Tributes and Reflections Presented During ACEI's 125th Anniversary Celebration

Thoughts From Peg Oliveira, Executive Director, Gesell Institute of Child Development

The child mind is equipped with the skill of “pretending”; it tiptoes up to anxiety. Teases tension. Imagination titrates these experiences, only giving the child the optimally scary dropper full of monster in the closet to play at feeling fearful. A tolerable amount of stress to allow the child mind to struggle, but importantly, emerge the victor. Shaken, perhaps, but victorious nonetheless.

Life is not so gentle; or just. The world does not play fair.

For many children, life is an intolerable dose of anxiety and stress. We call it trauma. And we know that in unpredictable or chronic doses, it can have a lasting impact on a child’s brain and development; on behavior and on learning.

Perhaps it's the wrong question, to ask “what do our children need to know and be able to do to be prepared for the future?”

Maybe the future is not something we must educate for. But rather, the future is something we are called to create, through education.

We can start now and start early, to create a global citizen. One who is risk taking, who holds a seriously playful approach to problem solving, willing to self-criticize and put curiosity to work. Able to tolerate change and unpredictability. To act and interact. To be challenged and to do something. To be motivated and be brave.

Congratulatory Messages From Our Community

Thank you ACEI. Your publications have kept me on the forefront of knowledge regarding new learning in preschool education. I am that much the richer through my association with ACEI.

Archana Dange


CONGRATULATIONS on 125 years of making a difference, locally—nationally—internationally! Thank you, ACEI!

Your loyal follower and contributor,

Susan Trostle Brand,
University of Rhode Island Kingston


Dear ACEI—

Can it be 25 years since the 100-year celebration? For the 100th anniversary, we gathered in Saratoga Springs, New York—ACEI’s birthplace. It is a huge credit to the ACEI leadership and staff that the organization has survived for so many years and through challenging times. Thank you for your continual advocacy for quality care and education for the world’s children!!

Carol Vukelich, Past ACEI President,
University of Delaware


Happy Birthday to ACEI from Tanzania Country Liaison.

Rosemary Olive Mbone Enie,
Geologist/Gender Ambassador



Vielka Batista


Dear ACEI,

It is with a great sense of pride that we join in to congratulate ACEI for its 125th anniversary of improving the lives and well-being of children around the world!

Pilar, ACEI Board Member, and Alfredo Fort


Dear ACEI,

OMEP-USA sends you a hearty congratulations for the many years you have advocated and served professionals in the field of Early Childhood Education. You have made a great difference in the field and your efforts are highly appreciated. Thank you, ACEI!

Jean Simpson, OMEP-USA


Shamar Educational Foundation is wishing ACEI a happy 125th anniversary and prosperous years ahead. Regards,

Onyi Ikemefuna,
Shamar Educational/World Mission Foundation


Thank you, ACEI. Since 1958, the conferences, the journal, and interacting with other educators have helped me be a better teacher and stay true to what is best for children. I also served as President—I believe the only kindergarten teacher in recent years who had this opportunity. I have wonderful memories of great friends. So sorry to miss the party. Happy birthday.

Diane Pitmon


Congratulations to ACEI

Nancy Brown and students in the
College of Education at Florida Atlantic University

Congratulations to ACEI on this 125th anniversary. I have been an active member since the 1960s and have really enjoyed the different roles—member, board member—the friends I have made, chances to see many parts of our country, etc. I hope ACEI will be around for many more years. Wish I could be in Washington for the celebration, but will not be able to be there this year. Again, congratulations.

Rhoda Bierstedt


Congratulations to ACEI on its 125th Year Anniversary!

I believe that educated children can change the world for the better. However, not all children are provided the education the world deserves. ACEI has been my first home to follow my beliefs and support quality of children’s education around the world. Challenges facing the world’s children at this time require mustering all possible resources to address these issues. I am proud to have been part of ACEI’s efforts to create positive, sustainable futures for children and youth worldwide. It is an honor and privilege serving on the ACEI board of directors.

With much love and best wishes for our program in the years to come!!!

Maryam Sharifian, ACEI Board Member


On behalf of ICRI-Worldwide, we extend our heartiest congratulations to ACEI for completing 125 glorious years of learning and success. ACEI serves the entire human community with unselfish services. Driving the global community for 125 years has transformed the lives of children, impacting hundreds of thousands of families around the world. We are very proud to be a part of ACEI and its efforts to make the world safe, peaceful, and exuberant for children. Thank you.

Dhirendra Lamsal, ICRI-Nepal


I want to thank ACEI for its tireless dedication to the education field and for the journals that have helped me both during my early years of teaching in early childhood classrooms and later as Chair and early childhood professor at Bloomfield College in Bloomfield, NJ. The international perspective of the organization has been wonderful in helping me to view my work in a global context. ACEI resources have provided me with research and a broad frame of reference, which I have shared with my college students. I am retired now and hope to become more active in the work of the association. Congratulations to ACEI on its 125th anniversary.

Nora Krieger, Bloomfield College


Congratulations to ACEI for 125 years of leading positive change for children and youth across the U.S. and around the world! It is a sincere honor to be part of an organization working every day to strengthen and elevate children’s rights and increase awareness of, and respect for, our points of shared humanity while making visible and acknowledging our complex diversities. ACEI should be very proud of its history building bridges between stakeholders, communities, and organizations across the globe. Threading these relationships has planted seeds that have blossomed over time into a stronger and more amplified group of voices declaring the indisputable promise of children and youth everywhere and our collective responsibility to invest in them—both for today and for their futures. It’s inspiring to imagine ACEI’s leadership over the next hundred years; what we will discover and learn together, the many lives that will be touched with inspiration, the changing landscape of opportunities that will unfurl. Onward we go!

Julie Nicholson, ACEI Board Member


It is my hope that soon all children around the world will have access to free early childhood education and that this will be a priority in every country.

Krystyna Nowak-Fabrykowski,
Central Michigan University


Sisters and Brothers of ACEI,

What a joy to share this significant occasion celebrating 125 years of ACEI. In this day and age, what an accomplishment to survive for 25 years, let alone 125! Thoughts and thanks go to those forebears whose commitment and hard work laid a sure foundation.

“History shows that even seemingly miraculous advances are in fact the result of many people taking small steps together over a long period of time.” (Paul Loeb)                                                                                   

Here’s to many more small steps in the right direction!                           

Carrie Whaley,
Past ACEI President


Lucy Wheelock: Pioneer in Early Childhood Whose Ideas & Vision Live On at Wheelock College Today

By Diane Levin, Ph.D.
Professor of Early Childhood Education, Wheelock College

Lucy Wheelock, the Founder of Wheelock College in Boston in 1888, was ACEI’s 2nd President and the contributor of an article called “Ideas and Ideals” included in the 1st issue of ACEI’s Childhood Education publication. She was a pioneer in the innovative education that came with the “Kindergarten Movement” of that time.

Lucy’s views on the nature of young children and how they should be educated were visionary, and are as important for us to heed today as they were when she was creating them. She saw educational settings as a place where the “needs of a group of children with varying tastes, interests, and skills” could be met through individual experimentation and discovery. She saw early childhood classrooms as a place where a “sense of wonder” and “human values and ideals” reigned supreme.

When Lucy got involved with ACEI, she had already begun devoting her life (since 1888) to this advocacy. She had founded a school for low-income young children that aimed at “improving their quality of life.” It modeled the practices she believed in—and she also used her school to develop a demonstration training program for early childhood educators. This teacher training program became Wheelock College. 

The educational model that Lucy developed for children, as well as for training teachers, was deeply influenced by the child-centered teachings of Friedrich Froebel, founder of the Kindergarten Movement, with whom she had studied in Europe prior to founding Wheelock. At that time, more traditional, behaviorist, teacher-controlled, and rote teaching approaches were being emphasized in the United States. This made Lucy’s Frobelian-influenced approach quite revolutionary for U.S. early childhood education.

As her Boston school for children developed, Lucy began sending trainees into schools serving low-income children throughout the Boston area and also into other settings with children—such as orphanages and hospitals (she called the hospital students “play ladies”), as she hoped to contribute to and learn more about meeting the diverse needs of children. Throughout Lucy’s leadership as President at Wheelock, until she stepped down in 1940, the college continued to grow, always using the same child-centered approach with the professionals she trained.

Now, more that 50 years after Lucy stepped down as its leader, Wheelock has remained true to her mission, and it has continued to function and grow in her image. It has often been at the forefront of the childhood services field, developing new programs as the need for them arose. For instance, Wheelock developed the first “child life” program in the United States in the 1960s, making Lucy’s image of  “play ladies” into a real professional field.

My connection to Wheelock began through a similar vision, when Wheelock was awarded one of 3 grants from NIMH in the late 1960s, to develop a master's degree program to train teachers of emotionally disturbed young children, when recognition that emotional illness can begin in the early years was just gaining ground. I applied to this program, was admitted, attended, and received a degree in Early Childhood Special Education. 

And, today, as rigid, one-size-fits-all school reform teaching standards have been mandated around the United States, beginning in the early school years, we need Lucy’s vision of early childhood education more than ever. That is, we need her vision of teachers who are prepared to meet the diverse needs of children in individualized ways and who can take their levels of development into account! And we need teachers who can advocate for her vision, as she helped teachers learn to be advocates for appropriate practice. We need to always remember Lucy’s words: "To strengthen the will rather than dwarf and fetter it, is the true end of school training. The world is a great place of wonder that a child should embrace and not be confined to the regimental and non-creative industrial education and process." 

As someone who chose to be trained in the Wheelock way and then returned to train early childhood professionals in the Wheelock way, I will always be deeply grateful to Lucy Wheelock for her visionary contribution to the field of early childhood teacher preparation and beyond. And I will also always follow her example of moving forward with new innovations and practices that help to best meet the needs of children and families in changing times, while connecting them to what we already know. (For example:  I co-founded the organization, Defending the Early Years, 4 years ago, to create a voice that advocates for appropriate early childhood education in the wider world at a time when visions like Lucy’s are very much under attack.)

The Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has also followed Lucy’s model, as it has continued to focus on the issues and principles Lucy cared about most, and has developed and evolved as our understanding of child development and educational practice has grown and the world has changed. I didn’t know about Lucy’s connection to ACEI until now, but now I understand much better why I have felt ACEI was a kindred spirit many times along the way.

The health and history of our future will rest on our collective outreach and advocacy for the world’s children. We carry the moral obligation to influence the process of how our children evolve as contributing global citizens!

Basanti Chakraborty, New Jersey City University


Happy 125 years, ACEI. As a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, you have come this far from the day you conceived the idea of a “bright future for every child, every nation,” and your ideas are still journeying till every child in every nation has a bright future. Once again, Happy 125 from New Ebu CDC and Booking Assurance!

Kofi Oware


Congratulations, ACEI! We are proud of the global work you do for children.

Best regards,
Pamela Gresham,
Indiana State University


Wonderful Accomplishment!

Having a membership in this organization for over 25 years has been a rewarding, enjoyable experience. Congratulations, ACEI, for 125 years. Take a bow for . . . steadfast leadership in education around the world.

Marie Jackson Peoples


Congratulations to ACEI! I have been happy and proud to be involved with ACEI for years. I value the important work ACEI has done for all children around the world and for professionals working with children! I appreciate all the efforts from ACEI. I do wish all the best for our ACEI in the future. I hope that more and more teachers and ECEC experts are going to feel that ACEI is an excellent place to make a good future for our children and adults who love children. Best

Eeva Hujala, Past ACEI Board Member


My ACEI involvement began in 1984 when Sara Starbuck and I presented in Salt Lake City about research we had implemented in our Preschool at the SIU-C Child Development Laboratories. We had a video camera taping throughout the day as children used the computer. As a field, early childhood programs were just beginning to have computers as another choice during playtime. To our delight, we found times when six children crowded around the child with the mouse, collaborating on what was going to happen.

That was the first of many presentations; I grew professionally each time I presented at ACEI. I always found myself surrounded with interesting professionals and came home from conferences invigorated and ready to pursue new ideas.

I became involved in ACEI’s endeavor with NCATE and met more colleagues, all of us with the highest of standards for pre-service teachers. And from the standards work, I became a part of the specialty committee.

Although I am unable to attend this year’s conference, I continue to read publications and am delighted to see the emphasis of working for children internationally.

My best to all ACEI members,
Deb Moberly, Children 1st


Dear ACEI Friends and Colleagues:

I am very happy to join in the celebration of ACEI’s 125th anniversary.

I’d like to remember and honor, in particular, the members of the Early Leaders in Childhood Committee, including Margaret [Marge] Rasmussen [Editor and Coordinator 1961-1972], Agnes Snyder [author of Dauntless Women in Childhood Education 1856-1931]; the members of the ACEI Later Leaders Committee [producer of Profiles in Childhood Education 1931-1960]; and my colleagues on the current ACEI History and Archives Committee.

Hats off to the archivists and librarians at the University of Maryland, which houses the ACEI archives, and specifically to Lauren Brown, for his diligence in making the Association’s historic documents available to scholars and educators from around the world. Lauren, I’ll never forget the manner in which the archival exhibit at the 100th anniversary conference made its way to and from Saratoga Springs. Thank you for caring enough to honor both that celebration and this one with relevant IKU and ACEI documents.

To all my ACEI friends and colleagues, our students, and families – let’s work together to make ACEI just as relevant to the world of childhood education during the next 125 years. Cordially,

Blythe Hinitz,
The College of New Jersey


In commemoration of the 125th anniversary, I would like to acknowledge Agnes Snyder for her meticulously researched book, Dauntless Women in Childhood Education 1856-1931. This fascinating and illuminating book provides a historical background of kindergarten and elementary education and the women who shaped the association’s illustrious heritage. I am inspired and grateful for the many contributions of ACEI members that continue to provide loyal and dedicated service in the continuing success of the Association’s mission.   

Mavis Hendricks Brown,
Richmond, Virginia

How exciting that ACEI is having its 125th Anniversary celebration. I first joined ACEI in the 1960s as a student at Southwest Texas State College. My affiliation with ACEI had a tremendous influence on my life and served as the foundation for many future opportunities and activities. Here we are in 2017 and I am still a member. Congratulations to ACEI and to all of the people who have been a part of this wonderful organization. Best wishes,

Kathy Fite


For the past 125 years, ACEI has and will continue to make sure that the voice of each child is heard, understood, and counted. It is such an honor to be part of this organization’s advocacy efforts on behalf of society’s future: our children. Job well done. Keep up the great work.

Guylaine L. Richard,
ACEI Board Member

Celebrating ACEI @ 125

As a new ACEI member in the 1990s, I was honored to attend ACEI’s 100th anniversary in Saratoga Springs, New York, in 1992. Now, 25 years later, ACEI is moving towards its sesquicentennial in 2042. Many attending this anniversary will have died by then; only younger members will celebrate that milestone. Therefore, we rejoice in recognizing this organization’s contributions to the field of early childhood care and education (ECCE).

ACEI provides opportunities to gather at annual conferences and institutes in Washington, DC, and in other cities and countries. Speakers and presenters increase our awareness of influences on children’s lives.

ACEI offers publications to express and expand our information, knowledge, and wisdom to influence the lives of students, staff, and colleagues.

ACEI grants networking throughout the United States and in other countries, thus highlighting shared global experiences in person, by phone, and by email.

Lastly, ACEI strengthens our abilities and skills so that we expand our minds, hearts, and voices to educate the children in our programs, our communities, and our nations. Happy 125th Anniversary, ACEI!

Edna Runnels Ranck,
Washington, DC USA


Congratulations, ACEI, on your 125 Anniversary!

Erina Mugabi


The leadership of ACEI has transformed my life and thinking on so many levels. The foundation of its history, its opportunities, and the community of ACEI people have impacted me as a learner, mother, educator, and leader. As a strong believer in the education diplomacy of ACEI, I have been encouraged on a deep level to be more thoughtful, listen more, and live more in the present. I celebrate ACEI, and realize that I have so much more to learn. My many years in ACEI (1986-2017) have deepened my convictions on truth, sustainability, and ethics that drive us. The mission of ACEI has always been to embrace, empower, and change us so we can serve our communities. It has certainly done this in so many parts of the world, individually and collectively. It has challenged my thinking so that I look at daily crises as an opportunity and that each day is a positive possibility. It is not about me, but about what I can do to empower and sustain change around me. I am grateful, appreciative, and mindful of the power of ACEI and its leadership. I celebrate this anniversary with gusto and with profound gratitude and appreciation. 

Georgianna Duarte


Congratulations; we shall celebrate many years of progress.



Congratulations, ACEI, for 125 years of honoring children around the world, their parents, and the professionals who serve them. I had the great privilege of serving on the ACEI Board with some extraordinary leaders. It was my honor to be elected and serve as President from 1991-2001. As a former classroom teacher, child care center director, college faculty member, and university president, my ACEI professional friends have been at my side. I had the privilege of serving for 12 years as President of the University of Memphis. Now, as President Emeritus, I speak to professional associations, educators, and non-profit administrators on early childhood education and on leadership development. My years as an ACEI member and an officer brought me in touch with many forward-thinking educators, researchers, and amazing teachers. I treasure the years and the opportunities ACEI provided me to develop as a leader. All the best for our future.

Shirley C. Raines, Past ACEI President


What joy to have an organization that brings together men and women from around the world who are committed to the education and well-being, the thriving, of all children!  Here’s to 125 years of great leadership and staff and hoping for one hundred more.

Wendy Hinrichs Sanders, College of the Desert


I joined ACE (before the “I” was added) in 1954 as an education student at Louisiana Tech. I discovered that the best educators were ACEI people!

ACEI afforded me so many opportunities to grow and develop my personal skills and interests. As I became active at ACEI state, regional, national, and international levels, my work in the classroom blossomed.

My teaching and affiliation with ACEI led me to be the Louisiana Chairman for the Year of the Child (1976), and I was appointed to a 15-member Commission for the Louisiana Year of the Child. That gave me the oppotunity to be at the White House socially, lunch at the State Department, and tea at the home of Vice President and Mrs. Mondale (unbelievable for a teacher!).

I was also privileged to be a part of the Pacific Cultural Foundation’s Child Development Seminar in Taiwan. These experiences were a direct result of my involvement with ACEI as a board member and state president.

The most humbling and gratifying experience of my career was being the recipient of ACEI’s Patty Smith Hill Award. I can never express my appreciation for what ACEI has done for me in stretching my mind and spirit in my chosen work as a teacher. My best wishes to ACEI for another century of work and progress for the good of all children and humanity!

Gloria Hearn


Happy Birthday to ACEI.

Hoian Bui