Young children learn from their family, community and immediate surroundings. Many face challenges of abuse, hunger, homelessness and other social and emotional circumstances. As teachers and educators, we benefit best when using resources and tools that assist us in teaching our students. Many of these resources include professional contacts with our teachers, doctors, social workers and families that can guide and provide answers on our students’ home life and cultural background. This week my colleagues and I were tasked to develop international contacts in our profession and converse on these issues and other trends related to the field of early childhood education. Earlier this week I reached out to contacts in the country of Ireland, Canada and Nigeria through the website for National Association of Educators for Young Children (NAEYC). I’ve yet to receive a response back.
Another resource available to us, are the various domestic and international websites that promote awareness on policy, health, social, international and other issues related to the health and welfare of young children. One site that I frequent regularly that advocates for young children is the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), http://www.childrensdefense.org. The CDF has been providing a voice for children for more than forty years on current issues such as hunger, cyberbullying, violence in our schools, homelessness, abuse and racial inequality to name a few. One interesting article I read this week was a repost from the New York Times entitled “Time to Try Compassion, Not Censure, for Families” (Porter, 2014). Eduardo Porter, the author of the article, talks of how the focus is shifting to assist all children who are raised in single parent homes, near or at poverty level, instead of just African-American households. In the last fifty years there has been a trend of “social dysfunction” not only among African-American culture, but white and Hispanic as well ((Porter, 2014). According to Porter “36 percent of white children are born to single mothers, as are 53 percent of Hispanics. Among blacks, the figure is 72 percent” (Porter, 2014). Many now understand that the discussion cannot focus on individual ethnic groups, but how we as a nation can change the tide for these families to ensure they have the necessary resources to send their children to quality schools and get the best education they can.
I look forward to reading more articles on different issues from CDF and sharing them with you.
Porter, E., (2014). Time to Try Compassion, Not Censure, for Families. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/05/business/economy/time-to-try-compassion-not-censure-for-families.html?_r=0