Part 1: Establishing Professional Contacts
I was excited to begin establishing international contacts with early childhood educators. When I reviewed this week’s blog assignment prior to the class starting, I knew I would need to get started on this exciting project as soon as possible. On Tuesday night, I formulated a formal email and ventured over to the first blog resource website: http://www.naeyc.org/resources/partnership/globalalliance. There I found over 40 email addresses for international early childhood educators. Since I wanted to produce the best results with as many contacts as possible, I decided to email about 44 different professionals. After I sent those emails, I anxiously waited the next day to see if I had any response. By the time I got around to checking my email, I had one contact. Excited I opened the email link, only to find that it was an automated email, informing me that the office was closed until January 10. The email above that didn’t appear to promising either… Over 20 emails were not delivered due to faulty email addresses. Sadly, this portion of the project has produced no international contacts .. Yet.
So in order to keep producing optimal results, I explored the UNICEF website Wednesday evening. From the website, I was able to find 7-8 additional email addresses of international educators, all affiliated with UNICEF. After sending the formal email to these professionals, I waited again to hear something … Anything.
Sadly,there have been no email responses from either set up groups. I am hoping within a week, I will get at least 1-2 responses.
However, in case this option if forming direct international contacts produces nothing, I am prepared to work with the alternative option of listening to the audio podcast.
In an effort to be fully ready for this alternative, should it be needed, I first browsed through their website, ensuring the forum is currently in working order. I was also able to see roughly 10 podcasts that were readily available now that cover a wide range of topics.
Once I knew the forum was working, I downloaded the podcasts app on my phone and subscribed to the world education forum. I am prepared to opt for the alternative option should no email responses be received.
Within a week, I should clearly know which option I will be going for. Should no email responses be received, additional emails will be sent out as follow ups. If this still does not produce results, the alternative education forum will be used, and attempts will be made to contact at least 2 forum discussion leaders.
Prior to determining which early childhood organization, I decided to take sometime to explore and peruse the various websites provided on the blog links resource section. As I browsed each website, I kept in mind a few things that I was particularly interested in:
- Easy-to-read format
- Catchy introduction or home page
- Useful tips and resources for a wide range of children, yet specific suggestions and resources for certain age periods
- Usefulness for a parent (as I am currently raising my three year old son)
- Encouragement and challenging for my growth as a professional
- Finally – ideally (although this tends to not be as common) – a section for special education
Bearing all those those guidelines in mind, I tackled several websites. The first three or four were immediate turn-offs for me. Their introduction pages or home pages appeared cluttered and not easy to browse. Some of the wording was more difficult to read and didn’t appear parent-friendly. Within a few minutes, these websites were immediately crossed off my list. I then turned my attention to the National Black Child Development website, which caught my eye immediately. Although I am a white teacher, I am immersed with various ethnicities every day, as I work in an urban education setting. My interest was heightened as I quickly clicked on different links that lead to a wealth of information geared towards the development and education of black children. I was fascinated to learn about the various initiatives, resources, and even research that highlighted this different skin color. This website appeared to be a keeper.
However, I still wanted to check out one more website – Zero to Three. I had read previous articles from this institute that were interesting to me, therefore I held high hopes for this organization. The opening/home page was welcoming and easy to browse. There are a lot of catchy phases, especially appealing to a parent, like “Baby Brain Map,” “Download of the Week,” and “Featured Resources.” I was drawn in through their various connecting pages that just continued to pour information out. I was looking with a parent’s mind frame, as I am always curious about the delayed development of my son. The Baby Brain Map is fascinating, as there are specific brain developments for all ages 0-3. Links to resources were phenomenal, and I especially loved the section on sleep. When I began to calm down from my excitement over this webpage, I donned the cap of a professional and briefly checked out the public policy page, pleased to see the advocacy efforts put forth from this organization. Overall, this website was a keeper as well, as it appealed to almost all of the criteria I had in mind. (I haven’t fully explored the website yet, so I’m not sure about special education resources as of right now.)
Now comes the hard part – which website do I pick?
Ultimately, I decided to go with the Zero to Three Organization (click here for that website). While I do work in an urban education setting, the majority of the student population are actually Hispanic. Therefore, I opted to go a root that would apply to my professional life on a wider span, than specifically narrowing down to just black children. In addition, I connected well to this website as a parent of a three year old and feel confident in referring parents and families here. Furthermore as a professional, I know that I will be challenged and continue to grow in my learning through exploring and getting to know this organization in depth. I am excited to continue my research and read their upcoming eNewsletters, of which I am currently subscribed to. While I am pleased with my decision of which website to go with, I will be checking out the National Black Child Development website regularly to continue learning about that specific population of children.
*Special note: If you currently work with a majority of black children (or maybe all black children), I would highly recommend the National Black Child Development website as a resource to tuck in your back pocket. It is a fabulous website. Even if you do not have a majority of black children, it is still an excellent resource to have for those families you do interact with, either presently or in the future.