Time Well Spent

I cannot believe that I am actually managing to graduate before my children. It is a journey I thought was never going to end. There were times while pursuing this degree I felt overwhelmed and that I could not do it. These past 8 weeks I believe have been the most challenging both personally and professionally. There were days I sat here overwhelmed, tired, and feeling like I was never going to be able to complete the assignments especially after my husband and then my son were involved in car accidents a week apart. Yet, here we all are ready to end one journey and start another.

Things I have learned that I would like to share:

1. The importance of communication and how many different ways there is to communicate. In order to be a successful educator you need to have an open line of communication with the family so that you can develop a positive relationship. This will benefit the child the most.

2. I learned about the importance of a Community of Practice. Before this course I had never heard of this type of collaboration. I am glad that I learned this term and what all the benefits can be from this type of collaboration. I hope to take the Community of Practice that I developed for this class and make it real so that we can work together to improve the quality of education and care for our young children.

3. I also learned that being passionate about your work in not a hindrance like I once thought. In fact to it is a necessary component for an early childhood educator. With all the stressors that we encounter on a daily basis passion are what are going to keep you focused and on the path to meet the goals that you set for yourself as an educator.

A long-term goal for me is to promote the center/school that I work for so that I can build enough enrollment to start a first grade class. We currently have children 6 weeks-12 years and a charter kindergarten class. We are licensed for first grade and with the strike that has been going on with the local school district I believe with the right promotion I can become the first of our six centers to start a first grade class. Wish me luck!

I would like to thank all my colleagues and professor this term for all the support and feedback. I have been greatly motivated by much of what everyone has contributed. Everyone’s contributions have been enlightening. This is a bittersweet ending. I am glad to be completing my course but sad that I will no longer have the interaction with my peers. I am not sure where my future leads especially after being promoted twice in the past 9 months but without my coursework at Walden University I would not become the director of one of our locations. I still have a lot to learn but I will take what I have learned during my studies to help guide me into running a successful and quality program. Good luck to everyone in your new adventures!



Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has consultative status with the United Nations whose mission is to promote and support the well-being, education, and well-being of the children around the world. They want children in every nation to have access to quality education that will help prepare them to become responsible citizens that are engaged and ready for the changing world. I was drawn to this organization because I liked the programs that they are involved in and I like their beliefs. Uniqueness, Universality, Quality, and Equality are the four core beliefs that help ACEI with its humanitarian mission.

CURE is an organization that helps children around the world receive surgical care for children with physical disabilities that serious limit their ability to play, go to school, or become a member of the community that is productive. This organization helps correct their disabilities so that the children can have joy brought back into their lives and enable to them to have fully functioning lives. This organization appealed to me because I am the mother of a child with a medical disability and I have seen firsthand how it affects his ability to get a quality education. Working together to help children of all abilities lead productive lives is important to me.

Save the Children is an organization that appealed to me because they are committed to improving the lives of children all over the world and in the United States. Their focus is on protecting the children through education. They also help to protect children from exploitation by teaching children from around the world how to protect themselves. Save the Children responds to tragedies and disasters in the US and worldwide and create kid friendly areas that help children cope. They also protect children who have been separated from their families and work to reunite them. They also have programs to improve the health and nutrition of children around the world.

Job Opportunities
Save the Children: Project Director/Chief of Party, READ Program – Bangladesh
The position is responsible for the overall project management including the supervision, administration and implementation of the READ program. A master’s degree in education or related field is required along with seven years of experience leading an education program and implementing it. Communication skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships with local organizations to help implement the project are a must.

ACEI has the standards posted concerning Preparing Teachers to Teach, which requires a four-, five-year or post degree teacher preparation program with a professional study and experience recognizing the children’s unique educational needs. The teacher also needs to hold license that recognizes the various levels of education. There was not more information other than what the requirements of the preparation program entailed.

CURE did not have any positions available that were suitable for my experience and/or education. Although I would be interested in a position within their organization or even proposing an educational position that would benefit those children who are recovering from surgery maintain their educational goals.


Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National/Federal Level

Zero to Three:  Zero to Three is an organization that I have followed since beginning my studies with Walden University.  Zero to Three is a non-profit organization that provides information and research as well as trains and supports professional in order to enhance the lives of children ages birth to three.  Zero to Three provides training through the National Training Institute which provides training annually for early childhood professionals.

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC):  I have been familiar with this organization for many years.  When I was just starting out in the early childhood profession my mother and I worked for a military childcare center that was in the midst of gaining NAEYC accreditation.  This organization works hard to raise the standards and ensure that children are provided with the highest quality of care. Due to the high standards of their accreditation process many families seek out facilities and programs that are NAEYC accredited.

The National Association of Special Education Teachers (NASET):  This organization is dedicated to making sure that those who are teaching within special education have all the support and resources that they need.  They are also dedicated to making sure that the children who have special needs are receiving the best education that is available to them.  NASET also works to help enhance and build public support for special educations of high quality.

Accreditation Coordinator with NAEYC works with the program administrators, assessors and other decision makers while going through the accreditation process.  Reviewing materials that are submitted for accuracy and monitoring the performance of the assessors while providing support to all involved. This position requires a BA in Early Childhood Education/Child Development, as well as 3-5 years of experience in the field and requires a complete understanding of the practices. There are of course office experience requirements as well as being able to meet deadlines and work as a team in a fast-paced environment.

Policy Analyst is a position being offered through ZERO TO THREE is interesting but not something that is my area of expertise.  This position requires that you work to advance ZERO TO THREE’s state policy priorities as well as conduct research and develop written materials for states along with other tasks.  This position requires that you have a good grasp on state policies and programs. Education that is required includes a Master’s degree or equivalent in public policy, social work, early childhood, or a related field.





Exploring Roles in the ECE Community: Local and State Levels

The three organizations that have appealed to me are as follows:

1. Strongsville Early Childhood PTA (SECPTA)

The SECPTA is an organization that the company I work for works indirectly with. We attend their yearly open houses for the local preschool, kindergarten, and childcare programs. They share information with us throughout the year on events that our parents or educators may be interested in. It is an organization I look forward to building a better relationship with to see what other ways we may work together and benefit each other throughout the year.

2. Positive Education Program (PEP)

The PEP program is another organization that I currently work with. They have representatives come to the center at our or the parents request to help us with behavior, discipline, development issues. They work with both the teachers and the parents to help educate them on different techniques to use with the children to help them better cope in the classroom and/or at home. I plan to continue to work with them as I continue my career in early childhood education.

3. Cleveland Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC)

The CAEYC is a professional network that is about improving the quality of services for children and their families as well as the availability of services. They are about advocating not only for the children but also for the professionals who work with young children. They are also working to help expand knowledge and improve skills. I have had no involvement with the organization but I will be looking into it as one to get involved with.

Job opportunities that have interested me are that of a childcare provider, which I have help for the past 17 years working with toddlers. In the past year I have been promoted twice and I now hold the position of Administrator (Director) at the center I currently work at. These are two positions that I have always been interested in and now I have fulfilled both. A third position that I briefly considered looking into is that of a child life specialist. I have worked with a few due to my son’s medical disabilities and at one time I had considered looking into applying for the position.

For that of a childcare provider and Administrator (Director) I have already fulfilled all of the necessary training and educational requirements necessary to hold these positions successfully. For the position of childcare provider you are required to have your high school diploma or GED. You are also required to complete 45 hours of in-service training in your first 3 years and maintain current child abuse recognition, first aid, cpr, and communicable disease training.

For the position of Administrator (Director) you have to hold a bachelor’s degree in a field related to education, social work, child development, or a related field. You must also complete an administrator class within your first six months and maintain all licensing requirements.

For the position of child life specialist you must have a bachelor’s degree, 10 college-level courses in child life or a related subject, a minimum of 480 hours of child life clinical experience under the supervision of a Certified Child Life Specialist who meets certain qualifications. This cannot be paid work experience. Then you must apply to take the certification exam.

Reflecting on Learning

As an early childhood educator I hope that I can continue to make a positive impact in the lives of the children I care for everyday. It is important that they learn from an anti-bias curriculum so that they can grow and develop their own social identities. Developing positive and respectful relationship with the families is also important for their development. The knowledge that I have gained from this course as well as others will help me educate the children and dispel any misconceptions and/or stereotypes that they have developed from other adults or the media. Teaching them to be respectful of each other’s differences will help rid us of bias and learn to accept and appreciate the diversity that this country offers us.

As for my colleagues, I want to thank each one of you for your insight and wisdom. Your feedback has been very beneficial and I have gained a lot from it. I wish you all luck as you continue your journey both educationally and/or professionally. Once again thank you and good luck!

Impacts on Early Emotional Development

I chose the West and Central Africa region to look into on the UNICEF website since I am not very familiar with that area.

According to UNICEF (n.d.) the children in this region are subject to sexual exploitation, abuse, child labor, poverty, HIV/AIDS, and other diseases. Approximately 2 out of 10 children do not survive to see their fifth birthday and if they do they do not end up going to school. Averages of 40% of the children do not go to school because of traditional beliefs or poverty. Children who do attend school programs are not safe from violence and abuse. Civil wars end up separating families and children because they are recruited into armies.

Cities and towns grow so rapidly that social services are unable to keep up with the needs of the families. Child protection has fallen to the families because child protection services are grossly underfunded and mismanaged. These experiences can have negative effects on the children’s emotional well-being and development. We already know that chronic stress negatively impacts child development. Schools in this area are slow in improving education because they are in dangerous places and teachers are under-compensated.

Looking through the UNICEF website I realize how fortunate many countries are especially those that are industrialized and whose actions and resources reflect the rights of children. It is frustrating as an educator to see that because of politics the children’s education is being hampered. As I continue to learn about this region as well as other regions I strongly believe that the education and welfare of the children is a global responsibility. Children cannot control the circumstances that cause their living conditions or lack of resources. They need to see that others care so that a sense of equality can be instilled in them so that they can still strive for the best and understand that we should all be there to help the children.



The Sexualization of Early Childhood

Sexualization in early childhood saddens me. It is not something that we should have to deal with at such an early age. Children are exposed to so much adult content in today’s society where bodies are exploited to get what they want. “Girls and boys constantly encounter sexual messages and images that they cannot understand and that can confuse and even frighten them” (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009, p.2). Although it saddens me that we have to deal with this topic at such a young age the fact that we are recognizing that it is a problem makes me hopeful that we can help children learn how to act appropriately by keeping tackling the topic in an informed professional manner.

• Recently my husband and I attended a high school basketball game and at half time the girls came out to dance. They looked cute in their outfits nothing out of the ordinary for dance team/cheerleaders. When they started dance it was like watching a Beyonce video. My husband said he was very uncomfortable watching them. The dancing was very provocative for a family event and the fact that although they are teenagers they are still children. This seems to be the way that children think they need to dance now days.

• When I was teaching preschool I had a little girl who was very mature for her age and very knowledgeable about some adult topics. Her parents were not together and her dad had a new girlfriend. One Monday she comes in after being with her dad for the weekend and usually has a hard time behaving because she is used to getting her way when she is with him. She had on a tank top and a very short jean skirt. I had to help her keep pulling it down so her panties were not showing. At one point I asked her if we could put on the other (extra) clothes that were in her cubby. She told me no because then the boys wouldn’t like her. I was shocked that she said this and was trying to wrap my mind around where she would learn that.

• Our kindergarten class wears uniforms but occasionally they are allowed to dress down and wear “street” clothes. A six year-olds wore leggings and a cute top that hung off her shoulders. While on the playground she started dancing while holding on to a pole which is part of the jungle gym. She has her bottom out and then wraps her leg around the pole and tries to spin. The teacher was shocked at this behavior. When told that it was not appropriate for school and she should not dance like that the little girl tells her but the boys like to watch me and will want to hug and kiss me. The teacher had a difficult conversation with the mom that evening and the mom did not seem shocked or embarrassed but said she would talk to her daughter.

Young children are introduced to so much adult content in today’s society that it is hard not to be surprised by it but yet we are. Girls are made out to be sexual objects who wear tight clothing to show off their curves and make up to make them look older. The focus is on body image and that you have to be thin to be beautiful and liked by the boys. Boys are being taught that girls are sexually objects. Many parents underestimate the power of these influences that are coming from television and music videos and even the songs themselves. We have to try to teach our children differently from what they are seeing on television. Censoring them and denying them the ability to watch television is not the answer but ensuring that you are modeling the behavior you want them to learn and emulate.

Levin, D. E., & Kilbourne, J. (2009). [Introduction]. So sexy so soon: The new sexualized childhood and what parents can do to protect their kids (pp. 1-8). New York: Ballantine Books. Retrieved from:http://dianeelevin.com/sosexysosoon/introduction.pdf

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