Greetings LAECA Members!

It is with great pleasure once again we provide you with outstanding resources. I hope that you have had a restful summer and are ready to get back into the joys of educating Louisiana's little children. We have to remember that no matter the capacity in which we work with children, we must rest and take care of ourselves and our families and friends.

We are expecting a very high number of participants at this year's 51st Annual Fall Conference October 26-28, 2017. I want to urge you to register and book your hotel reservations early. Our theme this year is "Early Childhood Strong." The location will once again be in Alexandria; however, our venue has changed. Our new venue will be the Downtown Convention Center. Music with Mar will serve as a keynoter. She is known for providing quality brain research-based music for over 30 years. We are also welcoming Mr. Greg from The Kindergarten Smorgasboard. Greg has been working with young children for 11 years. He is passionate and enjoys blogging, creating curriculum, and resources for his classroom. Thursday evening before the conference, we will have the pleasure to enjoy a fun filled Make and Take with Rapides Early Childhood Network. Rapides' educator will be full of energy, motivation, and will demonstrate best practices in the areas of curriculum, centers, and CLASS. (Please remember to register for this session early to retain your spot. Don't let this session fill up without you.) Please look for more information in the pages to follow and continue to check our website at www.laeca.org for updated information as it becomes available. I also wish to remind you that there is still time to apply for several of the scholarships and mini-grants. Please remember that the applications must be post marked by October 1, 2017 to qualify. You must also have been a member for six months before you become eligible and your membership must be up-to-date. It would be a wonderful feeling to be presented with a check at this year's conference. I definitely encourage you to try and apply for this opportunity.

Finally, in this issue of Collaborations you will find resources dealing with "Nature Play/Outdoor Play." This is a perfect topic to explore as a new school year begins! I am sure that whether you are in a classroom setting or a childcare facility you will find something in this issue to enhance the learning experiences of your students. Thanks to editor, Martha Garner, and all who submitted articles in this issue. With all the changes in Louisiana's Early Childhood Programs at the present time I feel there is much to celebrate. I would like to encourage you to continue to do your best for your "little ones" and remember to take care of yourself. We should always strive to work together in every capacity of education. I look forward to seeing you all at the conference in October.

Michelle Joubert
LAECA President