Learn. Innovate. Lead.

About the Summit

The goal of the HeadStarter Network’s annual Early Childhood Innovation Summit is to disseminate new ideas, processes, and technologies to drive quality in early childhood development and education.

How might we replicate and scale innovative ideas and practices so they become integrated into program operations? In essence, how do you discover concepts that might increase your program’s effectiveness and impact in both big and small ways?

Join fellow practitioners from all early learning communities and “disruptors” or unlikely collaborators from the worlds of technology, business, and academia for the 2019 Early Childhood Innovation Summit. We’ll explore bleeding edge ideas through interactive sessions focused on current and future innovations that we can put into practice in early child. You’ll learn from experts about developments in technology that will ignite changes in your program and enable children, families and staff to flourish.



Interested in joining us?



Session Descriptions

Reimagining How We Deliver the Promise of ECE

Early childhood education follows some predictable patterns. In this session, we look at innovative approaches to established orthodoxy, all in the pursuit of great learning environments. 

Secrets of Millennial Parents: What do they want and why do they want it?

Today’s parents have never known life without the Internet and are faced with such daunting prospects as the "Gig Economy", skyrocketing education costs and a community that is not around the corner, but all over in cyberspace. This panel discussion will help point the way to meeting their needs.

Integrating Technology in the Classroom 

Technology can expand learning possibilities, cultivate opportunities for social engagement, and inspire new avenues of exploration for both children and adults. We will explore technology as one of many tools to support advocacy, communication, and classroom investigations, as seen in photo and video narratives from Boulder Journey School’s.  

It’s Never Too Early to Start Thinking Like an Engineer

Anyone, even our youngest learners, can think like an engineer. When Boston’s  Museum of Science challenged themselves to create a generation of problem solvers, they soon learned that focusing on middle school was too late.  This panel will explore Wee Engineer's journey to market - from ideation to discovery to concept to viable new product, that is now being adopted in the community.  A real-life example of continuous quality improvement in action!   

Childhood by Design

This session will explore ways to harness the power of design to reimagine the spaces where children spend their days developing and learning. The ancient, human-centered method for innovation and creative problem solving, design thinking can focus our attention on the needs and enjoyment of children and ensure they flourish.

Not only will this session explore examples of good design, but participants will also begin using these creative tools to empower their use when we return home

Not All Innovation is Technology: Hacking Challenging Behaviors, Enrollment, and Workforce with low tech solutions

We all get caught up in thinking that innovation in early childhood is only about the technology. This notion is the furthest from the truth. Game-changing innovation is happening constantly in early childhood and this panel will explore programs and ideas that are creating real answers to practitioners’  most vexing issues.

Kid-centered Design with Khan Academy Kids

How does a team of ten artists, educators, engineers, illustrators, and authors harness design to provide access to thousands of learning activities to children who need it the most? This session takes Khan Academy Kids as a case study and focuses on the kid-centered design process the team uses to deliver the free app to millions of learners. Creating big new things for little learners is bound to be an iterative and messy process. We uncover some of the lessons learned from children through brainstorming, prototyping, testing, rethinking, and redesigning.

Innovator Studio

Enter the Innovator Studio and see recent examples of ideas come to life, network with leading innovators from across the country, and connect with other Summit participants. The goal of the Innovator Studio and accompanying Gallery Walk reception is to learn from and share ideas -- almost like a Science Fair, but with adult beverages! There will be "exhibits" and you will have the chance to mingle through the “gallery of ideas.”

The Race to Capture What Matters in Early Childhood 

As Artificial Intelligence sweeps into every aspect of our lives, who will be the safe keeper of our children's brain development? Read more about the juncture of Artificial Intelligence and Early Childhood Education.

Schedule at a Glance

Day 1: Learn.

9:00 am - 5:30 pm

  • Reimagining How We Deliver the Promise of ECE

  • Secrets of Millennial Parents: What do they want and why do they want it?

  • Integrating Technology in the Classroom

Day 2: Innovate.

9:00 am - 5:30 pm

  • Think Like an Engineer

  • Childhood by Design

  • Not All Innovation Is Technology: Hacking Challenging Behaviors, Enrollment, and Workforce with low tech solutions

  • Innovator Studio

Day 3: Lead.

9:00 am - 12:30 pm

  • The Race to Capture What Matters in Early Childhood (As Artificial Intelligence sweeps into every aspect of our lives, who will be the safekeeper of our children’s brain development?)

  • Market or Park It? (Using the wisdom of crowds explore whether there is a market for your idea for a new ECE product or service or it should be destined for the parking lot)



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Summit Sponsors


Market or Park It Partner