cafe: Enjoy a unique blend of Finnish and Mediterranean flavors in a quaint, inviting cafe setting, known for its fresh pastries and hearty lunches.
  • Nasinneula Tower Restaurant: Dine with a view at Finland’s highest restaurant, offering panoramic vistas of Tampere and exquisite Finnish and international dishes.
  • Bertha: Relish in creative, contemporary cuisine that emphasizes organic and locally sourced ingredients, served in an intimate, elegant atmosphere.
  • Särkänniemi Adventure Park: Thrill-seekers and families can enjoy a day of fun with roller coasters, an aquarium, a planetarium, and the Näsinneula Observation Tower.
  • Tampere Cathedral: Admire the stunning art nouveau architecture and unique frescoes of this early 20th-century cathedral, a landmark of Finnish cultural heritage.
  • Vapriikki Museum Centre: Explore a diverse collection of museums under one roof, including natural history, games, and local history exhibits, set in a beautifully converted old factory.
  • Pyynikki Observation Tower: Enjoy panoramic views of Tampere and its surrounding lakes from this historic tower, and don’t miss trying the famous fresh doughnuts at the café.
  • Finlayson Area: Discover the industrial heritage of Tampere in this historic factory area, now a vibrant hub of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues.

July 24-27, 2024 – St. Louis, MO

This professional association is dedicated solely to promoting high-quality early care and education in home-based settings. This early childhood education conference brings together top voices to discuss delivering high-quality early learning experiences in family child care centers around the country.

  • Blueberry Hill: Dive into a St. Louis landmark known for its classic American cuisine, pop culture memorabilia, and live music, including performances by Chuck Berry.
  • Pappy’s Smokehouse: Savor the flavors of slow-smoked Memphis-style BBQ at this renowned spot, celebrated for its ribs and pulled pork.
  • Sidney Street Cafe: Experience fine dining in a cozy, historic setting, offering innovative American cuisine with a focus on fresh, local ingredients.
  • The Mud House: Enjoy a relaxed atmosphere with a menu of creative comfort food, artisanal coffee, and baked goods in the heart of the Cherokee Street art district.
  • Bogart’s Smokehouse: Indulge in mouthwatering St. Louis-style barbecue, where smoked meats get a unique twist with inventive sauces and sides.
  • Gateway Arch: Experience breathtaking views from the top of this iconic 630-foot monument, symbolizing the westward expansion of the United States.
  • St. Louis Zoo: Explore one of the nation’s leading free zoos, offering a chance to see thousands of animals from around the world in beautifully landscaped settings.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden: Wander through 79 acres of beautiful horticultural displays, including a Japanese strolling garden and the Climatron conservatory.
  • City Museum: Dive into a surreal playground for all ages, with recycled materials transformed into art, mazes, slides, and climbing apparatuses.
  • Forest Park: Enjoy outdoor activities in one of the largest urban parks in the United States, home to the zoo, art museum, history museum, and much more.

September 17-20, 2024 – New Orleans, LA

The DEC Conference is a key gathering for professionals in early childhood special education and early intervention. It offers an opportunity to discuss the latest research, policies, and practices that support the optimal development of young children with special needs.

  • Commander’s Palace: Dine in elegance at this landmark Garden District restaurant, known for its Creole cuisine, jazz brunches, and 25-cent martinis.
  • Cochon: Savor Cajun and Southern cooking with a modern twist, focusing on pork dishes and local ingredients, in a rustic, warehouse setting.
  • Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: Experience the legacy of Creole cuisine at this historic restaurant, famous for its role in the civil rights movement and Leah Chase’s legendary cooking.
  • Galatoire’s: Enjoy classic French Creole cuisine in a refined, traditional setting on Bourbon Street, where jackets are required and local traditions are cherished.
  • Willie Mae’s Scotch House: Indulge in the “best fried chicken in America” at this family-owned institution, renowned for its soul food and welcoming atmosphere.
  • French Quarter: Wander through the historic heart of New Orleans, famous for its vibrant music scene, iconic architecture, and lively Bourbon Street.
  • Garden District: Marvel at the opulent antebellum mansions, lush gardens, and the historic Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in this picturesque neighborhood.
  • National WWII Museum: Explore America’s involvement in WWII through immersive exhibits, personal stories, and artifacts in this world-class museum.
  • Steamboat Natchez River Cruise: Experience the Mississippi River on a historic steamboat, offering jazz music, dining, and stunning views of the city skyline.
  • Café du Monde: Indulge in a New Orleans tradition by enjoying beignets and café au lait at this famous open-air café in the French Market.

October 18-20, 2024 - Atlanta, GA

This event brings together a vibrant community of educators, advocates, policymakers and parents to elevate the awareness of the unique needs and strengths of Black children and families and disseminate culturally relevant research and practices.

  • The Varsity: Immerse yourself in a piece of Atlanta’s history with a visit to the world’s largest drive-in, serving classic American fast food since 1928.
  • Gunshow: Experience a unique dining concept where chefs present their dishes table-side, blending a dim sum style of service with Southern culinary delights.
  • Staplehouse: Savor innovative dishes at this reservation-only spot, known for its ever-changing menu focused on local and sustainable ingredients, supporting a charitable cause.
  • Antico Pizza Napoletana: Bite into authentic Neapolitan pizza, baked in wood-fired ovens, in a bustling, communal setting that transports you to the streets of Naples.
  • Mary Mac’s Tea Room: Enjoy traditional Southern hospitality and comfort food at this beloved institution, serving up classic dishes like fried chicken and sweet potato soufflé since 1945.
  • Georgia Aquarium: Explore one of the world’s largest aquariums, home to thousands of species including whale sharks and beluga whales in massive, immersive exhibits.
  • Atlanta Botanical Garden: Wander through beautifully landscaped gardens, including the Canopy Walk, Japanese Garden, and seasonal displays in the heart of Midtown.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park: Pay homage to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at his childhood home, church, and the King Center.
  • Ponce City Market: Dive into Atlanta’s culinary and shopping scene in this historic building, featuring a rooftop amusement park and a wide array of eateries and shops.
  • The BeltLine: Experience Atlanta’s urban revitalization on foot or by bike along this multi-use trail, connecting parks and neighborhoods with art installations and green spaces.

November 6-9, 2024 – Anaheim, CA, USA

The NAEYC Annual Conference offers attendees a comprehensive program of research-based and practical sessions focused on early learning practices, innovations and research. ZERO TO THREE has been a long-time partner of NAEYC and we enjoy presenting, exhibiting and networking at this early childhood education conference.

  • The Ranch Restaurant & Saloon: Indulge in upscale American cuisine with a focus on farm-to-table ingredients, complemented by live country music and dancing.
  • Anaheim Packing House: Sample a diverse array of culinary delights in this historic 1919 citrus packing house turned into a trendy food hall with something for everyone.
  • Napa Rose: Experience fine dining with a menu inspired by California’s wine country, located within Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.
  • Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament: Enjoy a feast fit for royalty while watching knights joust and display their horsemanship in a themed, immersive experience.
  • Umami Burger: Savor gourmet burgers that highlight the fifth taste, umami, in a chic, contemporary setting within the Anaheim Packing District.
  • Disneyland Resort: Immerse yourself in the magic of Disney with thrilling rides, beloved characters, and entertainment in the world-famous theme park.
  • Anaheim Packing District: Explore this vibrant food hall set in a restored 1919 citrus packing house, offering a variety of gourmet eateries, bars, and live music events.
  • Angel Stadium of Anaheim: Catch a Los Angeles Angels baseball game or take a behind-the-scenes tour of the fourth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball.
  • Anaheim GardenWalk: Enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment in this outdoor complex, featuring a unique collection of shops, restaurants, and a bowling lounge.
  • Yorba Regional Park: Spend a day outdoors at this sprawling park that offers biking and walking trails, fishing lakes, picnic areas, and playgrounds, nestled along the Santa Ana River.

Date and location to be announced.

This early childhood conference gathers experts and practitioners to explore innovative solutions for building comprehensive early childhood systems. This event features discussions on policy, research, and practice aimed at transformative change in health, education, and well-being of young children and their families.

  • Coming soon!
  • Coming soon!

Date and location to be announced.

The Early Childhood Innovation Summit, will focus on the impact of technology on young children, specifically examining how Artificial Intelligence can influence infant brain development.

  • Coming soon!
  • Coming soon!

It's time to make early childhood professional develoment a priority

Attending early childhood conferences is an investment in your future and the children and families you serve.

Each of these early childhood conferences offer opportunities for professional growth, networking, and access to the latest in the field of early childhood education, development, and mental health. These events not only help professionals earn continuing education credits (CEUs), they also highlight innovative research and practices and encourage collaboration among professionals.

Whether your focus is on classroom teaching, mental health, policy, or leveraging technology for learning, attending these conferences can significantly impact your professional development and the lives of the children you serve.

A graphic promoting the ZERO TO THREE Conference for early childhood professionals.
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