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