Effective Communication

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“Whether collaboration is new or familiar, we must see ourselves as global partners who harness our diversity to travel together toward a shared destination” (Winer & Ray, 1994, p30).  Winer and Ray (1994) talks about the road travelled and how our influences based on language, cultural and society affects our decision making.  In our conversations as educators sometimes our roads are clearly defined and at others we chose which fork in the road to follow.  Teamwork and effective communication is essential to establishing rapport and trust with our students and their families, as well as other colleagues and support personnel.  When we respect, reciprocate and resolve to not only listen to the conversation, but observe non-verbal queues to ascertain the exact message that is being presented we show that we are vested in the conversation.  We should always be mindful of the quote above whether we’re communicating on a personal or professional What I’ve learned is the value of the leadership role in team collaborations.  Leadership should provide cohesiveness, allow for shared power and responsibility among team members, and should be able to resolve conflict issues before they escalate.  Being aware of challenges and shortcomings is just as important as knowing when to regroup if tasks or goals aren’t being met or resources not being fully utilized.

With a solid foundation now set in the core subjects, I move onto the specialization of Administration, Management and Leadership in Early Childhood Studies.  I take these tools with me in the hopes that I can help facilitate change and make positive strides in the educating of educators and support personnel responsible in their daily task of teaching and learning from our youth.  Thank you to Dr. Parrish and all of my colleagues along the way who have shared their experiences and offered invaluable advice.  My goal is to continue this blog after my studies complete as I continue my journey to continue to build my resources and share information.  Best wishes and I’ll be blogging soon!

Reference

Beebe, S. A., Beebe, S. J., & Redmond, M. V. (2011). Interpersonal communication: Relating to others (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Winer, M., & Ray, K. (1994). Collaboration handbook: Creating, sustaining, and enjoying the journey. St. Paul, MN: Fieldstone Alliance

Research Journey – The Effects of Poverty during Early Childhood

The School Breakfast Program has been a long-standing federal program that monetary assistance for public schools and childcare facilities to operate non-profit breakfast programs.  Just recently at my son’s school located in the southern portion of Princes Georges County in Maryland, they took the program one step further.  Regardless of whether the student is participating in subsidize breakfast or lunch program, breakfast is free everyday for every student in attendance.  Each morning every student would stop through the cafeteria before proceeding to their classroom to retrieve a breakfast if they chose to and have their meal, with their peers, in their respective home room.   By offering to every student, it immediately took away the stigma and embarrassment of those who received subsidized meals, those whose families were to embarrassed or proud to ask for assistance, and those children who may have simply not had time to eat or forgot to eat.

“Breakfast in the classroom” (Maryland Hunger Solutions, 2012) showed improvement across the state of Maryland for the school year 2010-2011 with an increase of almost 9,000 students receiving a healthy breakfast at school.  Even with this rise certain counties, like Baltimore County, Montgomery county and Prince Georges County where the state has more urban communities, continue to fall below the state level.  With the state legislative and school board supporting programs such as Breakfast in the Classroom and the First Class Breakfast Initiative, Maryland children will receive a healthy breakfast, the fuel they need to engage their minds and bodies in learning and play.  It’s one small way we can combat the effects of poverty plaguing our young children.

 

References

http://mdhungersolutions.org/pdf/mdhs_school_breakfast_report_2012.pdf

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sbp/school-breakfast-program

http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/SBPFactSheet.pdf

 

Cultivating Professional Contacts and Resources

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.

References
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

The journey of a child

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” Shel Silverstein

“We call a child’s mind “small” simply by habit; perhaps it is larger than ours is, for it can take in almost anything without effort”. Christopher Morley

Morley spoke no truer words than this. From zero to eleven we witness tremendous growths in our children. Their observations of sights and sounds as babies spur their exploration to touch, feel, absorb. They crawl; take first steps to walking and running. The speech begins with little words such as “Mama, Dada, stop, no” to full blown sentences. They learn through play and imitation. Our little me’s who impress us, irritate us, but loves us unconditionally. It is during these formative years, as parents and teachers we have an obligation, a duty to help them plant their feet in knowledge; to stay hungry and passionate about learning; to teach them about empathy and compassion. We shape the next generation to take our place as future leaders and caregivers. It’s a tremendous honor and a heavy duty but not a second would I trade as a parent or an educator to witness the journey of a child.