Effective communication...why is it important

Effective communication is necessary but not everyone feels comfortable speaking to other people in some situations.  For example, public speaking can be terrifying for some people while others may fear the one on one.  I personally do not mind speaking one on one or in front of others. I am typically the 'fly on the wall' person that prefers to observe and listen before speaking.

In thinking about enacting policy change effective communication is extremely important.  The reader has to understand the policy and it needs to be, concrete and complete.  In order for the policy to be concrete the policy maker must make sure the audience has a clear picture of what they are trying to say.  A complete policy is one in which the reader has all the information they need to make an informed decision . 

In relation to my own communication skills I find that I can be both concrete  and complete but not without tons of revisions. No matter what platform, one on one, small group or large group, I am able to adapt my communication to the situation at hand.  My weakness deals more with the issue of being concrete as I sometimes will find myself rambling which is what leads to the tons of revisions. 


Mind Tools. (n.d.). The 7 Cs of communication: A checklist for clear communication. Retrieved October 15, 2013, from http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newCS_85.htm


The policy issue I am focusing on is early childhood professional development.  This is a topic that affects all stakeholders, parents, children and most importantly teachers.  In considering how to communicate this issue to these stakeholders I am driven to social media.  The first tool that I would use is the social networking site that almost everyone is familiar with, Facebook.  Facebook allows the users to post pictures, upload files/attachments and create groups.  This would be an important outlet as I would be able to post information for teachers relating to upcoming training and answer questions.  The second social media program i would use is Goggle+ which is another program that is widely popular.  I believe that this would be a good resource because it would connect that population that may not socialize on Facebook and also it provides users with multiple options to connect.
    The target audience for my policy issue would be parents and early childhood professionals.  I included parents because I believe that they are genuinely interested in the credentials of the teachers so they want to know what professional development the teachers participate in.  Early childhood professionals, of course, would need access to the information as it is placed there for them.  I am not a big social media person so in consideration of challenges I think the biggest challenge I would personally find is that of knowing how to properly use the programs.  One benefit of using these social sites to publicize my issue is that the page followers would have information relating to this topic and gain a better understanding of the topic.  


Professional goals

My work in the field of early childhood education began in high school simply because I wanted to help pay for many of the activities during my senior year.  As I began looking for jobs I followed the example of my parents in choosing something not because of the pay but because it was something that I am interested in and I ended up as an infant room caregiver.  This began my career and I spent over 10 years teaching in various age groups and capacities with my favorite being pre k and kindergarten.  As Kagen and Kauerz (2012) noted this field has gone from invisible to the center of attention and being a part of this shift I have grown in my idea of how I want to impact early childhood education and understanding my role.

As a teacher one issue that has always bothered me was the lack of professional development opportunities for early childhood teachers.  So when I consider my professional goals in a course on policies I find that easy to answer.  My overall goal is to improve the lives of the children and families that I serve.  In order to achieve this goal I must look to my team and work to develop them (goal 2).  And my third goal is to continue to advocate for young children, teachers and families.

Each of these goals will help me as I learn more about early childhood systems and subsystems.  In the past two weeks alone I have learned about new subsystems from classmates that may help me in achieving my own goals. In order to help my families and children it is necessary to know what services are available and work to connect them with those services.  By the same token seeking out and encouraging professional development among my team is a necessity.  I want to help them find trainings that are going to speak to them so that they can implement it in the classroom.  Advocacy is a must because no one knows what teachers need more so than teachers.  We have to speak up for early childhood and make sure that we stay the center of attention to continue to create policy and build early childhood systems.

Kagan, S. L., & Kauerz, K. (Eds.). (2012). Early childhood systems: Transforming early learning. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


Final post for course: Influences of family, culture, and society in early childhood

Wow is the first word that cones to mind when I reflect on this course.  From the first assignment I knew I would enjoy this class simply because the discussions were really interesting.  My biggest take away from this semester is that in order for me to effectively do my job I have to get to know myself and be willing to accept how my early experiences have influenced me. 

I especially enjoyed the Derman-Sparks & Edwards text and the study on anti-bias curriculum.  There were many points including microaggressions which were eyeopeners.  I also learned how the simple off hand comments of a trusted adult could affect a child. 

In the major project assignment I enjoyed learning about my topic, family and community violence.  As I may have mentioned this was a new topic of study for me. I typically study professional development and teacher participation.   Studying this topic was interesting because I looked at it with fresh eyes.  I also got the opportunity to speak with 2 individuals affected by violence.  The work was well worth the time put into helping me learn to better do my job.  I look forward to continuing to learn and share insights with my staff.

My final thoughts, I enjoyed this course even though there was a ton of work.  I also learned more about my upbringing and how it affects the children and families I work with.  The topics made for great workplace discussions and I think this is one of those courses I will reflect back on.

Thank you to all my colleagues for your openness and honesty shared throughout the class.


Family and community violence can be very difficult for an adult to deal with and even more traumatic for a child.  In choosing the individuals for my interviews in this course, I knew I wanted to talk to an adult who worked with families affected by violence as well as a child who had been on the front lines.  I was able to connect with a caseworker that works directly with families and helps them navigate through their difficult situations.  My second interviewee is a young man who, as I said, was on the front lines, a child directly affected by family violence.  To date I have a learned quite a bit from both individuals and in talking with both of them they confirmed my decision to not become a case worker because I am way too emotional.  It has been very hard not to break down when listening to them talk about their work and their lives which has been my biggest challenge during the interviews.  At this point in the process, I feel confident that I have learned a great deal not only from my interviews but also in the research process.  The interview that has had the biggest impact on me is with the young man I've been talking too, hearing his stories of what it was like to grow up in his household and the things he witnessed.  At one point his situation came to a head when he had to make the decision to leave his mother's house rather than put his hands up to defend himself at only seventeen years old.

As I wrap up my interviews I feel as though I have a good start on my project although I'm still working to narrow down my focus to complete the paper.  I don't really have a question just a thought...how do we ignore children that are truly screaming out for help when they are faced with such horrifying situations.  Friday was yet another example of a truly traumatic event in the lives of so many children around the world.  In some way, we were all affected by the situation and I won't go on about it but how do you explain what happened to a child?


Course Project:  Children exposed to risk, stress or trauma...violence/fear (in families and the neighborhood)

The topic which I would like to explore for this course project is violence and fear in families.  This is not a topic I have first hand experience with but one I am interested in studying. My interest in this topic is purely one of curiosity from observations of some of the children I have taught and currently serve at my facility.  There are so many factors that can and do influence a child's identity including violence and fear but so many people try to these two to control others and create a sense of power.  I would like to research the direct influence that violence and fear in the family have on the young child's development.  I am still working on specific research questions for this topic but I do value input from my colleagues and look forward to hearing from you.  


Hello and welcome to my blog...

I am starting a new course at Walden and felt it appropriate to send out a new welcome for any new classmates visiting my blog.  I am excited for this course and looking forward to some interesting conversations with everyone so again welcome and feel free to browse past posts.  I am truly amazed at how I've grown into a blogger when I first began this I had absolutely no idea what I was doing!


Global Perspectives wrap up

I want to say thank you to each of my classmates in this course and leave you with a few inspirational gems as we prepare for our next course in this journey.

First of all, thank you for your support and participation.

Second, know that you do matter in the lives of children and their families.  This thought is confirmed every day that your children show up with wonder in their eyes, seek you out for a much needed hug, share the details of their families' lives and question your whereabouts when you are out for the day.

Third, it is important that we get involved in advocacy and work on the behalf of children every day.  I personally recieve infomation from a variety of resources including but not limited to
https://www.texasaeyc.org/?page_id=502 which is an affiliate of www.naeyc.org.  www.aeci.org offers a generous amount of initiatives to which to get involved in.

Fourth, as early childhood professionals we are also lifelong learners.   We must stay dedicated to our customers, the children, as the return on invest is extremely high in this field.


Innovation approaches to early learning: Technology and ECE

Children today have a major advantage in the classroom compared to early learning experiences 15 years ago.  Technology is not going away so it is pertinent that early childhood educators stay abreast of the advances in technology and how to incorporate it into the classroom.  Technology for young children must be interactive vs passive allowing children to engage in the technology.  Passive media can contribute to "language delays, obesity, social withdrawal, attention problems, and even irregular sleep patterns" (Epstein, 2013, pg. 2).  There are several technological devices that can be utilized in the classroom including computers, tablets, digital cameras and digital microscopes to name a few.  I love technology and enjoy trying out all the new "toys" so I naturally want to bring what I've learned into the classroom. A few weeks ago I researched this topic with a focus on the negative effects of children under age two but again felt it was appropriate for older children.  In researching what other teachers have done to incorporate technology in the classroom I am inspired to try out new things in the classes at my facility.  As a technology teacher one I learned very quickly that young children enjoy computers but they do require that back and forth of the interactivity.  They do not want to passively sit and watch as it is too much like watching a movie which will cause them to lose interest and get antsy.  For me, putting a digital microscope in the classroom is a great learning tool or teaching a child to use a desktop computer and mice versus just a tablet.  Some items can be quite expensive but I have found if you ask around, people are willing to donate items to educational programs. My thoughts on effective learning experiences for young children in a technology rich environment is that we are aiding and extending the child's learning.  I also understand the opposite view of wanting to keep anything other than a desktop computer out of the classroom because children are exposed to technology with their families.  The difference, in my opinion, is that as educators we are presenting an alternative use for technology not just as a babysitter. 

Epstein, A. S. (2013). Using Technology Appropriately in the Preschool Classroom. Highscope Extensions , 28(1). Retrieved from http://www.highscope.org/file/NewsandInformation/Extensions/ExtVol28No1_low.pdf


Early Childhood Inclusion, sharing my thoughts

When we think about an inclusive classroom in the private early childhood many thoughts come to mind but there are some things we need to keep in mind.  Creating an environment of inclusion means a shift in our way of thinking, including a special needs child should not be considered extra work for the teacher but a learning experience for everyone.  It requires all stakeholders to embrace it, be flexible and wiling to observe, reflect and make changes as needed.  Many times the teacher or teachers are not properly trained to accept children with disabilities in their classroom and they struggle with the class.
While every state does not have special quality rating systems for early childhood programs that have high quality inclusion program, there are 4 states that have stepped up.  Georgia, Illinois, Maryland and North Carolina have created a system to identify high-quality schools as well as provide information to the parents. More states should adapt this idea because not only is it a great marketing feature but it also means more training for the teachers, which we so desperately need. 


Horowitz, M. & Squires, J. (2014).  QRIS and Inclusion:  Do state QRIS standards support the learning needs of all children?  (CEELO FastFact).  New Brunswick, NJ:  Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes.