Poverty in Haiti

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The county I chose to research was Haiti. I chose this country for personal reasons, as my husband, brother-in-law, and father all went down to Haiti one year ago in December to help a Christian children’s camp with Hurricane Matthew relief work. My husband and I would like to return to Haiti within the next year to help with the operations of this camp. In looking this website over, I noticed via this website that many Haitians constantly struggle to combat cholera and water-borne diseases. “These diseases disproportionately affect children. [Hurricane Matthew] also caused substantial loss and disruption to public health systems that were already fragile” (UNICEF Haiti, 2017).

I also learned that UNICEF has had a strong presence in Haiti since Hurricane Matthew stuck and over the course of the last year. This organization has provided clean drinking water to over 550,000 people, reconstructed 120 schools, “more than 28,000 children benefited from psychosocial care, assistance and nutrition, health and hygiene education,” and more than 160,000 have been screened for malnutrition (UNICEF, Haiti, 2017). UNICEF’s primary concern of ensuring that people have clean drinking water was one shared by my husband, brother-in-law, and father during their trip to Haiti. The camp they provided relief work for offers a clean, fresh water spigot for the village.

Lastly, I was reminded in researching this website how blessed I truly am. Haitians not only struggle to find clean drinking water and combat rampant disease, their infant, child, and adolescent mortality rate is significant, and crime is high. This served as a personal reminder for me to be thankful for everything I have, but also for the things I don’t have to worry about.

 

References

https://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/haiti_94377.html

http://www.unicef.org/socialpolicy/index_childpoverty.html

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Sharing Web Resources

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The organization I chose to research was The National Association for the Education of Young Children: http://www.naeyc.org/. This organization’s goal is to “promote high-quality early learning for all young children, birth through age 8, by connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research.” This organization promotes and supports high-quality Early Childhood practices both locally and nationally. This mission statement alone drew me to this organization, as it is all-encompassing of the Early Childhood field. Based on my position as a Kindergarten teacher, I have a constant goal of providing outstanding education to my students and families.

A current issue reflected on this website that caught my attention was in an article entitled “Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom.” This article addresses the need for and value surrounding educators’ intentional decisions to include diverse literature and varying cultural practices in the classroom. For example, a white teacher sits down with a black student and together, they work to braid a doll’s hair, similar to the student’s hair. The teacher follows this activity with a book on hair braiding (Wanless and Crawford, 2016). The article goes on to recommend that teachers use rich text as well as stories that are culturally relatable to children, but also allow them to understand others in our multicultural world and in our classrooms (Wanless and Crawford, 2016). Intentionally-chosen, high-quality literature can provide a gateway for educators to begin conversations with their students about race and cultural diversity. I love this idea and am adding several of the suggested titles in this article to my classroom book wish list.

 

References

The National Association for the Education of Young Children: http://www.naeyc.org/

Wanless, S. B., & Crawford, P. A. (2016, May). Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom. In The National Association for the Education of Young Children. Retrieved from https://www.naeyc.org/resources/pubs/yc/may2016/culturally-responsive-classroom

 

Getting Ready—Expanding Horizons and Expanding Resources

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After several attempts of trying to access the World Forum websites, I was unable and chose to research The Global Fun for Children: https://globalfundforchildren.org/. This organization identifies groups and organizations working with children from around the world, develops and invests in these partnerships with the intention of specifically aiding these groups of children, and advises and strengthens these established partnerships both monetarily and through the establishment of broader networks and connections. These are all reasons I was drawn to this website and organization. I was also intrigued by the initial model statement on their website: “We believe in creating partnerships, not dependencies” (The Global Fun for Children. 2017). From what I have researched on this website, this group looks to reach and serve some of the world’s most vulnerable children through partnership with and grants to community-based groups serving these groups of children. I am eager to learn more about this organization and ways they accomplish this goal, ways they identify these groups in need, and how they are able to raise funds to provide for such grants.

I also chose to research the National Association for the Education of Young Children: http://www.naeyc.org/

Part of the reason for selecting this website was that it was one in which I could access both the site and additional resources. Another reason was the commitment of this organization to outline and support Early Childhood Education best practices. I believe I am and wish to continue to be an advocate for this field and specifically, the children in my Kindergarten classroom and am excited to tap into this website for ideas, resources, and education as it pertains to this goal.

References

National Association of Child Care Resource & Referral Agencies
http://www.naccrra.org/

The Global Fund for Children

https://globalfundforchildren.org/ 

 

Examining Codes of Ethics

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The Division for Early Childhood’s code of conduct states that professionals in the early childhood field should “demonstrate the highest standards of personal integrity, truthfulness, and honesty in all our professional activities in order to inspire the trust and confidence of the children and families and of those with whom we work” (DEC, 2000, p. 1). This is significant to me in my professional life in that I think that leaders and people in education are held to an especially high standard and level of expectation due to the fact that we are models to children who are so easily influenced and molded. I also believe that it is imperative that we cultivate a high level of trust, honesty, and rapport with the children and families we engage with in order to foster exceptional growth and development.

The DEC code of conduct also states that “we shall empower families with information and resources so that they are informed consumers of services for their children” (DEC, 2000, p. 3). This strikes a professional chord with me because I think it is our responsibility as early childhood professionals to become advocates for our children, but also to teach their families how to become further advocates for their children. The more families stay informed, the more they can advocate for and help their children to learn and grow.

The NAEYC code of conduct states the importance of staying informed through continuing education and training (NAEYC, 2005). I believe this to be true and affirming of the decision I made to finish my degree in Early Childhood Education at Walden. I believe to become better educators, we need to be informed students and be constantly exploring innovative ways of doing things.

 

References

NAEYC. (2005, April). Code of ethical conduct and statement of commitment. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.naeyc.org/files/naeyc/file/positions/PSETH05.pdf

The Division for Early Childhood. (2000, August). Code of ethics. Retrieved May 26, 2010, from http://www.dec-sped.org/

COURSE RESOURCES

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Part 1: Position Statements and Influential Practices

 

Part 2: Global Support for Children’s Rights and Well-Being

Part 3: Selected Early Childhood Organizations

Part 4: Selected Professional Journals Available in the Walden Library

  • YC Young Children
  • Childhood
  • Journal of Child & Family Studies
  • Child Study Journal
  • Multicultural Education
  • Early Childhood Education Journal
  • Journal of Early Childhood Research
  • International Journal of Early Childhood
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Developmental Psychology
  • Social Studies
  • Maternal & Child Health Journal
  • International Journal of Early Years Education

 

Additional Resources

Book: A Framework for Understanding Poverty, by Ruby Payne

Websites:

US Department of Education: https://www.ed.gov/early-learning/resources

Michigan eLibrary: http://kids.mel.org/

Documentary:

The History of Kindergarten: From Froebel to Today: http://historyofkindergarten.com/

Words of Inspiration and Motivation

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In her book Motivated Minds, Dr. Deborah Stipek states, “we need to raise children who feel competent, autonomous, and secure in their relationships to others. Kids will be self-motivated to learn when they feel capable and skilled, and confident of becoming more so; when they have some choice and control over their learning; and when they feel loved, supported, and respected by their parents” (Stipek and Seal, 2001, p.3). I love this quotation because I believe as educators, we truly need to strive to empower children to be self-motivated and confident. We also need to make sure we are being so intent on cultivating a safe, loving, supportive environment for these skills to be acquired.

Someone else I admire and want to follow more closely is Elena Bodrova. In an article, she states: “…play that has a potential for fostering many areas of young children’s development, including social and cognitive development, has the following characteristics: 1) Children create a pretend scenario by negotiating and talking to peers and use props in a symbolic way; and 2) Children create specific roles-and rules-for pretend behavior and adopt multiple themes and multiple roles. When children engage in this kind of play for most of their early years, they learn to delay gratification and to prioritize their goals and actions. They also learn to consider the perspectives and needs of other people. They learn to represent things symbolically and to regulate their behaviors and act in a deliberate, intentional way. Most primary school teachers would probably agree that they don’t expect kindergartners to enter first grade with a complete mastery of spelling or addition. After all, it is in the early elementary grades when children learn these academic competencies. However, teachers of entering school-agers do hope that the children who come into their classrooms can concentrate, pay attention, and be considerate of others. These areas are developed not by using flashcards or computer programs, but through interacting with peers during play” (Leong and Bodrova, 2005, p. 2).

I love the emphasis on the importance of play here, especially in speaking to children’s ability to develop feelings of empathy through it. I believe as a nation, we are striving to push academics and standards in an attempt increase test scores, but may be doing so in a way that is at times neglecting early childhood development and crucial factors, like the need for encouraging play and activities that focus on character development.

I was also inspired by what Sandy Escobido said: “we, as professionals in the early childhood field, have an opportunity to shape a child’s life for the better” (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). This is so poignantly convicting, especially after difficult days or moments in the classroom. It is imperative to remember that as teachers, we are so important to a child’s development and we play such an essential role in offering positive change and growth. This is the kind of teacher I want to constantly strive to be: one that constantly seeks to better herself and the lives of her students.

 

References

 

Laureate Education, Inc. (2010). The passion for early childhood. Baltimore: Author.

 

Leong, D. J., & Bodrova, E. (2005, September). The Importance of Play: Why Children Need to Play. In ResearchGate. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234633527_The_Importance_of_Play_Why_Children_Need_to_Play

 

Stipek, D., & Seal, K. (2001). Motivated Minds (p. 3). New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=zDlkAwAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

 

Personal Childhood Web

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In terms of thinking of the people who had a positive impact on my childhood, I feel immensely blessed. My parents ensured that I constantly felt and was told how much I was loved. When I compare my childhood to so many of my students, I realize that I really never had any significant worries. I didn’t worry about whether or not I could attend a fieldtrip based on if my parents had enough money that week; I didn’t worry about whether or not I had clean clothes that fit; I didn’t worry about if we would have enough food that week or not. My mom and dad had a healthy marriage that they reflected to my sister and me and only added to the love we felt. My childhood with my parents was stable and full of love and experiences. My mom chose to leave her job as a dental hygienist when she gave birth to me, in order to stay at home and raise me and later, my sister, while my dad worked. It was never portrayed as a burden for my mom to do this and she was constantly looking for new ways to engage us in learning and experiencing new things. My parents’ continue to influence my life as they are a constant source of love and support. I know they will always be there for me and have my best interests at heart.

My grandparents were also paramount to my childhood development. All three sets of them were actively involved in my life growing up. Our family did birthdays, holidays, sports games, just about any event that elicited gathering together, as a unit. Going over to any of my grandparents’ homes meant extra spoiling: sugary drinks that weren’t allowed at home, extra goodies, later bedtimes…. My grandparents still continue to impact my life. Their wisdom influences the way I see things. They continue to join our family during special gatherings and even though I live a couple hours away from them, we maintain communication through phone calls and visits. They love me unconditionally.

Another relationship that greatly impacted my childhood was the one I had with Ms. Conrad. Ms. Conrad was my Kindergarten teacher. Her love for teaching was evidenced through her relationship with her students. Ms. Conrad was one of the reasons I decided from an early age, to become a Kindergarten teacher. She made each of her students feel individually loved and valued and made learning so much fun; I knew I wanted to be like Ms. Conrad one day! Because of the person she was and the relationship both me and my sister had with her, she later became my Godmother. My mom was actively involved in volunteering in Ms. Conrad’s classroom and my parents decided that if ever anything was to happen to them that Ms. Conrad would continue to love and provide for my sister and me. While I don’t communicate as often as I used to with her, I had lunch a couple years ago with Ms. Conrad. We talked about education and what it used to look like and how it has evolved over the years. She pulled boxes of books she had found in her basement out of her trunk to continue to contribute to the supplies she’s given my classroom. She talked about how proud she was of my heart for teaching and for my students and how she always knew I would become a teacher. I have kept all the “Conrad” labels on her books and supplies she has given me throughout the years to remind me of the teacher she was and I strive to be.

Needless to say, I am blessed. I am the individual and the teacher that I am today because of the people that poured into my life and continue to do so. These relationships motivate me to reciprocate them and invest in the lives of children. In the words of Urie Bronfenbrenner, “Somebody’s got to be crazy about that kid. That’s number one. First, last, and always” (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004, p. 1). I am so blessed that so many people in my life from childhood on were crazy about me.

 

Reference:

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2004). Young children develop in an environment of relationships (Working Paper No. 1). Waltham, MA: Author. Available from Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University website http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/resources/reports_and_working_papers/working_papers/wp1/