Thursday, April 25, 2013

Assignment: Time Well Spent

When I first began the masters in early childhood studies program through Walden two years ago, I was overwhelmed. When I looked at the list of courses and thought about the time it would take, I wasn’t sure how I would balance a job, school and other obligations. It was a challenge. There were many nights when I’d come home after a stressful day working with the kids. Schoolwork was the last thing I wanted to do, but I am glad to say that I made it! Part of me is relieved that I am done with the program because I will have time for other things. The other part of me is uncertain because I’m not sure what my next step should be. The mountain in the picture represents overcoming challenges, accomplishing goals and achieving success.

We were asked to share three things that we learned from our course of study.


I have learned so much from the individuals that I have connected with because of this program. I have learned a lot of information through discussion and blog posts from my classmates. Thank you all for sharing information and your experiences as educators. In our Trends in Early Childhood course, we were asked to connect with people who work in the field from other parts of the world. My contacts were Kierna from Northern Ireland and Sherry from Australia. They are both early childhood educators. I learned that many parts of the early childhood systems in other countries are very similar to ours. Early childhood professionals are struggling to be valued and recognized for their work. In most cases, we need to fund our own studies or professional development opportunities. There are also concerns about what is developmentally appropriate. Children around the world do not get to play as much and are forced into learning they aren’t ready for at younger and younger ages. We also have similar concerns with budgeting and paying quality teachers what they deserve. Kierna has a blog called Learning for Life if you would like to check it out. Sherry shares a blog with Donna, another educator called Irresistible Ideas for play based learning. They share many activities that they have done in their classrooms over the years.

Through blogging, I have found likeminded educators throughout the country and around the world. Their posts and ideas have been informative and have influenced the work I have done in my own classrooms. It is amazing how technology has changed and how it allows us to connect with people we would never know otherwise.


I learned what it means to really do research.

In our research competencies course, I designed a research simulation on infant friendships. Before I never understood how to properly read a research article or that there was even a method to do so. I also didn’t understand the concepts involved in designing a research study, but completing the simulation made it clearer. If it weren’t for researchers, we wouldn’t have the necessary information that we use to guide our practices with children. I learned that we are all researchers. We are doing research every day when we ask questions and try to find the answers. When we experiment with a new activity or technique in our classrooms, we are doing research. I want to continue encouraging the children that I work with to become little researchers by experimenting and asking questions.


Finally, I learned that play is essential for child development.

This concept isn’t news to me, but my research especially in this capstone strengthened my belief that early childhood programs should be play based. Play keeps children physically and mentally healthy. Through play children learn about relationships, sharing, empathy and playing different roles. Play helps children process both good and bad events that occur in their lives. Play even helps children learn those important math, science and literacy concepts that are necessary for later success in school. One of my goals is to advocate for play. This capstone course has helped me develop a way to do that. Click here for a list of organizations and links related to play.


To close this entry, I want to thank my classmates for sharing their experiences, offering feedback and being a source of support. There are a few of you who were there when I needed help with some of the assignments. I want to thank Dr. Davis for offering feedback as well. You helped me narrow down my topic which was difficult. You also made me rethink my goals and turn them into something measurable and manageable. I wish you all success and I hope you achieve your goals. If any of you would like to keep in touch, my E-mail address is or I can be found on Twitter @play2grow. I hope to cross paths with some of you in the future.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Assignment: International Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community

I have never thought of looking for a job internationally. First, I have never thought of actually living in another country. Also, I do not know a second language so finding work in another country especially in this field would be difficult. You really need to be able to communicate with the families and children you work with. However, this week, we were asked to explore roles and or jobs in the field on an international level. It gave me an idea of what is out there.

The first organization I explored is Save the Children. This is an organization that makes a difference in the lives of children around the world. They assist in the rebuilding of areas that have been devastated by natural or other disasters. One position that is currently available is the coordinator for their Early Steps to School Success program. “Early Steps to School Success provides early childhood education services to pregnant women and children birth to five years of age, education services to their parents, and ongoing staff training to the community early childhood educators” (Save the Children, n.d.). Responsibilities of the job include recruiting pregnant families and children ages birth to five into the program, developing and scheduling the program activities, including home visiting parent/child groups, toddler playgroups, transition to school activities and other programmatic activities and providing regular home visits to families using STC approved home visiting curriculum. The candidate must also organize and conduct parent/child groups in the elementary schools, conduct child screenings and make referrals to community providers and coordinate/Collaborate with program partners. This job sounds interesting, but I am not sure how I feel about home visits. They require someone with a degree in early childhood or a related field which I have. However, I do not have experience working for a program that does home visits. However, I do have experience working with infants and toddlers.

I was having difficulty finding other positions that interested me so the rest of this entry will focus on international communities of practice. The next organization I came across is OMEP. “OMEP is an international, non-governmental and non-profit organization concerned with all aspects of early childhood education and care (ECEC). OMEP defends and promotes the rights of the child to education and care worldwide and supports activities which improve accessibility to high quality education and care. OMEP is currently established in over 60 countries and is represented at meetings of UNESCO, UNICEF, and other international organizations with similar aims” (OMEP, n.d.). OMEP USA

This organization interested me because they work on a variety of projects around the world. Their current projects include donating books or materials that support preschools and or programs that teach early childhood educators in other countries, earthquake and other natural disaster relief and Collaborating with UNICEF in the development of OMEP's Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) initiatives in early childhood settings in the developing world. Members of this organization include policy makers, lawyers, therapists, early childhood educators, students and parents or grandparents. this organization invites anyone who wishes to advocate for and make a difference in the lives of children and families around the world.

Another interesting organization I found is The International Society on Infant Studies I had never heard of this organization before, but I am interested in learning more about them and reading some of their journals. “The International Society on Infant Studies The International Society on Infant Studies is a not-for-profit professional organization devoted to the promotion and dissemination of research on the development of infants through its official journal and a biennial conference where researchers and practitioners gather and discuss the latest research and theory in infant development” (The International Society on Infant Studies, n.d.). Membership is open to anyone with an advanced degree in any discipline related to infant development. This organization caught my attention because I work with infants and I think it’s important to stay up to date with the latest research.

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