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IHSA Annual Conference

March 12 - 13, 2024 - Wyndham Springfield City Centre - Springfield, Illinois.

Our Conference Sessions are available for you to view:

46th Annual IHSA Conference Program

We are working furiously to get session and details of those sessions assembled for all our eager attendees.  Check back here for more sessions and details are added regularly.  Here is a printer-friendly document to view.

Conference Information 

This year's conference will provide high-quality educational sessions for Illinois Head Start/Early Head Start Directors, Managers, staff, and parents! Plenty of opportunities to engage in a variety of in-depth educational sessions that focus on various subjects of interest to the Head Start and Early Head Start community.

Full Conference Registration Fee Includes:

  • All sessions including general and  keynotes 
  • Access to the IHSA 2024 Exhibit Hall
  • Opening Luncheon and Keynote - (Lunch provided w/drinks & dessert)
  • Welcome Reception on Tuesday afternoon (enjoy some Hors d'oeuvre with drinks)
  • Wednesday Awards Luncheon & Closing Keynote (lunch provided w/drinks & dessert)

Meet our Keynote Speakers

Opening Keynote

 Dr. Artika Tyner

Closing Keynote

Niki Spears

Don't Miss a Beat!

Download the ConferenceBeat Event App to prepare for the 46th Annual IHSA Conference.  Resources, attendee directory, notifications....all at your fingertips!

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Conference Highlights

In addition to the great programming planned at the conference, take this opportunity to:

  • Network with exhibitors offering the best products and services available to the Head Start/Early Head Start Community.
  • Connect and learn from those who do what you do and understand the challenges and issues you face.
  • Win basket raffle prices in support advocacy of our Power of Two Campaign -  crowd favorite, we will have our Power of Two Raffle! We're hosting our annual basket raffle that adds an extra element of fun to your event. Here's your chance to not only attend insightful sessions but also win fantastic prizes by participating in our basket raffle. Purchase tickets, choose your favorite basket, and drop your tickets right there for a shot at winning! It's a fantastic way to add some excitement to your conference experience and potentially walk away with some amazing goodies. Don't miss out on the thrill – grab your tickets and join the anticipation! You can support our efforts in raising funds for our Dollar Per Child Campaign by donating a themed basket. Reach out to anyone of our IHSA team and members at 217-241-3511.
  • Join us for a foot tapping - activity while you enjoy some hors d'oeuvre with drinks. Every round brings a chance to WIN awesome prizes happeining during the Welcome Reception! Bring your friends, test your music knowledge, and groove to the beats as we celebrate the hits! Don't miss out – let the music lead you to victory! Cost to play is $1.00 per card that benefits our Dollar Per Child Campaign.
  • Head (Start) to the Capitol -Raise Your Voice for Change! Wear your program/agency shirt and join us as we unite to champion the cause of Head Start and Early Head Start. Make your voice heard! Meet with your State Representative to champion the cause of Head Start and Early Head Start.
  • Interactive games throughout the conference and win "Buck-A-Roos!" to redeem for prices.
  • Selfie Station (Photo Booth) - Capture Moments, Create Memories! Join us at the Illinois Head Start Conference Photo Booth for instant fun and unforgettable snapshots. Share your smiles and stories with colleagues, and let the memories last a lifetime. Don't miss out on the joy – strike a pose and say cheese!
  • Coloring Mural - Unleash Your Creativity! Immerse yourself in a world of colors at the Coloring Mural, where imagination knows no bounds. Explore your artistic side, collaborate with fellow attendees, and watch as this vibrant masterpiece comes to life. Let the colors tell your unique story!
  • Calming Room - A designated space will be set up to provide attendees with a quiet area for relaxation and recharging during the conference. Take a break and rejuvenate in our exclusive calming room.  Your well-being matters – step into serenity and emerge refreshed!

Interested in Sponsoring or Exhibiting . . Vendors Welcome!

Exhibitor Sign-up Form 

Sponsorship Interest Form 

Have questions about the vendor tables or trade show space? Need to forward your logo to Mitch?  Send your specific inquires to:  or call 217-241-3511


Registration Information
Hotel Information


There are many options to attend and pay for the conference. Discover the rate that best fits your or your groups needs.  Registration rates are as follows:

Registration Fees w/Daily Pass Rates

Full Conference

Registration Passes
ALL registrations received BEFORE Feburary 28th
Non Member$600.00

All registrations received on or AFTER February 28th
Non Member$690.00

*Group Rates- Applies to member agencies registering 5+ individual at the same time from the same program. This package is limited to the full 2-day conference. This only applies to groups of 5 or more from the same agency, registering at the same time, for the full conference (Tuesday & Wednesday).

Attending only one day of the conference?  Please choose the daily pass rate. 

Register for Conference Here

The IHSA Annual Conference will take place in the Wyndham Springfield City Centre - Springfield Hotels, Illinois, 700 East Adams Street, IL 62701, Springfield, Illinois.

Deadline to book your room to take advantage of the special conference pricing is on or before February 19, 2024.

Individual needing reservations, call or reach out to the hotel Front Desk kirectly at  217-789-1530 and pressing '0' for the front desk reservations.  

Conference Overview

Every year the Illinois Head Start Association gathers professionals and parents from across the state of Illinois to attend our Annual Conference. The conference  will provide deep, innovative training and professional development opportunities and an excellent forum for exploring best practices and connecting with your colleagues.

These professional development opportunities allow Directors, Staff, Parents and Head Start Friends to get the most current approaches to materials in their respective areas. Join us for our Annual Training Conference that houses the IHSA Component Meetings & Elections, IHSA Business Meeting, Directors Forum, Awards Luncheon, Trade Show and Exhibit Hall and Powerful Inspiring Keynote Presentations.

Don’t miss this time to come together to reflect, network, learn, and discuss solutions for the success of young children and families during this critical and challenging time in early learning education.

Conference General Schedule-At-A-Glance

Tuesday, March 12, 2024
9:30 am - 6:00 pmConference Service Desk Open & Exhibit Hall Opens
9:30 am - 10:00 amMorning Mingle w/Exhibitors
10:00 pm - 11:15 amOpening Remarks & Opening Keynote
11:15 am - 12:00 pmComponent Meetings & Election
12:00 pm - 1:00 pmLunch (included with registration)
1:00 pm - 1:30 pmBusiness Meeting
1:45 pm - 3:15 pmBreakout Sessions 
3:15 pm - 3:30 pmBreak
3:30 pm - 5:00 pmBreakout Sessions
5:30 pm - 6:30 pmWelcome Reception/Exhibit Hall (Hors d'oeuvre with drinks included with registration)

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 (*Wear your HS/EHS program shirt day**)
7:30 am - 8:30 pmConference Service Desk Open
7:30 am - 2:30 pmExhibit Hall Open
8:30 am - 10:00 amBreakout Sessions
10:15 am - 11:45 amBreakout Sessions
12:00 pm - 2:00 pmLuncheon/Award/Keynote/Raffle Winner Announcement (lunch included with registration)

***Tentative Schedule - Times and activities subject to change***