By Sharon Easterling, Executive Director, DVAYEC

Thousands gathered this weekend at the 2014 DVAEYC Early Childhood conference, and took the opportunity to show their support for access to high-quality, affordable pre-k in a clever way: More than 1,000 attendees stood up during the plenary session and took “selfies” that they shared on social media using the hashtag #IamPreK.

Generating awareness and support for Pre-K for PA among this important group of committed early childhood professionals, including directors, teachers, administrators, therapists, doctors, and consultants is critical. Because this group speaks for children, and children can’t vote.

To achieve our goal that every preschooler in Pennsylvania will have access to a high-quality early learning program, public or private, we must raise the visibility of early childhood education so that every candidate – from governor on down, will understand the urgency of ensuring access to early learning.

Eighty-two percent of Pennsylvania children do not have access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-k. Those who signed on to join the statewide Pre-K for PA campaign just this weekend agree that is unacceptable.

So while it may seem silly to join the “selfie” trend, it’s a big step in showing we are a force for children in Pennsylvania and we will be seen and heard! Please snap a picture and post it to Twitter with the hashtag #IamPreK. Ask your friends and colleagues to as well.