Louisiana Affiliate of the National Association for the Education of Young Children Reaches 500 Members in its First Year

February 8, 2023

According to firstthingsfirst.org, 90% of a child’s brain development happens before the age of five years old. For this reason, it is critical that young Louisiana children are educated by the highest quality of teachers, thus ensuring their bright futures from a young age. 

Teachers matter.

It is paramount that they are given the highest quality of resources to help young students succeed. In 2021, premier childhood organization, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) welcomed the Louisiana Association for the Education of Young Children (LAAEYC) to its network of affiliates. In only its first year of existence, LAAEYC grew to 553 members. Through membership in LAAEYC, Louisiana teachers are given access to exclusive networking opportunities, become connected to amazing resources to further their career, and access exceptional practices to care for their students.  

"Since being reestablished LAAEYC has provided many opportunities to network and grow professionally within the field of early childhood. I am excited because the impact that this organization will make within the field is just beginning!" LAAEYC Member-at-Large for Greater New Orleans Region, Melissa Johnson

LAAEYC is strongly devoted to their vision statement: allowing all young children to thrive and learn in a society dedicated to ensuring they reach their full potential. The organization aims to provide quality education for all children, birth through age eight. The LAAEYC leads the community by elevating and unifying early childhood professionals through leadership, advocacy, and professional development. As an NAEYC affiliate, the LAAEYC provides resources such as conferences, opportunities for membership engagement, and professional development to further the education of Louisiana children by fostering the development of Louisiana teachers. 

LAAEYC’s core values include:

•           Appreciate childhood as a unique and valuable stage of the human life cycle.

•           Base our work on knowledge of how children develop and learn.

•           Appreciate and support the bond between the child and family.

•           Recognize that children are best understood and supported in the context of family, culture, community, and society.

•           Respect the dignity, worth and uniqueness of each individual (child, family member, and colleague).

•           Respect diversity in children, families, and colleagues.

•           Recognize that children and adults achieve their full potential in the context of relationships based on trust and respect.

Louisiana State University provides necessary resources, support, and infrastructure to the LAAEYC, serving as its nonprofit organization. LSU’s Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) established the LAAEYC in 2021 with the goal of unifying the early care and education profession. ECEI also hopes to increase the number of NAEYC-accredited childcare centers in the state of Louisiana by providing young children with quality education environments.

“Quality education is vital to the future careers and lives of young children. It is imperative that Louisiana children are provided with trained teachers who have constant access to resources which will help them to better their already phenomenal teaching skills. Because of LAAEYC, Louisiana teachers and children will be equipped to succeed for countless years.” -Cynthia DiCarlo, PhD, Executive Director of LAAEYC, LSU Lutrill & Pearl Payne School of Education Professor 

Meet LAAEYC Leadership

President: Linda McMillan

Past President:  Michelle Demeulenaere

President-Elect: Tessa Holloway

Secretary: Leah Lormand

Member-at-Large River Parishes: Pheriche Perkins

Member-at-Large Greater New Orleans: Melissa Johnson

Member-at-Large Sportsman's Paradise: Sandee Clawson

Member-at-Large Crossroads: Ashley Robinson

About ECEI: 

The Early Childhood Education Institute at LSU is focused holistically on the early years, and fills a unique niche by targeting early care, specifically birth through age three. Holistic development invites collaboration from other disciplines in the study of recommended practice for young children. The ECE Institute at LSU aims to make LSU a leader in early care and education research, dissemination and advocacy on recommended practices. Through a balanced emphasis on research and education programs, recommended practices in the education and care of young children will be created, applied, evaluated and disseminated. Our focus is on developing expert early care practitioners who deliver high-quality early childhood programming, engage in research practices and advocate for the profession. 

Visit the Early Childhood Education Institute at https://www.lsu.edu/chse/ece/index.php.

About CHSE: 

As a college within Louisiana’s flagship university, the College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) impacts the lives of individuals in our state, nation, and the world through our research, service, teaching, and scholarship. We offer programs through our five schools: School of Education, School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, School of Kinesiology, School of Library & Information Science, and School of Social Work. The University Laboratory School (ULS) is also under the college umbrella, enrolling approximately 1,400 K-12 students. ULS was named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in Fall 2015. The college is home to the Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool (ECELP) which enrolls 175 children ages six weeks to four years old. The ECELP is a NAEYC accredited institution. 

Visit the College of Human Sciences & Education at lsu.edu/chse.

Gracyn Austin