Saturday, August 18, 2012

So long for now!

I have learned so much from everyone in this master’s group.  It has been a wonderful experience learning how other programs and other centers run.  Reading the posts from everyone each week, I know that this is truly an amazing group of inspired and brilliant professionals.  I have enjoyed reading everyone’s blog each week and looking at the pictures that some of you posted throughout the program.

It is exciting to think that we will be moving on to our individual specialties next. Wow it’s almost over.  I know that for me, the idea of completing this program was overwhelming and here we are preparing for the final chapter.  I wish everyone the very best in all that you do. Please know that your insights and comments have helped me grow as a professional and a person, and I hope I have done the same for you.  I’m sure I will see many of you in the administration and leadership specialty.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Five Stages of Team Development, Adjournment

In adjourning a team, we hopefully have reached the common goal and completed the project that the group was formed to solve (Abudi, 2010).  For some of the less productive groups I have been involved in the adjournment phase came quickly and quietly and we all left with mixed feelings about the group and the completion of the project.

Adjournments of highly productive groups are something different.  I have been part of many IEP teams that were drawn together for just a short period of time but we all worked together to meet the needs of the child in our class.  Adjournment of these meetings left us feeling content that we had all worked as a group to find the best solution to a problem.

I think I will miss the camaraderie that happens in the Walden discussion posts and blogs.  I have recently begun to think about life beyond school as we head into the home stretch of our degree.  I have been going to school continually for the last 5 years.  I’m not sure what I will do with all the free time when I do not have blogs and discussion posts to read and answer or articles to read and write about.  I hope that we all leave this group with that feeling on contentment that we have completed a project to the best of our abilities and are ready to move on to the next chapter.


Abudi, G. (2010). The five stages of team development: A case study. Retrieved from

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Conflict at Work

Recently I have had a conflict with my direct supervisor.  It had appeared to me that she negative about the center and the people who work in it.  This is the first year that the center has been shut down in the summer. It is usually a year-round program.  She demanded that staff remove everything personal from the building because while they were laid-off for the summer, she planned to go through the rooms and strip and throw away all of the things she did not want in the rooms.  The teachers were very upset; many of them have worked in their rooms for many years.  As the new supervisor, she has told me to start throwing things away.  I have only worked in this center for a month and that time has been without staff and children, so I have no idea what things the teachers use all the time and what can be thrown out.  Anytime I ask my supervisor she says if it’s dirty or doesn’t look nice get rid of it.

I have two conflicts in this story. The first is with my direct supervisor and trying to make her understand my position of being new to the program and wanting to enter into this job as a supportive asset and not someone who threw all their stuff away.  The second is enforcing the demands of my supervisor, (and there are many of them) on the teachers and staff that I work with. 

Things I have learned so far from this class that will help me include.

1.      Trying to actively listen and understand my supervisors reasons

2.      Respectfully explaining how I feel about her requests

3.      Trying to discover a way we can make the center look clean and professional without throwing away too many of the teachers favorite things.

When I am trying to work with staff to understand some of the new rules that have been imposed, I might:

1.      Help them understand the reasons behind the rules

2.      Help them negotiate compromises with the supervisor when some of the rules are too difficult to follow in an active preschool classroom.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

my communicaation style and perceptions

I was very interested in the communication surveys this week; It was interesting to see where I rated on the scales. What surprised me most was that the people I had complete the surveys saw me very much as I saw myself.

In Verbal aggressiveness I was consistently ranked in the moderate category.  I think that is accurate.  I will defend a point I am trying to make, but I try to be respectful of others and when the  conflict reaches a point of impact, I try to find a way to end it with both parties feeling ok about it.

In Communication Anxiety I was ranked in the mild category, Again I think this is accurate, I do not go out of my way to seek public speaking opportunities, but I will speak to large or small groups as required.

Something that did surprise me was that I was ranked in the people-oriented group, even by myself.  In reading the descriptions of the groups, I thought I would fall in the content or action group, as I am a very direct and to the point person. Or so I thought. 

It was interesting to find that my perceptions of myself were very similar. 


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Diversity and Culture

  • Do you find yourself communicating differently with people from different groups and cultures?

  •             Because of this class, I have been more mindful of how I am communicating recently.  Last week I was in the mall having a pedicure.  The man giving me the pedicure was Asian although at first I didn't know exactly where he was from.  His English was heavily accented and I found myself leaning in closer and listening more carefully to his words, trying to understand his meanings.  I also noticed that I was very aware of his non verbal cues.  There was a TV playing off to the side and the show International House Hunters was on.  When the show began talking about houses in Vietnam his face lit up and he said something the the woman next to him in their home language.  I asked him if he was from Vietnam.  He said yes he was and spent the rest of the time telling me about his home country and how much he missed it.  It was an interesting conversation and one I would not have had id I was not watching his non verbal cues.

  • If yes, in what ways do you communicate differently

  • I think when it comes to language barriers, I listen more closely and watch for non-verbal cues to help understand the conversation.  When speaking with someone whose language is the same but cultural views are different, I am more mindful of the content of speech.  I would never want to intentionally insult someone of hurt their feelings or discount their beliefs.  In that I sometimes keep my own opinions and beliefs out of the conversation, depending on the relationship I have with the person.

    Saturday, July 7, 2012


    What do you think the characters’ relationships are based on the ways in which they are communicating?

    I watched a new show called Longmire.  It was a western/cop show/ drama.  I thought that the older sheriff was very commanding of the other officers.  His facial expressions were very stoic and he did not smile very often.  I thought there was a romantic interest between the sheriff and the one female officer.  The episode I watched showed scenes where the sheriff was interviewing young children. When he talked to them his face changed and his body language was more open and concerned.  In one scene he was drinking in a bar with Lou Diamond Phillips, who plays a bartender. It appeared that there was a history between the two men, I couldn’t tell if they were friends but they were much more comfortable with each other that the sheriff appeared with other characters.

    What are they feeling and expressing based on the nonverbal behavior you are observing?

    The main sheriff appears angry or disgruntled about his job.  He appears to e uncomfortable with the other younger people in the office.  The one female officer is very flirty, playing with her long hair and resting her hand on the sheriff’s shoulder or arm as they talk.  When the sheriff and the bar tender talk, the bartender appears concerned and angry about something and the sheriff appears upset and confused.

    What assumptions did you make about the characters and plot based on the ways in which you interpreted the communication you observed?

    I assumed the sheriff was unhappy in his job. That he did not really like the people he worked with.  I felt that there was a friendship or at least history between the sheriff and the bartender based on their comfort level with each other.  I thought that the female sheriff had a romantic interest in the sheriff.

    Would your assumptions have been more correct if you had been watching a show you know well?

      If I had seen this show before I might have had context for the relationships between the people.  When I watched it with the sound on, I realized that one of the deputies was running against the sheriff in an election and that is why there is so much tension in their body language.  I was correct about the relationship between the sheriff and the bartender, there were friends but found themselves on opposite sides of the case they were trying to solve. 

    Thursday, June 28, 2012

    Communicator that I admire.

    Someone I believe is a great communicator is my previous supervisor Judy Gray.  Ms. Gray is able to speak in large groups and yet you fell like she is talking right to you.  She was able to change her communication style to fit the group.  She has presented at large state and national conferences as well parent training for groups of three and four people.  To me that is the sign of a good communicator.

    I would like to model my communication skills after hers because I am very impressed with the way she is able to hold people’s attention when she speaks.  Presently when I run a parent meeting is turns out to be more like what we saw in the video, with people texting and answering their phones.  I would love to become a confident communicator.

    Another area of Ms. Gray’s communication style that I would like to emulate is her ability to deal with conflict in a professional and competent manner.  I have seen her fire people and they still like her.  She was able to deal with very difficult personal and professional issues while maintain her composure and staying respectful and empathetic to the person being disciplined.

    These are all skills I hope to have in my own supervision style.

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Hopes and goals for the future

  • The hope I have for working with families of diverse backgrounds is understanding.  I hope to be able understand their hopes and desires for their child and how I can work respectfully to build those goals.  Working for Head Start for the past twenty years, I thought I had a great understanding of diversity.  The reading and assignments in the last 8 weeks have opened my eyes to how blind to diversity I truly was.  I hope to go forth on my journey with both eyes wide open.

  • One goal I would set for the EC field in general is to keep working towards social justice and equity for all.  I have always said that hatred is taught, it is not something we are born with.  If we as teachers make a conscious effort to teach diversity, tolerance and respect, maybe we can impact how the next few generations go out and interact with the world.  The global society is becoming more and more the norm in business and politics.  We do not exist in a bubble, not as individual,families, or countries. I would like very much to be part of the professions that help alleviate social injustice.and discrimination.
  • ,

  • I want to thank everyone for sharing their diverse views on this subject.  Someone once told me, "I  don't wish you pain but I wish you growth".  I think that as we continue on your journey of growth there will be pain as we examine our thoughts and past experiences.  I really feel like I have brown through this class.
  • Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Welcoming new children

    There is a young girl who is going to be coming to my four year old classroom, her name is Kumu and she lives with her Father, Mother and younger brother Akui.   The family had recently immigrated to the United States from Mumbai India.

    In order to prepare myself to offer Kumu and her family a welcoming entrance into our school I first had them fill out our Family Culture Survey when they completed the enrollment paper.

    Secondly, because I found out that Kumu and her mother were English language learners, I found  several words in Marathi and practiced how to say things like,  welcome, good morning, and other helpful phrases.  Because there are over 3000 languages in India, I asked the family specifically which language Kumu was most comfortable with.

    I checked my classroom to make sure that there are dolls and other toys that reflect the Kumu’s culture and that there are things she is familiar with.

    On the Family culture form I asked Kumu’s family what types of foods they enjoyed and if there were any foods they specifically chose not to eat.  The family told me that Kumu was very open to trying new foods, and that she enjoyed many spices such as curry.  I asked Kumu’s mother is she would like to come into the classroom and share a recipe with the class through a cooking project. She was a little hesitant but said that she would like to try and participate.

    Finally, through my research into the parenting practices of families in Mumbai, I learned that for the most part parents and extended family member spend a great deal of time holding young children.  I asked Kumu’s mother if she had a specific toy or article such a blanket that would help her feel more comfortable in our class.  We decided that Kumu would like to bring a small photo of her family to keep in her cubby.

    By incorporating Kumu’s home language and culture, I hope to make the center a welcoming place for both the child and the family.  Through open communication with the family, I let them know that I am open to learning about their practices and supporting them in Kumu’s education.

    Monday, June 4, 2012

    Microaggression this week

    This week, I witnessed two instances of prejudice from my supervisor.  Because I have just gotten a new job, my supervisor and I were talking about the applications that were turned in for my old job.  After looking over the resumes, my supervisor shook her head and said, its a shame really, out here in the outlying areas we really have to take the best of the worst.  One of the applicants had their bachelors in child development and another had and AA.  Both had previous early childhood experience.  There was nothing worst about either one of the candidates..  I was insulted for them and for myself, I had worked here in this outlying area for 21 years.  As we looked over another application, I said that the applicant had a B.S. in Human Resources.  My supervisor replied," Yeah, but she did it all online.  You just don't get the same education as you would with other students in a classroom." 
    First off, there is nothing deficient or lacking from online universities.  Secondly, when you live 100  miles from the nearest city your educational opportunities are limited as far as classroom options,
    In one conversation my supervisor made derogatory comments about the people who live away from cities and people who choose to go to school online. 

    Both of which apply to me. 

    I felt very marginalized as though I was some how lacking from the people who lived in the city and attended a classroom type university. 
    What would have changed this situation is if my supervisor had realized how stereotypical her comments were.  She has never lived in an outlying area, nor has she taken on line classes yet she had made biased ideas about the people who have.

    I did not feel that I had the power to correct her, as she is the supervisor and can be very punitive if you go against her.  In a perfect world I would have called her on these comments by informing her that she was describing me in both situations and very negatively at that.

    Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Watching for microaggression was fairly easy this week.  The very first one happened right in my own home.  The other day, my husband was on the phone trying to take care of an issue about an order we made at  He had already made 2 calls and the problem was yet to be resolved.  I noticed his tone was rather gruff and he asked the person on the phone to connect him to a manager, one that spoke English please.  My jaw dropped down and I just stared at him.  It was especially interesting since he proof reads all of my papers or spelling and grammar so he is aware of the things we are studying.  When he got off the phone I asked him what that comment was about. He said that the girl spoke very poor English and he knew she wouldn't be able to understand what he was  explaining since he had tried it with two other people previously.  He said it was a waste of his time and hers to continue and that he wanted to talk with someone who would understand what he was saying.

    He suddenly looked up and asked "Is that one of those microaggressions you were writing about"?  Ah yeah ya think.   He had good intentions, he didn't want to waste her time or his trying to explain it again when he felt she was just going to have to transfer him anyway. But he should have tried, assuming that she wouldn't be able to help him because of her accent was very wrong.  A little diversity awareness going on in my home this week!

    Saturday, May 19, 2012

    Perspective on Diversity

    I asked three friends to describe what culture and diversity meant.  I got very similar answers from all of them. My friend Desirela, who would be considered from a different culture than me said that culture was a society where evvalues and customs and traditions that keep a group together. She said that diversity is the difference within the group.

    Michele answered that culture is the type of lifestyle that a community lives by and diversity is several cultures living together on one common ground. I think her answer is also in line with what we are learning. Culture is about your community and how you live as well as your individual family.

    I think something that was omitted was how everyone’s unique experiences affect their perception of culture and diversity. Until this class, I would not have thought to include all the aspects of my individual life as part of my culture. I would have simply said I was Caucasian, now I realize that my social identities within that culture make me who I am.

    Listening to the definitions of my friends I find it interesting that they included comments about traditions and rules communities in their definitions of culture. Those understood rules of a culture that are unspoken are some of the most difficult things to learn when you leave your own family and go out into the world. There is a wonderful book “Bridges out of Poverty” in it the author talks about the unspoken rules of poverty, middle class and wealth and how these rules can trip up both the person living in poverty and a person from another socioeconomic status who is trying to work with the person in poverty.  eryone has the same values and rules on how they should live.   This is consistent with what we are learning.  A family’s culture does set rules and boundaries for itself.

    My friend Tiffany who is a psychology student said that culture is a common set of


    Ruby, P., Philip, D., & Terie, D. S. (2001). Bridges out of poverty. Highlands TX: Aha Process Inc.

    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Family Culture

    If there were a major disaster in the United States and I had to relocate with my family to another country, I would be devastated.  Being allowed to bring only three small personal items would be very difficult.  As I look around the room right now, there are so many things I have that I take for granted.

    I think the first thing that I would take with me is my mp3 player.  Music is an important part of my life and culture and I would want to have all of my music in the new country as it would remind me of my former home.

    The second thing I would take with me to a new country would be my photo album.  Having pictures of all of the relatives and our homes would help me remember the good times that we celebrate here.  In my new country having these pictures would bring a sense of security.

    The third thing I would bring with me would be my Kindle.  I love to read and having books in my home language would help me feel at home in a new country where they will probably not speak English.  I would find comfort in reading stories about my home country with characters that are similar to me.

    If when I got to the new country I was told that I could only keep one item it would be the mp3 player.  Music for me makes an emotional connection.  Memories are tied to music for me, and hearing those songs would help keep my past alive for me.  I would be very sad to lose the books though, It would be a tough choice between music and books, but it the end I would have to go with music. 
    This exercise made me realize that there are many things in my life such as music and books that I take for granted.  Yesterday if someone had asked me to describe my culture I would not have said anything about either of those items, yet in this exercise, they are the two things I could not leave behind.  Interesting.

    Sunday, April 15, 2012

    What I learned about Research

    I have learned a great deal about research through this class.  I had always thought of research as something done my scientists in a lab somewhere or in a foreign country studying a lost tribe of indigenous people.  It was exciting to do our own little mini research projects.  Walking through each step of the project I learned the different ways that the design affects the outcome and which types of studies are best for certain types of questions. 

    While the research project I designed was very simple and compact, I learned that there were still a lot of steps to be taken and information to be gained, even in a small project.  I was very interested in the ethics behind the research process.  When you look at the relationship between researcher and participant, you do see the power the text talks about.  I was impressed that current research included people to strive for equity in that relationship.

    The greatest challenge in my own research was validating the results.  In quantitative research findings are subject to validation through man aspects, one aspect is reductionism.  This means breaking everything down to its simplest form so that all of the terms used are completely understood by all and the researchers are all able to get the same results.  Because my project was about prosocial behavior, I needed to define exactly which behaviors would be used for the purpose of this project.

    I don’t know that my perception of early childhood professionals has changed, however I now have a deeper understanding of how research is used in our profession.  I also realize that there are many career opportunities for child development professionals in the research field.  I don’t that is a path I personally will take, but you never know!

    Friday, March 30, 2012

    Topics of research in Australia

    For this blog assignment, I decided to explore the Early Childhood Australian website.  I found it to be very similar to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which we have in the United States.  There were many articles on topics ranging from developing children’s early math skills to dealing with bullying.  The site also offer links to many other Early Childhood sites.

    The ECA has a statement of regret published on their site. In this statement, they publically recognize that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait people are the original inhabitants of Australia.  They go on to apologize for the loss of culture that has happen to these people throughout the history of their country.  They state that part of their mission is to acknowledge and advocate the cultures and beliefs of the children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait heredity.  

    I was very impressed with this statement.  Looking at our own history and the destruction of the cultures of Native American children, who were our original inhabitants, but also the way we as a society have negated the culture of so many people living in the United States.  Culture plays such an important part in a child’s life, and to expect them to just leave their culture at the classroom door is such an injustice in my opinion.

    Members of the ECA can subscribe to their journal and receive articles about research being conducted about children and families.  The articles touch on many different areas child development.  The one that caught my eye was about using the Aboriginal concept of Dream Stories, as part of young children learning.  The research attempted to teach children about the Earth, and the responsibilities of people to take care of the environment, by involving them in more of the original culture of Australia.  There were also research articles about bullying, which is a current topic of concern in Australia as well as the United States.


    Early Childhood Australia. (2012, March). A voice for young children. Retrieved from

    Saturday, March 17, 2012

    Research that has benefited children

    I am always fascinated by brain development research.  Because of this type of research we know that there are specific time periods when children are better able to learn specific types of information.  This type of research has also helped to show us the need to provide intervention to children with severe hearing loss and deafness as early as possible.  In the past, but in some cases as recently as the 1970s, children who were born deaf went undiagnosed for many years, sometimes not until they entered school did the family learn there was a problem.  In some cases these children were then diagnosed as mentally retarded and placed in institutions.   Brain development research has taught us that the prime time to learn language is in the early years of life.  Consequently, most of these undiagnosed children were not able to develop language skills.

    Because of the research into brain development and how children acquire language, it is common practice for hospitals to administer the newborn hearing screener with all babies.  Although the test is not foolproof and can produce a false positive in about 1% of the tests, it is a great way to detect hearing loss and deafness early on.  In cases where there is a history of family deafness, research has shown a need for follow up tests every six months until the child is five.  

    Halpin, K., Smith, K., Widen, J., & Chertoff, M. (2010). Effects of universal newborn hearing                 screening on an  early   intervention program for children with hearing loss, birth to 3 yr of age.  Journal Of The American Academy Of Audiology, 21(3), 169-175.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Research Topics

    Wow, research!  While I love to read research journal articles, the thought of doing research myself is overwhelmng.  The large general topic I chose to investigate is the social and emotional development of young child.  I believe that this huge part of a child's development is being pushed farther away from the classroom as we make room for more academics.  But it worries me to consider what the long term consequences will be for children who are forced to be "school-ready" by age 5 when their not yet done developing the skills necessary to be sucessful in the school environment.

    By subtopic for this assignment is how teacher role-modeling and encoragment of prosocial behavior affects the child's behavior.  I feel that you get the behavior that you pay attention to.  If early education teachers are actively modeling and encouraging things like, kindness and respect for other, the children will emulate those behaviors.  For my research, I want to find out if that belief is accurate. 

    I am a little nervous about this class, as it is definelty out of my comfort zone.  Someone once told me, I don't wish you pain, but I wish you growth.  So here's to growing and becoming competent in the research process!

    Sunday, February 19, 2012

    Final Blog Assignment

    Wow what a wonderful journey this class has been.  I have learned about the issues and barriers that face our families here in the United States, and some of the struggles families and teachers face around the world.

    So what are some of the consequences of having learned all of this?

    1.  First I am more aware of the need to look at what other countries are doing to solve similar problems.  Reading about Paraguay's programs, and how they were able to bring about lasting change in the parenting of small villages through in-home support services, reaffirms what we do here when we try and teach in home parenting skills.

    2.  I have learned that it is important to reach out to other professionals and build networks for leraning. Talking with other professionals can help to spark ideas and build collaborations.

    3. The final consequence of this class will be, hopefully, the ongoing communications and relationships I have build with the professionals I emailed.  These are people I would probably never have met or had any reason to contact, but because of this class I have new professional relationships with these people.

    I would also like to add that through this class, I learned how to look and explore a resource website more throughly.  Even though I had used the Zero to Three website before, I learned so many new things by clicking on the various links that they offered.  Many of the links I followed offered me more resources that will be useful to the familes I work with.

    I hope all of my co-students have also had a similar experience in the exploration of world issues in Early Childhood Education.

    Saturday, February 18, 2012

    Ending reflections from international contacts

    This was such an interesting experience.  Speaking even briefly with educators in other countries has really oped up my eyes to the global impact of early childhood education.  When I set out to open dialogs with other educators, I heard back back form Sweden and Canada. Unfortunately, I haven't heard from either or these women this week, but I will put together the answers to some of the questions based on the information I did learn.
              First, I was very excited to have contact with Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, a prominent leader in the early childhood education field in Sweden.  Ms. Sammuelsson has written many articles about early childhood education and has been involved in research comparing the i importance of play across the cultures.  I read most of her papers, some were not translated into English, so I skipped those.
             What I have learned about the educational system in Sweden is that in some ways it is similar to the US.  Early care homes and preschools were devised in the late 1800s to help provide safe care for children of working parents.  Later it moved more toward offering  quality care and education for all parents who wanted to work or go to school.  While compulsory education does not start until age 7 in Sweden, almost all children go to preschool, which is available from eighteen months to age 6.
              Within the last ten years, the focus of preschool for children between six and seven has become more focused on the academics and school readiness for when they start public school.   Similarly to the US where we also feel the push to prepare children for school the year before they go.
              In Sweden, there has a movement lately on a national curriculum for preschool children.  In the past, the curriculum was set by the individual programs or municipalities.  Now they are trying to devise a national curriculum and standards that will help to meet the needs of all preschool children.  This is also somewhat similar to what we are doing here in the US. 
            My second contact was with Ms. Hill, a preschool teacher at a YMCA day cay center in Calgary Canada.  I did not have much contact with Ms. Hill, but I did learn that they have many opportunities for professional development at her program.  Trainings are offered on a monthly basis on many different topics.  The children that attend this school are typically from low socio-economic families.  She said that there is a large turnover in staff at her center because the wages are low and teachers typically move on to private funded preschools that offer better pay.

           I also joined several earlychidhood groups on the website Linkedin. This has been very educational as well. I now receive several email a day about new posting in these groups. Many of the articles are very topical and relevant.  I watched a webinar that was offer on one of these sites.  It talked about building learning communities.  These are groups of teachers from all sectors coming together to learn and support each other.  I was so fascinated by this concept that I bought the book,"Mind in the Making" which was the basis for the the learning communities.   This has been a great resource and I highly recommend this book to anyone in out field.

    Saturday, February 11, 2012

    Militry Families Project Link

    I have been studying the Zero to Three website.  This site is really amazing and  offers so much information about children and their brain and social emotional development.  I noticed there was a link to the Military Families Project so I followed it.  Wow, they offer so much more information about how families can help their infants and toddlers deal with the stress of military deployment.  When you think about it, the attachment that is forming in those first few years is vital to a baby's development for the rest of their lives. So what happens when a parent has to be out of the home for many months due to military service?  Children go through the grief process and can be under amazing stress during that time.  This site offers resources for parents and caregivers to help the child move through the process and stay resilient.  I was very i impressed with the information and now have another resource to share with parents and co-workers facing these difficult issues.

    Saturday, February 4, 2012

    Conversations about education in the Nordic

    Young children are willing and capable to be agents of change. Adults should listen to children and be aware of their perspectives and ideas in matters that relate directly to them”-   Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson

    Ms. Samuelsson is currently lecturing about early childhood in the United States.  She talks about the 3 types of pedagogues use in preschool there is the developmental psychology view, which is that you do a lot of activities. That children learn best if they are kept busy.  The second is the academic view, the preschool is just that a version of primary school where children are taught lessons to prepare them for kindergarten. And lastly the Socio-cultural view, that children experience things in order to learn

    In the socio-cultural view of child development, children use experiences to make meaning of the world around them, that it is how you interact with children that help prepare them for higher education.  This is the current national pedagogy of the Nordic countries.

    In Ms. Samuelsson’s belief, emotional support is the key ingredient of excellence in preschool.  She is very concerned about the didactics occurring in the classroom.  How is the language being expanded between the adults and the children?  She talked about the importance of the teacher’s use of questions and explanations in the classroom.

    I have enjoyed the interactions with Ms. Samuelsson, although she is currently lecturing and not always available to answer my inquiries, I have been fortunate to watch some of her lectures on Youtube. They have been very educational as well.

    Saturday, January 28, 2012

    Zero to Three Website and Public Policy

    What specific section(s) or information seemed particularly relevant to your current professional development?

    The Zero to three website offers an interactive “Baby Brain Map”. Visitors are able to click on specific ages, including prenatal, and the site will tell you which areas of the brain are most active at that age. It also offers ideas to improve the quality of interaction in each area.

    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?

    The  Zero to Three organization has a Court Team, that offers help and information to professionals dealing working within the child abuse court system on how to provide the best outcome for the infant.  They offer ideas such as more parent-child contact and placement stability

    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?

     Zero to Three offers a  link to a podcast given by Dr. Ross Thompson.  Dr. Thompson discusses the importance of parents nurturing their child’s social and emotional development from birth forward. Dr. Thompson is a  psychology professor at UC Davis University.

    What other new insights about issues and trends in the early childhood field did you gain from exploring the website or e-newsletter?

    Zero to Three offers link to many public policies agencies and organizations.  They offer a free downloadable brochure entitled Early Experiences Matter,

    “The Early Experiences Matter Policy Guide offers you a wealth of policy options and strategies to use in your efforts to affect policy change for infants, toddlers, and their families. It includes mini policy briefs, practical tools, in-depth policy papers, and more (Zero To Three, 2011).”

    The information available talked about the importance of public awareness in  quality early childhood care. I enjoyed reading the brochure and will be printing some out to give to my parents in the coming months.


    Zero To Three. (2011). Early Experiences Matter. Retrieved from

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    Professional Contacts

    My appologies for posting this entry late.  We have a had a week of snow storms here in the mountains. Between lost power and lost internet, I have struggled to play catch-up this week,
    I have been corresponding with  Dr. Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, she is a professer and head of the Education, Communication, and Learning  Department at University of Gothenburg in Sweden.  I have  had a few email conversations with Ingrid about the issues facing preschool children and teachers in her area.  She talked about the changes that are happening in the curriculum.  In the past individual districts and even teachers were allowed to choose the types of curriculum they used.  There were no national tests given to children in the early years.  Currently the Government is looking at providing a National Curriculum for all schools and possibily lowering testing ages.

    Dr. Samuelsson has written several papers and co authored books in Sweden.  Some of those papers have been reprinted in English.  She gave me a reading list of her papers on these issues. I have read two of them already.  The first paper was a comparison how teachers regarded the importance of play in Sweden, Japan and the U.S.  It was an interesting paper and  from the answers to the survey questions, it appears as if Sweden places the highest value on play folowed by the US, and then Japan.  Although, all of the teachers stated the importance of allowing children time to be creative.

    The second international contact I have made is with Maria Hill.  She is a child care provider at the YMCA in Calgary Canada.  Maria and I have talked about poverty in Calgary.  She feels that it is very similar to the US in that they have a lot of immigrant families that have migrated to Canada and face language and cultural barriers.  The types of funding for programs there are are very similar to what we have here.  There are government funds available for families who cannot pay for preschool but those who can afford it  pay for preschool and childcare.
    I look forward to hearing from both of my contacts and enjoy learning about the issues and trends in the various countries.  I wish more of the emails I sent had been returned, this is a very interesting assignment.

    Pramling Samuelsson, I. (2007). Democracy: The Curriculum Foundation for Swedish Preschool. In R. New & M. Cochran (Eds.), Early Childhood Education – An International Early Childhood Encyclopedia. Vol. 4, pp. 1270-1273. Westport: Praeger Publ. [209]

    Pramling Samuelsson, I. & Fleer, M. (2009). Commonalities and Distinctions Across Countries. In I. Pramling Samuelsson & M. Fleer (Eds.), Play and learning in early childhood settings: International perspectives, Vol. 1, pp. 173-190. New York: Springer Verlag. [218] (GUP 86890)

    Saturday, January 14, 2012

    Professional Web Site

    I chose to learn more about the Zero to Three website .
    This site is design to provide information on issues facing infants and their families.
    The section I read this week, had to do with Public Policy and how to advocate for positive changes for infants and families.
    The site offers tool kits for people to down load that gives the updates of laws and Public policy that affects young children. I joined their public policy alert site, this should sent me emails when there is an opportunity to let officials know how I feel about new laws.

    I have always looked to the Zero to Three website for brain development information but I was surprised to find out home much of there site is dedicated to the support of Federal and State policies.

    The issue I studied on the site talked about the effect of toxic stress on children.  We have touched on these issues in some of the classes we have taken recently.  When we do not provide resources for parents who are suffering with stress, financial, health, job loss etc, that increases the  stress we place on the children in their homes.  Chronic stress in a child's life will have long lasting effects on their social-emotional development as well as how they learn to react to stress.  There is a growing number of families in this country who are homeless.  The children in these families are at an extremely high risk for Chronic and toxic stress.  Working to positively change public policy to increase resources for these families is one one way to help children live happier healthier lives.

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Making Professional Contacts

    This week's blog assignment seemed a little overwhelming. I'm not sure if it was because of the time off from the holidays that I got out of "school mode" or what.  So, after a read it a few times, I set off to find some new professional pen pals from around the world.  I sent emails to a few of the people listed in the resources and got some invalid email address returns. I lucked out though when a professor from Sweden answered my requests and said she would be happy to converse with me about early childhood issues.  I'm so excited, I think this exchange is really going to add to my understanding of global childhood issues.  I am still hoping to hear back from some of the others I sent request too. I may need to pick a few more names tomorrow just in case.

    The second part of the assignment was to read and review early childhood organization websites. I looked at quite a few and subscribed to a couple of news letters, I am kinda of an information junkie and already subscribe to many professional ECE blogs and discussion forms.  I chose to focus on the Zero to Three Website, as this is the age of child that I primarily work with.  I love their site because it has great interactive presentations on brain development.

    I hope everyone had a great break and that your all moving seamlessly back into "School Mode".  Hopefully after this weekend, I too will be back on task~  ;)