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The Academy for Teachers of Young Children - 2024

The Academy for Teachers of Young Children provides a world class learning experience for all Early Childhood educators of children ages 3 - 6 from across Texas through high quality professional development and networking opportunities. ATYC is hosted by Education Service Centers Regions 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 19.  The 26th ATYC will kick off with a dynamic opening keynote!  Breakout sessions will cover timely and critical topics including all areas of early childhood education, such as math, reading, play, behavior, ECSE, general education, and social and personal competencies.  You will not want to miss the closing keynote! 

**PLEASE NOTE – IN ORDER TO ATTEND SESSIONS, PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE THEIR BADGE THAT WILL BE GIVEN TO THEM AT CHECK IN.  CHECK IN WILL CLOSE AT 9:00 am ON THURSDAY, JULY 11TH (The conference begins on July 10th, but we understand that someone could be delayed). 

YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CHANGE YOUR BREAKOUT SESSIONS SELECTION AT THE CONFERENCE.

*Join us for Pre-Conference Check In from 4:00 – 6:00pm on July 9, 2024, in the South Conference Center at Region 17 Educational Service Center, 1111 West Loop 289, Lubbock, Texas.  Come in Door 14, by the flagpoles on the southwest side of the building. Come grab your Academy Swag, get an early start shopping with our vendors, and meet the ATYC Committee!

Conference Check In will be Wednesday morning beginning at 7:30 am in the South Conference Center. Come in Door 14, by the flagpoles on the southwest side of the building.  (If you come to Pre-Conference Check In, you do not have to re-check in.)

The opening Keynote will begin at 8:45 on Wednesday, July 10.  Please plan to be seated by 8:40 am. 

Conference Cancellations must be done by 12:00pm on Friday, June 28, 2024, in order to receive a refund. 

Registration will close on Friday, June 28, 2024.

If you have any registration questions, please contact Evelyn Gilson at 806-281-5867 or egilson@esc17.net.





Keynote (Required)
(Wednesday, July 10, 2024 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 1008750
Keynote: Behavior Lessons Learned
Seats Filled: 312 / 550
Fee: $175.00
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
When it comes to behavior, kids have a lot to learn. But then again, so do adults. When we proactively help students get their needs met in healthy ways, we decrease the likelihood they try to do so, often unconsciously, through disruptive behaviors. In this interactive session, participants will learn specific strategies for positively shaping student behaviors while discovering how many of our typical teaching practices work against these efforts.
Session 1 (Required)
(Wednesday, July 10, 2024 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM)
Session ID: 1008751
Teach Skills and Break Habits: Growth Mindsets for Better Behavior in the Classroom
Seats Filled: 68 / 160
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference B

Important Breakout Information:
How do we create long-term change for students with chronic behavior problems? In this session, attendees will discuss the downfall of common behavior tracking systems, as well as why time out, clip systems, behavior folders, and office referrals often work against our long-term goals. Participants will leave the session with ideas for both targeting and teaching skills based on students’ gifts and challenges.
Session ID: 1008752
Positive Guidance: Tools for Challenging Behavior
Seats Filled: 146 / 160
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
Challenging behaviors can quickly derail your plans. But how we respond creates a powerful lesson in itself. In fact, teaching children to be socially and emotionally healthy and competent may be one of the most important lessons we weave into each day. In this session, you’ll learn how you can proactively teach skills that prevent many behavior problems, while also discovering tools that will help you respond to the remaining challenges in healthy, appropriate, and effective ways. Building upon the principles of Positive Guidance, you’ll walk away with techniques, scripts, and action plans to address the specific challenges in your classroom.
Session ID: 1008753
Choosing Their Own Adventures: Helping Children’s Brains Develop, Grow, and Thrive
Seats Filled: 99 / 160
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference C

Important Breakout Information:
Presenters will lead you through an adventure of new discoveries and activities that will help our children develop, grow, and thrive through the early years and through life. Be prepared to laugh, maybe cry, learn, interact, play, and have fun! Bring your sense of adventure and learn all about new brain research, new activities, and play!
Session 2 (Required)
(Thursday, July 11, 2024 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM)
Session ID: 1008754
Joyful Literacy
Seats Filled: 53 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
Literacy should be an exciting, joyful endeavor! We know children learn best from meaningful literacy experiences, but sometimes it becomes too easy to slide into mundane patterns of teaching. In this session, we’ll take a look at the science-backed principles behind emergent literacy and how to incorporate them in playful, joyful ways to build a solid foundation for real literacy. You’ll walk away with book lists and activities for building language and literacy skills, ready to put them to work in your classroom right away!
Session ID: 1008756
Smart Moves: Increase Academic Learning through Physical Movement and Activities
Seats Filled: 74 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference D

Important Breakout Information:
This engaging and dynamic workshop is tailored for both classroom teachers and teachers working with students with special needs. It aims to explore the research and benefits of integrating physical movement and activities into academic learning. Throughout the workshop, participants will actively participate in various movements and activities specifically designed for classroom settings. These experiential exercises will exemplify how physical engagement can enhance learning outcomes. Additionally, the workshop will include a dedicated segment on managing recess effectively to maximize its impact on academic learning. Practical tips and strategies will be provided to ensure that recess becomes a valuable opportunity for further academic growth. Join us in this interactive workshop and discover how incorporating physical movement and activities can significantly increase academic learning for your students.
Session ID: 1008757
Adventures in Language: Nurturing Communication in Early Childhood
Seats Filled: 34 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Douglas

Important Breakout Information:
Join us for a thrilling expedition into the realm of language development in early childhood education. In this journey, participants will explore creative strategies and activities designed to foster language skills in young learners.
Session ID: 1008760
AUesome Adventure Awaits: Autism 101
Seats Filled: 45 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Neely

Important Breakout Information:
Come, learn, and discuss Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and explore practical evidence-based practices to support individuals who have Autism. We will discuss a brief overview of ASD, discuss eligibility criteria, provide resources and support to assist you in best serving the population you work alongside.
Session ID: 1008762
Math Explorers & Curious Counters
Seats Filled: 42 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference B

Important Breakout Information:
Participants will explore exciting mathematical concepts using hands-on manipulatives and discover powerful strategies to nurture creativity throughout the year. “In the same way that kids create their own stories or make up songs, kids will invent their own methods for solving mathematic problems, even those that are sometimes very complex.” Dr. Heather Hill, Harvard University.
Session ID: 1008764
Let Them Lead: The Importance of Self-Determination in Early Childhood
Seats Filled: 26 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Rogers

Important Breakout Information:
Unlocking the potential within every child is a journey that begins in the early years. This session aims to provide early childhood educators with insights, strategies, and practical tools to nurture autonomy, initiative, and a sense of purpose in young learners. We will discuss the importance of instilling self-determination skills during the formative stages of a child's development, as well as cover key topics such as encouraging intrinsic motivation, building a supportive environment, fostering goal setting, and collaboration with parents/caregivers. This presentation aims to equip educators with actionable insights, backed by research and real-world applications, to empower our youngest learners.
Session ID: 1008765
Yes! You Can Teach Writing!
Seats Filled: 13 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference C

Important Breakout Information:
Want your students to become writers? Then this session is for you! Come learn how you can facilitate a love of writing through modeled, shared, and interactive writing activities.
Session ID: 1008766
Connecting and Communicating with Emergent Bilinguals: Where to Start and How to Cultivate Language in Early Childhood
Seats Filled: 15 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference F

Important Breakout Information:
Given the increase of Emergent Bilinguals in Texas classrooms, many are looking for what to do and where to begin. In this session, we will explore how to work with Emergent Bilinguals, from the ground up. We will discuss what a language rich environment looks like and sounds like, along with how to build upon language in the classroom by integrating meaningful conversations. Additionally, we will discuss key early childhood strategies to take back into the classroom that foster language development.
Session ID: 1008767
Providing Differentiated Instruction and HQ Early Childhood Special Education
Seats Filled: 11 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference E

Important Breakout Information:
Special education programs are charged with reporting on how well their program supports preschool children with IEPs to demonstrate improvement in three critical areas: (a) Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships); (b) Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy); and (c) Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs. But how do you ensure you are providing instruction that addresses these three critical areas, meets the needs of your learners, AND includes the PKGs? This session focuses on how to utilize the Early Childhood Outcomes and PK Guidelines Alignment document to individualize programming for a variety of developmental abilities, covering PKGs, and ECOs.
Session 3 (Required)
(Thursday, July 11, 2024 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 1008768
Joyful Literacy (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 49 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
Literacy should be an exciting, joyful endeavor! We know children learn best from meaningful literacy experiences, but sometimes it becomes too easy to slide into mundane patterns of teaching. In this session, we’ll take a look at the science-backed principles behind emergent literacy and how to incorporate them in playful, joyful ways to build a solid foundation for real literacy. You’ll walk away with book lists and activities for building language and literacy skills, ready to put them to work in your classroom right away!
Session ID: 1008770
Smart Moves: Increase Academic Learning through Physical Movement and Activities (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 54 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference D

Important Breakout Information:
This engaging and dynamic workshop is tailored for both classroom teachers and teachers working with students with special needs. It aims to explore the research and benefits of integrating physical movement and activities into academic learning. Throughout the workshop, participants will actively participate in various movements and activities specifically designed for classroom settings. These experiential exercises will exemplify how physical engagement can enhance learning outcomes. Additionally, the workshop will include a dedicated segment on managing recess effectively to maximize its impact on academic learning. Practical tips and strategies will be provided to ensure that recess becomes a valuable opportunity for further academic growth. Join us in this interactive workshop and discover how incorporating physical movement and activities can significantly increase academic learning for your students.
Session ID: 1008771
Adventures in Language: Nurturing Communication in Early Childhood (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 29 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Douglas

Important Breakout Information:
Join us for a thrilling expedition into the realm of language development in early childhood education. In this journey, participants will explore creative strategies and activities designed to foster language skills in young learners.
Session ID: 1008772
AUesome Adventure Awaits: Autism 101 (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 27 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Neely

Important Breakout Information:
Come, learn, and discuss Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and explore practical evidence-based practices to support individuals who have Autism. We will discuss a brief overview of ASD, discuss eligibility criteria, provide resources and support to assist you in best serving the population you work alongside.
Session ID: 1008773
Math Explorers & Curious Counters (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 27 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference B

Important Breakout Information:
Participants will explore exciting mathematical concepts using hands-on manipulatives and discover powerful strategies to nurture creativity throughout the year. “In the same way that kids create their own stories or make up songs, kids will invent their own methods for solving mathematic problems, even those that are sometimes very complex.” Dr. Heather Hill, Harvard University.
Session ID: 1008774
Let Them Lead: The Importance of Self-Determination in Early Childhood (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 59 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Rogers

Important Breakout Information:
Unlocking the potential within every child is a journey that begins in the early years. This session aims to provide early childhood educators with insights, strategies, and practical tools to nurture autonomy, initiative, and a sense of purpose in young learners. We will discuss the importance of instilling self-determination skills during the formative stages of a child's development, as well as cover key topics such as encouraging intrinsic motivation, building a supportive environment, fostering goal setting, and collaboration with parents/caregivers. This presentation aims to equip educators with actionable insights, backed by research and real-world applications, to empower our youngest learners.
Session ID: 1008775
Yes! You Can Teach Writing! (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 30 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference C

Important Breakout Information:
Want your students to become writers? Then this session is for you! Come learn how you can facilitate a love of writing through modeled, shared, and interactive writing activities.
Session ID: 1008776
Providing Differentiated Instruction and HQ Early Childhood Special Education (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 26 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference E

Important Breakout Information:
Special education programs are charged with reporting on how well their program supports preschool children with IEPs to demonstrate improvement in three critical areas: (a) Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships); (b) Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy); and (c) Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs. But how do you ensure you are providing instruction that addresses these three critical areas, meets the needs of your learners, AND includes the PKGs? This session focuses on how to utilize the Early Childhood Outcomes and PK Guidelines Alignment document to individualize programming for a variety of developmental abilities, covering PKGs, and ECOs.
Session ID: 1008777
Connecting and Communicating with Emergent Bilinguals: Where to Start and How to Cultivate Language in Early Childhood (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 12 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference F

Important Breakout Information:
Given the increase of Emergent Bilinguals in Texas classrooms, many are looking for what to do and where to begin. In this session, we will explore how to work with Emergent Bilinguals, from the ground up. We will discuss what a language rich environment looks like and sounds like, along with how to build upon language in the classroom by integrating meaningful conversations. Additionally, we will discuss key early childhood strategies to take back into the classroom that foster language development.
Session 4 (Required)
(Thursday, July 11, 2024 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM)
Session ID: 1008778
The Math Bag: Beyond Counting!
Seats Filled: 75 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
Just because our number system has been around for centuries, doesn’t mean math and numeracy activities need to be tired and boring. Learn how to support mathematical thinking and number sense in your classroom in a meaningful, hands-on way. With a simple activity you can use all year long, you will take your students beyond rote counting and recitation of facts to incorporating a real awareness of numbers and foundational math concepts through authentic and powerful math conversations. Math is everywhere! We just need to help children to see it and talk about it. Whether you love teaching math concepts or feel unsure of where to start, you will love this engaging, hands-on activity!
This session is full.
Session ID: 1008779
BRINGING BOOKS ALIVE
Seats Filled: 20 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Neely

Important Breakout Information:
You will leave this session with an arsenal of ideas to use in your classroom that will help our students get excited about books, participate during the reading and do meaningful follow up activities. There will be lots of displays to bring books alive in your classroom.
Session ID: 1008780
Sensory for ALL
Seats Filled: 60 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Rogers

Important Breakout Information:
Join us on an adventure exploring the world of sensory for ALL students.
Session ID: 1008781
Inclusive Beginnings: Nurturing Diversity in Early Childhood Education
Seats Filled: 26 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Douglas

Important Breakout Information:
Join us for an engaging workshop on inclusion in early childhood education. This workshop is designed to provide educators with knowledge and tools to create inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and support academic and social growth. Participants will explore strategies for fostering a sense of belonging among young children, promoting empathy, and understanding the importance of embracing learner variability. Whether you're an administrator, teacher, or paraprofessional, this workshop will equip you with the skills to nurture an inclusive learning space that caters to the unique needs of every child!
Session ID: 1008782
Why Play Equals Learning!
Seats Filled: 41 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference B

Important Breakout Information:
In this session, you will learn why play is critical in the learning process for young children. We will look at the most current research and why planned, purposeful play is the most powerful educational tool we have in the prekindergarten classroom. You will also be given strategies to on how to set up and organize play based learning experiences for your young students.
Session ID: 1008783
Embracing the Challenge: Teamwork
Seats Filled: 36 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference C

Important Breakout Information:
We all know the relationship between the adults in the room has a huge impact on classroom performance. Being a team is tough regardless of how much you like each other. Come learn strategies to communicate and work better with your team.
Session ID: 1008784
VIPs Use EBPs
Seats Filled: 1 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference E

Important Breakout Information:
Evidence-based practices are required by local, state, and federal administrations. But what exactly are those practices? How do I know something is an EBP? This session focuses on TEA's online Best Practices Resources, where to find them, and how to use them. We will examine a variety of practices, plan for implementation, and discuss sustainability.
Session ID: 1008785
Importance of Play in the Classroom
Seats Filled: 16 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference D

Important Breakout Information:
Playful learning has a very important role in the Early Childhood classroom. Join us as we create spaces to introduce playful learning. How can we foster the skills children will need for future success?
Session ID: 1008786
CLASSROOM COMMUNITY, SYSTEMS, AND ROUTINES: Providing Safety, Love, and Belonging to Young Learners
Seats Filled: 38 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference F

Important Breakout Information:
We all hear about the self-sufficiency of the "well-oiled machine". And when the phrase is used to describe a classroom environment, we often wonder: "Is it really?" and "How did it become the "well-oiled" machine (aka classroom)?" Let's explore strategies, materials, and early childhood best practices to get you on your way to having that "well-oiled" classroom. During our time together, we will focus on building a classroom family, fostering independence, and creating autonomy which leads to improving child outcomes.
Session 5 (Required)
(Thursday, July 11, 2024 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM)
Session ID: 1008787
The Math Bag: Beyond Counting! (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 44 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
Just because our number system has been around for centuries, doesn’t mean math and numeracy activities need to be tired and boring. Learn how to support mathematical thinking and number sense in your classroom in a meaningful, hands-on way. With a simple activity you can use all year long, you will take your students beyond rote counting and recitation of facts to incorporating a real awareness of numbers and foundational math concepts through authentic and powerful math conversations. Math is everywhere! We just need to help children to see it and talk about it. Whether you love teaching math concepts or feel unsure of where to start, you will love this engaging, hands-on activity!
Session ID: 1008788
Sensory for ALL (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 50 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Rogers

Important Breakout Information:
Join us on an adventure exploring the world of sensory for ALL students.
Session ID: 1008789
Inclusive Beginnings: Nurturing Diversity in Early Childhood Education (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 5 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Douglas

Important Breakout Information:
Join us for an engaging workshop on inclusion in early childhood education. This workshop is designed to provide educators with knowledge and tools to create inclusive environments that celebrate diversity and support academic and social growth. Participants will explore strategies for fostering a sense of belonging among young children, promoting empathy, and understanding the importance of embracing learner variability. Whether you're an administrator, teacher, or paraprofessional, this workshop will equip you with the skills to nurture an inclusive learning space that caters to the unique needs of every child!
Session ID: 1008790
Why Play Equals Learning!
Seats Filled: 67 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference B

Important Breakout Information:
In this session, you will learn why play is critical in the learning process for young children. We will look at the most current research and why planned, purposeful play is the most powerful educational tool we have in the prekindergarten classroom. You will also be given strategies to on how to set up and organize play based learning experiences for your young students.
Session ID: 1008791
Embracing the Challenge: Teamwork (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 20 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference C

Important Breakout Information:
We all know the relationship between the adults in the room has a huge impact on classroom performance. Being a team is tough regardless of how much you like each other. Come learn strategies to communicate and work better with your team.
Session ID: 1008792
VIPs Use EBPs (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 9 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference E

Important Breakout Information:
Evidence-based practices are required by local, state, and federal administrations. But what exactly are those practices? How do I know something is an EBP? This session focuses on TEA's online Best Practices Resources, where to find them, and how to use them. We will examine a variety of practices, plan for implementation, and discuss sustainability.
Session ID: 1008793
Importance of Play in the Classroom (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 39 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference D

Important Breakout Information:
Playful learning has a very important role in the Early Childhood classroom. Join us as we create spaces to introduce playful learning. How can we foster the skills children will need for future success?
Session ID: 1008794
CLASSROOM COMMUNITY, SYSTEMS, AND ROUTINES: Providing Safety, Love, and Belonging to Young Learners (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 46 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference F

Important Breakout Information:
We all hear about the self-sufficiency of the "well-oiled machine". And when the phrase is used to describe a classroom environment, we often wonder: "Is it really?" and "How did it become the "well-oiled" machine (aka classroom)?" Let's explore strategies, materials, and early childhood best practices to get you on your way to having that "well-oiled" classroom. During our time together, we will focus on building a classroom family, fostering independence, and creating autonomy which leads to improving child outcomes.
Session ID: 1008795
BRINGING BOOKS ALIVE (Repeat Session)
Seats Filled: 33 / 75
Location:Region 17 ESC, Neely

Important Breakout Information:
You will leave this session with an arsenal of ideas to use in your classroom that will help our students get excited about books, participate during the reading and do meaningful follow up activities. There will be lots of displays to bring books alive in your classroom.
Session 6 (Required)
(Friday, July 12, 2024 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM)
Session ID: 1008796
Closing Keynote: TEXAS Teachers Are The B.E.S.T.!
Seats Filled: 313 / 550
Location:Region 17 ESC, South Conference A

Important Breakout Information:
In this inspiring and motivational keynote Adam shares stories and experiences from his classroom and his time in education that will remind teachers why their students think they are the BEST! From building relationships and strategies that are sure to engage kids, to teaching beyond the curriculum and reaching the child within the student, Adam's stories of his tried and true methods will have you laughing, learning, and ready to head back to your classroom. Leave the session inspired and ready to have the best year ever with your students.


We are passionately committed to developing and nurturing healthy, thriving learning communities across Region 17 by guiding and supporting schools in their quest for excellence.

Get in Touch

Region 17 Education Service Center
1111 West Loop 289 | Lubbock, TX 79416
Voice: 806-792-4000 | Fax: 806-792-1523

Business Hours: Monday - Friday | 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Per HB 462, resources and services provided by Region 17 ESC are solely aligned with, and designed to support, the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) adopted by the State Board of Education.

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