I’m still evolving

July 2013

Perseverance. Believing. Everyday there is a lesson to learn and I’ve learned quite a few. I started this journey towards obtaining my master’s last fall. The beginning of 2013 had me questioning my choice. Was I pursuing the right dream or had I simply pushed too hard? So in March, I withdrew from my classes and took a deep breath. When I came up for air, I found my purpose was still intact but simply took another direction. It’s July and I’m feeling renewed. I’m still on the road to obtaining my master’s in education. Only now my focus is Early Childhood Studies. I believe in the proverb of “it takes a village to raise a child”. I can’t wait to get started and be able to share my journey with you.

June 2016

July 2013 was my first personal blog entry as I entered the Master’s Program at Walden University.  Last June I completed my studies and am actually walking in a few weeks. What a journey it’s been so far.  There’s a little bit more gray in my hair, yet I continue to press forward in my goal to make a difference in the lives of our youngest generation.  As I continue my educational journey, I’ve found that advocating  is becoming a passion.  Working with children on reading and literacy issues is a joy.  I continue to work with a local before/aftercare program in developing reading and language platforms.  I am a firm believer that the earlier children can find and apply their voice, the better success they have at school and in life.

I’m fascinated by how the pieces connect.  The importance of prenatal care.  How brain research helps us understand cognitive, behavioral and socio-emotional development.  The more information I learn, the more engrossed and engaged I become.  This journey is far from over.  Drop in from time and time and share what I learn.

What is an Early Childhood Education Professional? Are we just considered to be babysitters?

The field of early childhood education professionals is extremely robust, from educators, directors, advocates to researchers and policy makers.  Our job as a community of professionals is to ensure each child has access and availability to all tools required to develop their social, mental, physical and intellectual development; all essentials skills needed to become productive citizens.

According to Berger (2012), a leading expert in childhood and adolescent development, there are three stages of human development: physical development and growth, mental and emotional development.  Most individuals consider early childhood to encompass the years of birth to five, however, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) defines early childhood years from birth to age eight.   This very organization establishes ideologies, policies and standards based on evidence based research to ensure each child develops and learns based on age appropriate practices (NAEYC, 2016).  It is these years’ ages zero through eight, which children go through a rapid development of learning and using motor skills, communication, thought processing, and learning about themselves, their ethnic backgrounds and their communities.

Let’s look at one specific skill set, communication which requires reading, writing, non-verbal and verbal commands.   We all understand the importance of being able to read and write.  Did you know that more than one-third of our nation’s fourth graders cannot read at the basic level (National Institute for Literacy, 2008)?  With the assistance of researchers, parents and educators we can identify plausible causes for this defect and come up with viable solutions to erase literacy issues among our youth.  The better prepared they are for middle and high school, the better prepared we send them into the world for career or college opportunities.

So the answer to the question, are we babysitters, is that it is plausible we are two percent of the time.  The other ninety eight percent is tasked in ensuring our children have a safe, peaceful environment in which to learn, play and grow.

 

References

Berger, K.S. (2012). The developing person through childhood (6 Ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC, 2016).  About NAEYC.  Retrieved from http://naeyc.org/content/about-naeyc

National Institute for Literacy (2008).  Developing early literacy: Report of the National Early Literacy Panel. A scientific synthesis of early literacy development and implication for intervention.  Retrieved from http://familieslearning.org/NELP/pdf/NELP%20Report.pdf

Sharing Resources: The Center on the Developing Child – Harvard University

Resource: Center on the Developing Child `Harvard University
http://developingchild.harvard.edu/
The mission of the Center on the Developing Child centers on four prominent points
1) To provide and leverage information for current and feature administrators and leaders responsible for engaging communities in the development and ongoing implementation of programs that create and promote healthy childhood development.
2) To design, evaluate and encourage innovative programs and practices that promote well-being.
3) To be an authoritative force in developing and implementing effective science-based policies through sharing information and building critical partnerships with legislators, educators, health officials and families.
4) To create a unified base using science involving behavior learning and health which investigates causes of “lifelong impairments” in order to decreases these trending issues with our children (Center on the Developing Child, 2014).
In essence, by studying brain development and its relevance to social and behavior sciences, the Center on the Developing Child encompasses all aspects of early childhood by focusing their attention to
1) Science in Early Childhood
2) Understanding Intervention
3) Innovation
4) Global Child Development
5) Foundation of Lifelong Health
As part of our blogs this term is focusing on the commonalities and differences in early childhood development and education here in the United and worldwide, there are two initiatives that are featured under Global Child Development. The first is a collaboration involving science in early childhood in Brazil and the second is the Zambian Early Childhood Development Project. The Brazil initiative is the first project outside of the United States that the Center on the Developing Child is undertaking to help children on a global scale. Also on the Global Child Development tab, it was interesting to note that videos were offered in Spanish and Portuguese related to current topics.

But what completely caught my attention was the Frontiers of Innovation tab. Filled with articles, videos and interactive galleries, the Innovation tab at first glance looks like a collaboration between students, educators and other early childhood specialists. Upon further review, my guess was correct. Frontiers of Innovations is a collective group of researchers, practitioners, policy makers, experts and others that find new ways to implement practices and policies concerning the science, biological, social and behavior well-being of children. This is definitely a website I will keep in my favorites tab as a go-to for articles, information. student volunteer and employment opportunities regarding early childhood development and education.

Sharing Resources – The Children’s Defense Fund

“Dear Lord Be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small”
Children’s Defense Fund (2012)

Children’s Defense Fund (http://www.childrensdefense.org) is an advocate for America’s children on issues concerning health, education, welfare, poverty, juvenile justice and provides advocacy and family resources. Current frontline issues include The State of America’s Children 2014, reform changes to school disciplinary practices and policies, budget cuts to school programs and the ever increasing gun violence happening in America’s schools.

As a mother and educator interested in leadership and advocacy for children’s issues, this website is a goldmine of information and resources. One startling fact learned was regarding gun violence against our children. “Since the 113th Congress has intervened over 19,738 children have been shot by guns”, (Children Defense Fund, 2014). Another interesting statement was for every cut we make in education investments we run the risk of increasing a child’s chance of going to prison by 39 percent (Children’s Defense Fund). Cuts to resources and personnel affects more than the quality of a child’s education but their future as well. It takes just one voice, followed by a community of interested individuals, to change our circumstances and provide the best opportunities for our children.

The research library tab features national and state statistics on poverty levels, abused children, health and education facts concerning the state and welfare of our children. Take Action provides informative ways as educators and parents we can voice our concerns by writing to our elected officials and writing editorials and blogs to our local news agencies.