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