Time Well Spent

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Something I’m really taking away from this class is that there is power and advocacy in numbers. It can often seem as though we are the only ones or one of few advocating for certain things in our field. However, through the building of my COP, learning I gained from my colleagues, and the realization that there are so many individuals and organizations advocating for these things I care so deeply about, I was reaffirmed that I am not alone in these endeavors. I also realized the importance of addressing any personal biases I may have in order to become the most effective educator I can be. Lastly, I took away the power of continuing to educate ourselves in our field, seek mentors, and being able to reflect on our own practice.

One long-term goal I have for myself is to continue to learn, advocate for, and implement play into my classroom on a daily basis. I want to develop my COP and bring about more advocacy for this topic with the help and varying perspectives of these individuals.

To Dr. Ernst, thank you so much for your patience in responding to my questions and at times, back-to-back emails! Your feedback and thoughtfulness certainly did not go unnoticed and I learned a lot in this course! To my colleagues, I so appreciate you all sharing pieces of yourself, being vulnerable, and contributing to my learning during my time at Walden. Blessings to all of you as you continue to advocate for children, families, and our field! We’ve got this!

 

Image result for thank you images

Image result for play turns out to be so stunningly essential

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Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: Internationally

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The first international organization that appealed to me was the Save the Children organization. This organization works to ensure that children from around the world are given a healthy start. This organization is among some of the first responders when a crisis hits. Save the Children works in 120 countries to educate families and bring health and protection programs to these places. Having traveling abroad and seeing a small snapshot of the poverty, health issues, and lack of education and resources, this organization tugged at my heartstrings. A current position available in this organization is the Family Services Coordinator. This individual provides support services to Head Start and/or Early Head Start families and helps educate these families and provide them with access to local resources available to them. They work together to establish goals and encourage parent involvement in their child’s education. This interests me because I have worked with families in poverty who simply want to do better or provide for their families but are simply at a loss as to how to do this. I would love to work with families in this capacity. Skills required for this job include an Associates social work degree, at least one year of Head Start involvement, and three years’ work experience in a position that directly relates to family services.

The second organization that stood out to me was UNESCO. This organization is dedicated to working to “create the conditions for dialogue among civilizations, cultures and peoples, based upon respect for commonly shared values” (UNESCO, 2011). UNESCO is dedicated to establishing peace, eliminating poverty, and building sustainable development. These are all goals that made me want to be a part of this organization. A position currently available within this organization that I found to be intriguing is the “chief of section.” This individual is responsible for “the overall coordination, planning, development, and management of a fundraising strategy directed at the private sector, the European Union, Multilateral Development Banks and other UN organizations to mobilize resources and support accountability of transparent contribution management” (UNESCO, 2011). This position requires Advanced University degree in International Relations, Marketing, Business Development, Economics, Management or in other fields of competence of UNESCO. The individual needs at least 10 year of progressive professional experience in fundraising and resource mobilization, preferably with some international experience. Experience is also required in running a major fundraising program, leadership in resource mobilization with a UN agency or something similar, and experience effectively communicating with senior private sector executives and donors.

The last organization that appealed to me is Compassion International. I chose this organization because I have sponsored a child from Columbia through this organization for many years. Compassion is a Christian organization that works to provide aide and sponsorships to children from around the world. Compassion provides a holistic approach to reaching children in need. Child development programs exist within this organization to “provide opportunities that encourage healthy development in four areas — spiritual, physical, social and economic” (Compassion International, 2018). A position that is not currently available but that appealed to me is the Child Protection Advisor. This individual works to ensure that child protection concerns are a priority. This alone drew me to this position, as I have a huge heart for children and goal for advocating for them, as many cannot do this for themselves. This position requires prior field experience in impoverished environments, a Masters degree in Social Work, Human Rights Law, International Relations, or Development Studies, and extensive experience related to child protection.

 

 

References

Compassion International. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.compassion.com/about/about-us.htm

Save the Children. (2011). Retrieved from http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6115947/k.8D6E/Official_Site.htm

United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). (2011). Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/en/unesco/about-us/who-we-are/introducing-unesco/

Jobs/Roles in the ECE Community: National/Federal Level

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The National Association for the Education of Young Children, or the NAEYC focuses on improving children’s well-being. This group focuses on improving developmental and educational practices and services for children from birth through the age of 8. NAEYC offers an accreditation program for high-quality early childhood programs, sponsors various enterprises geared towards enhancing professional development opportunities for educators, and creates numerous early childhood resources. During my time at Walden, I have obtained so many valuable resources and learned so much from this organization that I think it would be enlightening and inspiring to work at an organization such as this and continue to build my professional repertoire. The position of Deputy Executive Director for Early Learning Systems sounds like an interesting one. This position may require an administration degree, as the individual who currently holds the position has her M.S. in Educational Administration.

Zero to Three is another organization that intrigues me. This group works to nurture the healthy development of children from infancy to the age of three, as well as their families. This organization also works to educate and support adults who work with this age group of children. I have taught lower elementary for the last nine years (Kindergarten and first grade) and think working for an organization such as this would help me to broaden my frame of reference in regards to the early childhood field and could potentially influence the developmental approach I take in my classroom. I was specifically drawn to the Director of the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning position within this organization as I would love to work on a large-scale level to impact teaching, learning, and early childhood development. Based on the individual’s skills who currently holds this position, a social work degree is important, as well as clinical experience with mental health issues. This individual was also formerly the director of the Early Head Start National Resource Center for 20 years.

Lastly, the Association for Childhood Education International or ACEI is an organization dedicated to collaborating with educators and early childhood advocates from around the globe in order to pool resources, exchange information, and advocate for children. The ultimate goal of this organization is for children in every country to have access to high quality education. I LOVE so much about this organization’s goals regarding unity, collaboration and promoting advocacy for children and would love to work with an international group, as I believe the multiple global perspectives and experiences would provide constant learning and challenges. More specifically, the Director of Global Schools First looks to be an intriguing position, as this individual promotes global citizenship education. Skills needed for this position would most likely be a Ph.D. in international policy as well as education and field experience in various countries. I would LOVE the travel piece of this position!

 

 

References

Association for Childhood Education International (n.d.). Retrieved July 28, 2018, from https://www.acei.org/values/

National Association for the Education of Young Children (n.d.). In Our Mission and Strategic Direction. Retrieved July 28, 2018, from https://www.naeyc.org/about-us/people/mission-and-strategic-direction

Zero to Three (2018). In Our Mission and Vision. Retrieved July 28, 2018, from https://www.zerotothree.org/about/our-mission-and-vision

 

 

Exploring Roles in the ECE Community

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A local organization that drew my attention is called First Steps Kent. This organization specializes in providing intentional professional development opportunities to early childhood teachers as well as parents and caregivers. This organization facilitates “Play and Learn” groups that provide parents with opportunities to experience literacy-rich activities and best practices being modeled by coaches. Monthly literacy-based activities and tools for supplying additional learning are provided to the community through this organization as well. I love that this organization is so focused on educating and partnering with families to provide quality early childhood resources, education, and experiences.

The second organization that appealed to me is called the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This organization is dedicated to early childhood education, more specifically, to grant making that supports flourishing kids, working families, and unbiased communities. I love that the heart of this organization centers on supporting and nurturing families with the goal of helping these families to thrive.

The last organization I found is called the Health Net of West Michigan, specifically a program called FitKids360. This is a seven week healthy lifestyle program that caters to children aged 5 to 17 and their caregivers. The program infuses nutrition, exercise and behavior education with various physical activities to assist participants in eating healthier, becoming more active, and engaging in exercise. I love the fundamental beliefs behind this local organization in that I believe children obesity is a growing epidemic in our country and one that should be actively addressed.

I have taught for nine years now in the capacity of first grade and kindergarten teaching positions in poverty-stricken communities. A job opportunity that appeals to me at this point of my life is a kindergarten teaching position in a well-resourced, well-respected, and high-performing district in my hometown. This is a position I recently attained and am transitioning to. I have also been encouraged by many people in my life to seek an administrative degree or certification. This is a position that does not currently appeal to me, but may in the future. At this point in my life, I may look into directing an early childhood facility or being a principal at an early elementary school.

Skills needed to fulfill these administrative roles would be solid leadership skills, excellent communication skills, public relational skills, organization, and experience. I would also think that it would be important to have various age and grade level teaching experience to draw off of. I think it is also crucial to have strong knowledge behind building effective partnerships and relationships with colleagues as well as families.

 

References

(n.d.). In W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.wkkf.org/what-we-do/educated-kids

 

(2016). In First Steps. Retrieved from https://www.firststepskent.org/early-learning-communities

 

(2015). In Health Net of West Michigan. Retrieved from http://healthnetwm.org/programs/fitkids360

 

 

Adjourning….

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When I think about the adjourning phase in terms of groups I have participated in, I believe high-performance groups that were able to work effectively together to produce high quality results are difficult to leave. However, I also think groups are difficult to adjourn based on personal connections that are established. I have taught for six years in my current district and recently accepted a position on the other side of the state to be closer to my family. While this district is very poverty-stricken, has had numerous administrative turnovers, and constantly struggles to improve test scores, this was a very difficult team and position to leave. The main reason was due to the human connections I’ve made over the past six years. Saying goodbye to numerous kiddos, families, and staff that have taken up such a stronghold in my heart was just heartbreaking, as these are relationships I have poured into. The closing ritual wasn’t anything fancy, as my new job offer occurred very close to the last day of school. However, my principal pulled everyone together to let people know that I would not be returning to the district and said some very nice things. This “closing ritual” continued in the following days as I received cards, gifts, and people stopping by my classroom to offer up their well wishes and goodbyes as I was packing up.

I think the adjourning phase of graduate school here at Walden will occur through blog and discussion responses. There is so much I’ve learned through my colleagues here and the sharing of their learning, personal experiences, and advice. I’m grateful for everyone who has helped contribute to my journey while at Walden!

Communicating through conflict

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When I think about a recent conflict I’ve had with a colleague, I believe one effective strategy in dealing with this is responsiveness. This is one of the three R’s and refers to being sensitive and observant to cues. These include body language, emotional responses and triggers and catering a response accordingly. I think this strategy would prove effective based on its roots in empathy and compassion towards the other individual. The second strategy I would utilize in confronting this situation would be respect. This is another one of the three R’s. While this seems elementary, it is something we need to remind ourselves of in the midst of struggle and conflict. At times, respect forces us to abandon our pride or emotions within the situation to adequately meet the individual where they are.

In speaking with colleagues about this topic, they agreed that respect and responsiveness are crucial in dealing with communication issues. They also added that honesty and compassion go a long way in dealing with conflicts.

Communicator Evaluations

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Communication is happening all around us and something we should be aware of in our own daily lives. Especially as educators, the need for effective communication skills is pertinent in our profession. In completing the communication assessments, I wasn’t too surprised with the outcomes of each. On the Listening Styles Profile, I scored a 35, which indicated that I am a people-oriented person. I scored within this range when my husband and sister completed the assessment as well. I scored a 64 on the Verbal Aggressive Scale, which was a moderate rating. I scored within this range on my husband and sister’s assessments as well. My husband and sister’s scores on this assessment were both higher than my own. When evaluating this, I realized that these two individuals are by far, two of the closest relationships I have, therefore, know me the best and see the most raw, transparent sides of me. I am also around them more often than most, which is why their higher scores made sense to me. I scored a 40 on the communication anxiety inventory. My husband scored me within this mild range, while my sister scored within the low range. This was the most surprising to me, as I’ve never LOVED public speaking, but in talking to her about it, she sees my confidence and outgoing nature attributing to a natural ease of communication.