Three Deeply Felt Learnings:
- “Children want to talk about differences including gender and skin color. It’s our job to make talking safe for them”. ~Eric Hoffman. I learned a lot through Eric Hoffman’s work. He was someone I had never heard of until my coursework here at Walden. His lessons will forever be in my heart.
- I learned a deeper understanding of my own biases. I was able to better understand able-ism as a prejudice and I was able to confront my own biases with homelessness, along with other personal findings regarding biases throughout my coursework.
- Get to know the child first and foremost, build that relationship, before moving to broader topics such as race, culture, traditions, values, and beliefs. My understanding and passion to value children as individuals has grown. I want each child to develop a secure sense of identity and pride.
My Long Term Goal:
To become a professor as well as a parent educator. I want to inspire future educators to do what is best for children, just as I have been inspired myself. I also desire to start parent education in my community and then build that parent education program statewide.
A Farewell Message:
As happy as I am to be completing my Master’s Program and advancing my career, I am going to miss the constant learning and growth that takes place within a school community. I am thankful for all of my professors and colleagues who have inspired me, pushed me, and validated me. I look forward to pursuing my career, inspiring others, and becoming an advocate of social change.
The first international organization that I chose is the Association for Childhood Education International. This organization’s mission is “To promote and support the optimal education, development, and well-being of children worldwide”. I was drawn to this organization because they are committed to ensuring quality education to all children in order for them to become responsible and engaged citizens. I believe that it is not always about academics, but also about social skills and self worth. Every child deserves to be valued for who they are.
That brings up my next international organization. The World Forum Foundation’s mission is “To promote an on-going global exchange of ideas on the delivery of quality services for young children in diverse settings”. They really focus on supporting positive relationships and valuing each child’s differences. In order to show a child that he is valued, a relationship has to be built.
The final organization that I chose is the Global Partnership for Education. Their organization wants to make it possible for all children, including the poorest and most marginalized, to receive quality education. They help developing countries develop a plan for education. This organization had several job opening. One in particular that I found interesting was the Short Term Consultant: Survey Development Specialist for the Results and Performance Unit. The job includes creating surveys, gathering information, monitoring, and consolidating data. Qualifications include five years experience in survey development and implementation, a Master’s Degree or higher in education, and the ability to work under tight deadlines. Although I find this opportunity intriguing, I have no experience with survey development. I would have to work on small, local research and continue to work up in order to take on such a large task.
Three national/federal organizations that appealed to me are National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Zero to Three, and National Parenting Education Network (NPEN). I love NAEYC because they promote high-quality early learning for all young children. They provide valuable insight on early childhood practice, policy, and research. These insights are extremely beneficial to early childhood educators who want to help young children reach optimal development. The NAEYC is also important because they helped publish Developmentally Appropriate Practice for young children, which allows educators to teach children based on where they are at developmentally. I chose Zero to Three because they do the most work, as far as early childhood organizations, in providing educational resources for parents regarding their young children. This website also provides educational resources on nurturing early development. The final organization that I just found this week and am so excited about is the National Parenting Education Network. This organization provides parent education resources that are broken down by what each state offers. Parents can simply log onto the NPEN website, choose their state, and learn about where they can go in their state for further education regarding children and parenting.
The first job opportunity that I found was Professional Learning Coordinator for the NAEYC. The job qualifications are a degree in ECE, have worked in the ECE field for three years as a lead teacher, have expertise in DAP from birth thru eight, have knowledge about trends and current research in the ECE field, and have excellent oral and written communication skills. The one qualification that I would need to review more is current trends and research in the ECE field. I do not currently read many articles because school takes up most of my extra time, but eventually I would like to go back and re-read the basics of ECE development, the DAP framework, and continue my learning on current trends and research in the field. I feel that there is so much I have learned over the past seven year, it will be beneficial to go back and study it all again to make the knowledge clearer and more distinct.
The second job opportunity that I found was Regional Field Specialist for the Zero to Three Organization. This job seems amazing, because I liked teaching and training adults in early childhood education; however, the qualifications for this job are much more complex. You need a Master’s Degree in ECE, 7 years experience in the field, 2 years experience as a project coordinator, strong interpersonal skills, strong knowledge of EC development birth through age five, and strong knowledge of the Head Start Program. This job requires many avenues of fine tuning skills and gaining more experience before applying.
The first community of practice that I would love to belong to is the Southern Utah University Education Department. I would love to be a professor there in order to help promote a more child-based, play-based, and developmentally appropriate education plan for future educators. The reason I decided to run a home-based childcare is to gain perspective on what it is like to run a home childcare. Up until now, I have only worked as a teacher in childcare centers and the atmosphere is extremely different than home-based childcare. In centers, I worked with children who were in the same age range, but now I work with children anywhere from six weeks old to nine years old. I know many of my fellow students in college wanted to open home-based childcares, but there was not any perspective about this from our professors. I felt that having experiences in both home childcare and center childcare would help me to better inspire future educators. I need these experiences in order to provide insightful, inspirational lectures to future educators.
The second community of practice I would be interesting in joining is our states Care About Childcare team. I personally have received so much help from this organization in regards to getting my business started, applying for grants, and getting additional training that I would love to pay it forward to others who are working through the process. I would like to conduct future trainings for this organization. In fact, I have already been approached to do this once I have finished my masters. I think training would be another way for me to inspire future educators. If I joined this team, I could lobby for parent education trainings as well. This would help achieve my Capstone Project challenge of educating parents and teachers on the importance of Developmentally Appropriate Practice and empowering children. Again, the most important aspect of fulfilling this role will be gaining additional personal and professional experiences that will help expand upon concepts and provide exceptional trainings.
The final community of practice that I would be interesting in becoming a board member of the Utah Professional Family Child Care Association (PFCCA). This role will allow me to advocate for changes within family childcare. As a board member, I will also assist in deciding on speakers and motivators for the PFCCA Conferences. In order to competently fill this role, I would need to gain more confidence in speaking up about my passions and dedicating adequate time to my role as a board member.
My most passionate hope is that each child and family in my care feels valued, confident, and empowered. My most passionate hope for the early childhood field is that each teacher is inspired to learn more about anti-bias education and to share that knowledge and passion with other educators. Personally, I have been so inspired by professors and other educators to continue this journey of anti-bias education. Eventually, I hope to share this same passion with my students as a professor.
I am thankful for my colleagues who have also inspired me along the way to keep going and to do better. It has been a pleasure working with all of you and I wish you the best of luck as you continue on this journey of a lifetime!
Honestly, one of my biggest hopes is to continue down the path of self-reflection in order to be a better teacher. I have always been able to look inward and notice my biases, but changing those biases is where the difficulties lye. I want to be able to use what I have learned through my coursework in order to better myself as an educator. I believe there is no such thing as a bad child, but I often find myself frustrated or stuck when dealing with a problem behavior. I think anti-bias curriculum and diversity can help me to see these difficulties differently. I am able to view each child as a diverse, remarkable human being.
One goal that I would love to set for the early childhood field is better diversity training for all educators. I know many states do not even require formal education in order to work with children, and I know there are children out there who are not in supportive environments when it comes to emotional development, confidence, and empowerment. I feel that all children deserve teachers who are well trained and committed to promoting confidence, positive social identities, and family pride.
I am truly thankful for my coursework here at Walden and for my colleagues, who have taken this journey with me, provided “aha” moments, and inspired me to do better. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
I chose West and Central Africa, because based on what I have heard in the news about mortality rates, especially mothers and infants, and lack of education, I wanted to further my knowledge about how this affects young children directly. The main challenge that young children face in this region, mostly pertains to young girls who are married off as children. They are married off to men who can support their basic needs (unicef.org). This is harmful because child brides are less likely to finish school, more likely to be victims of violence, as well as become infected with HIV. Also, these children are more likely to have still born or low birth weight children, or children who die shortly after birth. These are all situations that are detrimental to a young child’s emotional development.
This website offered many stories and articles in regards to challenges young children face in different regions. I found a media segment when reviewing this region that was about a young girl who was married off at the age of 13, and was basically abandoned by her family. She struggled with the marriage, stating that she could not look at this man who was supposed to be her husband. She is currently fighting in court for a divorce. This was heartbreaking to me, because she said she was trying to stay in school, despite her situation and challenges. She mentioned that she gets good grades in school and wants to be a doctor and all of this could be taken away from her if she is not granted the divorce. It helped me to realize that as an educator, I have to advocate for children everywhere! That is my responsibility; children all over the world need my support.
Throughout the course, I have gained insights on many aspects of diversity. These “aha” moments have countered learned stereotypes and biases among homosexuality, homelessness, and grief. I was also able to identify stereotypes in common fairy tales, disney movies, and children’s books. Understanding these stereotypes will provide opportunities to address them in the classroom. The final insight was my interaction and communication with certain children in the classroom. I was able to identify and address personal biases that I have brought into the classroom.
I completely agree with the article So Sexy So Soon and after reading the preview, I would love to read the book. I can definitely relate to the fact that a girl’s/woman’s value is perceived to com from sex appeal and physical attractiveness (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). I struggle with this myself sometimes when I look at magazine covers or see other moms around me that are skinny and beautiful. The first thing that I thought about when reading the article was how each day, I hear myself and my coworkers comment on how cute one or more of the girls are dressed or how cute the female child is. We are praising them on their physical appearance, rather than who they are as a human being.
The other thing I though about was the girls clothing section of the store. Have you been in there? I do not have any little girls, but I would be a little worried if I did. All I can find, especially in my Target in California, were short shorts, short skirts, tank tops, and belly shirts; for toddlers! This is a huge problem for me, and like I said, I do not even have a daughter of my own, but I have a son. And I do not want my son thinking that all there is to a woman is her physical beauty and sex appeal. This sex appeal is depicted everywhere! In music and movies; in the girls toy section. And then most of the boys toys are macho and superheroes that save the day. Another thing is, have you ever tried to find boy doll clothes. They rarely exist! Why can’t dolls be boys? I believe that sexualization of our children also coincides with the gender stereotypes that exist in our society.
This sexualization of early childhood children is extremely harmful in their ability to have healthy attitudes about themselves and their bodies as well as their ability to have caring relationships when they grow up (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). And in the worst case scenarios, some of these children will grow up and associate with behaviors such as sexual abuse, pedophilia, and prostitution. What astounded me was the fact that girls as young as nine years old are engaging in prostitution. This just sickens me! Our poor young children are being victimized by media and society. The other alarming fact that I ran across was 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused (Levin & Kilbourne, 2009). This only shows me that as an early childhood educator, I need to make sure that children are finding value in who they are as a person, rather than how they are defined in their physical appearance and I can do this by not commenting as much on the clothes they wear or how cute they are. I need to comment specifically on behaviors that they do that makes me feel like they are the cutest, sweetest, or most compassionate child. I would also like to read the book, to gain additional strategies for combating the sexualization of our early childhood children.
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