Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stages of Team Development

My last semester at Southwest Texas State University (I know it’s Texas State now, but it will forever be SWT to me), I was part of an awesome study group that met three times a week.  There were five of us and we had all the same classes.  You see, the Family and Consumer Sciences department was fairly small, as far as university departments go.  By the time you got to your senior classes they were usually only offered once or twice.  So, you got to know the students in your program fairly well.  That last semester there was this long break from about noon until 3:30.  Since most of us commuted to school, we were stuck there and made the most of the time.  We studied in the common area every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I credit this great group for helping make a 4.0 that semester. 

Even though we were an informal group, I can clearly see the five stages of team development (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  We formed as we all began to realize that we were in the same situation.  It started with casual conversation, and then gradually moved into a more structured group with the goal of studying.  During the storming, norming, and performing stages, each of us were identified for our strengths in a particular area.  For me, it was the family financial management course.  I understood the formulas and was able to help the others.  It seemed we all had strengths except for Ted.  He turned out to be a social loafer (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  He was there to reap the benefits of our work.  We ultimately decided to ask him to leave the group, but in a nice way.  We adjourned at the end of the semester when we graduated.  We all celebrated our graduation and wished each other luck.  We kept in touch for a few years, but I haven’t heard from any of them for years.

When this program ends, I will likely feel the same way I did after receiving my bachelor’s degree.  I will be happy that I have achieved my goal and will wonder how my classmates are doing.  I might even keep in touch with some of them.  I think the adjourning stage in essential in teamwork because it gives closure to the project and allows for reflection.

O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication: An introduction. New York:Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Conflict Management

My son and I are constantly conflicting over his chores and video games.  I have a rule that he has to finish his daily chores before he plays, but lately he has been ignoring his responsibilities.  I take away the game for days at a time as punishment.  When I give it back he falls back into the same routine.  I can’t understand why he doesn’t do his chores when he knows he will lose his video game.  It seems to really bother him that he can’t play.  I am not sure what to do now.  Does anyone have any ideas?

I have learned a lot about conflict from this week’s resources.  For example, after reviewing the information at The Center for Nonviolent Communication’s website, I realize that I am trying to exert my power over my child in a demanding way.  I need to find a way that we can work together and reach a compromise.  We seem to have a difference of opinion on what a clean room looks like.  Maybe if we define this together we won’t have as much conflict.  It is quite clear that our conflict has been unproductive as we have the same arguments over and over and our relationship seems to be compromised (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  I look forward to your suggestions on how to turn this situation into productive conflict.

Center for Nonviolent Communication. (2005). Foundations of NVC. Retrieved from
O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication: An introduction. New York:       Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Communication Evaluation

I had my eleven year old son and my husband evaluate me as a communicator.  I would have liked to have one colleague do this, but since it is summer, I was not able to get together with any of them.  Bummer!  I would also be interested in how my students would rate me!

I decided to choose my son because he’s old enough to understand the questions and I thought he would provide a different view on my communication.  He is almost twelve and going into the 6th grade this fall.  We have been experiencing A LOT of pre-teen problems at my house lately.  Consequently, yelling and grounding have been a common occurrence this summer.  I was so surprised when his results were spot on with mine.  My husband’s results were right there, too.  I guess my evaluation of my communication style is right, at least within my family. 

I really enjoyed reading about how self-esteem and self-concept influence the communication process.  I found it interesting that people with low self-esteem often need to show affection in public (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  PDA is a problem with some of my students.  I never thought about it being a result of low self-esteem.  I will now make an effort to address this problem more sensitively.  O’Hair and Weimann (2009) also address that people can influence others’ self-fulfilling prophecies either positively or negatively.  This is something educators do on a daily basis and we need to make sure that we are always a positive influence. 


O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication: An introduction. New York:     Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Communication and Diversity

 I experience many different types of people on a daily basis and I communicate differently depending on the situation.  I must communicate with my students in a way that engages them, but is still professional.  Communication with my colleagues and parents must be professional in a different way.  I communicate differently with my children, my husband, and my family. 

When I am at work, I am engaging in group or organizational communication.  With my family and friends the communication is interpersonal (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  I think it is only natural to change your communication style to fit the situation.  Whatever the situation, it is important to always communicate respectfully and be able to recognize potential barriers to communication.   

In order to help me be an effective communicator I can focus on mindful communication where I don't let my schemas take over information processing.  I can also look beyond first impressions, which can often lead to inaccurate conclusions.  Finally, I can recognize my own cultural myopia to prevent stereotyping and prejudice (O'Hair & Weimann, 2009).


O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication: An introduction. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Blue Bloods

I chose to watch the show Blue Bloods on CBS (Wade & Pressman, 2011).  I had never seen this show before and did not know anything about it.  It is an hour long, but I only watched the first 30 minutes of it with no sound before starting it over with sound.  It was frustrating to me to watch without sound because I did not know the characters or even the setting.  For example, I thought by the title and the opening scene that this was a show about politicians.  It was not until after the opening credits that I realized this was a show about police officers. 

The very first scene involved at man getting out of a Range Rover (which is a very expensive car) in a neighborhood that did not look so nice.  He gets a phone call that makes him look concerned.  Later he is found dead in his Range Rover in another part of the city.  While I was watching without sound, I began guessing that he was a cop.  However, after watching it with sound, I realized that he was not a cop, but rather an elite New Yorker who was heavily involved with fund raising for the Mayor that was just elected.  In addition, I also learned that the phone call was from his wife and he lied to her about where he was.  I was not able to understand any of this while watching with no sound. 

In this show, Tom Selleck plays the New York City Police Commissioner.  His daughter works for the district attorney’s office and his two sons are NYC police officers.  I found it frustrating to watch the show with no sound because I was unable to understand the relationships between the characters.  It really did not make much sense and most of the assumptions I made during the show were proven wrong when I watched the show with sound.  Overall, this seems like an interesting show and I have set my DVR to record more episodes.  

This exercise has been a good example of the roles verbal and non-verbal communication play in the overall communication process.  Without both, the message may or may not be understood in its entirety.  Our text explains that nonverbal communication can be ambiguous and that clues can be gained from the situational context (O’Hair & Weimann, 2009).  Since did not understand the context of the show, I was unable to correctly interpret the non-verbal communication.   This would not have been the case if it was a show that I watched regularly.  I would have better understanding of the relationships between the characters and would have more of a knowledge base to make assumptions about facial expressions and body language.
O’Hair, D., & Wiemann, M. (2009). Real communication: An introduction. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s.

Wade, K. (Writer) & Pressman, M. (Director). (2011, 23 September). Blood Bloods [Television Series]. Kelly, T. (Producer). New York, New York: CBS.         

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Great Communicator

Ronald Reagan, the 40th president of the United States, is known as The Great Communicator. He was known as this because his communication style was simple, clear, and sincere. He had a wonderful knack of speaking about complex subjects in a way that people could understand. Through his communication skills, he improved international relations immensely during his presidency. "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" will forever remind us of what Reagan accomplished during his presidency (Thompson, 2011).

I greatly admire Reagan's knack for taking complex subjects and making them understandable to the average person. It is important to speak to your audience in a level in which they understand. I feel this is a skill that is necessary when working with children and families.

For example, education (at least public education) is infamous for using acronyms. I remember how lost I felt my first year of teaching when my colleagues were discussing TEKS, TAKS, FERPA, IEPs, SPED, and many others. This is the same way parents feel when discussing topics that are unfamiliar. Consequently, you wouldn't speak to a child the same way you speak to adults. To sum it up, you should always know your intended audience and speak to them in a manner in which they understand.


Thompson, F. (2011, February 6). What Made Ronald Reagan The Great Communicator: Former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson Reflects. New York Daily News. Retrieved from

Friday, June 22, 2012

Professional Hopes and Goals

I hope that my work with the students I teach makes a difference in their lives.  The teenagers I work with are, for the most part, very different than me at that age.  Many have to make adult decisions, as in the case of my teen parents.  Some have little to no parent support.  Many feel hopeless.  I want to be there to give them hope, to show them they can be a success in life.  Every year at the beginning of June, I get to see some of my students graduate from high school.  This year it was very special as I had seven teen parenting students receive their diplomas.  That is more than any year since I began teaching the program.  I know that I made a difference in the lives of those seven students and their children. 

I would like for all children in the United States to have access to high quality early childhood programs regardless of income, race, or ability.  Currently, I feel there is a large population of middle-class children who are not afforded the opportunity to attend quality preschool programs.  The costs associated with good programs are often too high for working class parents to afford, yet they do not qualify government subsidized programs. 

Good luck to all of my colleagues as we continue on our Walden Journey!  I can’t believe it has been a year since I started the program.  Thank you all for your continued support and I look forward to working with you again in future courses.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Welcoming Families From Around the World

Kenya is the country or origin for the new family that is coming to my childcare center.

I will prepare myself by:

1.      Learn about this family’s culture by locating families in town that have previously immigrated from Kenya.

2.     Research Kenya on the Internet to learn more about the country.

3.     Prepare the children in the center by teaching them about the country of Kenya.

4.     Place decorations about Kenya in the childcare center and add culturally sensitive books and toys to the school’s centers.

5.     Locate a translator that is fluent in the family’s native language in case services are needed.

It is always exciting learning about new cultures.  The new family from Kenya allows me to learn about their culture why they learn about the American culture.  By preparing for their arrival, I will help make them feel welcome and like they have an ally in this strange new situation they are in.  Hopefully, we will make them feel welcome and comfortable in order to maximize the child’s education experience in my childcare center.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Personal Side of Bias, Prejudice, and Oppression

My daughter loves to watch George Lopez on Nickelodeon.  On a recent episode, George’s neighbor was displaying a statue that George felt was offensive to Hispanics.  It was a statue of a Mexican in a sombrero taking a nap next to a cart.  George confronted the neighbor who was Caucasian.  The neighbor could not understand why George was upset about the statue (Leschin, 2007).

About this same time there was a controversy in San Antonio over a mural that was planned for the Mission Drive-in revitalization project.  The proposal was for a mural which depicted a sleeping Mexican against a wall.  Some prominent area Hispanics were critical of the mural, claiming that it did not accurately depict Hispanics.  Advocates for the mural claimed that it was capturing an image from the past.  It was the same image that was depicted on 1940’s travel brochures and was on the wall of the original drive-in.  Still, many think that it conveys the message that Mexicans are lazy and therefore, are against the mural (Forsyth, 2012).

Both the episode of George Lopez and the proposed mural in San Antonio depict Mexicans in a negative way.  I feel that images like this about any group are unnecessary.  It angers me when I see stereotypical messages like these. 

George Lopez is a Hispanic actor and his show is about a typical Hispanic American family living in California.  I find myself thing that the show perpetuates many of these stereotypical statements about Hispanics when it shouldn’t.  The message I am receiving is that it is OK to make fun of a race if it is your own.  In order for these types of messages to stop, everyone must stop using these stereotypes. 


Forsyth, J. (March 3, 2012). “Sleeping Mexican” mural draws TX protest. Reuters. Retrieved from

Leschin. L. (writer), & Epps, S. (director). (April 24, 2007). George Can’t Let Sleeping Mexicans Lie [George Lopez]. Helford, P. (Producer). Los Angeles, California. Warner Bros. Television.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Practicing Awareness of Microaggressions

I work in a school with about fifty percent Hispanic students and the other half being pretty equally distributed between African-American and White students.  There is a small amount of other populations, such as Asian, Pacific-Islander, and Native American.  Since learning about microagressions this week, I have been paying attention to the conversations between students.  I have realized that MANY microagressions occur on a daily basis.  For example, I am frequently referred to as being 'so white.'  I am not quite sure what the students mean by this, but I am fairly certain that they are probably calling me a dork.  To me, the implication is that white people aren't cool.  They are nerdy and no fun.  I do have a good sense of humor so it really doesn't bother me.  In fact, I am nerdy and dorky.  However, these microaggressions aren't always said in a good natured and joking fashion.  I frequently hear the students use the term 'ghetto' to describe other students.  It is obvious this is a derogatory term meant to marginalize the person they are talking about. 

After reviewing the week's resources Monday night, I went to bed thinking about all the times I have participated in or witnessed microagressions.  I set out Tuesday to seek out instances of microaggressions for this assignment.  I didn't have to wait long as the student who was doing the announcements signed off with "have a taco Tuesday" in a very exaggerated Hispanic accent.  One of my white students immediately proclaimed that is was a racist comment.  Although I did not say anything out loud, I also felt the comment was inappropriate.  Several of the students in the class got into a discussion about the topic.  Some of the students thought it was insensitive while others thought it is was funny.  Many of them felt that it wasn't racist since the boy who said it is Hispanic.  Many of the same students thought it would have been racist for a white person to have said the same thing.  These statements lead into a lengthy class discussion.  One good point that was brought up by the students is the use of the 'N' word.  Many African-American students use the word with their friends, but are offended when a person who is not black uses it.  To me the term is derogatory no matter who uses it.  I am correct in my thinking?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Valuing Culture: Beyond Surface Labels

I chose to speak with my son, Tyler, who is 11 and in the 5th grade.  He defined culture as customs for certain groups of people.  He gave the example of sombreros are part of the Mexican heritage and the Danish cookies grandma makes at Christmas represent our Danish heritage.  He defined diversity as differences between groups of people.  He said that America is much more diverse than other countries, especially Asian countries.  He also said that he felt his school was pretty diverse as there were many different types of children there.  

Next, I spoke to my husband, Terry, who is 49 and grew up in San Antonio.  He also has lived in Germany, California, and Washington State.  He defined culture as a person’s heritage.  He also said that culture is tied to ethnicity.  He defined diversity as many different cultures being represented.  Just like our son (and they did not hear each other’s answers) he said he felt like America was the most diverse country in the world. 

Finally, I spoke to Karen, a colleague, who is 40 and a Caucasian who grew up middle class in a small town around San Antonio.  She defined culture as the ideas, traditions, and beliefs of a certain group of people.  Diversity is when many different beliefs, cultures, and ideas are represented. 

Even though the three people were all different, they all gave similar answers to each of the questions.  All of them failed to see culture as more than just surface culture.  My son gave specific examples of dress and holiday traditions in his definition.  They also did not apply the terms to anything other than groups of people.  There were no references of personal diversity or social identity. 

I learned that I am not alone in my unawareness of culture and diversity.  Just like me, all three of the people I spoke to failed to recognize that culture and diversity can apply to individuals as well as groups of people.  My husband and my son both mentioned that they feel America is more diverse than other countries.  My husband referred to his hometown of San Antonio as a great example of diversity.  Many different cultures are represented here.  Although we are all unaware of the true definition of culture and diversity, I feel we respect and value different cultures and diversity. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Family Culture

I struggled with choosing 3 personal items to take with me if my country was devastated by a catastrophe.  The most important things, my family, will be with me.  I would hope we could also take our animals.  They are considered part of the family.  After much thought I decided I would take my favorite family picture album OR if technology would be available, I would take my portable hard drive that has all the pictures on it.  Next, I would take the gold cross that was my grandmothers.  My mom gave it to me when I turned 18.  Finally, I would take my wedding album.

All of these things are very special to me.  Pictures are what help us to remember our family and good times together.  The wedding album is significant because it contains the last pictures taken of my husband’s grandmother.  She passed away about a month after we were married.  The cross is special to me because it was my grandmother’s and it represents our faith in God.  If I could only keep one item, it would be the cross because it would remind us to have faith in the hard times ahead. 

I actually had a hard time coming up with 3 items to take with us.  I feel if we were together as a family that would be enough. 

This assignment made me recall a conversation I had with one of my students a few weeks ago.  She had come into my classroom to complete some work and we began talking about her experience with hurricane Katrina.  She was 12 years old living in the 9th ward when the hurricane hit.  She and several of her family members had gathered at one house to ride out the storm.  When it became apparent they needed to leave, they walked to a bridge where they were picked up by The National Guard and taken to the Superdome.  She spent five days there and said it was awful.   When they had to board the bus to come to Texas they told her she couldn’t take her dog.  She said the hardest thing she had to do during her ordeal was to tie her beloved dog to the fence with all the other pets that had to be left behind.  She lost everything to Katrina. She didn’t get to take anything with her.  She said that didn’t matter because her family was together.  They had all survived.  Now, almost six years later, she says the hurricane was a blessing.  She knows that if she had stayed in New Orleans that she would not be about to graduate high school with honors.  She says that she would probably be a mom and a high school dropout.   Next year she is going to college to study international business. 

This student has taught me that material things don’t matter.  What matters is family and what you carry in your heart.  That is my culture.  Family and faith are the most important things in life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

When I Think of Research...

Thank you all for your support and contributions to this course.  It has definitely been interesting and out of my comfort zone.  However, I have learned many new and interesting concepts during the last eight weeks.  I learned that developing research studies is a long, but exciting process.  I really like the way researchers can turn a question into a study.  I have a new respect for early childhood researchers. 

Developing my own research simulation was challenging and rewarding. Keeping all the terms and types of research straight has been a difficult.   However, my interest in research has definitely been peaked during this course.   I am looking forward to actually completing my simulation someday. 

I have a new found respect for the concepts I have studied about early childhood because I now understand the research process. 

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Research Around the World

I explored Early Childhood Australia: A Voice for Young Children at

 Many of the topics that are featured on the website are issues that are also important in America.  These topics include:
  • Breastfeeding
  • Care of Infants 
  • Child Care – Work Related/Work Based 
  • Children and the Mass Media 
  • Children of Asylum Seekers 
  • Cultural Diversity 
  • Gender Equity 
  • Guidelines for Consulting with Children 
  • Inclusion of Children 
  • Information Technology and Children 
  • Integrated Services 
  • Language and Literacy 
  • Physical Environments for Centre-Based Early Childhood Services 
  • Professional Development, Training and Support of Early Childhood Personnel
At the beginning of 2012, Australia’s new policy on early childhood education began an eight year implementation.  The first mandate was to set the ratio of children under the age of 24 months to 4:1.  In addition, childcare staff must have certain qualifications.  The reform is a result of the multitudes of studies which show that the first five years of life are integral to the healthy development of the child. 

However, the Australian Childcare Alliance states that these new ratios have caused problems for many childcare facilities.  Qualified caregivers are hard to find at an affordable wage.  Some childcare centers are raising tuition or are closing.  On the contrary, the director of Early Childhood Australia claims that the new mandates are not too costly and should only cost about $3 a day per child.  She states the new rules will not only benefit children, but make the profession more attractive to job seekers.

Something that surprised me about this website was the statement of regret issued to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.  The position statement issued by the group “acknowledges the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original inhabitants of Australia and recognises their culture as part of the cultural heritage of all Australians.”  I imagine this situation may be similar to the Native Americans in the United States. 

Overall, I was very impressed with the information found on this website.  The topics and issues see very familiar to those in the United States.   I particularly liked the links to hundreds of free fact sheets and articles for supporting best practices.  Here is the direct link to the page:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Research that Benefits Children and Families

I would like to share a program from Metropolitan State College in Denver called Tools of the Mind.  I was introduced to this program in a previous course and think that the research and program show great potential for the future of early childhood education.  The program is centered around self-regulation, where the children are taught how to regulate their emotional, social, and cognitive behaviors.  According to research, self-regulation is a better indicator of academic achievement than IQ or reading level.  Many children are entering school with a lack of self-regulation which causes disruptions in learning.  The Tools of the Mind program teaches self-regulation skills to children so that cognitive learning is more effective.  The website cites several scientific studies to substantiate their claims.

Tools of the Mind can be found at

Saturday, March 10, 2012

My Research Journey

The topic I have chosen for my simulation is teen parenting.  After reading the resources this week, particularly the course text chapter 2, I have narrowed my topic down to the effect parenting classes have on the children of teen parents.  I chose this topic because I am a teen parent educator at a large urban high school in San Antonio, Texas.  Over the years, I have had many students succeed and others who have simply disappeared.  I want to know for personal and professional reasons the effect my class has on the children of the teen parents. 

The statistics on teen parents are not good.  Teen parents are more likely to drop out of school and more likely to end up on welfare. Their children are at risk for low birth weight, abuse, and neglect. Children born to teen mothers are more likely to perform poorly in school than children who are born to adult parents. (Family First Aid, n.d.). Sons of teen mothers are three times more likely to be incarcerated during their lifetime than sons born to adult women. Daughters of teen mothers are more likely to give birth themselves as a teenager. Most children born to teen mothers will live in poverty and will struggle in school (Teen Parent Child Care Quality Improvement Project, 2005). The effects of teenage parenting will continue to affect the child for a lifetime.

I recently showed this to my teen parents and asked them "what are you going to do to prevent you and your child from becoming another statistic?"

Some of them got mad and didn't believe me.  I pointed out the references and told them "I didn't make this stuff up."  I then went on to explain that just by being in my class they were already taking steps to prevent them and their child from becoming a statistic.  It really made them think about the future.
I am excited and anxious about this course.  I really feel like I am out of my element.  However, I know that this is a skill that is necessary in order to fulfill my professional goals.  I am looking forward to learning more about the research process and welcome any advice my colleagues can offer. 


Family First Aid. (n.d). Teen Pregnancy: Stats, Facts, and Prevention. Retrieved March 3, 2012 from

Teen Parent Child Care Quality Improvement Project. (2005). The Children on Teen Parents. Retrieved March 4, 2012 from

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Issues & Trends: Final Blog

During this course I learned many things that will be helpful in my career as an early childhood professional.  I had very limited contact with a group of Canadian Early Childhood educators through a Facebook group.  I learned that they face many of the same challenges.  Right now, they are going through funding cuts which are threatening the early childhood programs.  I also researched several other countries and found large variations in their approach to early childhood.  Most of the industrialized nations value early childhood, but there seems to be disagreement as to the extent.  Funding is always an issue.  In less fortunate countries, the issue is on survival and early childhood education is not as important.  These countries focus on providing basic necessities for survival.  This course also introduced me to Harvard University Global Initiative website.  I found a wealth of information here that will be useful to me in my profession. 

I would like to continue to reach out to international early childhood professionals.  I think I can learn a lot from others and maybe I could help some out, too.  I am beginning the process of building my Linkedin account.  I think it will be a wonderful tool in making contact with international early childhood professionals.  Facebook is also a tool that can be used to form international relationships.   

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review of United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

So discouraged!  No responses from my contacts L.

Review of United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

New Insights learned which relate to my professional goals.

1.       The 1990 Jomtien Declaration on Education for All (EFA), stated that countries should view early childhood as part of basic education.”  I think that America has put the emphasis on the wrong age group.  Currently we place an emphasis on K-12.  I believe emphasis should be on age 3 – 16.  After age 16, students should choose a path which either leads them to higher education or a skilled trade.

2.       “Early childhood care and education programmes should emphasise the child’s holistic development and extend beyond assisting the child’s transition to formal schooling.”  In America, our education system focuses too much on the cognitive development and not enough on the other areas of development.  All areas are connected so a deficit in one will cause a deficit in another.  Focusing on the young child as a whole will have positive benefits throughout life.

3.       N° 26 / September 2004 UNESCO Policy Brief on Early Childhood, Curriculum in Early Childhood Education and Care.  This article focuses on the development of curriculum for early childhood programs. It recognizes the benefits of creating curriculum, especially since children will learn at the own pace.  Pre-written curriculum sometimes becomes ‘cookie cutter’ and not individualized to each child.  This is a constant battle, due to the low wages and lack of education in the field of early childhood.

All of these related to my professional goals of opening a child development center which serves the teen parent population in my school district.  I believe that quality, individualized early childhood and parent education can help to end the cycle of poverty and teen parenting.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Sharing Web Resources

Website:  Zero to Three
  • One of the outside links is to Early Head Start National Resource Center.  This site provides a wealth of information for childcare providers from birth to three.  There is information on trainings, safety information, and links to government websites.  There is also a special section which is designed for home-based childcare.
  • The website has links to tip sheets that give information to child care providers about child development & early learning, family engagement & relationships, and health safety & nutrition.  One that I found particularly relevant was one on working with teen parents. 
  • One of the links in the latest e-newsletter was “Advocacy Alert.”  It outlines ways people can help advocate for children.  Particularly relevant are the infant-toddler policy issues which focus on good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences.   
  • There is a statement on investing in early childhood education from Matthew Melmed, executive director of zero to three.  It clearly outlines the issues of quality and accessibility of early childhood education.  The article can be found at
  • I found the information fact sheet on Texas particularly interesting.  It shows the demographics of the child population and the programs that are currently available.  I did not realize how many at risk children lived in Texas. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Getting to Know Your International Contacts Part 2

I explored Harvard University’s “Global Children’s Initiative” website.  I ran across three amazing vidoes about three core concepts in early childhood.  The first one was "Experiences Build Brain Architecture."  It shows the brain and talks about how new and repeated experiences create connections and will affect all future development.  The next video is called "Serve and Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry."  Babies' brains build on this serve and return sequence between babies and their caregivers.  The babies serve with facial expressions and babble, then caregivers return.  This interaction forms the brain architecture on which all future development is built.  All the different areas of the brain work together to form the emotional and cognitive skills that are necessary for success in life.  Children need consistent "serve and return" with their caregivers for proper brain growth.  The third video is called "Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development."  This is the video I found most intriguing.  It explains how toxic stress caused by poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can interfere with the developing brain.  It can result in long term consequences for learning, behavior, and physical and mental health.  The global initiative is taking this science and investigating early childhood development; mental health; and children in crisis and conflict situations across the globe.  They are working in Chile, Zimbabwe, China, Rwanda, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, and Haiti. 

Center on the Developing Child Harvard University. (2012).  Global Children's Initiative.  Retrieved from

Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Website: Zero To Three
  •  What specific section(s) or information seemed particularly relevant to your current professional development?
    • Behavior & Development
    • Care & Education
  • Which ideas/statements/resources, either on the website or in an e-newsletter, did you find controversial or made you think about an issue in new ways?
    • I did not find anything controversial, but there is a section of public policy.  It provides information on how to influence public policy.  I had never thought I could make a difference, but the website shows you how you can help.
  • What information does the website or the e-newsletter contain that adds to your understanding of how economists, neuroscientists, or politicians support the early childhood field?
    •   The website contains information on the importance of and the impact of the first three years of life.  Economists, neuroscientists, and politicians can use this information to support the early childhood field.
  • What other new insights about issues and trends in the early childhood field did you gain from exploring the website or e-newsletter?
    • I learned more about the maltreatment of children and the effects this has on their development. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Getting to Know Your International Contacts

I am very disappointed that I have not been successful in making meaningful contact with any early childhood professionals.  My contact from Canada did add me as a member of the Canadian Child Care Federation.  I posted on the website about how they deal with poverty, but have not received any responses as of yet.  All of my emails have gone unanswered.  So, I will complete the alternate assignment.

I chose to learn about the country of Kyrgyzstan.  Kyrgyzstan gained its independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991.  The country experienced many economic shocks as it transformed from a state run to a market economy.  They joined the World Trade Organization in 1998 and since then the Kyrgyzstan economy has been recovering very slowly. 

During this time of economic stability was as high as 60%, but decreased by 2001 to 47% with 13% living in extreme poverty.  There has been an increase of children forced to live on the street.  The percentage of children who attend school is around 90%.  Many are forced to work at a variety of jobs from agriculture to hospitality. 

The government of Kyrgyzstan has a number of initiative to help combat the poverty issue in the country.  The Comprehensive Development Framework has a 15 year vision for the economic future of the country.  the National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NSPR) is a 3 year plan with specific provisions to tackle the childhood poverty issue.  They want to avoid inter-generational poverty issues from developing.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sharing Web Resources

Zero to Three ( is one of my favorite websites for early childhood.  I subscribe to their newsletter, From Baby to Big Kid, which contains a variety of information from pre-birth through age three.  I often use information found on the website and newsletter in my Child Development classes.  The website focuses on the healthy development of all babies and toddlers, but focuses on those that are vulnerable and in need.  This can be attritbuted to the changing diversity and demographics of our society.  I am focusing on language learning in children, specifically Spanish/English.  I found  this on the website:

Songs, Rhymes, and Fingerplays in English and Spanish

The Canadian Child Care Foundation's website ( is in both English and French, showing they value language diversity.  The site is dedicated to providing information for providing quality childcare that meets the need of diverse children.  You can also subscribe to the online magazine called Interatcion (  The Facebook group is a forum where EC professionals discuss current issues and topics.  For example, one member posted a question about breastfeeding policies at a child care center in the U.S. and other members commented.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Getting Ready—Establishing Professional Contacts and Expanding Resources

I chose to contact early childhood professionals in British Columbia, Canada and The Netherlands.  I chose the countries because the majority of the citizens speak English.  I was worried that there might be a language barrier with other countries. 

In Canada, I visited the Canadian Child Care Foundation website.  I originally emailed Yvonne Dionne at the address listed on the Global Alliance of NAEYC website.  It was returned as undeliverable,  so I emailed an address for lkerr from the website.  In addition, I requested to join their Facebook page and signed up to receive the e magazine, Interaction. (

The Netherlands have a website for the International Step by Step Association.  I explored the website and emailed Sarah Klaus.  As of yet, I have not heard back from her.  (

I am looking forward to corresponding with EC professionals from other countries to learn about issues and trends from around the world.

In addition to the websites I have already mentioned, I frequently visit the website Zero To Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.  I receive their newsletters and use the information in my child development class curriculum.  (

**Update!  Today I received a Facebook friend request from Lynda Kerr from CCCF.  I am looking forward to corresponding with her.!