I had the wonderful pleasure of presenting the keynote address at the Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children (MIAEYC) 2005 conference. This presentation was, however, a little more challenging than most because of what DID NOT arrive in my suitcase. Oh, my luggage arrived but just not all of it. It seems that the nice screeners at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) decided that my bag looked particularly interesting and they decided to take a peek… without my knowing it. Someone also decided to help themselves to a few of my demonstrations and visual aids. When I opened my case on the morning of the presentation, all of my books were gone along with a few cool science gadgets and, most importantly, my potato launcher! Mind you, my potato launcher is a piece of plastic tubing and a wooden stick! It does a nice job of demonstrating the properties of air and it is in no way a threat to anyone. With less than one hour before my presentation, I scurried through the convention center and the exhibit hall in search of anything that might work as a temporary potato launcher. The science demo Gods must have had pitty on me because I was able to slap together a make-shift potato launcher out of a kid’s glitter wand and a giant pencil! No kidding! There was no time to even try it out before the presentation started, so I launched a chunk of spud in front of about 2,000 teachers and it easily few about 150 feet! Life is good. Hmmm? I wonder what else I could create in times of desparation?
Attending the MIAEYC conference reminded me of how fortunate we are to have such dedicated professionals who are constantly striving to raise the standards of excellence in early childhood education. Hats off to Keith Meyer and Laurie Nickson for creating another unforgettable experience.