[Next Generation] Celebrating 50 years of Explore Discover Grow Weekday Conference 

Emily Smith serves on the Evangelism+Church Health Team as the Children’s Specialist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.

As kids explore, discover, and grow, their understanding of foundational truths grow with them. From infancy, children start to soak in their surroundings as their learning experiences begin. 

In 1972, Arkansas Baptists established a Weekday Early Education Workshop (WEE Workshop) designed to train directors, teachers, preschool leaders, and other staff of preschool ministries and weekday early education programs. The goal—to assist early childhood leaders in meeting needs and providing excellent learning experiences for infants through kindergarteners as they develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.  

On July 25 and July 28, over 400 preschool ministry and weekday educators gathered at First Baptist Church in Rogers and at Park Hill Baptist Church in North Little Rock to celebrate 50 years of the Weekday Early Education Workshop. The workshop is now known as Explore Discover Grow Conference and is the only faith-based weekday education conference offered in the state. Three leaders who attended the conference in North Little Rock had been attending for 26 years.  

Educators were inspired to share God’s big love with little lives as they teach in their respective target age groups. Breakout sessions were offered for leaders who teach infants, toddlers, 2’s, 3’s, PreK, K, and school-age children.  

One leader described this year’s conference as “a very great learning experience for all teachers of various ages!” 

This annual event continues to inspire, encourage and equip preschool educators as they invest in young lives. The Weekday Early Education planning team’s hope over the past 50 years has been to truly see opportunities in our state for preschoolers to explore, discover, and grow in God’s Word.  

Emily Smith serves as the Children’s Specialist at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. She may be reached at esmith@absc.org

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