Excited for our upcoming conference and curriculum fair, but wondering where your kids fit into that picture?
If you have young children who find the idea of hour-long workshops … well, less than riveting, no worries! We have several conference childcare options available for you:
1) Mothers room (for nursing babies).
If your little ones are breastfeeding, you’ll find plenty of company at the conference. Every year we set aside a room exclusively for nursing moms, which features plenty of quiet and comfort for feeding and changing as needed.
You can also bring your babies to the conference workshops, although we ask that you exit quietly if they are fussy or disruptive in any way (in consideration for other people attending).
Quick tip: Bring baby carriers or backpacks for transport. Although wheeled carriers are allowed in the vendor hall, they are not allowed in workshops because of space limitations.
2) MPE Kids program (ages 5-12).
We’re immensely proud of this homegrown childcare program, run completely by homeschooled youth and graduates!
MPE Kids is for children ages 5-12 (although 4-year-olds can attend if they attend with an older sibling). Parents must be registered for the conference and are responsible for meals both days.
One homeschool mom writes, “It’s great to have them close enough to check on them if you need to, but can also spend the time being refreshed and encouraged by the workshops and being around other homeschool moms.”
Quick tip: To avoid paying full price at the door, register online by March 26.
3) Youth volunteer program (ages 13 and up).
More mature kids can participate in one of the most important conference roles ever: youth volunteers!
Every year our youth volunteers do a marvelous job serving with registration, helping in the exhibitor hall, facilitating the MPE Kids program, and introducing workshops.
If you want your kids to develop leadership skills and gain valuable behind-the-scenes experience in event management, now is the best time to apply.
Quick tip: Please make sure that youth volunteers can attend the mandatory training session on Thursday, April 8.
What about children 5 and under?
Although we have explored the possibility of providing childcare for preschoolers, we encountered the following issues:
- The legal liability issues that came with childcare in this age range were cost-prohibitive.
- We do not have a facility option suitable for preschoolers. We would either have to move our conference location or transport preschoolers off-site. Neither option is feasible at this time.
Because of this, we encourage parents with children under 5 to arrange childcare in advance so they can attend conference workshops. Your preschoolers can also come with you to the exhibitor hall, so long as they remain with you at all times.
See more information about our conference, including earlybird registration.
We have updated this blog post, originally published in February 2015, for timeliness and detail.