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!